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Survey Reveals America’s Ideal Retirement Lifestyle

When you envision your retirement lifestyle, do you picture yourself relaxing in a hammock—or do you want to hit the open road in an RV, seeing as many sites as you can all over the country? Do you plan on retiring early, or do you have a job that you love and want to keep as long as possible?

We wanted to find out the answers to these questions and more, so we surveyed 2,000 Americans to ask them about their dream retirement. In our survey, respondents told us everything from their ideal retirement age to where they’d like to be living when they retire.

Let’s take a look at how Americans ideally want to spend their golden years.

Dreaming about Retirement

According to our survey results, 52% of Americans think about retirement four or more times per week—undoubtedly triggered by stressful commutes and long hours at the office.

But at what age do Americans expect this daydream of retirement to become a reality? Our survey reveals that the dream age to retire for baby boomers is 64 while millennials, the much younger generation, have a dream retirement age of 56.

We also wanted to know whether or not a dream retirement means staying here in the United States or moving abroad to experience a different way of life. A staggering 78.7% of our survey said they preferred to stay right here while an adventurous 21.3% said a dream retirement means moving abroad.

The Ideal Retirement Place and Space

There’s a reason why warm, sunny places are a cliché for retirees. Not only is the weather great, but they also provide year-round fun and relaxation for seniors who like to get outside. So, do all future retirees dream of a sunny space to live out their twilight years, or a small town, or do they crave a big city with access to public transportation?

According to our survey, the No. 1 city in America to retire is Miami, followed by San Diego, Denver, New York and Orlando, which rounded out the top five. The rest of the top 20 were warm and beautiful Honolulu, Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Dallas, Las Vegas, Austin, Houston, Tampa, Boulder, Charleston, Sarasota, Nashville and Asheville.

In addition to the dream retirement city, we also wanted to know what the ideal home for retirement would be. Our survey revealed that the ideal home for retirement would be a one-story ranch in a coastal or beach setting. There was, however, some disagreement on the square footage of this dream home. While baby boomers preferred a neat and tidy 1,510 square foot home, millennials needed a bit more space with an optimal square footage of 1,890.

Retirement by the Numbers

To those young employees in the workforce, retirement may seem like a lifetime away, but the reality is that it’s best to plan early in order to enjoy a dream retirement. However as many as 43% of millennials have less than $5,000 in their retirement accounts.

But how much money do you need to have a nice, enjoyable retirement? Our survey reveals that the ideal savings to have by retirement is $610,000—with millennials saying that it should be $687,000 and baby boomers saying it should be around $574,000. However, these numbers don’t quite match up with what people believe will actually be in their bank accounts. Realistically, the amount our survey respondents expected to have saved by retirement is $276,000.

Lifestyles of the Retired

Can you imagine a life outside of work? When you’re retired, you’ll have a lot of spare time to fill. So, what will you do with it?

Many retirees quit their day jobs, but go onto part-time jobs just to pass the time. The gig economy has sprouted many twilight careers such as Uber driving, which 12% of our survey said they would consider after retirement, or dog walking through apps like Wag or Rover, which 27% of our survey said they would think about taking on after retirement. Overall, 53% of our survey respondents said that they would work part-time when they retired and 68% said they would volunteer.

When asked how they wanted to spend the majority of their time when they retired, 34.9% said they wanted to travel, 20.8% said they wanted to spend their time with family and 14.3% said they just wanted to relax. Other answers we received were spending time on their hobbies, seeing friends, starting a business, doing something creative—and 2.2% said they just wanted time to reflect.

Finally, according to our survey, the ideal retirement day broken down by the numbers would be: sleeping for 7-8 hours, watching TV for 1-2 hours, dining out for 1-2 hours, socializing for 2-3 hours, leisure activity for 3-4 hours and spending time working on their hobbies for 2-3 hours.

 

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