December 19, 2018 — Retirement is not always perfect, even for the people who are the most prepared for it. Our Member surveys indicate that most of the people who visit this website are very satisfied with their retirement, but there is almost always room for improvement. So when saw a recent survey from Global Atlantic that listed the top three retirement regrets, we were curious. Particularly, we wanted to compare the regrets in that survey with the results from our own surveys, asking about retirement satisfaction. After you read our comparison we hope you will all provide us comments about your retirement regrets and concerns (as well as what is great about it)!
The survey from Global Atlantic was concerned mostly with financial regrets. Our surveys were broader than that, exploring all types of concerns and worries, not just financial. Note that there is a semantic differences between regrets and concerns, although both have negative connotations. Regrets seem to be about the past, and concerns/worries are more present and future.
Regrets – Financially speaking
Global’s survey came up with these top 3 regrets from retirees:
- • 36% Did not save enough
- • 20% Relied too much on social security
- • 12% Did not pay down debt prior to retirement.
Our Member Concerns
The last time we asked our Members about their biggest retirement concerns other issues came up besides money. Topping the list was where to live and having enough money.
|Deciding where to live||40%|
|Having enough money||38%|
|How to occupy my time||8%|
|Health related issues||5%|
|When to retire||4%|
When we asked for details about their regrets, the major issues boiled down to two categories:
– Financial. People mentioned that they waited too long to start saving/didn’t save enough, they were too aggressive about stocks, or they took social security too soon.
– Planning . Typical comments included waiting too long to start planning, buying a 3000 sq. ft. house in their 50’s, rushing into buying big ticket item like RV or second home, picking the wrong neighborhood, retiring too early, or locked themselves into location based on children/grandchildren.
Worst Things about retirement. We also asked about the worst things in their retirements. Number one on the list was “Nothing”, which was great to hear. After that, the next highly ranked “worst” things were:
– Live too far/near from family and friends
– Poor health or medical care
– Not having enough money
– Not having enough to do
Other worries. In the write-in comments we saw the complexity and diversity of retirement experiences that exist among our members. People worry about getting good health insurance that is affordable, running out of money, if they picked the right place to live, that they are too close to (or too far away from) their children or grandchildren, their retired (or unretired spouse), the economy, children’s college bills, being a caregiver, etc. In brief, there is a lot to worry about!
We are happy that so many people are satisfied with their retirements, but we also hope that all of us, particularly those who haven’t yet retired, can learn from these common mistakes and missteps. The most important conclusion we see from this research is that the best way to have a successful retirement is to start planning early. Bad luck can always get in the way, but the earlier you start thinking about and preparing for it, the better the odds are that everything will work out.
Your regrets, worries, and concerns. Let us know what keeps you up at night concerning your retirement. Please share them, along with the best things, in the Comments section below.
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