TIAA has followed up their landmark 1982 Voices of Experience study, exploring TIAA retirees’ attitudes towards retirement, and the findings are overwhelmingly positive. Today’s retirees report even more satisfaction with their lives than those surveyed 34 years ago. Take a look at the survey here:

It reveals some interesting differences between the sexes, both in how they plan for and live in retirement. Some of the key ways that men and women differ in their approach to retirement were recently highlighted in The Washington Post (“Even in retirement men and women are different,” May 2016):

  • Men generally start planning for retirement earlier, and are more likely to be satisfied with their financial health.
  • Women are more likely to volunteer their time outside the home or care for family members.
  • Men and women are equally concerned about being a burden to others—although women are twice as likely to worry about running out of money.

Overall, today’s retired folks are engaged and fulfilled. Most retirees surveyed spend their time pursuing hobbies, socializing with friends, and participating in volunteer or charitable activities. TIAA’s president and CEO, Roger W. Ferguson, pointed out that a happy retirement is still possible for the majority of people, despite the many changes that have taken place in the U.S. over the past 30 years (such as the increase in healthcare costs).

The study suggests that the secret to a satisfying retirement is, in part, early planning. Those who began saving before age 30 were not only more likely to enjoy retirement, but also to retire early—before age 60. Interestingly, 76 percent of those who retired before age 65 described the transition as easy; that number fell as the retirement age increased.

With some people retiring early and many living 20 or 30 years in retirement, it’s more important than ever to focus on planning in a manner that allows flexibility for all eventualities. Mr. Ferguson recommends incorporating lifetime income solutions in your retirement plan to ensure your money lasts as long as you do.

Are you among the 93 percent of participants who reported being satisfied with your retirement?


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