Retirement is a significant milestone in life, and it’s essential to be as prepared as possible when it comes.
Knowing some key retirement facts and statistics can help you make more informed decisions about this important life phase.
To help you to compare different aspects of retirement, we’ve divided these stats into our trusty framework, the 5 Rings of Retirement:
- Growth — Lifelong learning, new experiences, meaningful work, brain plasticity, and embracing challenges
- Community — Relationships, friendships, social life, and engagement in your community
- Health — Diet, exercise, longevity, energy level, cognitive health, and physical, mental, and emotional health
- Giving Back — Sense of purpose, sharing your unique gifts, legacy, volunteering, gifting, and contributions
- Finance — Financial security, not outliving your money, budgeting, legacy, and estate planning
But let’s start with the basics — retirement age and demographics statistics.
Retirement Age & Demographics Statistics
- In 2021, the average retirement age in the US was 65 for men and 62 for women.
- The average retirement age in the US has increased by approximately three years in the last 30 years, from 62 to 65.
- Three out of 10 Americans believe they’ll never retire, and almost half (42%) attribute that to insufficient savings.
- The US has 10,000 people turning 65 every day.
Now that the basics are covered, let’s head into the first Ring of Retirement – Growth.
#1: Growth Retirement Statistics
Retirement is often seen as a time to kick back, relax, and take things easy. But we say retirement is just the beginning of a large growth journey.
You’re designed to evolve, change, and develop at every life stage, and your senior years in retirement are no different. It’s all about finding new ways to expand your horizons, continue learning and challenging yourself, and ultimately — living life to the fullest.
Education & Learning Statistics
- 73% of adults consider themselves lifelong learners, in contrast to only 42% of older adults.
- Dedication to lifelong learning increases life satisfaction in older adults.
- Each lifelong learner over 45 currently spends an average of $75 a year on their interests.
- Engaging in mentally challenging activities can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by 2.5 times in older adults.
- As people age, they tend to invest less in educational or training courses.
- On visual and short-term memory tests, older adults can achieve the same level of performance as young adults.
- Learning multiple new skills simultaneously improves older adults’ cognitive abilities to levels similar to those of 30-year-olds.
Hobbies & Leisure Activities Statistics
- On average, retirees spend 60% of their leisure time on passive, 25% on active, and 15% on social activities.
- The average daily engagement in leisure and sports activities was highest among individuals aged 75 and above in 2021, with an average of 7.7 hours spent on these activities daily.
- Retirees enjoy a variety of hobbies, including cooking, baking, reading, pet care, gardening, travel, outdoor activities, DIY projects, and arts and crafts.
Retirement Travel Statistics
- The top retirement dream for 62% of older adults worldwide is to travel.
- EU residents who were 65 years or older made up 23% of the total tourism nights spent for personal reasons.
- According to a recent AARP survey, 81% of adults aged 50 and over who intend to travel in 2023 think it is currently safe, but only 62% intend to travel.
- A study examined how traveling impacts mortality in seniors and found that it decreases mortality rates by 36.6%.
- Most older travelers (85%) consider travel as one of their top three priorities for discretionary spending, which is considerably higher than other types of expenses.
- 40% of baby boomers are planning the trip of a lifetime, and the top types of holidays planned include city breaks (43%), beach holidays (40%), luxury trips (37%), and cruises (38%).
- 52% of older adults travel for personal reasons such as leisure, holidays, and recreation, while 37% travel to visit family or friends.
- 43% of adults over 65 participate in a travel loyalty program.
- Individuals 65 years old and above are expected to take twice as many international trips in 2025 as in 2017.
- City sightseeing (89.3%), visiting historical places (88.1%), dining at restaurants (85.7%), and shopping (77.4%) are the most popular tourist activities among seniors.
- According to the SoloTraveler World survey, most solo travelers are older adults.
- 40% of baby boomers have already taken a solo trip, and 21% plan to do so.
#2: Community Retirement Statistics
We all know the importance of social interaction in our lives. It’s like the oxygen you breathe – you can’t survive without it. And this rings especially true as you enter retirement.
Our families, friends, partners, and even strangers can significantly influence our overall well-being and happiness. Let’s take a look at some of the retirement statistics in the Retirement Ring of Community…
- Individuals aged 65 and above consider having family members nearby to be extremely important, with 44% affirming this statement. In comparison, 38% of individuals aged 50 to 64, 33% of those aged 18 to 29, and 31% of those aged 30 to 49 think the same.
- Approximately 24% of Americans between the ages of 55 and 64, as well as 21% of those who are 65 or older, are currently residing with family members from different generations in the same house.
- According to a survey, seniors aged 65 and above believe that the greatest advantage of growing old is the opportunity to spend more time with their families. When asked to mention the perks of aging, 28% of the respondents mentioned having more time to spend with family, while 25% mentioned the joy of spending time with their grandchildren.
- Only 16.5% of older Americans were childless in 2016.
- Both adult children and parents are equally concerned about each other in every aspect except for health.
- Almost all (97%) of American adults who have regular communication with their adult children at least once a month communicate via phone, while 61% communicate via text messages.
- According to a survey from Savings.com, more than half of parents (51%) of adults children support them financially.
- While 76% of Americans believe that adult children should financially support their parents if needed, only 50% believe that parents should financially support their adult children if they face financial difficulties.
- 65% of older adults think parents do too much for their children.
- Among parents who are 65 and older, only 12% depend more on their children than their children depend on them. Another 14% state that their children rely on them more. The majority of 58% reported that neither of them depends on each other, while 13% mentioned that they rely on each other equally.
- According to a recent study, 38% of parents choose not to discuss their retirement finances with their adult children at all.
- As many as 8% of older adults are estranged from their adult children.
- Having a poor relationship with children increases mortality rates by up to 30%.
- The average age of grandparents in the US was 67 years.
- Most Americans (83%) ages 65 and older say they have grandchildren.
- Here’s how long-distance grandparents (52%) are utilizing technology to stay connected:
- According to a Croatian study, the emotional significance of the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren is second only to that of parents and children.
- A study on the brain activity of 50 grandmothers confirms the existence of the “grandmother hypothesis.” It was found that grandmothers displayed higher levels of emotional empathy towards their grandchildren compared to their own children.
- According to a study by Grandkids Matter:
- 72% think being a grandparent is the single most important and satisfying thing in their life
- 63% say they can do a better job caring for grandchildren than they did with their own children
- 68% think being a grandparent brings them closer to their adult children
- 90% enjoy talking about their grandkids to just about everyone
- 73% of grandparents rated their performance as high and reported that they enjoy their role as grandparents.
- Discipline is the top disagreement (57%) among parents and grandparents on raising children, followed by meals and snacks, screen time, manners, and health and safety.
- 72% of American grandparents who have taken care of their grandchild in the last 12 months have done occasional babysitting, while only 22% have done it regularly.
- 10% of grandparents live with their grandchildren.
- Older adults experience more positive social interactions and higher satisfaction levels,feel more supported by their close social ties, have less problematic relationships and experience less conflict overall.
- Older adults have smaller social networks than younger adults, but the number of close friends is unrelated to age.
- In fact, a recent Gallup poll found that, on average, individuals aged 65 and above have 13 close friends, which is more than younger age groups.
- A study about social connections before and after retirement discovered that the level of inner and middle social connections does not decrease significantly after retirement.
- 83% of over 55s feel it’s never too late in life to create fulfilling relationships in their later years.
- However, making friends in adulthood is challenging due to lack of time, low trust and introversion.
- Compared to younger individuals, seniors tend to value sensitivity in their friendships and are more likely to socialize with people from different age groups.
- As you grow older, the influence of your friends on your health and overall well-being becomes greater, surpassing even that of your family.
- Engaging in social-friendship and social-cultural activities is linked to lower mortality rates in seniors.
Marriage, Dating & Intimacy Statistics
- The majority of adults aged 60 or above have been married. To be precise, 91% of men and 92% of women between 60-69 years, and 95% of both men and women aged 70 or older have been married.
- The rate of divorce after age 50 nearly doubled from 1990 to 2015.
- Retirement initially negatively impacts marriage (primarily due to division of household labor).
- More than half (53.3%) of elderly husbands and wives stated that their marriage had improved as time went on.
- Among older adults, women report higher marital satisfaction than men.
- Around 25% to 50% of married older adults experience moderate to severe emotional or social loneliness.
- Among those 75 years or older who had ever married, 58% of women and 28% of men had experienced the death of a spouse.
- 20% of older adults have married twice, and 5-10% married three or more times.
- Approximately 36% of older adults are single.
- Roughly 14% of older adult singles are in dating relationships.
- Only 13% of older adults have used a dating site or an app, and 5% had a successful, committed relationship through those platforms.
- 40% of older Americans are still sexually active, while 54% of older couples continue to have sexual intercourse.
- A study conducted in the United States involving sexually active individuals aged 75 to 85 years found that 54% engage in sexual activity two to three times per month, while 23% engage in sexual activity at least once per week.
Social Isolation & Loneliness Statistics
- COVID-19 pandemic led to increase in loneliness of older adults and it still holds a negative impact on seniors’ social lives.
- 27% of Americans aged 60 and over are living alone, and 43% report feeling lonely on a regular basis.
- Senior loneliness is mainly caused by a gap between the expectations of relationships and their reality.
- In 2023, a study on loneliness found that 34% of adults aged 50-80 reported feeling isolated from others in the previous year. Additionally, 33% of older adults had infrequent contact with individuals outside of their household — 14% had contact once a week, 10% every 2-3 weeks, and 9% only once a month or less.
- Approximately one-quarter (24%) of community-dwelling Americans aged 65 and older are considered to be socially isolated.
- Among individuals aged 50-80, those who used social media reported feeling more isolated than those who did not use social media (58% compared to 51%).
- Loneliness puts you at a 59% greater risk of mental and physical decline.
- Social isolation was associated with about a 27% increased risk of dementia.
#3: Senior Health Statistics
As you approach your golden years, it’s important to keep tabs on your health. But it’s not just about physical fitness – mental and emotional well-being matter, too.
When it comes to senior health statistics, the numbers don’t lie: the risk of chronic illness and disease increases with age.
But here’s the good news – by taking a holistic approach to your health, you can slow down the aging process and prevent a host of health problems. Staying active, eating healthy, and nurturing your mental and emotional health improve your quality of life and live independently longer.
Mental Health Statistics
- CDC estimates that one in five older adults experience mental health problems, most commonly anxiety and depression.
- The suicide rate is the highest among older men over the age of 65.
- Primary care physicians provided mental health services to over 55% of older adults seeking treatment, while mental health professionals treated less than 3% of those aged 65 and above.
- In 2020, the US saw more than 5,000 people aged 65 or older die from drug overdoses, and over 11,616 deaths were caused by alcohol-related reasons.
- Around the world, approximately one out of every six individuals 60 years of age or older have encountered some type of elder abuse.
- There’s promising news in that over half (53%) of older adults meditate at least once weekly.
- A recent study on the perceptions of mental health in older adults found that 79.6% of participants reported their mental health being the same or improved compared to 20 years ago, while 18.6% stated that it has worsened. In addition, the study revealed that most respondents (87.3%) feel comfortable discussing their mental health, with 30.6% preferring to discuss it with their primary care provider.
Cognitive Health Statistics
- Almost 10% of older adults have dementia, while 22% have mild cognitive impairment.
- Some memory loss is experienced by 27% of individuals aged 75-84 and 20% of those aged 65-74.
- Memory loss is typically associated with normal aging and usually starts to occur between the ages of 50 and 60.
- A third of seniors die with dementia, killing more than breast and prostate cancer combined.
- Nearly half of all North Americans will be affected by Alzheimer’s by the time they reach age 85.
- The American Academy of Neurology predicts that these rates will triple over the next 40 years unless we take major preventative action.
Physical Health Statistics
- Life expectancy at 65 in the US is 18.4 years.
- The leading causes of death for older adults in 2021 were heart disease, cancer, and COVID-19.
- The World Health Organization reported that 81.5% of older adults globally experience chronic conditions, and the risk of chronic conditions was greater among the oldest-old, those who smoke tobacco or drink alcohol, and those who live in rural areas.
- One-third of older adults fall every year.
- Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall.
- As many as 41% of adults aged over 60 are obese in the US.
- Adults lose muscle mass at a rate as high as 3-8% per decade after the age of 30.
- At least 10% of the older population doesn’t meet the required micronutrient standards.
- Older adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise weekly.
- According to the CDC, almost a third of adults over the age of 50 don’t engage in any physical activity.
- Most pre-retirees claim they’ll eat healthier and get more exercise during retirement (48%), yet retirement reality looks more like wishful thinking.
- Almost half of middle-aged and older adults claim they don’t have time for physical activity.
- Strength training can offset natural bone and muscle loss in seniors.
Senior Care & Assisted Living Statistics
- Out of adults aged 65 and above, 7% require assistance from others with personal care.
- Approximately 70% of people who reach the age of 65 today may need long-term care services and assistance for the rest of their lives. Additionally, on average, women require care longer (3.7 years) than men (2.2 years).
- In 2016, long-term care services were provided by; 28,900 assisted living and similar residential care facilities, 15,600 nursing home facilities, 12,200 home health agencies, 4,600 adult day care centers, and 4,300 hospice agencies.
#4: Giving Back Retirement Statistics
Whether it’s through volunteering at a local organization, mentoring young people, or donating to causes near and dear to your heart, giving back can be a powerful way to share your unique gifts with the world.
It’s worth mentioning a big caveat — it’s important to brainstorm well beyond traditional forms of giving back.
As in, find clarity first and contribute in a way that’s truly unique to you and your unique gifts – the way you help others and who you help need to be intrinsically motivating you.
Otherwise, we have found that it’s very common for people to “try on” popular or stereotypical forms of volunteering in retirement and lose steam right away because it’s not a good fit (which makes sense because everyone is different).
That being said, once you find the right volunteer opportunity, the giver often benefits more so than the receiver.
- More than 60% of older adults engage in some form of giving back and volunteering.
- Volunteers between 61-70 spend more time volunteering than any other age group.
- Older individuals with higher levels of education, higher incomes, work part-time or full-time, are married and have a spouse who also volunteers are more likely to participate in organized volunteer efforts.
- Volunteering significantly helps older adults regain a sense of purpose and identity.
- Older adults who volunteered reported strengthened levels of self-esteem and self-confidence.
- Volunteering benefits build up over time, and older adults who volunteered performed better on working memory and processing tasks.
- On average, baby boomers donate $1,212 to charity per person yearly. And 43% of all donations made each year come from baby boomers, with 72% of the generation donating.
#5: Finance Retirement Statistics
While finance is an essential piece of the retirement puzzle, in our book – its purpose is to help fuel your retirement dreams, wishes, desires, and goals in the other 4 Rings of Retirement.
And remember, it’s never too late to start taking control of your financial future. So let’s take a look at the numbers to help you better understand where you are – and where you want to go.
Retirement Savings & Income Statistics
- In 2022, on average, Americans over the age of 65 have around $280k saved up for retirement. However, the median paints a different picture with only $87.7k saved.
- 40% of workers and 25% of retirees who lack confidence in their retirement savings attribute it to having insufficient or no savings.
- 55% of Americans are behind on retirement savings.
- Social Security is the primary source of income for almost 60% of retirees, while only 35% rely on pensions as their main source of income.
- According to a 2023 Retirement Confidence survey, in the past 12 months, 40% of workers and 58% of retirees have reported a decrease in their retirement account balances.
- Over 50% of Americans fear they’ll outlive their retirement savings.
- According to a 2019 research study by Northwestern Mutual, 22% of adults in the United States have saved less than $5,000 for retirement, and another 15% have no retirement savings at all.
- The average American will need at least $1.1 million to retire comfortably.
- On average, women in the US have a total retirement savings of $57,000, while men have an average of $118,000 in total retirement savings.
Senior Spending Statistics
- The average American spends over $65,000 per year, and that number doesn’t change too drastically once you reach retirement ($49,441).
- Between 31-35% of expenditures for US adults over 65 years old goes towards housing, while 13-14% is spent on food. Apparel and entertainment make up a smaller percentage of spending, with only 3-5% of expenditures allocated towards them.
- Overall, the mean yearly senior spending is $27,902 in the US, and the median is $19,476.
- The median annual costs of healthcare in the US for 2021 were: $108,405 for a private room in a nursing home, $54,000 for an assisted living facility, and $61,776 for a home health aide.
Phew – that’s a lot of retirement statistics. May they guide you to your best retirement life.
Looking Beyond The Numbers
The retirement statistics presented in this article paint an interesting picture of the current state of the retiree demographic.
From growth and community to health, giving back, and finances, various key data points showcase a snapshot of how retirees live today.
While numbers can provide insight, they don’t tell the full story. Each individual has their own unique retirement experience and their own unique path to their best life experience.
It’s important to think beyond the numbers and put your own priorities and circumstances into context when planning your retirement journey.
May the less-than-ideal retirement statistics, facts, and figures motivate you to be better. And may the promising retirement statistics comfort you as a solid starting point.
Either way, here’s to always striving to be your best.
As always, we’re here if you want help turning your retirement years into your best years – feel free to check out our free workshop on How to Live a Purposeful Retirement Life.