It is becoming increasingly clear that a “new retirement” is emerging.
More clarity to the picture comes from “It’s Not Your Mother’s Retirement,” a new survey released by MetLife. In the survey, women who have not yet retired were asked how they anticipate their retirement will compare to the retirement their mothers experienced. This is a direct and effective way to measure generational change, and the predicted changes in retirement living are dramatic.
The results show 77% of these working women expect to travel during retirement, compared to 35% of their mothers; 71% expect to pursue further education, compared to 17% of their mothers; and 78% expect to do unpaid volunteer activity, compared to 44% of their mothers.
Further, they expect to increase, not decrease, their caregiving–74% of these working women say they expect to provide care to spouses or relatives while only 52% of their mothers did so.
These expectations are probably a function of people living longer.
The only activities the working women do not expect to do in much larger numbers during retirement than their mothers are homemaking, home maintenance activities, and relaxing and doing nothing.
The message is: In the new retirement, women, who will be healthier than the previous generation and have longer life expectancies, will do a lot more, including wanting to spend more money.
It is not surprising that these working women expect to be more active and do more things in retirement than their mothers. After all, they had much higher expectations and activities than their mothers. Why shouldn’t their retirements be different than their mothers as well?
But let’s consider the costs. Travel and education have substantial costs, even volunteering and caregiving involve additional expenses. Clearly, the emerging retirement will not only be longer and involve more health care costs for women; it will also be a lot more costly.
Another factor is of interest. These working women will be more involved in financial decision making during retirement than their mothers were.
Just focusing on the married women, about 2 in 5 of their mothers had little involvement in financial planning; the husbands took the lead. But that is down considerably with the working women, only 24% of whom now cede the major part of the planning responsibility to their husbands. Tomorrow’s female retiree will be involved in almost everything, including financial planning.
A key question, of course, is how adequate are the accumulations to pay for the new retirement?