Retired boomers age 50+ identified their top three retirement realities in an updated survey on Retirement Myths and Realities completed in 2015 by Royal Bank of Canada. The top three realities appear to fly in the face of commonly held perceptions and the feelings held by those younger than these boomers.
Social time with work colleagues trumps paycheck
Retirees don’t miss their pay cheques from work as much as pre-retirees expect to miss them. Almost double the number of those surveyed felt that way. It seems that year after year, when this question comes up, the answer remains the same. Over half of retirees miss their social time with colleagues at work the most.
Personal time more important than travelling
Most retirees (72%) said that they are actually spending their time simply “taking time for myself”. Contrast this with the bucket list assembled by pre-retirees where most (70%) list travel at the top of the list things they expect to do in retirement.
For those that have a significant other, most retirees and pre-retirees want to spend more time with that person (66% in both categories). It's nice to learn that having more time together now that they are no longer working is seen so positively.
Retirement not necessarily by choice
Almost half of retirees (43%) didn’t get to choose their retirement date, down a bit from some recent, earlier studies. That said, over half of the youngest retirees, those aged 50-59, did not have the choice.
Again, this statistic contrasts significantly from the 80% of pre-retirees who expect to have the choice of when they will retire. There are of course a number of reasons why so many boomers leave the workforce early and before they were ready to go. On that list are: health issues, the need to provide care-giving to someone else and the employer’s request.
Do these realities fit your own vision and experiences? One reflection does jump out for many retirees. It has to do with regrets. Most have regrets about the things they didn't do, not the things they did do. What is interesting is that some of the things they wish they had spent more time on were the simple things in life. Why not build a strategy into your plan that deals with that. Turn your "if I only" list into your "now I will" list. Then get started on completing the items. Retirement then will mean retiring your regrets.
More on that in upcoming articles.