Financial services company Bankers Life & Casualty asked 300 middle-income retirees ages 55 to 75 a variety of open-ended questions about what they have learned during their retirement and what advice they would give to younger generations about retirement planning. Here are some of the things they said:
- Saving up for retirement is most important -- even before the children's education.
- No matter how much you think you should save -- double or triple that.
- Look for happiness rather than wealth.
- Prepare for your retirement not only for financial security but also for fulfilling goals and interests.
- Work hard, and don’t worry about what your friends and neighbors are getting paid.
- Find a passion, and work at it as long as you can.
- No one is responsible for your own happiness but you.
- Spend each day loving and laughing with those important to you.
Bankers also asked these retirees what surprised them about their finances in retirement. Respondents identified these five issues as the most challenging:
- Money doesn’t go as far as it did when you worked. You don’t realize how much less you are going to make after you retire.
- Adjusting to a lower income isn't easy, but it's possible. I never thought that we could live on such a small budget and be happy.
- It requires discipline to stay on budget. You have to really think about what is important.
- Health care is costly. With advancing age, I have more medical copayments. ... The cost of my health care has more than doubled.
- Fixed income means no raises. Things in general keep going up, but the paycheck remains the same.
What would you tell the younger generations about preparing for retirement?