Retirees Are the Most Content and Relaxed Americans

A study finds that one stage of life is a particularly happy time for most Americans.

Retirees Are the Most Content and Relaxed Americans Photo (cc) by ballymorebugle

The “leisure boom” is upon us.

As baby boomers continue retiring in droves, an estimated 2.5 trillion hours of leisure time will be created among people age 65 and older over the next two decades, according to a new study from Merrill Lynch and Age Wave.

It found that between 2010 and 2020, the number of Americans in the “time affluent” stage of life (people ages 65 and older) will surpass the number of Americans in the most “time constrained” stage (ages 35-44) for the first time.

The study, titled “Leisure in Retirement: Beyond the Bucket List,” examined the priorities, hopes, dreams and challenges of leisure during retirement.

For the study, 3,712 adults ages 25 and older were surveyed. The greatest share of the respondents — 2,170 — were baby boomers (ages 51-69), followed by 682 members of the silent generation (70-90).

The survey results indicate that retirees are finding their newfound time affluence — technically defined as an average of 7.5 hours of daily leisure time — to be enjoyable and beneficial. For example:

  • Respondents ages 65-74 rated the amount of fun they’re having in their current stage of life higher than any other age group, averaging 7.3 on a scale of 1 to 10. Respondents ages 75 and older (7.1 out of 10) and ages 55-65 (6.4 out of 10) followed.
  • Respondents ages 65-74 were most likely to say they often feel happy (76 percent), content (71 percent) and relaxed (72 percent).
  • Respondents ages 65-74 and ages 75 and older were least likely to say they often feel anxious (12 percent for both groups), followed by ages 55-64 (19 percent).

The report explains:

Between ages 61-75, retirees reach the pinnacle of freedom, the “freedom zone,” where they enjoy the greatest balance of health, free time, fun, and emotional well-being.

What’s your take on leisure in retirement? Share your thoughts with us below or on Facebook.

Karla Bowsher
Karla Bowsher
I’m a freelance journalist and former newspaper reporter who has covered both personal and public finance. I've worked for a top 50 major metro daily and a community newspaper as well as ... More


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