The baby boomer generation is straddling retirement. The youngest boomers are not quite in their 60s, but many of this generation are already living out their golden years while others drawing close to retirement are facing their fears.
Those fears are more urgent than those of people who have decades to go until retirement. And the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies examined the biggest ones in a recent study, which gathered opinions from 1,100 boomers, among others from younger generations.
Here’s a look at the biggest retirement fears of baby boomer workers and how common they are.
9. Finding meaningful ways to spend time and stay involved
Baby boomers who cited this among their greatest retirement fears: 18%
If your sense of purpose or social life is tied up in your career, the transition to not working can be especially challenging.
More than two-thirds of retirees say a sense of purpose is important for their well-being, so it may seem surprising there aren’t more baby boomers naming this a top fear. But perhaps most recognize they’ll have time and space to figure it out without the daily pressures and distractions of work.
The generation most commonly worried about maintaining meaning is Generation Z, among whom 24% foresee this issue.
8. Lack of access to adequate, affordable health care
Baby boomers who cited this among their greatest retirement fears: 23%
Baby boomers and Gen Z (20%) are less concerned than Generation X or millennials about having the health care they need in retirement.
Currently, health care spending consumes about 13% of senior households’ income, as we reported in “How Much Retirees Actually Spend on Health Care in the U.S.”
7. Not meeting my family’s basic financial needs
Baby boomers who cited this among their greatest retirement fears: 24%
The baby boomer generation was the least worried among the four in the study about meeting the financial needs of family, perhaps because they have a clearer sense than younger folk of both those needs and the money they’ll have available in retirement.
6. Losing my independence
Baby boomers who cited this among their greatest retirement fears: 28%
Older generations are largely on the same page concerning the loss of independence to age, with boomers, millennials and Gen X all within a percentage point of each other in citing it as a significant fear. Meanwhile, Generation Z is slightly more likely (30%) to worry about depending on others in retirement.
5. Cognitive decline
Baby boomers who cited this among their greatest retirement fears: 31%
Nearly a third of baby boomers name the risk of dementia as a great fear, and that is reflected in the amount of research being done to prevent it. Studies have identified several lifestyle changes that could help to lower our risk of dementia.
4. Possible long-term care costs
Baby boomers who cited this among their greatest retirement fears: 34%
Nursing home care can cost more than $100,000 per year, a daunting fact that leads many to ask: “Should I Buy Long-Term Care Insurance?”
Because health issues can limit your ability to get this coverage, it’s important to weigh that decision early — preferably in your 50s when premiums will also be more affordable.
3. Declining health that requires long-term care
Baby boomers who cited this among their greatest retirement fears: 41%
If the potential expense of long-term care is scary, the idea of being someone who needs it is even more so. One way to empower yourself is to identify which senior living facilities are rated most highly by their residents.
2. Outliving my money
Baby boomers who cited this among their greatest retirement fears: 45%
Nearly half of baby boomers fear running out of money almost more than anything else about retirement.
Many still have time to shore up retirement funds. But even for those that don’t, it’s possible to correct course by adjusting expectations and focusing on lowering bills and eliminating debt.
1. Reductions in or the end of Social Security
Baby boomers who cited this among their greatest retirement fears: 46%
Nearly half of baby boomers share the fear Social Security won’t be there, or at least won’t be enough, when they are retired.
That fear is more than twice as common for boomers as for members of Generation Z, who may have faith there’s time to fix the system or simply not have Social Security on their radar yet.
While we can’t personally control what the federal government does about the program, there are several mistakes we can avoid to ensure we get as much in benefits as possible.