Americans are “Hopeful” but not Confident About Retirement

Retirees use the words “hopeful” and “peaceful” to describe retirement rather than “confident” or “overwhelmed,” according to a study conducted by MIT and The Hartford, conducted in October and released in December.

Of retirees surveyed by The Hartford and MIT’s AgeLab in its Age of Opportunity study, 27% said they feel peaceful about retirement versus 11% of pre-retirees who shared the same sentiment.

The study also asked about expected activities in retirement, finding that retirees expect to travel more (32%); spend more time with family (44%); relax, read and watch TV more (38%); and work part time (9%).

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Overwhelmingly, retirees and pre-retirees said that a healthy retirement is more important than a wealthy one, with 80% of retirees saying they want to live as long as they are healthy, versus wanting to live as long as they have money. Nearly all respondents agreed with the statement “being healthy after retirement is my number one concern.”

For retirement planning, the study found many believe the time to start saving is when reaching a “milestone” birthday, with some also reporting that saving should start around 10 years before retirement is expected to begin, and about 12% who believe saving should start at the time when a person gets his or her first real job.

The survey, which did not seek answers on home equity as a means toward retirement, asked nearly 2,000 retirement-age adults to report on their retirement attitudes, aspirations and opinions. MIT’s AgeLab was founded in 1999 and works to improve people’s health and enable them to “do things” throughout the lifespan.

View the survey results.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker