Listening to Middle-Income Americans Part 3: Life After Retirement

Do you ever daydream about what life after retirement is like? No setting the alarm, no commute, no difficult boss to please—and, of course, plenty of time to do whatever you want! Of course, there are downsides, too, when it comes to retirement life. Some people do miss the fulfillment a career can provide, as well as the income.

It can be difficult for younger generations to understand what retirement living is like, which 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 retirement sentiments can help younger generations prepare well for retirement, and also calm any pre-retirement anxiety they may be feeling, so they can experience living richly in retirement.

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 about retirement and good living and to share their real-world advice. Retirees weighed in with their perspective on American retirement life and what they miss most and least about their pre-retirement lifestyles. In Part 3, Living in Retirement, retirees shared their insight on:

  • Retirement living
  • Cost of living in retirement
  • Average life after retirement
  • And more!

Part 3, Life After Retirement, highlights four questions from the survey and summarizes retirees’ most common responses.

Read the first two reports in the series, Part 1: Advice to Younger Generations and Part 2: Health and Happiness.

Key Findings

Series Part 3: Life After Retirement
In This Report:


Four Q&As from Current Retirees

1. Can you share retirement sentiments about what you miss most about your pre-retirement life?
Interactions with co-workers, friends or students at work accounted for more than two-thirds (65%) of what current retirees miss most about their pre-retirement life. In fact, retirees missed their co-workers four times more than they missed the extra income of working (15%).

2. What do you miss least about your pre-retirement life?
While retirees did miss things about their pre-retirement life, there were plenty of things that they did not miss at all. One in four (25%) of middle-income retirees say stress at work is what they miss the least about their pre-retirement life. One retiree wrote in that “the stress in my life has reduced significantly” since retiring.

3. What has been the biggest lifestyle surprise when it comes to retirement living?
Retirees say that their biggest life after retirement surprise so far is just how much free time they have in retirement. Most respondents view free time as a positive lifestyle change; however, a trend among some respondents was that “sometimes there is too much free time” adding that it is often difficult to “fill a day.” One retiree shared a conundrum writing in that, “Having enough time to do anything you want does not guarantee you will have enough money to do anything you want.” If you want to experience living richly in retirement, it’s essential to save, save, save during your working years!

4. Where do you spend most of your time, other than home?
When asked where they spend most of their free time, other than at home, one-third (32%) of middle-income retirees are heading outdoors to enjoy their retirement.
Check out the complete study for all of the retirement and good living advice for younger generations.