The Four Pillars of the New Retirement - Pillar 2: Family
The Four Pillars of the New Retirement - Pillar 4: Finances

The Four Pillars of the New Retirement - Pillar 3: Purpose

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Last time, I discussed some of the findings about Family in the study, "The Four Pillars of the New Retirement," issued recently by Edward Jones in association with Age Wave and The Harris Poll. Family 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 3: Purpose.

The report suggests that "Retirees with a strong sense of purpose are happier and healthier, more active and more socially engaged, and they live longer. ... They want to feel useful more than youthful."

How do retirees pursue purpose? One way is through relationships: 87 percent of retirees indicated they prioritize staying in touch with family and friends who don't live with them. In terms of personal sources of purpose, meaning and fulfillment, 76 percent said "spending time with loved ones" was their top choice, 67 percent said "being true to myself," and 64 percent said "doing interesting and enjoyable things."

New retirees find it challenging to have a sense of purpose after they retire from their jobs. Almost a third (31 percent) of retirees who have been retired less than five years said they struggled to find a sense of purpose in retirement. Retirees miss people and social stimulation in the workplace more than money: 41 percent miss the social aspects of working the most vs. 20 percent who miss the paycheck and benefits. Retirees also struggle to find good post-work avenues for fulfillment: Only 24 percent of today's retirees have volunteered, and only 50 percent of adults age 50-plus would like to serve as a mentor. Still, 95 percent of retirees said it's important to keep learning and growing.

There seems to be a great untapped potential in the country's retired population: 89 percent of Americans across all generations feel "there should be more ways for retirees to use their talents and knowledge for the benefit of their communities and society." A considerable majority of every generation would like younger and older generations to take more time to learn from one another; the percentages for each generation are: Gen Z 83 percent; Millennial 84 percent; Gen X 90 percent; Boomer 94 percent; Silent Generation 98 percent.

Next time: Pillar 4: Finances. is a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog.

Read about 156 best and worst brands of the 50s and 60s!


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