Age Wave and SunAmerica Study Reveals What's Really Happening with Retirees

Aging Today, September/October 2011 | Go to article overview
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Age Wave and SunAmerica Study Reveals What's Really Happening with Retirees


There are many news stories discussing how baby boomers will rethink retirement, choosing to work beyond the classic retirement age, probably in second careers, possibly part time. The SunAmerica Retirement Re-Set Study from Age Wave, in partnership with SunAmerica Financial Group and Harris Interactive market research firm, provides a picture of what is going on with retirees, post-recession. There are some surprises- and also some welcome realizations on the part of retirees.

On the downside, 46% of Americans ages 55 and older say their financial assets have not yet recovered from the recession, and their homes are worth less now than they were pre-recession. However, feelings of financial security are on the rebound, and 54% of retirees see retirement as a new chapter in life, not a winding down. Thirty-eight percent held that view the last time this survey was done, in 2001, under the title of ReVisioning Retirement Study.

Retirement is being postponed, often to age 69, and two-thirds of retirees say they would like to remain productive post-retirement. The study data predict that baby boomers will not only be active, but also youthful, embracing a variety of learning and growth opportunities.

It's All About Value

Some of the most gratifying news came in the form of values. Because of the recession, 85% of those surveyed say they now more fully appreciate family and friends than they did prior to the recession, half expect to provide intergenerational support for family members and 70% expect their adult children to need financial assistance.

Beyond learning to appreciate the intangibles, those surveyed also came away from the recession with a more conservative outlook on saving and planning. Instead of focusing on building wealth, 65% want investments that are guaranteed not to lose value, and 60% seek insurance that will protect their income from market loss.

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