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Retirement, 2016 Style

Baby boomers are excited about the next big chapter in their lives—and they’re making the most of it.

Today’s retirees aren’t putting their finances on autopilot and lazing away their days on a fishing boat or golf course. Far from it. Once new retirees have earned the proverbial gold watch, they’re quite active: picking up part-time work, volunteering often, spending quality—and quantity—time with their families, and focusing on their own health and well-being. They’re also keeping a much closer eye on their money. In a recent survey of more than 3,000 retirees and pre-retirees conducted by Athene,* more than 60 percent said they expected the second half of their lives to be the best yet. Here is a snapshot of today’s retirement experience.

A Graying Nation 
According to the Pew Research Center, on Jan. 1, 2011, 10,000 baby boomers reached the traditional retirement age of 65, and 10,000 more have been doing so every day since. By 2020, just over 16 percent of Americans will be age 65 and older.

Still Clocking In
The percentage of people between the ages of 65 and 69 who are still collecting a paycheck grew to 30.8 percent in 2010—a number that’s expected to rise: A 2012 CareerBuilder survey, for example, showed that 6 in 10 employees age 60 and older would look for a new job after retiring. And a Conference Board survey found that 62 percent of people ages 45 to 60 are planning to hold off on retirement.

Splitting the Monthly Pie
By the time they hit age 65, retirees are spending about 20 percent less than they did when they were in their 50s. A study from researchers at Princeton University and the University of Chicago found that retirees spend considerably less on three categories—food, transportation, and clothing/personal care. However, researchers note that just because older individuals are less freewheeling with their money, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re staying home. 

Moving On
If you think all retirees live in Florida, you’re right … sort of. According to the Administration on Aging, more than half of those age 65 and older live in the following 13 states:

  • California (4.8 million) 
  • Florida (3.6 million) 
  • Texas (3 million) 
  • New York (2.8 million) 
  • Pennsylvania (2.1 million)
  • Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, Georgia, Virginia, and Arizona (more than 1 million each) 

Ditching the Rocking Chair
Call retirees the new “me” generation. Baby boomers say they’re looking forward to having time to explore personal interests, including:

  • 62% Activities and hobbies that enhance physical/mental well-being 
  • 51% Spending time with/focusing on family
  • 34% Traveling

Making Room for Others
While personal passions rank high, Americans who are about to retire tell researchers they’re looking forward to having time to help others and nurture personal relationships:

  • 85% want to socialize more with friends
  • 85% plan to spend more time with their significant other or on dating
  • 62% are already volunteering and expect to devote even more time to their favorite causes upon retirement 
  • 51% expect to devote more time to community service and volunteering in retirement

*Participants in this study were provided through the Harris Panel, including members of its third-party panel providers.