Aging Americans think they'll retire about 6 years later than planned, but life will be great once they do

  • Older Americans are feeling good about retirement, and 82% report that they're expecting retirement to be exactly as planned, according to a survey by Charles Schwab.
  • Baby boomers aged 55 to 75 who haven't yet retired expect to work until an older age than already-retired boomers did, expecting to retire at age 66 instead of 59.
  • 84% of baby boomers expect their retirement to be better than their parents' retirement, and 80% expect their retirement to be better than their millennial children's retirement. 
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Today's generation of baby boomers are feeling pretty confident about their retirement, whether they're retired or planning to retire soon. 

In a survey of over 2,000 boomers aged 55 to 75, brokerage firm Charles Schwab found that baby boomers are feeling optimistic about what they've saved, and how they'll spend their time in retirement. 

On average, the people surveyed had retirement savings of $920,400. But that figure may be higher than the general population, as the retirees surveyed had a minimum of $100,000 in retirement savings, which may not be true of the population more broadly. Of the surveyed group, 82% felt certain that their retirement savings were sufficient to do all the things they hope to do in retirement. 

Boomers are working longer 

The average baby boomer who has already retired did so a while back, stopping work at age 59. But many are still working and don't expect to retire until later. 

According to the survey, boomers who have yet to retire will actually work a little bit longer than they may have expected. Most who have not yet retired expect to retire at age 66. And, of those who have not yet retired, 33% expect to work part-time in retirement. 

Additionally, boomers who are still working are less likely to feel the negative financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of those who are still working, only 25% say that they were impacted, while 45% of those who have retired in the past five years and 38% of those who have been retired more than five years felt affected. 

Boomers are optimistic about their retirement plans

Regardless of when they retire, boomers are feeling good about their savings and planning.

In general, 84% of boomers say that their retired life is or will be better than their parents' retirement. Today's retirees live longer than any generation in the past — the average 65 year old today lives to over 84, while the average 65 year old in 1980 lived three fewer years, according to data from the CDC. 

However, they're not so sure about their millennial children. About 80% of boomers expect that their retirement will be better than their children's retirement. And as a whole, that could be true — while millennials started saving earlier than other generations, they still don't have as much wealth as other generations did at the same age, Business Insider's Hillary Hoffower reports. And millennials may not get the same windfall their parents did, either — 65% of boomers said that they'd rather spend their money than leave their children with inheritances. 

Generation Z from Insider Intelligence

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