Below is an excerpt from the new book What Retirees Want, written by Ken Dychtwald and Robert Morison.
In this book, we’ll be taking a holistic look at the various aspects and experiences of the new retirement and how so much will be both activated and transformed by the Boomers. Here’s a preview of some of the major zones we’ll be covering.
Work. Retirement increasingly includes some employment. Seven in ten Boomer workers expect to work past age 65, are already doing so, or do not plan to retire. Retirees work because they need the money; because they want to stay mentally, physically, and socially active; or simply because they love what they do. Many choose to work in new occupations, to start businesses, or to launch “encore” careers that give back to society. As we’ll be covering in depth in a few chapters, working in new ways is becoming part of the opportunity, adventure, enjoyment, and funding of retirement.
Leisure. Retirees also have the greatest time affluence and will be looking for new ways to enjoy it. In their everyday leisure pursuits, they seek to stay active and healthy. On special occasions, they seek memorable “peak experiences” such as travel, often with family. Retirees account for a disproportionate share of leisure spending, including over $200 billion annually on travel. Worldwide, over the next 20 years, retirees will have 50 trillion hours of leisure to fill.
Health. Health is the key ingredient to an active and happy retirement. The additional life expectancy at age 65 is over 20 years for women, 18 years for men. The average person can expect to be in good health for about half that span, and is probably already managing at least one chronic condition, hypertension being the most common. Loss of health is retirees’ greatest source of worry, and Alzheimer’s has become the most feared condition of age. The need for care naturally increases with age: while 16% of people age 65–69 need care due to health problems or functional limitations, nearly 60% of those 85–89 need care. It’s almost unimaginable what retirees will consider doing and spending to retain their health as long as possible.
Family. Family is far and away retirees’ greatest source of reported satisfaction in life. Longevity produces three, four,
five, even six generation families, and they will become increasingly matriarchal. Due to their superior longevity, the larger number of older women has dramatic effect on family structure. Over 34% of women age 65+ are widowed, only 13% of men. Some 9.4 million older Americans, almost 20% of the total, live in multigenerational households and generational interdependency is on the rise.
Home. Today’s retirees enjoy new freedom in where and how they live. Younger retirees move to their dream locations, older ones to where care and comfort are available. Many stay in place and renovate. Seventy-nine percent of those age 65+ own their own homes, and seven in ten of them are mortgage-free. Nearly 14 million older Americans live alone, 70% of them women, and approaching half (45%) of all women age 75+ live alone. About 2.5 million older Americans live in assisted living or nursing facilities.
Finances. Less than half of Americans over the age of 60 feel that their retirement savings are on track, and on average they’ve saved only $135,000. So they enter retirement facing the need for financial and lifestyle adjustments. The median annual income of households headed by someone age 65+ is about $44,000, and the median net worth is over $230,000. Eighty-four percent of older Americans report receiving Social Security, and it provides 90% or more of income for 34% of beneficiaries. Retirees’ greatest financial concerns are costly health issues, rising cost of living, supporting their lifestyle, and outliving their savings.
Purpose. A strong sense of purpose keeps retirees more active, healthier, and happier. They believe that retirement is the best time to give back, and they are generous. Although often portrayed as self-centered, it turns out Boomers are the most charitable generation in history – in terms of both volunteer time and money. They account for over 40% of money donated and hours volunteered to charities and causes. Still, volunteering represents a small fraction of today’s retirees’ discretionary time. As we’ll explore in detail, mobilizing more retiree volunteers holds enormous potential for social good.
Excerpted with the permission of the publisher, Wiley, from What Retirees Want by Ken Dychtwald and Robert Morison. Copyright © 2020 by Ken Dychtwald and Robert Morison. All rights reserved. This book is available wherever books and ebooks are sold.