Monday, April 25, 2016

Planning for retirement, are you ready?

Between March and May of 2015 Penn Schoen Berland conducted survey of older and people who influence older Americans about how they think they are prepared for retirement. I have looked at this issue in previous posts but I find it interesting how influencers and my generation see the world.  

I am doing volunteer work for an organization of seniors that works with and plan with not for seniors, maybe the influencers in this survey should consider planning with not for seniors. Influencers are defined for this survey as bank and credit union managers, physicians, and pharmacists.

One of the top concerns of my both groups was “loss of independence” however; this term meant different things to each group. To my cohort it meant in 2015 Loss of:

  • Physical health (40% )
  • Memory (35%)
  • Mental health (32%)
  • Ability to manage chronic health conditions (27%)
  • Living independently (25%)

To the influencers “loss of independence means loss of:
Loss of memory (38%)
Living independently (37%)
The ability to get around to run errands (37%)

Another top concern for both groups was ‘financial pressure”. To the influencers this means the fear of 

Being taken advantage of by financial scams, fraud and abuse (43%)
Not having access to affordable housing (38% ) 

To my cohort this term means the same but note the percentage of us who are concerned about this compared to the influencers who are concerned:

Being taken advantage of by financial scams, fraud and abuse (21%)
Not having access to affordable housing (12% ) 

Older Adults feel much more prepared for the process of aging than Influencers think they are. Few Older Adults think their quality of life will improve in the next five to 10 years (16%)whereas only (10%) of influencers believe this. 

Most older adults, think the quality of life they have will stay the same (60%), and nearly a quarter believe it will get worse (22%)

Older Adults 60-74 years old generally feel less prepared for the process of aging (37%) compared to all Older Adults nationally (42%)

Three times as many Older Adults (57%)  say they consider themselves to be very positive, compared to just 19 percent of Influencers. The reason for this positive attitude is a loving family, faith or spirituality.

Staying mentally sharp is a major concern to my cohort. While both groups agree on a number of ways to stay mentally sharp, Older Adults emphasize having a positive attitude, exercise, diet and an active social life as the most important (in order of importance).

Influencers emphasize regular exercise, having an active social life, diet and having a positive attitude as the most important (in order of importance). 

My cohort and the influencers agree on what is needed we do not agree on the order of importance of the factors. When it comes to barriers to staying mentally fit, my cohort sees the following as the important barriers (in order of importance): depression, decreased cognitive ability and loss of social relationships. 

Influencers see the barriers to staying mentally fit (in order of importance) as loss of cognitive ability, depression and loss of social relationships.

Older Adults and Influencers disagree on how challenging it is for Older Adults to pay monthly expenses. Yet, both groups are concerned about Older Adults having enough money to last them for the rest of their lives, and also agree that having unexpected medical expenses is a top concern.  

73% of my cohort say that it is easy to pay monthly expenses, while only 15% of influences say that older adults find this task easy. 

Both groups say that between 11 and 13 percent find it neither easy or hard to pay monthly expenses.  75% of influencers say that older adults have a difficult time to meet monthly expenses, while only 15% of my cohort agree with this statement.

Aside from saving and budgeting, Older Adults and Influencers view financial management priorities very differently. 

Saving is important to 39% of my cohort while making  and sticking to a budget is important to  43% of us. 

While 43% of influencers believe that savings is important whereas Budgeting is rated important by 38% of influencers.

More than three-quarters of Older Adults say they manage their finances on their own.  

77% of Older Adults say they manage their own finances; only 3% consult with a financial planner, which is understandable as my cohort has different understanding of our needs.

But the people who are trying to influence our decisions do not understand our point of view and are not making any attempt to do so, because they want to plan for us; not with us.

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