Boomers Anticipate a Different Retirement than Their Parents

January 31, 2011 ( - Bank of America’s latest Merrill Lynch Affluent Insights Quarterly survey finds that the vast majority (84%) of affluent Baby Boomers (age 46 – 64) believe their “retirement” will differ from that of their parents.

Among those, 86% intend to live a more active lifestyle and 72% say they will enjoy a higher standard of living during retirement than their parents did. Seventy percent of these Baby Boomers plan to keep working, at least part-time, as a means of remaining active and engaged during this stage in life. 

Other ways in which Baby Boomers look forward to staying active during their retirement years, according to a press release, include:  

  • Pursuing additional professional success (32%)  
  • Continuing their education (26%)  
  • Learning a new trade (24%)  
  • Starting or furthering their own business (20%).  


Twenty-seven percent of affluent retirees reported they did not retire at the age they had planned to when they were in their 40s, citing a variety of reasons, including:  

  • The recession took a toll on my finances (34%)  
  • Changed my mind and decided to continue working (23%)  
  • Had to provide more financial support to my adult age children than anticipated (23%)  
  • Didn’t realize how much I would need to save for retirement (21%)  
  • Started saving too late or didn’t save enough (18%)  
  • Had to deal with a medical emergency (14%).  


Overall, top financial concerns among the affluent continue to be the rising cost of health care (64%) and ensuring their retirement assets will last throughout their lifetime (57%). The research found these concerns are more prevalent among women, 70% of which are worried about health care costs and 63% about the longevity of retirement assets, compared to 57% and 52% of men, respectively.   

While 42% of affluent non-retirees indicate having full confidence in their ability to meet their long-term financial goals, this percentage drops to one-third (34%) among women compared to half (49%) of men, the press release said. When all affluent non-retirees were asked what gives them confidence in their ability to meet long-term goals, they cited being heavily involved in their financial decisions (79%), setting realistic retirement goals (76%) and having a diversified portfolio (69%).   

  • Other notable gender differences included:  
  • 86% of women plan to spend time traveling, compared to 66% of men  
  • 74% of women plan to enjoy a hobby, compared to 60% of men  
  • 64% of women plan to be more involved in their community, compared to 43% of men  
  • 62% of women plan to dedicate more time to philanthropic endeavors, compared to 41% of men  
  • 24% of men plan to start or further their own business, compared to 14% of women  


Braun Research conducted the Merrill Lynch Affluent Insights Quarterly survey by phone between December 8, 2010 and January 1, 2011, on behalf of Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management. Braun contacted a nationally representative sample of 1,000 affluent Americans with investable assets in excess of $250,000.