Listening to Middle-Income Americans Part 2: Health and Happiness Retirement Goals

From “golden years,” to “life gets better with age,” and “the best is yet to be,” there are many sayings dedicated to how great life can be as we age and enter retirement.

However, it can sometimes be difficult for younger generations to understand why. This is why the Bankers Life and Casualty Company Center for a Secure Retirement surveyed middle-income retirees on the realities of preparing for and enjoying life in retirement. It’s our hope that their insight can help younger generations prepare well for retirement.

The study includes much insight into personal retirement goals and hobbies for retired persons. When asked to name a hobby people take up when they retire, travel, home improvement projects, volunteering and spending time with family were common responses.

In this new multi-part report series, we asked 300 retirees ages 55 to 75 a variety of open-ended questions about what they have learned during their retirement and to share their real-world advice. In Part 2, Health and Happiness, the collected advice focuses on health, health care, wellness, retirement goals, hobbies for retired persons, and life goals in retirement.
If you ever ask yourself, “What should my retirement goal be?”, then this study is for you!

Health and Happiness highlights four questions from the survey and summarizes retirees’ most common responses.

Read the first report in the series, Part 1: Advice to Younger Generations, and the follow up: Part 3: Living in Retirement.

Key Findings

In This Report:
Four Q&As from Current Retirees

1. What life goals in retirement do you hope to accomplish for yourself in the next three years?
Travel topped the list of our respondents’ retirement planning goals they aim to accomplish in the next three years. The second and third most popular goals for middle-income retirees: to maintain or improve their health and lose weight.

2. What retirement goals have you done since you retired that you never imagined you would ever do?
With travel as the most common goal for middle-income retirees, it it’s not surprising that local and international trips are the top ranked experiences that respondents never imaged they would have in retirement. Some of the surveyed retirees focused on hobbies for retired men and hobbies for retired women, such as going to concerts, pursuing art, buying a boat and showing dogs.

3. What costs more in retirement than you thought it would?
Of course, the luxury of pursing one’s personal retirement goals is only possible if you have the nest egg to support all your expenses, plus your leisure activities. When asked about what costs more in retirement than they thought it would, our respondents said that health care tops the list of expenses that cost more in retirement than anticipated.

4. What Has Been Your Biggest Health and Wellness Surprise About Being Retired?
Here’s some good news on the health front: Nearly one in four (23%) retirees say that their biggest health surprise so far has been feeling in better health than they had imagined. With good health comes more opportunity to pursue your life goals in retirement!
Check out the complete study for all of the retirement planning goals for younger generations.