Most Baby Boomers Retiring on their Own Terms

Most recent retirees say they felt in control of their decision to retire, though many surveyed say they felt emotional strains due to adjustments such as getting a new routine and losing connections to former colleagues.

Most recent retirees say they felt in control of their decision to retire, though many surveyed say they felt emotional strains due to adjustments such as getting a new routine and losing connections to former colleagues.

The findings come from a new survey by Ameriprise Financial. The survey included 1,000 newly retired Baby Boomers, ages 60-73 who had at least $100,000 in investable assets.

Overall, 76% of Boomers surveyed said they were “in control” of their decision to retire. Only 16% said they were either forced to retire by their employer or were offered incentives to leave early.

Asked what factors most contributed to their feeling of preparedness for retirement, 53% cited physical health and 52% cited emotional preparedness.

“This study finds that choosing a retirement date can be as much an emotional decision as a financial one,” said Marcy Keckler, vice president of financial advice strategy at Ameriprise, in a press release.

Three-quarters of respondents said they are “very satisfied” with their retirement life, and 31% said there was “nothing difficult” about transitioning to retirement.

However, the majority said they experienced at least some strains. For instance, 37% said it was hard losing connections to colleagues; 32% said they had difficulty getting used to a new routine; and 22% said they had trouble finding meaningful ways to pass the time.

Still, more than half, 52%, said they have less free time than they expected. Forty-three percent said they are having more fun than expected.

The survey also looked at how financial factors contributed to retirement timing. Notably, only 29% of respondents in this survey said eligibility for Social Security or Medicare was the “driving factor” behind their retirement timing. However, 94% said it was “extremely” or “somewhat” important that they felt financially confident about retirement before leaving work behind.

“In reality, emotional and financial preparation goes hand-in-hand,” Keckler said.