Last time, I discussed some of the findings about Health in the study, "The Four Pillars of the New Retirement," issued recently by Edward Jones in association with Age Wave and The Harris Poll. Health was one of four pillars covered in the study: Health, Family, Purpose and Finances.
"The Four Pillars of the New Retirement" was a major study comprised of a comprehensive examination of 100+ North American studies, articles and publications; in-depth interviews with subject matter experts and financial advisors; online forums and focus groups; a survey of 9,000 adults across five generations (18+), including retirees and working-age individuals, in the U.S. and Canada fielded in May and June 2020; and exhaustive analysis by team members. As the COVID-19 pandemic spread, the study was paused and modified to include specific information about the effect of the virus on retirement.
Now for Pillar 2: Family.
It will certainly come as no surprise that retirees say family is "their greatest source of satisfaction, support, joy and even purpose," according to the report. What may be surprising, however, is that more than half of every generation thinks that family is defined not just by blood relations, but as "anyone I love and care for whether or not I am related to them." Fifty-seven percent of the Silent Generation feel that way, while 61 percent of Boomers agree. As you might expect, 67 percent of all Americans say the pandemic has brought their family closer together, but here's a sobering thought: COVID-19 has prompted nearly 30 million Americans to have end-of-life discussions for the first time.
Retirees have a strong sense of generational generosity: 71 percent of them said they would be willing to offer financial support to their family, even if it would jeopardize their own financial future. At the same time, 72 percent of retirees said that one of their biggest fears is becoming a burden on their families.
While one might assume that younger generations think about inheriting material possessions, it is heartening to learn that 83 percent of younger adults say that memories, values and life lessons are the most important things to receive as an inheritance, according to the report. U.S. retirees feel much the same way, with 75 percent of them agreeing with younger generations on the importance of memories, values and life lessons vs. 25 percent seeing money, real estate and assets of financial value as most important.
Almost half (47 percent) of retirees worry about becoming more isolated as they grow older. Loneliness, however, seems to be more problematic for younger generations: The highest loneliness score is for Gen Z (48.3 percent), followed by Millennial (45.3 percent), Gen X (45.1 percent), Boomer (42.4 percent) and Silent Gen (38.6 percent).
Next time: Pillar 3: Purpose.
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