Survey reveals attitudes, desires about retirement

When you envision your retirement lifestyle, do you picture yourself relaxing in a hammock, or do you want to hit the open road in an RV, seeing as many sites as you can all over the country? Do you plan on retiring early, or do you have a job that you love and want to keep as long as possible?

To find out the answers to these questions and more, In October 2018, Provision Living, an operator of senior living communities in parts of the U.S., surveyed 2,000 Americans to ask them about their dream retirement. Respondents revealed everything from their ideal retirement age to where they’d like to be living when they retire.

Dreaming about retirement.

52 percent of Americans think about retirement four or more times per week—undoubtedly triggered by stressful commutes and long hours at the office. But at what age do Americans expect this daydream of retirement to become a reality? The survey reveals that the dream age to retire for baby boomers is 64, while millennials, the much younger generation, have a dream retirement age of 56. And a staggering 78 of the survey respondents said they preferred to stay in the U.S., while an adventurous 21 percent said a dream retirement means moving abroad.

Place and space.

There’s a reason why warm, sunny places are a cliché for retirees. Not only is the weather great, but they also provide year-round fun and relaxation for seniors who like to get outside. So, do all future retirees dream of a sunny space to live out their twilight years, or a small town, or do they crave a big city with access to public transportation?

According to our survey, the No. 1 city in America to retire is Miami, followed by San Diego, Denver, New York and Orlando, which rounded out the top five. The rest of the top 20 were Honolulu, Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Dallas, Las Vegas, Austin, Houston, Tampa, Boulder, Colo., Charleston, S.C., Sarasota, Fla. Nashville and Asheville, N.C.

The survey revealed that the ideal home for retirement would be a one-story ranch in a coastal or beach setting. There was, however, some disagreement on the square footage of this dream home. While baby boomers preferred a neat and tidy 1,510 square foot home, millennials needed a bit more space with an optimal square footage of 1,890.

Retirement by the numbers.

To young employees in the workforce, retirement may seem like a lifetime away, but the reality is that it’s best to plan early in order to enjoy a dream retirement. However, as many as 43 percent of millennials have less than $5,000 in their retirement accounts.

The survey reveals that the ideal savings to have by retirement is $610,000—with millennials saying that it should be $687,000 and baby boomers saying it should be around $574,000. However, these numbers don’t quite match up with what people believe will actually be in their bank accounts. Realistically, the amount survey respondents expect to have saved by retirement is $276,000.

Lifestyles of the retired.

Can you imagine a life outside of work? When you’re retired, you’ll have a lot of spare time to fill. So, what will you do with it?

Many retirees quit their day jobs but go on to part-time jobs just to pass the time. The gig economy has sprouted many twilight careers, such as Uber driving, which 12 percent of folks in the survey said they would consider after retirement, or dog walking through apps like Wag or Rover, which 27 percent would think about taking on after retirement. Overall, 53 percent of survey respondents said they would work part-time when they retired, and 68 percent said they would volunteer.

When asked how they wanted to spend the majority of their time when they retired, 34 percent said they wanted to travel, 20 percent wanted to spend their time with family, and 14 percent just wanted to relax. Other answers included spending time on their hobbies, seeing friends, starting a business, doing something creative, and wanting time to reflect.

Finally, according to the survey, the ideal retirement day broken down by the numbers would be sleeping for seven to eight hours, watching TV for one to two hours, dining out for one or two hours, socializing for two or three hours, other leisure activity for three or four hours, and working on hobbies for two to three hours.