Retirees are too busy worrying about how to stay afloat financially to have time for anything else, right? Wrong, according to Age Wave CEO Ken Dychtwald. Not only are 45% of volunteer hours manned by retirees, but retirees also out-give their younger, employed counterparts.
Those are just a couple statistics that Dychtwald shared Monday during the American Society on Aging’s Aging in America conference in Washington. While the financial challenge for retirees “is a bear” and will continue to be so, Dychtwald told reporters during a luncheon after his presentation, a “couple ticks below” stressing about finances is the desire to give back.
Dychtwald tackled during his talk at the conference what he said has been an overlooked issue: “When we look at American retirees, what do we see? People in need of help or people prepared to help?” he asked. “It’s both.”
Cyndi Hutchins, director of financial gerontology at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, added while onstage with Dychtwald that “a whole new definition of success” emerges for retirees, with those in their golden years being “six times more likely to define success by generosity than wealth,” Hutchins said.
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In 2013, Merrill began a multiyear partnership with Age Wave to conduct a series of in-depth research studies exploring seven life priorities in retirement — family, health, work, home, giving, finance and leisure. Hutchins and Dychtwald discussed Monday findings of the giving study, released in October.
The next joint study, on leisure, is due out in May.
The giving report found that giving is a key ingredient to a better retirement. Compared to those who do not volunteer or donate, retirees who give say they have a stronger sense of purpose (59% vs. 43%), higher self-esteem (57% vs. 51%), and are both happier (66% vs. 52%) and healthier (50% vs. 43%) than those who do not contribute.