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How Would You Describe Your Retirement Lifestyle

Category: General Retirement Issues

December 13, 2010 — Remember when you took that college psychology class and you (or maybe your buddies) noticed how nicely you fit into some of the more interesting disorder diagnoses? Along those same lines, Allianz Financial has come up with a way to classify retirees. They have found 5 types: read on to see which one fits you.

Worse than Death
Their study, “Reclaiming the Future“, also had two other very interesting observations:
– Most people in the study fear running out of money more than they fear death
– They also appreciate that the financial meltdown has created a retirement “crisis”.

It is a little hard to imagine in advance how an insurance company might classify people in retirement. Certainly one’s economic situation is predictive – but how about the other mindsets that describe people? Before we looked at those from Allianz, we came up with our own list of lifestyle descriptions:
Happily Home. These folks are comfortable where they are and with their nearby friends and families. Why should they move when they are happy where they are now? We predict this will be by far the biggest group of retirees.

Adventurous. The opposite of the person above. Someone who has been itching to get out of their current job, and/or really looks forward to retirement as a time for real living. We see this person traveling, renting an RV, moving to a foreign country, or selling their home in the northeast and heading south.

Snowbirds. It’s gotten to the point where they hate winter. It’s too cold to do much outside and the walk always needs to be shoveled – why not move someplace where they can have some fun in the winter? Then come back in the spring and enjoy the spring, summer,and fall.

Looking for the best deal. A lot of baby boomers aren’t set very well for retirement from a financial standpoint – whether because they didn’t save, didn’t make much money, have no pension,or all of the above. But some of these folks are not going to let a lack of resources get in the way of a happy retirement. They are going to use the resources from sites like Topretirements to find livable towns and states with fewer taxes and lower cost of living, and where they can buy a nice place to live for a lot less than for what they can sell their current home.

The active adult community crowd. Many, many retirees want to live in an active adult or 55+ community. They look forward to low maintenance, instant friendships, non-stop activities, and the easy lifestyle offered in these communities. They will have little difficulty getting along in a place where there are communal rules.

So that’s our list. Now, here’s how Allianz classified the 3257 respondents in its 2010 research study, “Reclaiming the Future”. The study provided a comprehensive examination of baby boomers’ preparation for and expectations of retirement:

Overwhelmed. At the bottom of the pile financially and educationally, people with this tag are worried and nervous.
Icons. About 20% of respondents got the iconic tag. They tend to be over 60, already retired and are likely to be receiving a pension. They believe in the American dream and have few worries about retirement.
Resilient. Pragmatic and grounded, not all of these people plan to retire.
Savvy. The “savvy” group represented 14% of respondents, who tended to be over 60 and at the highest income levels. Their retirement plans are unaffected.
Distracted. The distracted folks have the highest incomes and have also seen the most disruption in their retirement portfolios. They are worried about how they are going to replenish their diminished portfolios.

It’s an interesting list, developed no doubt by a psychologist or social worker. It seems to us like a list that applies psychological labels to categories driven by economics. Note that the research was done last May, at a point when the stock market was much lower than it is today – people might react differently in a survey taken today.

What do you think? Do you see yourself or your significant other matching one of these labels? Or would you create a new category to describe yourself? Use the Comments section below.

Take our Retirement Readiness Quiz!

Posted by John Brady on December 13th, 2010


  1. Defining the various circumstances in which most seniors can find themselves these days makes ease of verbalizing their shifts from one of these categories to another due to changes in economic conditions.

    Sadly, so many seniors have spent the bulk of their professional lives with a particular retirement lifestyle in mind, only to finally greet their retirement days with significantly fewer assets than anticipated. The increasing rate at which baby boomers are retiring due to their age combined with the global economic setbacks of the past few years makes this unfortunate shift increasingly common.

    Those who find themselves in this situation can be left in desperation, with many unanswered questions. Fortunately, national sites like this one and others that are region-specific like the new list of North Carolina retirement communities help seniors identify their alternative retirement community options.

    It’s hard to put a positive spin on the change in economic circumstances of late, but many retirement community developers are adapting providing higher-end services and amenities at lower costs, allowing seniors to still enjoy the quality of life they worked for through their professional years, despite having a smaller nest egg than anticipated

    by wvnutt — December 18, 2010

  2. […] written the #1 most popular idea, “Dueling Carolinas: NC vs. SC“, as well as #2, “What is Your Retirement Lifestyle“. In a close race “Your Retirement Bucket List” was #3, so here it […]

    by » What’s on Your Retirement Bucket List Topretirements — December 20, 2010

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