The biggest retirement fears among Baby Boomers

Despite being called the ‘Golden Years,’ retirement is not always easy. The combined challenges of saving enough to live on, frequently declining health, and limited mobility can make retirement a difficult period for many people.

According to a 2010 survey from Allianz Life Insurance Company, Baby Boomers in the United States shared that their biggest retirement-related fears were a combination of health and financial concerns, with the apprehension of outliving their retirement savings topping the list,

Health is a major concern among Baby Boomers“One of the things in the study that was surprising to us was the level of fear,” Katie Libbe, vice president of Allianz, told in an interview. “It was greater than we anticipated.”
The study spoke with more than 3,000 Americans aged 44 to 75, and found the biggest fear among 61% of the population was running out of money in retirement, whereas 39% feared death more.

One year later, in 2001, AARP commissioned a study of people aged 50 and over, and found that another common concern among Baby Boomers was the fear of not maintaining their current lifestyle during their retirement years. Sixty-two percent of respondents agreed with that statement. Additionally, more than running out of money and maintaining their current lifestyle, many American Baby Boomers feared crime.

Eighty-one percent of respondents said they were concerned about consumer fraud, with 72 per cent afraid of identity theft, and 64 per cent were on the lookout for deceiving businesses which could hurt their investments.

Outside of financial concerns, the AARP survey found older Americans are, for the most part, hoping to live out their years in their own homes (41 per cent). Nearly one-third (29 per cent) are concerned about losing their ability to drive as they get older.

Szifra Birke, a retirement consultant based outside Boston, Massachusetts, told in a recent interview that although her clients tend to be higher net-worth, their concerns are frequently outward-focused.

“Their biggest concerns are less likely to include finances, but the one that does come up is ‘I think I have enough money, but you never know,” Birke said.

She added that other top concerns she has heard from clients include: ‘What will I do with my time in retirement,’ ‘My spouse wants me to retire, and I’m not ready,’ and ‘My spouse wants something different from retirement than I do.’

Regardless of your financial position, and what you are looking for out of retirement, speaking with a competent retirement advisor and seeking out relevant advice online are great early steps.