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UBS survey: People feeling youthful longer

Only 31 percent who are in their 60s and 47 percent who are in their 70s feel old, while 77 percent of those in their 80s feel old.
Only 31 percent who are in their 60s and 47 percent who are in their 70s feel old, while 77 percent of those in their 80s feel old.

People are feeling youthful longer, a change in perception about aging that has implications for retirement planning, new research reveals.

UBS Wealth Management Americas published this finding in a quarterly survey of 2,319 U.S. investors who have $250,000 or more in investable assets. The report, “UBS Investor Watch,” explores investors’ financial sentiments, economic outlook and concerns, personal goals and concerns, plus key topics like aging and retirement.

Most investors do not feel “old” until they are in their 80s, the report reveals. Only 31 percent who are in their 60s and 47 percent who are in their 70s feel old, while 77 percent of those in their 80s feel old.

“This demonstrates a notable shift from prior generations, as investors believe on average that their parents were old at age 62, a number that also coincided with when people retired,” the report states. “But today, retiring from work does not equal old.

“To most people, it’s when people can no longer live in their own homes or whey they can longer drive,” the survey adds. “In short, you get old when you lose your individual independence, when you can’t do things for yourself.”

When asked after which life events they consider someone hold, survey respondents answer as follows;

  • When they can no longer live in their own homes (71 percent)
  • When they can no longer drive (67 percent)
  • When they start forgetting things (45 percent)
  • When they have a serious health issue/diagnosis (37 percent)
  • When they have trouble hearing you (26 percent)
  • When they retire (16 percent)
  • When they have grandchildren (10 percent)
  • When their hair is gray (9 percent)

Most people, the report observes, underestimate the percentage of pre-retirement income they will need during each of three post-retirement phases. Whereas the industry rule of thumb pegs pre-retirement income at 78 percent for each of these three phases — “transition,” “my time” and “the last waltz” — survey respondents estimate 58 percent, 63 percent and 56 percent, respectively.

The survey defines “transition” as a time when people are still working, but in a reduced or different capacity. During the “my time” individuals are focused on travel and leisure.”  Phasing into “the last waltz,” people lead a relaxed, simpler life and health issues eventually become a focus.

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