Nearly 60% of affluent Americans view the prospect of living to the very ripe old age of 100 positively, though three-quarters would approach financial planning differently if they knew today they were going to live that long, according to a the results of a Bank of America Merrill Lynch survey released Wednesday. The majority of those surveyed (59%) also believe the age at which Americans are eligible to collect Social Security should be raised.
In terms of adjusting for longevity, affluent investors say they would continue to work at least part-time in retirement (39%), work with their financial advisor to re-evaluate savings and investment strategies (37%), invest in a lifetime income product (32%), contribute more to retirement savings (32%), buy long-term care insurance (29%) and retire closer to age 85 than 65 (25%).
Plus, only 14% of respondents over 50 cite “hitting a certain age” as the factor that would most lead them to retire. Factors more likely to lead them to retire include feeling confident that their assets will pay for the lifestyle they want (25%) and a possible health condition affecting them or a family member (18%).
“We hear from our clients that retiring isn’t about their age or a magic number, but rather an ongoing assessment of the lifestyle, goals and assets they desire for their later years,” said Andy Sieg, head of global wealth & retirement solutions for Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC), in a statement. “And most don’t view this life stage as a straight stretch of highway so much as a winding road that requires close attention and frequent course corrections.”
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The Merrill Lynch survey, which began in 2009 and is conducted every six months, focuses on the financial priorities and concerns of Americans with $250,000 and up in investable assets; the latest results were gathered in December.
More than half (55%) say they are concerned about being able to afford the lifestyle they want in retirement. And, if given the choice, half of affluent Americans (51%) not yet retired would rather retire later than make tradeoffs to their current lifestyle.
Nearly half (47%) of affluent Americans say that conversations with their advisor regularly go much further than general investing to focus on broader aspects of retirement.