July 14, 2012 — The results are in from this week’s survey of Topretirements visitors and members, and they are surprising in many respects. As you will see from some of the comments made to this post, it appears that Topretirements members and readers are not your typical person when it comes to retirement. The consensus seems to be that you are better prepared, more of a planner, and more willing to pick up stakes and move. In an interesting coincidence, Pulte, a major developer of active adult communities (as well as Topretirements advertiser) released the latest of its ongoing survey of 55+ baby boomers who are still working last week. We will provide their results for contrast where applicable.
Q 1. What age will you retire?
A: Early! Just over 2/3 or our 467 respondents said they either have or will retire by the time they are 65 (and half of those by 62). Most of the remaining third will retire by 69. In the Pulte survey of working adults 55+, 32% expected to be able to retire within 5 years, and 49% say their expected retirement age has not changed.
Q 2. Where will you move in retirement?
A: Out of state. More than 2/3 said they plan on moving out of state for retirement. Only 19% plan on staying put, with 12% moving within the region. The Pulte survey found almost the exact opposite among its respondents: only 35% plan to retire in a different state from where they currently live, with 43% planning to retire in the city where they live now.
Q 3: What region are you considering?
A: Hands down, the Southeastern US is preferred (52%). The Southwest was a distant 2nd at 19%.
Q 4: Will you have enough money in retirement?
A: Yes (thank heavens)! 56% of respondents said they were moderately confident, with 27% very confident. That appears to be higher than in Pulte’s survey, where 46% felt they would be financially prepared for retirement.
Q 5: What will primary source of retirement funds?
A: These might have been the most surprising results of the poll. Company/government pensions were chosen most often (51%), followed by 401k or retirement savings (37%). Only 15% chose Social Security benefits, which makes us wonder. Our population must skew towards more people with defined benefit pensions than the general population, a group which mostly has to rely on Social Security. Several people who took the poll were disappointed that there wasn’t an opportunity to choose a combination answer, indicating that many people will derive their income from a variety of sources.
Thanks to everyone who took this poll and provided this fascinating snapshot of our membership. The turnout was encouraging. We will work up some more polls in the coming months to offer more perspective on the group’s plans.
Comments: Please share your comments, as well as ideas for future polls, below.
For further reference:
In addition to our poll and the Pulte Survey, we just ran across another survey of 55+ housing by the NAHB and HousingEconomics.com. They cited the statistic that 45% of US households will be headed by someone 55+ by 2019. Also, the states with the most 55+ household heads are West Virginia (45%), Florida, Maine, Hawaii, and Pennsylvania. Utah and Alaska have the lowest percentages.