Seniors Have Some Advice About Retirement For Boomers

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Boomers, listen up: Some affluent 70-year-olds have some financial advice for you regarding retirement.

One, be prepared by planning now.

Two, save money. Start now if you havent already.

Three, invest wisely.

Four, prepare to weather changes in the financial environment.

Five, anticipate longevity.

Six, seek the services of a professional financial advisor, preferably before you retire.

Those are only a few of the pointers that emerged from a survey just released by the Lincoln Long Life Institute, Philadelphia, a new research center formed by Lincoln Financial Group, Philadelphia. In July 2004, the survey sampled views of 500 70- to 79-year-olds having annual incomes of $75,000 or more. The purpose was to identify what people in the “successful 70s” have learned about retirement and now want to pass on to boomers. The researchers studied “successful” elders to acquire insights that might help boomers become similarly successful.

Conducted for the Institute by Mathew Greenwald & Associates, Washington, D.C., the survey probed lifestyle issues, too. The advice here? Stay active, and keep healthy (good diet, exercise, etc.). Many said those are important factors in their own lives. They also travel, contribute to charities, help family members financially, volunteer, and spend time with children and grandchildren. And most94%link happiness in retirement with staying independent.

About financial matters, a good many are concerned for boomers, says Priscilla Brown, a Lincoln vice president and a member of Lincoln Long Life Institute. “They are concerned about the impact of the economy [on boomer retirements] and the unanticipated changes that can occur.”

In fact, one in four “dont think their kids will be better off than they are.” That is in sharp contrast to another finding, that 78% believe they themselves are better off in retirement than were their parents.

Why are they so pessimistic concerning prospects for their children? For one thing, says Brown, affluent people in their 70s have seen many changes occur in retirement that they did not anticipate. One change is the economic downturn of the early 2000s. Another is todays increased longevity and more active retirement lifestyles. Before reaching retirement, Brown notes, “54% had never thought about how many years they would spend in retirement. And, the 43% who did think about this often underestimated retirement at about 22 years whereas research shows that some, especially the 2nd spouse, will live to 100.”

Meanwhile, many feel their kids are too focused on spending money and living for today, Brown says. “They think their kids are not planning enough.” And, since the elders now know unexpected things happen, they want their kids to start planning nowto be ready if upsets occur.

Significantly, in their own lives, only 39% had a primary financial advisor before they retired. Now, however, 56% have one. Further, compared to those not having an advisor, those who do have one “are more apt to feel they have done a good job in overall planning for retirement (93% vs. 83%) as well as in planning for changes in economic conditions (79% vs. 70%),” says a survey summary.

Hence, their insistence on planning.

Are the elders passing along their retirement planning advice to their children? Yes, over 80% say they have done soeven though only 15% received such advice from their own parents.

The Lincoln Long Life Institute plans to do these surveys annually, as part of its work to study and anticipate changes in retirement. Lincoln Financial does factor some of the findings into its business practices areas, such as marketing and product design, Brown says, but it also shares findings with the public.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, October 21, 2004. Copyright 2004 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.