People planning and saving for retirement these days aren’t as focused as their parents might have been on leaving a big chunk of change for their children.
That’s one finding in a recent Perspectives of Retirement Survey conducted by PNC. Most respondents indicated they want to enjoy life, feel financially secure and have peace of mind in their retirement, PNC reported in a news release.
“Specifically among those planning for retirement, three quarters (77 percent) listed living comfortably as a top goal, while 70 percent answered travel and 56 percent selected spending more time with family as top on their list,” the release stated, adding that, although they care about the future for their children and grandchildren, older baby boomers (those aged 65 to 75) are not looking to leave all of their money behind. Of that age bracket, 86 percent of those surveyed cite “living comfortably in retirement” as their top goal.
“That’s what I see in my own experience with people,” said Raleigh- based Katherine Kraeblen, a PNC senior wealth planner who also works with clients in Wilmington. “They are seeing that their kids are doing well, that they don’t need help. And this baby boomer generation have seen the effects when significant wealth is left to people.”
Scott Winslow, of Wilmington- based Nabell Winslow Investments & Wealth Management, said he wasn’t surprised at all at the PNC survey finding.
“It’s very much the truth,” he said, drawing a contrast between baby boomers and their parents’ generation.
“That [World War II] generation lived frugally because they had experienced the Great Depression,” Winslow continued. “They wanted to leave a legacy for their children. Baby boomers have been through two major market events: the tech bubble and the Great Recession. They are more focused on rising health care costs, and they know that people are living longer these days. They also have paid more money to put their children through college [than their parents did] – sometimes at their own peril.”
Baby boomers’ experience with major market shifts have left them wondering about their investments, Kraeblen said.
“There is worry about achieving their retirement goals,” she added, citing the three main concerns she sees in her clients: that they may not have enough money to last their lifetimes; that their nest egg may crack during market downturns; and that they may not be able to handle a worst-case scenario.
A second major trend reflected in the PNC survey is respondents’ attitude toward debt. More than a third of those surveyed (38 percent) are not actively paying off any expenses before retirement, while 31 percent are attempting to pay off their mortgage and 10 percent are paying down credit card debt, according to the survey report.
Low interest rates are a “huge” factor in older adults’ willingness to continue carrying mortgage debt, Winslow said. “They also have other options, like reverse mortgages, which didn’t used to exist, and which can be good options,” he said.