Most Retirees Fulfilled Despite Financial Struggles

Most Retirees Fulfilled Despite Financial Struggles

More than half (59 percent) of retirees have concerns about their finances, according to a new survey of 560 retired Americans by MedicareFAQ. However, that doesn’t mean they’re not happy. Nine in ten seniors enjoy being retired, and 77 percent find their lives full of purpose and fulfillment.

What is it that makes retirement so satisfactory? It’s not necessarily a lack of work, but rather, the opportunities that retiring creates for new pursuits. Virtually all respondents (93 percent) said they had more time to enjoy things they didn’t have time for while working.

How are seniors using their additional free time in retirement? More than half (56 percent) said they spend more quality time with loved ones since leaving their professions behind. Nearly as many (43 percent) said they spent more quality time with their partner. What’s more, 47 percent had picked up a new hobby.

Plenty also took the opportunity to chase their dreams. About one-third of participants had a bucket list, and of that group, 44 percent hadn’t even started crossing items off until after they retired.

However, as you might guess based on the concerns we mentioned above, many seniors who took the survey felt their retirements could be even more fulfilling if they were in a better financial situation.

An incredible share of respondents—86 percent—wish they had saved more for retirement. That’s not surprising considering retirees’ income levels. In 2022, the last year for which Census Bureau data is available, the median household of people age 65 and older is just $50,290 before taxes. That’s about one-third lower than the nationwide average of $74,580.

The income disparity between seniors and other Americans is a major reason that TSCL advocates for tying Social Security cost-of-living increases to the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E) instead of the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners (CPI-W), as current policy requires.

The CPI-E better reflects inflation for items that seniors spend the most on than the CPI-W. It also tends to come in about two-tenths of a percentage higher. That may sound small, but over the course of a 25-year retirement, would add up to more than $10,000. You have to love compounding interest.

So, what can seniors do in the meantime while TSCL advocates for switching cost-of-living increases to the CPI-E?

The most shared advice for a great retirement among survey participants was prioritizing financial planning and savings, taking your health seriously, and traveling as much as you can.