The third iteration of a landmark retirement study by Age Wave, Edward Jones and The Harris Poll has just been released. It sheds some intriguing light on three types of events that retirees have experienced: "Cannonballs, curveballs and windfalls."
According to the study:
Since retiring, a large majority of retirees (75%) have experienced cannonball events, major challenges that can derail a plan, or curveballs, relatively minor occurrences that cause setbacks. According to the research, the most common cannonballs and curveballs include having a family member or close friend pass away (42%), personal health issues (30%), coping with a spouse’s or partner’s health issues (21%) and significant financial setbacks (20%). The most impactful, however, are widowhood and divorce, which retirees say are profoundly disruptive to their lives. For some, retirement itself can be a cannonball, as 3 in 10 retirees (29%) said they were forced to retire unexpectedly.
On the other hand, 80% of retirees have experienced at least one windfall event, a positive gain often described as “good fortune” or a “blessing.” The most fulfilling windfalls for retirees include becoming a grandparent, taking a dream vacation and discovering a new or renewed purpose in life. One of the biggest surprises was that aging and retirement itself appear to provide a kind of windfall to many. The study revealed that feelings of freedom, happiness and resilience all peak in retirement, while anxiety hits its lifetime low.
The study suggested that pre-retirees and current retirees know they will face challenges and are willing to make "course corrections." The study defined course corrections as the positive actions that pre-retirees and retirees are already taking or considering to improve their retirement journeys. Course corrections are motivated, and often necessitated, by life events that change the circumstances and goals of one’s life plan.
The study breaks retirement into four key pillars: Health, Family, Purpose and Finances. Sample course corrections in each of the four pillars include:
- Health: Habits including healthy diet, regular exercise and mental stimulation can dramatically improve healthspan, lifespan and well-being in retirement
- Family: Spending more quality time with family (and less time with toxic people) can be very fulfilling, but setting emotional and financial boundaries can be just as worthwhile
- Purpose: There are many personal paths to purpose, and people can explore familiar options — trying new things, expanding their social circles to enrich their lives and even reinventing themselves with new dreams
- Finances: Given the many tools beyond the basics of increasing savings and minimizing debt, it is wise to seek trusted, holistic guidance when considering options and weighing tradeoffs.
To access the full report, “Resilient Choices: Trade-Offs, Adjustments and Course Corrections to Thrive in Retirement” visit https://www.edwardjones.
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