RESILIENT CHOICES: TRADE-OFFS, ADJUSTMENTS, AND COURSE CORRECTIONS TO THRIVE IN RETIREMENT
For older Americans, retirement can be life at its best, a fresh chapter with new freedoms, opportunities, windfalls, and fulfillments. But life throws us curveballs—and sometimes cannonballs—both personal and financial, making retirement also a time of unfamiliar challenges and choices. This new study, Resilient Choices: Trade-offs, Adjustments, and Course Corrections to Thrive in Retirement, explores both sides of today’s retirement experience, comprehensively and realistically, with the aim of helping retirees and pre-retirees make resilient choices to thrive in retirement.
This is the third major thought leadership collaboration among Edward Jones, Age Wave, and The Harris Poll. All three studies build on the holistic “four pillars” framework, demonstrating how health, family, purpose, and finances are all essential to well-being in retirement. This groundbreaking new study included surveys of more than 12,000 North American adults.
Key insights include:
- Today’s retirees are living active, engaged, and purposeful lives, redefining what it means to succeed in retirement.
- Retirees overwhelmingly agree that preparation, adaptability, and resilience are all key to thriving in retirement.
- Adaptability may prove essential because many retirees and pre-retirees have not yet saved enough to fund their potentially lengthy retirements.
- There are a wide variety of proven course corrections across the four pillars, options for everyone, including people facing financial challenges.
Redefining Success in Retirement
Today’s retirees and pre-retirees want to be active, engaged, and purposeful: stay physically fit, continue learning and trying new things, contribute to the well-being of others, and work in new ways. The old definition of success in retirement may have centered on wealth and leisure, but the new definition means thriving across all four pillars: health, family, purpose, and finances.
Resilient Choices to Prevent Retirement Challenges
Today’s retirees are experiencing greater longevity than past generations. The years may be there to enjoy, but they must also be paid for. About six in ten Americans (59%) say they can afford a comfortable and secure retirement lasting more than ten years. Only 30% say they can afford a retirement lasting more than 20 years. Many pre-retirees should be considering course corrections—financial and across the other pillars.
Curveballs, Cannonballs, and Windfalls in Retirement
Course corrections are often motivated, and sometimes necessitated, by life events that change the circumstances and goals of retirees and pre-retirees. We call the challenging events curveballs (relatively minor ones) and cannonballs (more major ones). They range from health issues to financial setbacks to having a family member or close friend pass away. Retirement also brings many positive events—or windfalls—and the most fulfilling include welcoming grandchildren, taking a dream vacation, and finding new purpose in life.
Expanding the Toolbox of Course Corrections
There are proven course correction strategies in each of the four pillars:
- Health: Habits including a healthy diet, regular exercise, and mental stimulation can dramatically improve healthspan, lifespan, and well-being in retirement.
- Family: Spending more quality time with family and friends (and less time with toxic people) can be very fulfilling, and setting needed boundaries can be just as worthwhile.
- Purpose: There are many personal paths to purpose, and people can explore familiar options, try new things, expand their social circles, and enrich their lives.
- Finances: Given the wide array of tools beyond the basics of increasing savings and minimizing debt, it is wise to seek trusted, holistic guidance.
Sage Advice to Thrive in Retirement
Experienced retirees recommend that pre-retirees “test drive” retirement activities in advance, including staying physically and mentally active, trying out new hobbies or creative activities, finding ways (like volunteering) to maintain a sense of purpose, and living on a retirement budget.
Two-thirds of Millennials are concerned that their parents or in-laws may not have enough money to live comfortably in retirement—they have some very salient advice to improve their parents’ lifelong well-being, including being frugal, reducing debt, and spending quality time with family.
Retirement today is about enjoying new freedoms, finding new opportunities, facing new challenges, and making new choices. We hope that this study helps today’s and tomorrow’s retirees make resilient choices and course corrections as needed to thrive in retirement.
For more information, visit: www.edwardjones.com