In order to live any kind of a satisfying retirement life, seniors will expect at a minimum those things that fulfill their basic needs. Beyond what retirees “want”, we are talking about what they “need”. It seems a reasonable expectation after having contributed to society throughout our working careers. But reasonable for Baby Boomers may be something other than what you might expect.
The internet and all that it connects us to has become a staple of our every day lives. Few of us would dream of not logging in first thing in the morning to respond to new emails, check what is new on our Facebook, and catch up on world news as it happens. So it does not sound too outlandish to consider an internet connection a “basic need” which is just how baby boomers chimed in according to a recent Mainstay Investment’s survey .
The survey was conducted with 1049 consumers between the age of 45 and 65 aiming to identify and understand what constitutes basic needs as opposed to luxuries. In addition to the “internet connection” above, the following were considered basic needs by Boomers:
- Shopping for birthday and special occasion
- Healthcare coverage (98% said this is not a luxury but a basic need)
- Pet care
- Annual family vacation or weekend getaway
- Professional hair cut/color
- Funding children/grandchildren education
A little more than the food, clothing and shelter that makes up other list of basic needs. I mean I love my pets and maybe on a lonely night when Orange Julius slithers up onto my lap to offer encouraging purrs, I could even go so far as to say he is meeting my “need”. But in the cold light of day, the old cat is more of a luxury than a basic need for this Baby Boomer. However boomers have never been ones to go along with the status quo.
The good news is that in order to achieve these basic needs, future retiring boomers are willing to work harder now to save more and even delay retirement to a later date if necessary. ” 76% of pre-retirees are willing to work longer and save more today to live more comfortably tomorrow.” At least they say they are willing to do this. Close to 50% do not even have a financial advisor to help them negotiate the retirement journey. And one still common fear expressed by retirees is outliving their retirement savings. Although boomers know they need to save more for retirement, the reality is that baby boomers as a whole have not adequately saved for retirement.
And as for the prospect of early retirement, in Phil Taylor’s article “5 reasons you won’t retire early”, he overviews behaviors that threaten to impede your efforts including not saving enough, not saving effectively, and not willing to adjust your lifestyle. If you want to retire early or otherwise, you need to be tuned into the realities of retirement life, understand what it will take to meet your wants and needs, and do something about it now.
So we want it all but at some point need to realize that we will have to pay the piper. Saving, planning and preparing today are necessary if we hope to fulfill our needs upon retirement, be they basic or luxury or some combination. It may be daunting to contemplate forgoing some luxuries today for a delayed gratification promised tomorrow – not something we boomers are particularly good at. But we all need to take responsibility for our own future. Retirement can be our time to live the life we want and do what we want to do. Boomers have a vision of how we want retirement to look and it goes well beyond simply meeting our basic needs. The ultimate question is what are we willing to do today to assure our happy landings into retired life. The clock is ticking…
Don’t forget to pick up a free copy of my Navigating the Retirement Jungle, available upon request by mailing to firstname.lastname@example.org.