One in four retirees think life in retirement is worse than it was before they retired, according to a poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard School of Public Health released Tuesday. The poll shows stark differences between what pre-retirees think retirement will be like, and what retirees say is actually the case.
A large majority of retirees say life in retirement is the same (44%) or better (29%) than it was during the five years before they retired. Many retirees say their stress is less, their relationships with loved ones are better, their diet is improved, and the amount of time they spend doing favorite activities is increased.
And yet, 25% of retirees say life is worse.
“The poll shows that a significant number of people who are near retirement may be underestimating the challenges of retirement,” said Robert Blendon, professor of Health Policy and Political Analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health, in a statement. “When you compare what people think retirement will be like with what retirees say it actually is like, there are big differences. Pre-retirees may underestimate the degree to which their health and finances may be worse in retirement.”