'This is us' in retirement

  • Kiplinger
  • Facebook.
  • Twitter.
  • LinkedIn.
  • Print

Exclusive National Opinion Poll

‘This is us’ in retirement

Americans share pros and cons about their lives

An overwhelming majority (83%) of respondents in our recent survey say they are enjoying their lives in retirement. And more than three-fourths (78%) describe their health as good or excellent.

Only a few report feeling dissatisfied, attributing it to these top reasons:

1 in 6 My health keeps me from being as active as I would like.

1 in 7 I forego spending money now out of fear that I’ll run out later.

1 in 8 I miss working.

1 in 9 I haven’t been able to travel as much as I would like.

1 in 10 Retired life is boring.

Here’s more of what they report about this stage of their lives--along with some insights from pre-retirees, so we can compare their expectations with reality.

When we retire

59 Average retirement age

68% Percent who retired earlier than planned

Top reasons for the early bail out on full-time work? More than a third (37%) of survey respondents say poor health was to blame. About 20% cite job burnout or loss, and 9% say they needed to provide care for a loved one. Another 9% say an early retirement bonus offer from their employer encouraged them to make the transition.

Comparison Check

The average age pre-retirees expect to retire is 66.

More Americans ages 55+ retired amid the pandemic

50% Percent retired in Q3 of 2021

48% Percent retired in Q3 of 2019

Source: Pew Research Center, November 2021.

Where we live

21% Retirees who have already moved or are planning to move to a different state

Top 5 criteria when choosing where to live

Affordable cost of living in general

Being close to loved ones

Low crime rate

Affordable cost of real estate

Access to excellent healthcare and hospitals

Comparison Check

Those who move, go far

Retirees who move are 3X as likely to relocate to a different state than movers overall.

Source: Where Americans Moved to Retire in 2021, Hire a Helper.

How we live

10% Continue to work part-time in retirement, with almost half clocking in for 11 to 20 hours per week

Comparison check

More than half (53%) of pre-retirees plan to work in retirement.

Top 5 ways retirees spend their time beyond work

Spending time with family and friends

Pursuing hobbies

Home maintenance/gardening

Exercise or other recreational activities


How much we travel (and what we spend)

2 Average number of trips (foreign and domestic) retirees expect to take per year as pandemic restrictions ease

Only 4% Expect to take 5 or more trips per year

Comparison check 10% of pre-retirees say they expect to take 5 or more trips per year in retirement.

72% Expect to spend less than $5,000 annually on travel

Only 9% Expect to spend more than $10,000

Comparison check

AARP travel survey: How much different age groups expect to spend in 2022

50 to 59 $6,688

60 to 69 $7,526

70+ $11,561

Source: 2022 Travel Trends, AARP.

What worries us

63% Worry that inflation will cause serious economic hardship in retirement

43% Worry that stock market volatility will create serious hardship

Top 10 personal stressors in retirement*

Declining health that requires long-term care For Retirees 67% For Pre-Retirees 71%

Losing my independence For Retirees 62% For Pre-Retirees 62%

Experiencing cognitive decline For Retirees 61% For Pre-Retirees 64%

Not having enough money to live comfortably For Retirees 60% For Pre-Retirees 64%

Running out of money when I'm older For Retirees 59% For Pre-Retirees 65%

Becoming a caregiving burden to my family or friends For Retirees 53% For Pre-Retirees 56%

Lack of access to affordable healthcare For Retirees 48% For Pre-Retirees 60%

Not being able to travel For Retirees 40% For Pre-Retirees 37%

Being lonely 34% 36%

Having to rely on my adult children for financial support For Retirees 32% For Pre-Retirees 29%

Top 10 financial stressors in retirement*

Inflation For Retirees 87% For Pre-Retirees 87%

Financial strength of Social Security For Retirees 77% For Pre-Retirees 79%

A recession For Retirees 76% For Pre-Retirees 76%

Cost of health care For Retirees 75% For Pre-Retirees 82%

Cost of long-term care For Retirees 74% For Pre-Retirees 78%

Financial strength of Medicare For Retirees 73% For Pre-Retirees 74%

Rising interest rates For Retirees 57% For Pre-Retirees 63%

Stock market volatility/bear market For Retirees 51% For Pre-Retirees 57%

Higher estate taxes For Retirees 47% For Pre-Retirees 53%

Higher income or capital gains taxes For Retirees 46% For Pre-Retirees 55%

Methodology: The poll, conducted in May 2022, surveyed 835 people ages 50 or older. Fifty-five percent of respondents were fully or partially retired, while 45% expect to retire within the next 15 years. The average age of respondents was 62, and they were roughly divided between men and women. *Response rates exceed 100% due to the option to select more than one answer.

Kiplinger logo

© July 2022, Future US LLC

  • Facebook.
  • Twitter.
  • LinkedIn.
  • Print

For more news you can use to help guide your financial life, visit our Insights page.

© 2022 The Kiplinger Washington Editors, Inc.
Please enter a valid e-mail address
Please enter a valid e-mail address
Important legal information about the e-mail you will be sending. By using this service, you agree to input your real e-mail address and only send it to people you know. It is a violation of law in some jurisdictions to falsely identify yourself in an e-mail. All information you provide will be used by Fidelity solely for the purpose of sending the e-mail on your behalf.The subject line of the e-mail you send will be "Fidelity.com: "

Your e-mail has been sent.

Your e-mail has been sent.