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Ho Hum… or Retirement Outlier, How Does Your Retirement Compare

Category: Retirement Planning

March 7, 2023 — It is the rare person who strikes out on the unbeaten path, and that includes their route to retirement. Usually we prefer to follow a track made by someone else, learning from their experience and thereby avoiding unexpected mistakes and mishaps. It is helpful to know what others are thinking and doing, though. That is where the 30+ retirement surveys conducted since 2012 by Topretirements can help. Here you can see where you agree, and differ with the retirement plans of thousands of other folks in a similar situation.

30+ Surveys – From Where to Retire… to Social Security… Snowbirding….to Spousal Compatibility – and a Lot in Between

Thousands of our loyal Members have taken the time to fill out these surveys and polls, and their insights (and their thousands of interesting comments) have been tremendous. Combined together, they are a treasure trove of information on what people are thinking and doing about retirement. Many of the results were expected, like a decided preference for single floor living. But quite a few surprises were uncovered too (90% say they have or will sell their pre-retirement home). There are so many surveys and so many topics covered, that we will try to only cover the highlights here. That way you can concentrate on the topics that interest you the most, using the list of all surveys provided at the end of the article for more. Several topics were surveyed more than once, so we could see how things have changed over the years.

Top Survey topics covered, and selected findings

Retirement Living Preferences. 55+ communities are the preferred type of community for our Members. Single floor living is something a majority is looking for in a home. Amenities are often what drive people’s choices, and the most desired ones are walking trails, fitness centers, and clubhouses. When it comes to things they don’t like so much, HOA rules and regs are at the top of that list.

Poll: Top Reason for Choosing a Place to Retire. This was a quick, one question poll on the top reason for selecting a retirement location. Most important was “warm winters or climate”, followed by “affordable”, “lifestyle”, and “near friends or family”. From the many comments it is clear that there are usually many reasons behind choosing a location. For example, being near medical or like minded people is often part of the equation. There was also a more detailed survey back in 2014 that generated over 2,000 responses – Florida and Southeast Top Retirement Preferences.

Snowbird Behavior. Members answered a number of questions on various topics related to being a snowbird. About 80% who answered the question said they are or intend to snowbird. Most drive to get to their retirement destinations. Other questions were on how they found a location, length of stay (1-3 months), do they rent or own, etc. Another survey, Ideal Snowbird Pairings, was just as interesting, with lots of great suggestions for the best places to be in summer and winter.

Grab bars make a lot of sense

How Ready Is Your Home for Retirement. This one is very interesting, with good news and bad news abounding. Some 80% have a first floor bedroom/bath, which is great. But when it comes to no step living, shower thresholds, door handles, grab bars, and counter heights – there is a lot of room for improvement.

Financial Confidence. The results to this survey were very interesting; over 500 people filled it out and over 100 comments were added. It was done in 2019, so a lot has happened since then. We hope that here in 2023 as many people feel as confident about their finances – back then 64% felt very confident they would be able to maintain their pre-retirement lifestyle. Other interesting questions were: do they use a financial advisor (48% do), size of their portfolio (46% have over $1 million, 11% have less than $250,000), type of investments, sources of income, etc.

Retirement Happiness. About 70% of people said they retired at the right time, which is near the same percentage who said they retired by their own choice. Some 83% said they were happy to extremely happy with their retirement. The most common age to retire was 60-69, followed by 50-59. The 2 factors that people said were most important in producing their retirement happiness were having enough money and living in the right kind of home. There is a companion survey to this one, Spousal Compatibility in Retirement. In response to how compatible are you and your spouse, 66% said they were very or fairly compatible on major retirement decisions. Like all of our surveys, there were a lot of interesting comments that are worth reading.

Your Bucket Lists Are Amazing. This one produced a mind-blowing array of ideas. While travel aspirations topped the list, there was no shortage of other creative and interesting things that our Members plan on doing in their retirement. Lots of good ideas: from flying in a helicopter over the Grand Canyon to attending the Kentucky Derby. If you are casting about for something to dream about, here is your list!

What Is Your Social Security IQ – the 3 Questions Most People Get Incorrectly This quiz is the most popular one we ever developed – thousands of people have taken one of the versions we’ve offered over the years. Take The Social Security IQ test, and afterwards you will see a question by question summary of the answers. This article highlights the 3 important questions that most people seem to get wrong.

Topretirements Members Are Getting Ready for Big Moves. Some 90% of our recent survey takers said they definitely will sell their home, are thinking about it, or have already sold. About half of the Members taking the survey predict that they will not spend as much money on their new home as they get from the old one.

Medicare- What You Like and Don’t Like. We were delighted to have received 430 comments on what our readers like best about Medicare. Most of those comments had to do with liking its low cost or being grateful to have such a good and easy to use program. Typical responses:
– Low cost – “affordable insurance I couldn’t otherwise have”
– “Considering everything it offers, how could I complain”
– Peace of mind – “I know I am covered”

Climate and Weather Drive Retirement Choices. – About half (49%) of responding members expect to move to a new state for their retirement. The most popular retirement state is Florida, followed by North and South Carolina, then Arizona. Warm weather is by far the most popular reason for retirement.

Many thanks to all previous survey takers!

Without you taking the time to fill out these surveys none of this interesting data would be possible. Now you can use the results to compare how similar or dissimilar you are to the rest of Topretirements Members. Better than that, you can take their ideas and use them to craft your own retirement direction.

Comments? What should we survey next? Please let us know, along with other thoughts in the Comments section below.

Links to more previous surveys:

Posted by Admin on March 6th, 2023

1 Comment »

  1. I was surprised a how many were selling their pre-retirement homes. We didn’t sell the house we had built with the plan to retire in it — at least not at first. Built in 1992, retired in 2003 and stayed there because we loved it and because we couldn’t find and acceptable home to replace it. Then last October the place suddenly popped up — a townhouse of 2000 sq ft with everything on the main first floor except two extra bedrooms and a bath in Fearrington Village, not far from where we originally built. It was actually a bit traumatic to buy, move, fix both places up a bit and go through the selling, but now we hope we’re in the last stages hoping to close this month on our former home.

    So now we actually have moved in retirement. It’s been really good so far and we’re quite happy with the decision (though still recovering from all the tumult). Lots of change for us and our dogs, but a house made for us in our 40’s just wasn’t ideal in our 70’s.

    by RichPB — March 9, 2023

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