"I Know I Should, But..."

Brett-jordan-vFGKWON91Bc-unsplashThere is an interesting human trait in many of us, and it seems to grow more pronounced as we age. It's the idea of Intention vs. Action, which I like to think of as "I know I should, but..." A few examples related to Boomers may be appropriate to illustrate the concept.

Recently, financial services firm Edward Jones updated its landmark study, "The Four Pillars of the New Retirement." In reporting the results, the firm stated the following (with my parenthetical editorial comments in italics):

...the impacts of the pandemic resulted in nearly 50 million Americans halting or reducing contributions to retirement savings. An additional 38 million withdrew money from retirement savings. Yet at the same time, retirement savings boosted for others as 59 million Americans began contributing more to their retirement savings. (It appears that the pandemic actually closed the gap between intention and action for those who knew they should contribute more to retirement but didn't do it until an extraordinary event made them realize they should.)

The study illuminated the gap between intention and action as a majority of Americans ages 50+ (71%) believe having a will in place is the most important action to take before someone dies, yet only 49% actually have a will. Further, only 19% of adults 50+ have all three essential end-of-life documents in place: a will, health care directive/living will and designated power of attorney. (Hundreds of thousands of deaths from a virus make you think about your mortality. Still, it is fascinating and a bit disconcerting that a large majority of Boomers know they need a will, yet less than half of them actually have one.)

I think it is safe to say this same Intention vs. Action mentality is pervasive in our daily lives. Maybe some of these statements will resonate with you:

  • "I know I should eat healthier, but it's a pain in the neck to change my diet right now."
  • "I know I should exercise more, but I'm just too busy (or too tired, or whatever)."
  • "I know I should get rid of all that junk in the basement (or attic, or wherever), but I'll get around to it some day."

I'm sure you can think of many other examples. The idea is that our intentions may be noble, but our execution leaves something to be desired. You could characterize this as procrastination or perhaps negative inertia. It's probably the same feeling you have when you ponder that chore we all dread -- doing your taxes by April 15. Personally, I'm reminded of a silly little round piece of wood I saw in a joke shop years ago with words stamped on it that read, "Round Tuit."

At the risk of sounding preachy, Boomers need to reckon with the fact that we are in the second half of our lives -- a time when action on any number of things becomes more important than it was when we were younger. I truly believe all of us have good intentions. The real question is whether we have the will to convert our good intentions into actions... before we run out of time.

HappilyRewired.com is a Wearever Top 20 Senior Blog and a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog

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New Book Shows How World War II Helped Launch "Boomer Brands"


Who Will Take Care of Us?

Georg-arthur-pflueger-eO_JhqabBY0-unsplashIn a previous post, I wrote about the popularity of "aging in place" and discussed why, in some cases, it isn't always a great alternative for aging Boomers. A recent article in The New York Times discusses some of the financial challenges and addresses in general the costs associated with growing older. The article cites a 2019 study from the federal Department of Health and Human Studies "found that over their lifetimes, about 70 percent of older adults will need help from family caregivers or paid aides or some combination, in their own homes or in long-term care facilities." A more recent study by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College examined "both intensity and duration — how much help older Americans will need and for how long." The results indicated the following:

"...Seventeen percent of 65-year-olds will need no long-term care. Almost one-quarter will develop severe needs, requiring many hours of help for more than three years.
   Most older people will fall between those poles, with 22 percent having only minimal needs. The largest group, 38 percent, can expect moderate needs — like support while they recover from a heart attack, after which they can again function independently."

Another recent article in The New York Times cites a 2018 AARP survey that indicated "76 percent of those ages 50 and older said they preferred to remain in their current residence as they age." The article discusses the plight of home care aides :

"The ranks of home care aides are expected to grow by more than those of any other job in the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It’s also among the lowest paying occupations on the list.
  Nearly one in five aides lives below the poverty line. In six states, the average hourly wage for home care aides is less than $11, and nationally, the median pay has increased just $1.75 an hour over the last decade, when adjusted for inflation."

Considering the information above, Boomers are headed for a long-term healthcare reckoning. If we want to age in place, the older we get, the more likely we will have to get help from family members, which is not always possible, or home care aides. These workers are highly stressed out right now. In the current pandemic, home care aides are one of the more vulnerable groups, not just because of potential exposure to the virus but also because of their low economic status. In The Times article, one of those aides made an important point:

“We should be able to take care of our own families while providing care for other families,” said Lilieth Clacken, a 61-year-old home health aide and member of the 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East union. “The work is undervalued and underpaid.”

Some innovative programs, such as the "Aging Well Support Program" at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, could make a difference to Boomers who want to age in place. It offers "Community Health Screenings, Caregiver Workshops, and programs to support mental and physical wellness. In addition, we offer Individualized Aging Support Services to provide ongoing Care Coordination for concerns related to memory, fall risk, nutrition, and behavioral health." We need more helpful programs like this to limit the risks and improve health outcomes for aging Boomers.

The other side of the equation is long-term care facilities, such as an assisted living facility. If we choose this alternative over aging in place, we will inevitably pay a high monthly fee (and in some cases an entry fee) to be cared for around the clock. Even in these facilities, however, care aides are poorly compensated in terms of salary and benefits.

It's a sad testament to overall national priorities that home care aides and aides at long-term care facilities are at the lowest end of the pay scale -- as are teachers and social services professionals. There is also currently no compensation available to family members for taking care of older relatives. It certainly makes it all the more challenging to answer the question, "Who will take care of us?"

HappilyRewired.com is a Wearever Top 20 Senior Blog and a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog

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New Book Shows How World War II Helped Launch "Boomer Brands"


Numbers Don't Lie

Business-2253639_1920There are two COVID-inspired phrases that have been kicking around of late: "The Great Resignation" and "The Great Retirement." The two phrases are inter-related but very different.

"The Great Resignation" generally refers to workers who have exited the workforce, almost entirely by choice, during the pandemic. The reasons for resigning from a job are varied: Some workers are simply fed up with low wages, others (mostly women) cite issues with child care, others don't like menial work, and still others may not want to return to a physical workplace after working remotely from home. Whatever the reasons, the outcome is the same: American workers have left traditional work in droves, accounting for millions of open jobs and "Help Wanted" signs everywhere.

"The Great Retirement" overlaps with "The Great Resignation" in the sense that a considerable percentage of older workers may have decided that the pandemic was the right time to resign from their jobs. Rather than continue to work in traditional jobs, these older workers chose a number of different paths, such as part-time work, freelance work or "gig" assignments, volunteer work or some combination thereof. Some older workers may have decided to stop working altogether and retire.

About a year ago (August 2020), the Schwartz Center for Economic Analysis at the New School looked at some numbers and they turned out to be pretty astonishing:

  • From March through June 2020, 2.9 million workers ages 55-70 left the labor force, 50 percent more than the 1.9 million older workers who left the labor force three months after the Great Recession began in 2007.
  • Of the 2.9 million older workers who left the labor force, the majority (2.4 million) lost their jobs between March and June. The other 500,000 were already unemployed in March.
  • Between March and June 2020, 38 percent of unemployed older Americans gave up looking for work and left the labor force.

According to the Schwartz Center, "Several indicators show 2.9 million older workers who exited the labor force are unlikely to return. ...Under normal economic conditions, older workers who leave the labor force due to layoff are unlikely to re-enter the job market and face having to retire earlier than planned. ...Additionally, older workers who lose their job take nearly twice as long to find a new job compared to young workers. Even if jobless older workers find a new job, they can expect their new wages to be 23-41% less than their previous earnings."

One year later, in August 2021, an article by Tammy La Gorce in The New York Times confirmed that things haven't changed much for these older workers. La Gorce writes that "retiring during the pandemic has inflicted two traumas...most felt they were forced out of work before they wanted to go" and the majority "were financially unprepared." Teresa Ghilarducci, a professor of economics and policy analysis at the New School for Social Research, told La Gorce, “A lot of people were pushed out of their jobs... It used to be that employers would let the ones they just hired go first in a recession, but this time older people who have been in their jobs the longest have been hit hardest.”

So "The Great Retirement" may turn out to be not-so-great for millions of older workers who didn't intend to retire at all. Instead, many have been involuntarily retired from a job they intended -- and needed -- to keep. The obvious reason may have been the pandemic, but the less obvious reason was that some employers used the pandemic as cover to pare down their employee ranks. The most vulnerable workers, the older ones, were the first to be let go. Numbers don't lie.

HappilyRewired.com is a Wearever Top 20 Senior Blog and a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog

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New Book Shows How World War II Helped Launch "Boomer Brands"


Not So Funny

Dan-cook-MCauAnBJeig-unsplashI cheered when I read well-known aging expert Ken Dychtwald's recent article for AARP entitled "Ageism Is Alive and Well in Advertising." In it, Dychtwald uses several excellent examples of "Ageist" vs. "Respectful" ads, largely created by marketing agencies for their clients. As you can intuit, the "Ageist" examples debase seniors in a variety of ways, often ridiculing their age and negatively portraying them. This is not an occasional transgression -- it is an all-too-common practice among ad agencies, typically peopled by younger generations, who routinely make fun of the 50-plus crowd. I know, because for a time I worked in a large ad agency where I was clearly an elder statesman in my fifties.

In the article, Dychtwald writes that "advertising is still far too often out of sync with the reality of today's older, more seasoned buyer." He quotes Chip Conley, founder of the Modern Elder Academy, who agrees: “Many ads are viewed by the older population as stereotypical and patronizing. Most advertisers receive a failing grade in their efforts to understand and relate to older adults.”

As Dychtwald cites in his article, ageism in advertising is not a wise marketing strategy, because the 55-plus audience controls 70 percent of all personal wealth in the United States, according to a survey by the Federal Reserve. What's more Boomers resent it -- in a 2121 AARP survey, 62 percent of consumers age 50-plus agreed with the statement, "I wish ads had more realistic images of people my age." Nearly half (47 percent) agreed that "ads of people my age reinforce outdated stereotypes." That doesn't bode well for advertisers who continue to propagate ads that bash Boomers.

I wrote about this very issue exactly two years ago in my post, "Marketing the Old Age Myth:"

As a retired marketing professional, it is especially painful for me to see how today's marketers characterize older Americans. As I watch television or flip through magazines, I notice ads that incessantly pitch medications to the elderly, poke fun at aging or portray anyone with gray hair as a doddering, incompetent sedentary fool.

Here we are two years later and, as Dychtwald points out, things haven't gotten all that much better. Thankfully, Dychtwald writes, there are some marketers who are more enlightened today and treat seniors with respect. But not enough of them do so. That isn't just bad for the advertising business, it's bad for our society in general. 

HappilyRewired.com is a Wearever Top 20 Senior Blog and a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog

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New Book Shows How World War II Helped Launch "Boomer Brands"


Trend Awareness for Boomers

Direction-1033278_1920Boomers contemplating retirement (or some version of it) need to be aware of various trends that might shape their decisions about working, finances, health and even where they live. Catherine Siskos, editor of Kiplinger's Retirement Report, discusses five key trends in a special section inserted into THE WEEK (Sept. 10 - 17, 2021). These trends are part of an article that addresses how this decade is unfolding and includes some forward-looking financial investment possibilities. This special section is well worth reading.

Here are the five trends affecting retirement that Siskos discusses in some detail:

  1. "Flexible work, at a price." The reality is that older workers may be willing to trade a higher salary for flexible work hours. Working part-time or on a contract basis could be a desirable if less lucrative alternative to permanent, full-time employment.
  2. "Shrinking benefits." Social Security benefits risk being reduced in the future because of a current projection that the Social Security trust fund will be exhausted in 2034. The age for claiming full retirement benefits continues to go up, with those born 1960 or later affected the most. In addition, claiming Social Security benefits too early results in a permanent cut to your monthly benefit payment.
  3. "Semi-privatized Medicare." Siskos writes that Medicare "could run short of money as early as 2026." Congress is struggling to come up with a solution.
  4. "A tech revolution in care." Advances such as smart home technology, remote monitoring, and assists to health care by Artificial Intelligence could help reduce health care costs and increase the efficiency of health care providers and caregivers.
  5. "Climate disruption." Retirees who are thinking about where to live in their older years need to carefully consider the impact of climate change. For example, the popularity of the South and West as retirement destinations needs to be balanced against the effects of global warming.

It is somewhat disconcerting to realize that we have little direct control over these trends, except perhaps for the first one. However, wise Boomers can assess their own situations and determine how best to deal with each trend. For example:

  • With the aid of your financial adviser, you can come up with a plan that reduces expenses and increases income to potentially offset the impact of a cut in Social Security. This might include some combination of part-time work, budget tightening, reviewing your investment strategy and planning to draw down your IRA/retirement savings at the appropriate time.
  • With the likelihood that health care costs could play a significant role in your budget, you may need to consider supplemental insurance to Medicare and/or long-term care insurance. You might also consider looking into the cost of assisted living or continuing care retirement communities to determine if they are feasible future options.
  • When it comes to "climate disruption," it would be smart to realistically evaluate where you live now and where you may want to live in the future. While climate is just one factor in remaining in your current home or relocating, it is increasingly important.

Now is the time for Boomers to take the necessary steps to protect their retirement/"rewirement" years.

HappilyRewired.com is a Wearever Top 20 Senior Blog and a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog

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New Book Shows How World War II Helped Launch "Boomer Brands"

 


New Book Shows How World War II Helped Launch "Boomer Brands"

Mockup2I'm excited to announce the publication of my new book, WORLD WAR BRANDS: World War II and the Rise of the Modern American Brand. This unique book takes a fresh look at the impact of World War II on America from a marketing perspective.

In this book you'll learn:

  • How Coca-Cola, Disney and other great American brands played an integral role in World War II
  • Why some American brands chose to do business with Nazi Germany
  • How television influenced the rise of the modern American brand
  • Plus, see 38 vintage ads that reflect the wartime economy.

The post-war economy led to the rise of the American middle class and spawned a new generation known as "Baby Boomers." The war fueled strong economic growth that turned the country into a major global force. Post-war America became a bubbling cauldron of scores of inventive, innovative brands. When television came along, marketing those brands rose to a whole new level.

WORLD WAR BRANDS covers it all. Included are many stories about some of the best-known brands of the '40s and '50s. These are the brands Boomers grew up with, so this book is an adrenalin shot of nostalgia!

Kirkus Reviews calls WORLD WAR BRANDS "a convincing history about the role of World War II in developing brand consciousness among consumers in the United States." Sherry Tuffin, a reviewer for Reedsy Discovery, gives the book five stars and writes, "After reading WORLD WAR BRANDS you may never look at your favorite brands in the same way. What do I think of this book? In the words of Tony the Tiger, a brand superstar, 'It’s Gr-r-r-r-r-eat'!"

WORLD WAR BRANDS is available in paperback and eBook formats from all major booksellers.

Read a free sample chapter here.


Demanding the Treatment We Deserve

Hospital-1636334_1920

I've often written about age discrimination in the workplace, but there is another area in which ageism can literally be a life or death situation: Health care.

A disturbing article on NextAvenue.org highlights the problem. Janine Vanderburg, founder and director of a nonprofit initiative called Changing the Narrative, tells NextAvenue, "We know we live in an age of unconscious bias, and people who work in health care aren't immune to that." Vanderburg notes that a study in the Journal of Internal Medicine found nearly a third of older adults said they frequently experience age discrimination from doctors or hospitals. For example, doctors and nurses can be patronizing or insensitive, and hospital staff will sometimes order unnecessary tests just because patients are older.

Recently, my wife experienced first-hand what could easily be perceived as health care ageism. Her 98-year old mother, who is on oxygen, was gasping for air and was brought to a hospital emergency room, where my wife waited with her. After a quick assessment that the condition was not life threatening, hospital staff completed an entire battery of tests -- EKG, blood work, chest x-ray and COVID-19 test -- and then left the elderly woman laying on a stretcher in the hallway for hours. They even had to repeat the EKG and take more blood because of technical problems. Staff walked by her as if she was invisible. My wife had to ask for a pillow and a blanket because her mom was so uncomfortable. Maybe this same shoddy treatment would have been given to anyone in the emergency room (which of course is inexcusable), but one has to wonder if ageism played some role in it. The diagnosis was pneumonia, which the chest x-ray alone could have revealed.

Yale University professor Becca R. Levy, who conducted research on the impact of ageism on health care costs, tells NextAvenue, "During the pandemic, there were certainly issues that exacerbated ageism in health care, particularly in the long-term care setting — with the high number of deaths in the first months of the pandemic that were due, in part, to the inadequate protective equipment and inadequate protections given to the workers and the residents."

Unfortunately, health care ageism rears its ugly head so frequently that older patients may end up feeling inadequate or they blame themselves. According to Professor Levy, "Part of the reason it's so insidious is that people don't even realize that they're experiencing it and they tend to blame it on themselves instead of discrimination or the larger systemic problem of not getting the best possible health care for older people."

So why am I telling you all this? Very simply, because you and I are aging too. It won't be that long before we face ageism from our doctors, hospitals or other health care providers -- if we haven't already. Instead of accepting it, says Vanderberg, "we need to advocate for ourselves." While we don't have to be jerks about it, that means demanding the treatment we deserve from health care professionals. 

HappilyRewired.com is a Wearever Top 20 Senior Blog and a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog

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New Book Shows How World War II Helped Launch "Boomer Brands"


An Aging Workforce Continues to Face Ageism

Krakenimages-8RXmc8pLX_I-unsplashExcuse me for being repetitive, but I'm writing about age discrimination in the workplace...again.

I recently wrote about the economic impact of age discrimination. Now I want to talk about the human cost. A research study jointly conducted by New York University and Stanford University revealed that younger workers are persistently prejudiced against older workers -- and the younger the workers are, the more ageist views they hold. In fact, the study found that workers who openly oppose racism and sexism in the workplace are still prejudiced against older workers.

Richard Eisenberg of NextAvenue asked Michael North, one of the researchers, some penetrating questions about the study. North expressed this disturbing takeaway from interviewing younger workers: "There's this sort of subtle tension where older adults are expected to step aside and get out of the way and stop creating this perceived logjam in the distribution of resources or jobs or positions of influence, so the younger generation can get their turn."

North said he believed that "ageism is socially condoned to a point where it's not uncommon for folks to overlook it as a prejudice." In a 2014 article he co-authored for Harvard Business Review, North wrote about four specific ways companies could adapt to an aging workforce:

  1. Flexible, half-retirement.
  2. Prioritizing older-worker skills in hiring and promotions.
  3. Creating new positions or adapting old ones.
  4. Changing workplace ergonomics.

According to the article, "Companies that make these changes have seen tangible improvements in retention and productivity, organizational culture, and the bottom line."

Despite these accommodations for a workforce that is aging, age discrimination in the workplace is widespread. A recent research study by Generation, a global employment nonprofit, cites some sobering statistics. As reported by Kerry Hannon for NextAvenue, "Employers view just 18% of age 45+ job seekers as having the right experience for their entry and intermediate level roles, according to the report. Only 15% are viewed as being a good 'cultural fit' with their team." Sadly, this contradicts reality, since when 45+ workers are actually hired, "87% of those employees perform as well, or better, than colleagues a decade younger."

This kind of workplace ageism takes a human toll: "Of those surveyed who were unemployed, 63% of 45+ job seekers have been out of work for more than a year vs. only 36% of job seekers 18 to 34."

Hannon spoke with Generation CEO Mona Mourshed, who was one of the report's researchers. Mourshed indicated that ageism was not just limited to any one country or any particular industry. "One of the most striking findings of this result is it's uniformly consistent across dramatically different countries," said Mourshed. "We surveyed seven countries —  large, small, emerging markets, culturally diverse — but this phenomenon is a hundred percent universal. Same pattern, same magnitude, from industrial to service professions, from skilled trades to tech jobs."

Mourshed's observations are worth noting. "It's so important that age is considered part of diversity, equity, and inclusion," said Mourshed. "We must have an intergenerational workforce and we should have processes for recruiting and for retention that enable that."

The research findings can be discouraging, but if you are a Boomer who wants to continue to work, you'll need to find ways to prove your value to prospective employers. Mourshed believes "many more aged forty-five-plus have the potential to do the job if only they can get in through the door."

Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash

HappilyRewired.com is a Wearever Top 20 Senior Blog and a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog

Read about 156 best and worst brands of the 50s and 60s! 


Boomers on FIRE

Mohamed-nohassi-UKX_DwNKXSA-unsplashThe title may sound like a bunch of older Americans in the Western part of the country fleeing current forest fires -- but this blog post is about a different kind of F-I-R-E: "Financial Independence, Retire Early." The FIRE movement gained traction with the under-50 set as a way to retire as early as possible by accumulating enough savings to fund a potential 50-year retirement. But the pandemic has cooled the interest in FIRE in one way and created a new class of adherents in another way.

One of the tenets often viewed as a cornerstone of retirement planning and part of the FIRE movement is the "4 percent rule." Here is a simple explanation of the rule from investment management firm Charles Schwab:

You add up all of your investments, and withdraw 4% of that total during your first year of retirement. In subsequent years, you adjust the dollar amount you withdraw to account for inflation. By following this formula, you should have a very high probability of not outliving your money during a 30-year retirement according to the rule.

This rule seems quite adequate for a 30-year retirement but much riskier for a 50-year retirement. According to mutual funds giant Vanguard, applying the 4 percent rule results in an 18 percent chance of running out of money at the end of thirty years, but there's a 64 percent of running out of money in fifty years. The fact is Boomers on FIRE could be more successful in sustaining their financial independence in retirement than younger generations on FIRE. Basically, if the 4 percent rule holds, the youngest Boomer at age 57 will probably not outlive her money in fifty years, but a 35-year old Millennial very well might.

A recent article in The New York Times suggests that, before the pandemic, Millennial FIRE enthusiasts aimed for frugality in an effort to retire as young as possible, but the pandemic is changing that thinking: "Now, most newcomers to the movement are less motivated by quitting and more interested in having choices — without sacrificing too many of life’s pleasures in the meantime. This objective also makes the movement more accessible; early retirement is just not possible for most Americans."

It turns out that the pandemic may have recalibrated the expectations of those younger workers who were on FIRE. Thirty-eight year old Jamila Souffrant of the website/podcast "Journey to Launch" told The New York Times, "“I think a lot more people would have stepped back from work during the pandemic if they had the means to do so, especially if they had kids stuck at home or didn’t feel safe at their jobs. Financial independence is a privileged endeavor, and it’s not realistic for most people — they’ve got mouths to feed, and they might not even be making a living wage."

Boomers, on the other hand, have generally seen their retirement funds balloon thanks to the recent bullish stock market. As I wrote in my last post, retirees are for the most part optimistic and resilient, even when they retire early. Millions of Boomers have left the workforce during the pandemic, maybe because they are confident their financial independence is solid and their money will outlive them. That's a whole lot of Boomers on FIRE.

Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash

HappilyRewired.com is a Wearever Top 20 Senior Blog and a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog

Read about 156 best and worst brands of the 50s and 60s! 


The Resiliency of Retirees

Grandparents-1054311_1920Looking back at the last twelve to eighteen months, it would be perfectly legitimate to think retirees have adopted a pessimistic attitude. The damaging impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on every aspect of life certainly cannot be understated. But like a phoenix rising from the ashes, American retirees have a kind of resiliency that keeps them not just positive but optimistic about the future. In fact, the optimism of retirees may be one of the under-told stories of the pandemic.

The 31st annual Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS) proves the point. Conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) in association with Greenwald Research, the RCS is the longest-running survey of its kind, measuring worker and retiree confidence about retirement. The 2021 survey, conducted in January 2021, surveyed 3,017 American workers and retirees. Just over half of the respondents (1,510) were retirees. Let's take a look at some of the statistics from the survey as they relate to retirees:

  • Only 23 percent of retirees say they feel less confident as a result of the pandemic and its economic impact.
  • 80 percent of retirees remain confident that they'll have enough money for a comfortable retirement, and 1 in 3 retirees say they are very confident.
  • 6 in 10 retirees rely on defined benefit or pension plans for part of their income. Social Security and personal savings are the most common forms of income for retirees.
  • Nearly half of retirees retire earlier than they expected; reasons stated are because they felt they could afford to, because of a health problem or disability, or because of changes with their organization.
  • 8 in 10 retirees report that their overall lifestyle — including traveling, spending time with family, or volunteering — is as expected or better. Nearly 3 in 10 say their retirement lifestyle is better than they expected.
  • 6 in 10 retirees say their overall expenses and spending in retirement are as expected and 1 in 8 say they’re lower than expected.
  • Three-quarters of retirees feel confident they will have enough money to take care of medical expenses in retirement, an increase from 2020 among retirees. Also up significantly from last year and reaching an all-time-high for retirees, 3 in 4 retirees are confident that Medicare will continue to offer benefits of at least equal value to those received today.
  • Yet, health care costs continue to be a top concern for retirees. 1 in 3 retirees say their health and dental expenses were higher than expected, which is comparable to last year. Separate from spending on routine necessities and bills, 1 in 3 retirees say they continue to reserve money to ensure they have enough for health and long-term-care expenses.

For a majority of retirees, their income from Social Security is stable, their Medicare insurance is adequate and their personal savings and retirement plans have probably increased in value because of a generally high-flying stock market. Retirees are also consumers -- and for June and the four months prior, the Consumer Confidence Index(R) increased, and "is currently at its highest level since the onset of the pandemic’s first surge in March 2020," according to Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at the Conference Board. "Consumers’ short-term optimism rebounded, buoyed by expectations that business conditions and their own financial prospects will continue improving in the months ahead. While short-term inflation expectations increased, this had little impact on consumers’ confidence or purchasing intentions."

All things considered, retirees seem to be a resilient bunch. That just may be a silver lining for Boomers starting to emerge from the COVID-19 lockdown.

Image by Kim Heimbuch from Pixabay

HappilyRewired.com is a Wearever Top 20 Senior Blog and a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog

Read about 156 best and worst brands of the 50s and 60s!