Are Millennials Rejecting Age-Based Retirement?

Millennials may be redefining retirement, and not in the way you might think.

In a new survey, more than 4 out of 10 (41%) Millennials said they expect to retire when they hit a certain financial milestone or savings goal, rather than attaining a specific age (cited by 35% of Boomers and 29% of Gen Xers), or no longer being able to work (33% Boomers; 33% Gen Xers), which are typical among older workers. Nearly 3 out of 10 (29%) Millennials expect to retire when they hit a career point – as do just 11% Boomers.

As for current retirees, they left the workforce when they:

  • 33% – hit a career point
  • 26% – hit a certain age
  • 22% – could no longer work due to health concerns
  • 10% – hit a financial milestone or savings goal

A Fresh Start

The survey of more than 1,000 mass affluent Americans finds that most (53%) Millennials view retirement as the start of something exciting. In fact, according to the latest Merrill Edge Survey, just over one in five (21%) expect their retirement priorities to include:

  • 10% – pursuing a passion;
  • 7% – furthering their education; or
  • 4% – starting/growing their own business.

Life in Retirement

As for those who are already in retirement, the survey of more than 1,000 mass affluent Americans found that, when asked what they have done in retirement that they didn’t expect to, retirees’ top responses were:

  • 30% – spent more money than anticipated
  • 19% – moving to a new location
  • 18% – feeling a lack of purpose

Top priorities of retirees also seem to differ from those of non-retirees, according to the survey. The retirees’ top priorities include:

  • 29% – maintaining their standard of living
  • 27% – spending time with loved ones
  • 23% – maintaining their health

And, though nearly one in five non-retirees hope to make traveling the world their top retirement priority, only 5% of retirees have prioritized traveling.

Oh, and one more way that there is a generation gap in retirement: 47% of Millennials believe the outcome of the 2016 presidential election will have a positive impact on their long-term financial goals, higher than any other generation (34% Gen X and 26% Boomers). On the other hand, 27% of Millennials think it will have a negative impact, as do 23% each among Boomers and Gen Xers.

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