Regrets? They have a few

Regrets? They have a few

By Kayla Hopkins

We all have regrets. But when it comes to reflecting on their life and professional career, no collective of people may have better insight than retirees. A quarter of retired Americans say they have regrets now that they’ve retired, which can be a learning lesson for younger Americans who still have many professional working years left.

In a new study by MedicareFAQ, a Medicare learning resource center hosted by Elite Insurance Partners, more than 560 retired Americans were surveyed to understand those regrets better and to see what advice they can offer to younger generations.

One of the biggest considerations in retirement is finances. Even once you’ve retired, there’s no guarantee you’ll feel financially secure. In fact, 59 percent of retirees have financial concerns about their retirement, and 46 percent have saved enough money for a comfortable retirement. Eighty-six percent wish they had saved more before retiring, and 60 percent didn’t start investing in their retirement funds early enough. That’s a clear indication that it’s never too early to start saving for retirement, and for most retirees, that’s their biggest piece of advice.

Other advice regarding retirement includes prioritizing experiences over material possessions and finding a fulfilling work-life balance.

Some retirees regret not prioritizing their health. That can look different depending on one’s situation. For some, it means staying active, following a fad diet, or reducing the amount of unhealthy food you eat. For others, it means prioritizing your healthcare. After you retire, healthcare becomes an even more essential part of your daily routine.

Not having a good work-life balance, not traveling enough, and not spending enough time with friends and family are major regrets throughout retirement.

One-tenth of retirees delayed their retirement because they simply enjoyed working. Other reasons included not having enough money saved or a delayed Social Security payout.

Nearly 1 in 4 retirees struggle to find purpose and fulfillment in retirement. The transition from working full-time to being retired can be tough, and 22 percent say this transition was harder than they anticipated.

One thing that may help with the transition, and also help those struggling to find a purpose, may be volunteering or working a part-time job. Currently, 18 percent of retirees volunteer, and 1 in 4 plan to continue working. The vast majority (93 percent) of retirees say retirement has given them the ability to enjoy things they didn’t have time for while working full-time, like new hobbies.

Although they may have regretted not keeping health top of mind when they were younger, retirees are cooking healthier meals, going to the doctor when they think they need to, reviewing their health coverage during enrollment periods, dedicating time to exercise, and more active in general.

Reflecting upon careers, family, travels

In their careers, 38 percent have regrets and 35 percent wish they’d achieved better work-life balance.

One in 10 say they’ve had a “second-act” career, which is a major career change that occurs after retirement.

When it comes to family, 56 percent say they’re able to spend more quality time with their loved ones now that they’ve retired.

Of retired Americans who don’t have children, about 1 in 4 wish they had.

Travel isn’t a luxury everyone can afford, but according 89 percent of retirees, it’s an important part of life. 58 percent wish they’d traveled more when they were younger.

What advice would retirees give to themselves? The biggest thing is to prioritize financial planning and savings. Other self-advice includes taking health seriously, traveling more, focusing on personal growth and happiness, and not living too far beyond your financial means.

When it comes to the age at which they were happiest, retirees say the magic year was 41. Sixty-two percent say age doesn’t limit new life experiences. And 72 percent feel younger than their current age.