Americans’ Perspectives on New Retirement Realities and the Longevity Bonus

Last year Merrill Lynch Wealth Management partnered with Age Wave to study the change baby boomers have brought to today’s retirement  With people living and often working longer than any preceding generation, this study examines their perspectives about preparing for retirement and living the best life that they can during their later years.

 The study reveals new insights into people’s approaches to and thoughts about retirement, including:

•         Reinvention: Today’s retirees aren’t retiring — they’re moving on to explore new options, pursue old dreams and live life to the fullest. They’re seeing the longevity bonus as a chance to devote energy to pursuits they may not have had the time or freedom to chase during the “career” portion of their lives, to stay stimulated, and to strengthen and expand their social network.

•         Connectivity: The “Me Generation” is becoming the “Us Generation.” Today’s retirees are finding comfort, meaning and safety in connections — family, friends, communities and trusted guides.

•         Traditional Values: Today’s retirees are defining happiness not in terms of dollars but in terms of new experiences, peace of mind, helping family and making a difference.

What are people worrying about? The Study found five major areas of concern:

•         Health Disruptions: Health problems and the cost of healthcare now top the list of retirement worries — and even more so among the affluent. Yet just one in nine pre-retirees is completely confident in their ability to pay for their retirement healthcare expenses.

•         Falling Short: People don’t know exactly how long they will live and feel insecure about their ability to support a very long life. They do not want to be a burden on their families and do not want to sacrifice too much quality of life. They also fear being lonely.

•         New Family Interdependencies: In today’s uncertain economy — where one or more family members may be struggling financially — balancing an individual’s or couple’s retirement needs with the needs of parents, siblings, children and grandchildren is a growing and complicated challenge. And partly because of these family complexities, most couples now want to share responsibility equally when making major financial decisions.

•         Home & Community: People are concerned about where they should live in retirement, as well as finding ideal accommodations for their parents.

•         Search for Guidance: Because of shifts away from pensions and strains on entitlement plans, Boomers recognize they must be more self-reliant. But they are in uncharted territory and feel they need guidance.

To read the complete study click here.

Posted: June 13, 2014