Wise Words About Retirement: A Roundup of All Our Previous Member Surveys

Category: Retirement Planning

June 28, 2016 — As we completed our latest Member survey (Where to Next?) it seemed like an excellent time to provide you with a rundown of all the surveys we’ve done in the past. Frankly, we think they contain an amazing trove of your collective wisdom – not only the insightful comments made in the surveys themselves but also the Comments made after we published the results. You can see the results of the Where to Next Survey at (see “Where to Next Results “.

To that end, here is a quick capsule of all these surveys (the titles are links to the entire reports). Even though some surveys were done as early as 2012, they still make for interesting and practical reading! One interesting thing we found while summarizing all of our previous surveys is how the basic results stay so close from survey to survey and year to year. For example all of these factors are consistent: the percentage of retired vs. non-retired people (close to 50-50), the age of our members (most are 55-69), and the percentage that intends to move (80% or so).

1. Retirement Confidence and Resources
Topretirements Members Very Confident About Retirement (2014)
This Sept. 2014 survey tried to gauge the confidence our members have about retirement. The results were encouraging for most of our members, while an unfortunate smaller group looks like it will have some tough sledding ahead:
– 74% of respondents were very or slightly confident they can maintain their pre-retirement lifestyle
– 32% are more confident than they were 5 years ago.

Less Than Half Our Members Expect to Maintain Pre-Retirement Lifestyle” was a 2015 followup to the “Confidence” survey just discussed. The newer survey asked in greater depth about income related topics – “. Some of the highlights are:
– About 55% of those taking the survey have prepared a detailed retirement budget
– Some 46% say they won’t have enough income to maintain their pre-retirement lifestyle.
– The survey also reported on expected monthly retirement income, retirement assets, and source of retirement income.

2. Spousal Compatibility and Planning
Topretirements Members Report High Degrees of Spousal Compatibility- 2013
This 2013 survey explored how well spouses and significant others are coordinating their retirement plans and dreams. It is a topic we think is important, and as you might expect, there is a range of how well couples are handling this.
– Good news, 84% have discussed retirement plans with spouse a “fair amount” or extensively”
– 45% feel they are “very” or “totally” compatible on these plans
– The greatest issue of incompatibility is “where to live” (13% cited that factor, next highest were several others, mostly related to location)
– Money issues were greatest area of compatibility
– There are a lot of very interesting and sometimes heartbreaking comments

3. What You’ll Do in Retirement
Your Bucket Lists Are Amazing
This 2012 survey is one of our favorites, mainly because of the range of dreams we saw. Here are a few highlights:
– Travel topped the list, with every kind of destination mentioned. Visiting the National Parks, Europe, Machu Pichu were popular choices.
– Many folks want to experience a retirement lifestyle, such as living near a university
– Planned activities included fishing, learning to fly, golf, or making a quilt for every grandchild
– The survey results includes a link to all of the bucket lists given by the survey takers (some great ideas!)

4. Retirement Planning and Satisfaction
Plans for Retirement
Also in 2012 we surveyed about members about their retirement plans. Here were some key findings:
– Over 2/3 expected to be retired by age 65
– Over 2/3 said they planned on moving out of state in retirement
– The Southeast is the most popular region to move to (52% chose this option)
– At least 83% were moderately confident they would have enough money in retirement

Top Concerns about Retirement
When you think about it, the concerns about retirement in this 2012 survey are fairly obvious:
– Where to live and having enough money top all other concerns
– The majority say they are either moderately or very prepared for retirement (yes!)
– Most important criteria for choosing a place to retire was finding “an active community that fits my needs”, closely followed by finding a warm place to retire, and then a low tax environment

Best and Worst Things About Your Retirement
In 2012 we asked our Members about the best and worst things they have experienced in retirement. Here are a few of the highlights (see the link above for more), which should be very useful to folks still planning for their retirement:
– Participating in the employee retirement plan was their smartest planning move
– The top “best things about retirement” were: less stress, get to do what I want, and having more time
– Living too far from/too close to were the highest rated “worst” things about retirement

5. Where You’ll Live in Retirement
Over the years we have surveyed this topic several times from different angles. Here are the various surveys in this area.

Our Members Getting Ready for Big Retirement Moves- 2013
Here are a few of the key results from this 2013 survey:
– 48% “definitely” plan on moving to a new home in retirement
– That eagerness to move is a total contrast to a recent AARP study, which found 90% of people 65+ plan on staying where they live now
– 46% expect to spend less on their new home than their current one
– When it comes to downsizing, folks are evenly split among: haven’t started, made a start, or completed/made good progress

Retirement Living Preferences – 2013
This survey is a good reminder that people are very different and so are their needs and wants. Top priorities for the type of retirement home are all over the map – but they often include low maintenance, walkability, affordable/low taxes, one story, and detached or semi-detached.
– A regular town or suburb is the most preferred community, followed by an active community
– Single story homes are most desired, then town homes, then condos
– People are evenly split among wanting to live in an active community, not wanting to, or are unsure

Many Retirees Plan on Moving in Retirement (2010)
This survey is rather interesting in that it tallies the questions people answer when they take our free Retirement Ranger interactive location calculator. Key results (remember these folks are predisposed to moving, that’s why they take the Ranger!):
– Only 2% intend to stay where they are in retirement. 39% say they intend to move out of state
– About half are “somewhat interested” in a 55+ or active community

6. Medicare
Medicare Survey – 2012
This survey found that:
– Medicare is a very popular benefit and most people are pleased with its low cost and peace of mind
– Concerns center around fraud and waste and the program being diminished
– Only a very small percentage have had a doctor not accept Medicare

Conclusion and Comments
We would like to thank all of the great members who have taken the time over the years to fill out these surveys. Your input and especially your Comments have been amazing! If you have ideas for new retirement survey topics, please share them in the Comments section below.

Links to all the survey results:
Topretirements Members Very Confident About Retirement (2014)
Topretirements Members Report High Degrees of Spousal Compatibility- 2013
Our Members Getting Ready for Big Retirement Moves- 2013
Retirement Living Preferences – 2013
Medicare Survey – 2012
Best and Worst Things About Your Retirement
Your Bucket Lists Are Amazing
Top Concerns about Retirement
Plans for Retirement
Where to Next Results



Posted by Admin on June 28th, 2016

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