Study Finds "Secrets" to Retiring Early

The Allianz “LoveFamilyMoney” study examines patterns among American workers who plan to retire early. 

According to Allianz’s survey of 4,500 Americans, more than one in four (26%) of the 3,449 currently employed respondents said they intend to retire before they reach age 65. Among these, 76% are currently married, and 77% are still in their first marriage.

Compared with respondents who said they plan never to retire, many looking to retire early reported that they and their significant other share a similar, “practical” approach to money matters. Early retirees report that they are careful spenders, likely to count costs and work closely with their partners to achieve their retirement goals.

The vast majority (90%) also said they find it “very easy” or “somewhat easy” to talk with their significant other about family finances. However, just 14% of early retirees claim to have done more to teach their children about money, for instance, advocating work with a financial professional.

“It’s encouraging to see evidence that incorporating good habits and following good examples can lead to a better chance of retiring on your own terms, and on your own schedule,” said Katie Libbe, Allianz Life vice president of Consumer Insights. “While these survey respondents have not yet achieved early retirement, it’s useful to know how they expect to get there, and what skills they are using to reach that goal.”

According to the survey, early retirees are more likely to: seek advice from financial professionals when making a major financial decision and for retirement planning; be a “saver” and not a “spender” when it comes to money; share a similar financial approach with their partner; focus on saving for their long-term goals; and depend on more sources of funding for their retirement.  

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Interestingly, those who said they plan to retire early were no more likely to describe their family growing up as “wealthy/affluent” or “financially comfortablethan people who planned to stay in the work force longer. One in five (21%) do compare themselves to their parent’s financial status, though, to track how they are doing financially.

Allianz revealed some interesting fears among those who expect to retire early. According to the survey, they are more likely than all other groups to worry about dying young (53%) compared with outliving their money in retirement (47%). Longevity fears are more common among those who plan to retire on time, between ages 65 and 69 (53%); late, after age 70 (60%); or not at all (53%).

Although it costs an estimated $245,340 to raise a child from birth to age 18, the study found no difference in expected retirement age based on whether or not respondents had children, Allianz said. Those who plan to retire early were less likely to report having experienced financial hardship as an adult, however—46% versus 31% of those who never plan to retire.

The Allianz LoveFamilyMoney Study was designed to seek insights into the financial needs of modern families, including same-sex couples, single parent households, those with adult children returning home (“boomerang” families), multi-generational families, blended families and those with older parents and young children. Survey participants were between 35 and 65 years old with household incomes of at least $50,000.

For more information about the study, visit