As the Baby Boom generation heads for retirement, the traditional notion that turning 65 automatically triggers retirement is changing.
And that is not all that new retirees will face when it comes to new retirement rules, according to Merrill Lynch’s latest Affluent Insights Survey released on Wednesday. New retirees must also grapple with more complex investment and health care decisions, Merrill Lynch’s survey found.
“In previous generations, it was ‘I turn 65, I retire, I take my pension and get a stream of income that’s pretty straight forward,’” David Tyrie, head of personal wealth and retirement at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said of the survey. “We’ve just officially abolished the notion that retirement equals 65.”
Merrill Lynch’s survey was conducted by phone in December by Braun Research. Participants include 1,000 U.S. residents ages 18 and up with more than $250,000 in investable assets.
Plans to put off retirement come as 51% of survey respondents who have not retired said they would delay retirement so that they could maintain their current standard of living. At the same time, 81% said they would be willing to reduce their living standards to make sure they had enough invested for retirement.
That includes 38% who said they would reduce daily spending; 35%, who said they would purchase fewer luxury items; 32% for limiting vacation spending; 27% who would keep their cars longer; 25% who would reduce the amount of inheritance they would leave; and 24% who would reduce the size of their homes.
Health care came in as a top financial concern for the respondents, with 79% citing concern about rising costs. At the same time, 62% of the respondents over age 50 said they have not calculated what health care will cost them in retirement.
The survey comes as the number of people who live to be 100 is expected to top 600,000 by 2050, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, up from almost 80,000 in 2010. While 58% of the respondents said they think of living to 100 positively, 75% said they would change their financial habits to prepare to live that long.
For financial advisors, all of those changing forces surrounding retirement call for different conversations with clients.
Topics the respondents most wanted to address more with their advisors include: planning for the possibility of living to 100, with 30%; cash flow and liquidity during retirement, 29%; addressing future and current financial issues, 26%; the retirement lifestyle they aspire to, 25%; rising health care costs and retirement, 25%; lifestyle and long-term financial security, 21%; and decisions surrounding Medicare coverage and other health issues, 17%.
Financial advisors need knowledge beyond traditional investing, such as the difference between Medicare Part A, Part B and Part D, to be fully prepared for those kinds of discussions with clients, according to Tyrie.
“Affluent investors are forcing the conversation to go much further than just general investing,” Tyrie said. “They’re forcing it to go to those broader aspects of retirement, like health care and longevity insurance.”
Merrill Lynch released preliminary results of the survey in January.
Lorie Konish writes for On Wall Street.
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