New research reveals that today’s retirees are living the life.
Do you have a picture in your head of what your retirement is going to look like? Chances are your vision is outdated. No longer are retirees packing up and moving to a warm climate where they live out the rest of their days lounging around. Even after their primary career is over, today’s retirees continue to live vibrant, highly active lives, says Diane Nelson, a market researcher with Athene. In fact, according to a recent survey from Athene,* retirees’ overall happiness increases once they’re no longer working.
With that in mind, we take a look at four common myths about retirement and give you the real deal.
Myth: My working days are over.
False: Yes, you are stopping a certain career. But being retired hardly means that your working days are over. According to Athene research, 46 percent of people said they did want to work after retiring, mostly on a part-time basis. Of that group, more than half (57 percent) hoped to start a new business, and nearly the same amount (55 percent) looked forward to teaching or consulting in their field of expertise.
Myth: Retirement means being out of shape.
False: Most retirees expect to take better care of themselves and their health after retirement than they did during their working years. They are making time to take yoga classes, go bike riding with their spouse, or join a fitness club. “There is time to do fitness, plus the stress of their work life is gone,” says Nelson. “Women are even more likely than men to make formal plans to improve their health during retirement, while men tend to target their physical activities toward sports and outdoor recreation.”
Myth: I’m going to have to pinch pennies.
False: Retirees’ finances ended up better than they expected, according to Athene’s research. Most of them, when asked for the secret to their financial success, said it was paying off their mortgage before they’d retired. Most retirees are also done paying for college and likely own their cars. Three-quarters of retirees described their post-retirement income as being just about right, and half said they even had some money left over for life’s little luxuries.
Myth: The best part of my life is over.
False: There is so much that retirees do and look forward to doing in retirement. More than half of the people in the survey said they were making plans for the second half of life to be the best yet. Some of the items on that second-act bucket list included going back to school, volunteering more, learning stand-up comedy, and other new pursuits—even writing their first novel.
*Participants in this study were provided through the Harris Panel, including members of its third-party panel providers.