So, just when are our nation’s seniors going to actually retire? According to Senior Market Advisor’s latest survey, 86 percent of the roughly 200 people age 60 to 81 and above who took the poll said they have yet to leave the cubicle life behind them. When asked why they are still working, 63 percent said it’s because they, well, like to work.
Now, that high percentage of still-toiling seniors could have to the do with the fact that 52 percent of those who took our survey classified themselves as between the ages of 60 to 65–years when many healthy seniors can still work if they prefer (or have to).
Yet 19 percent said they’ve postponed retirement “to stay above water.” Or as one respondent said: “Have no choice but to work.”
Those were just some of the results culled from SMA’s 2011 survey, which was completed in mid- to late May. Seniors were queried about everything from their retirement outlook and the impact of the financial meltdown on it; estate plans (or lack thereof); housing preferences and, of course, what they look for in an advisor. A quarter of respondents had a total annual household income of $100,000 or more, with more than half boosting total assets, including their home, of between $250,000 to just under $2 million.
Some of the results were a bit surprising; others, not so much. In their comments, several seniors made it clear they are definitely worried about what is going on in Washington, D.C. and how it will affect their plans for the future. “The proposed $500 billion of cuts to Medicare, plus more cuts and changes coming whether through Republicans or Democrats, are terrifying. We need to pull out of three wars and save our own people,” said one respondent. “Who knows?” said another. “Given the current Congress, the President and the way they are messing with even basic services.”
Despite the hit their portfolios took back in 2008, only a quarter (24 percent) said the financial meltdown kept them working longer than they’d like. And most stated they were either very to somewhat confident they could meet their retirement goals.
Nevertheless, other results indicate that only about half of seniors have planned sufficiently for the future. Less than half–46 percent–have purchased LTCI, with a clear majority (58 percent) indicating they feel it is too expensive. “Don’t feel it is the best product for the money,” said one. Yet when asked to comment on the question, most said it was because health issues make them uninsurable.
More encouraging, a majority–56 percent–have set up an estate plan, but 70 percent of those who haven’t expressed no interest in doing so. Some may be carrying a bit too much debt as they enter the retirement years: 33 percent said they would use a $25,000 windfall to pay off their liabilities, and nearly half (46 percent) said they still owe on their home.
“I’ve been stupid with money all my life. I wish I could learn to make good financial decisions,” lamented one senior. That’s where you come in, advisors. And it’s a good thing 62 percent said they do get financial advice. What follows are highlighted results and comments from the respondents. We thank all those who participated.
Click here to view One Senior’s Story video.
Seniors fret over possible tax increases,
cuts to Social Security, Medicare