The Top 3 Ways Retirees Want to Be Remembered

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Older woman looking at a picture and remembering
Roman Samborskyi /

How do you want to be remembered? It’s a question often directed at famous people in interviews, but all of us likely think about how we hope those we have known will remember us.

Recently, Edward Jones and Age Wave talked to more than 11,000 adults and — among other things — asked those who are at least 15 years into retirement how they would like to be remembered.

Following are the top answers they gave, plus the rest.

My personal character

Gorodenkoff /

Respondents who have been retired for 15 or more years who cited this: 55%

Rich or poor, male or female, black or white — character is the thread that runs through all of our lives. It is also one of the few things over which we have almost complete control.

People with good character leave a legacy that stays with others for a lifetime. As the survey respondents clearly understand, that is tough to beat.

The experiences I shared with loved ones

Happy seniors /

Respondents who have been retired for 15 or more years who cited this: 55%

What do you treasure the most? A fancy home you once owned? Your first car? The toys from your childhood?

We’re guessing those things are nowhere on the list. It’s more likely you cherish:

  • The family trip to Yellowstone when you were 10.
  • Spring break with the college roommate who became your lifelong best friend.
  • Your child’s solo in her first school musical.

The memories we create with those we love help weave the tapestry of our lives. They are riches that no fat bank account could ever buy.

Others who have gone before us played a starring role in the moments we remember most. Now, we hope to have a similar place in memories of those who will remain after we’re gone.

My spouse/partner/family relationships

Grandparents with grandchildren
Monkey Business Images /

Respondents who have been retired for 15 or more years who cited this: 50%

Ever glimpse the loving look in your parents’ eyes as they talk over coffee 40 years into their marriage? Or maybe you’ve felt your aging spirit spark back to life the second your grandchildren walk through the door.

The ties that bind sustain us throughout life. Our loved ones are never far away, even if they no longer are physically here. And we hope others will someday feel the same way about us.

The rest

Senior man praying
Halfpoint /

Retirees listed three other ways they would like to be remembered. They are:

  • My faith or spirituality: 30%
  • My work or career accomplishments: 13%
  • The wealth I accumulated and bequeathed: 5%

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