Many Retirees Wish They Left Workforce Earlier

Nearly half of retirees wish they had started retirement earlier, according to a New York Life survey.

Hindsight is 20-20 for retirees, with 46% of retired respondents to a recent New York Life survey saying they wished they would have started their retirement earlier.

The number jumps to 51% when looking at retirees who were 60 or older when they retired. 

The New York Life survey reveals retirees between the ages of 62 and 70 with at least $100,000 of liquid assets would prefer to add four or five years to the front end of their retirement, could they go back and start again under the same late-career circumstances. These individuals say they want to go back and retake the years when they were healthiest, most active and able to get the most out of their retirement savings, explains David Cruz, senior managing director, New York Life.

“Much of the dialogue around retirement has been focused on people enjoying longer lives and ensuring they don’t run out of money,” says Cruz. Results from the study show, if given the opportunity, retirees are generally happier when they retire earlier, so long as they can ensure the same level of financial security. 

The survey reveals men and women share similar feelings about retiring earlier. Among men, 47% state they would have retired sooner, and 46% of women say they would do the same. Additionally, men wish they had retired 4.53 years earlier on average, and women would have preferred to retire 3.96 years earlier.

In light of National Retirement Planning Week, Cruz hopes the research “helps future generations plan toward a retirement as early as they wish.”

The survey was conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs using a sample of 750 retired adults via online interviews.