If they could have retired with the same amount of money, current retirees wish they had stopped working about four years earlier than they did, a survey by New York Life found. The survey found 46% of current retirees wish they had retired sooner.
Among those who were 60 or older when they stopped working, more than half wish they had retired earlier.
Respondents were between ages 62 and 70, and had at least $100,000 in investable assets.
“Much of the dialogue around retirement has been focused on people enjoying longer lives and ensuring they don’t run out of money. What the survey shows is that retirees, if given the opportunity, would want four or five years at the front end of their retirement, when they are healthiest, most active and able to get the most out of their retirement savings,” said David Cruz, senior managing director at New York Life.
Ross Goldstein, managing director for New York Life, told ThinkAdvisor that hindsight may be playing a role in respondents’ regret over when they began their retirement; now that they’ve seen what their life is like, they wish they had started earlier.
Other studies have found that boomers tend to work longer or begin second careers after retirement not necessarily because they have to but because they want to. Goldstein noted that although about half of retirees in the survey wish they had retired earlier, “the other half is happy with when they retired, and that may have included working longer.”
The key for advisors, he said, is building a plan that’s flexible enough to let a client retire earlier than planned.