Survey: Retirees Love Financial Independence

October 14, 2004 ( - An overwhelming majority of 70-year-olds consider financial independence as a major aspect of their happiness, according to a new study.

A news release said 94% of respondents to the Lincoln Long Life Survey listed independence is a major source of satisfaction in their lives, followed by housing, health, financial situation, and time spent with children and grandchildren. The survey asked affluent individuals in their 70s who have an income of at least $75,000 about their retirement experiences.

“Successful seventies have redefined our notion of the golden years and feel they are far from the end of their lives. They are focused on relishing the rewards of their own financial successes,” said Jon Boscia, chairman and CEO of Lincoln Financial Group. “Baby Boomers should plan for the future by looking to the examples set by these retirement pioneers.”

In general, survey respondents give themselves high marks for their overall financial planning (89% feel they have done an excellent or very good job) and saving enough money for their retirement years (85%). However, controlling their finances throughout their lengthy retirement has proven to be more complicated than they envisioned. Before they reached retirement, a majority (54%) had never thought about how many years they would spend in retirement. Another 43% estimated retirement to last 22 years.

When compared to their generation at large, affluent respondents are twice as likely to have never retired. Looking at all adults age 70+, they are more than three times as likely to currently be employed as their peers. Moreover, three times the number of survey participants said they work because they like the intellectual stimulation, social aspects of the job, or enjoy what they do, as compared to those who remain employed because of monetary needs. In addition, one in six successful seventies who initially went into retirement ended up returning to the work force.

Successful seventies are generous with advice. To help steer their children onto the path of financial achievement, affluent individuals in their 70s have offered much more guidance to their children than they received from their parents. Only 15% of successful seventies report getting advice on retirement planning from their parents, while more than four in five respondents provided advice on this topic to their own children.

The July 2004 telephone survey was conducted with 500 adults 70 to 79 years of age, who are financial decision makers for their households and who have household incomes of $75,000 or more.

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