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Today’s 50-Plus Investor Wants Adventure, and Certainty

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What You Need to Know

  • Many of today’s 50-plus investors like streams of income.
  • Some hope to work into their late 70s, or later.
  • Memories of the 2008 market crash linger.

Known for their rebellious spirit and risk-taking mentality, the 50-and-over generation is now looking for a bit of certainty.

As this demographic continues to redefine what it means to age successfully, they were faced with a full menu of significant stressors — one after another. A global pandemic, political turmoil, civil unrest, economic uncertainty, social isolation, and a rush to vaccines remain a lot to absorb.

Jackson recently commissioned research that involved surveying 804 men and women aged 50 to 70 in five major U.S. markets. The data was then compared with results of a survey the publisher Ageist conducted in October 2019. The sentiment the new study revealed can be described as sustained consumer confidence mixed with a growing feeling of financial vulnerability and a desire for financial expertise.

The following represents the collective voice of our survey participants.

What keeps us up at night?

On the surface, we look and sound just fine. While we are still secure in our experience, recent events have been overwhelming at times. We’re seeking positive ways to destress and areas where we can bring more certainty into our lives.

  • “There is a bit of vulnerability in everything. It feels like uncharted territory.” (male, 68)
  • “The market has been so vulnerable, and I have experienced some loss. I am currently evaluating more stable products with my financial advisor.” (female, 69)
  • “I check my 401(k) all the time. I’m nervous because I am close to retirement and I remember the 2008 crash when some of my retired friends had to go back to work. That stuck with me.” (male, 60)

If one more person asks when we’re retiring, we might scream.

Our days are not spent dreaming about retirement parties. In fact, being asked when we plan to retire is insulting. While we plan to fully retire at some point, today we are working, starting new ventures, and exploring passions long put to the side.

When professional life eventually does wind down, most of us will likely find a part-time, flexible opportunity. And while not ready to retire anytime soon, we do want financial security — especially now.

  • “I’m not thinking of retiring for another 15 or 20 years.” (female, 62)
  • “I’m not planning on retiring — I equate retirement to a slow death.” (male, 54)

We trust our wisdom, except when it comes to personal finances.

We’ve found that life does indeed begin at 50. We are happy and self-assured. Admittedly, we could use a sounding board when it comes to planning for retirement and our financial future.

With so many investment options available, we appreciate expertise in determining the best options for meeting retirement goals. We’re also interested in less risk than we used to be.

  • “I think I will invest in less risky options in the future. I was scared when I watched my investment amounts drop.” (female, 67)
  • “I now want to be a bit safer instead of a singular focus on growth.” (female, 57)
  • “I’m looking for a financial advisor to help me.” (male, 57)

The road ahead is a new road.

In listening to and summarizing what these survey respondents had to say, we learned quite a bit.

  1. Life is fragile.

The world around us is unpredictable, and our findings were a not-so-subtle reminder of it.

There is no return to normal. While adventurous in spirit and willing to break stereotypes, we now desire the financial security necessary to live the life that this generation envisions. Our respondents gave us a view of the road ahead for this group of investors.

  1. There’s an appreciation for income in “retirement” years.

Investment philosophies now place a priority on reducing risk and creating a stream of income — as this may be one area where uncertainty can be minimized. These new goals — combined with increased longevity, inflation rates and health care costs — align well with the benefits a reliable income stream can provide.

It’s not surprising a recent survey revealed that 71% of consumers describe guaranteed lifetime income in addition to Social Security as highly valuable. The same study suggests that after the events of the past year, the demand for such income will only increase.

  1. A partner for navigating finances is highly valued.

Societal and economic stressors have certainly multiplied the need for sound advice. There’s a need for financial experts to help increase the likelihood of the continued adventure and better life outcomes this group desires. The importance of being a financial ally has never been greater.


David StewartAshley FeltnerDavid Stewart is the CEO of Ageist and Ashley Feltner is manager of content marketing at Jackson.

(Photo: Alexander Raths/Shutterstock)