Three-quarters of millionaire retirees were highly satisfied in their retirement, but satisfaction didn't change much more as net worth rose beyond that, and half of those with less than $250,000 in net worth were highly satisfied in retirement, according to a new survey.
The survey by Consumer Reports National Research Center polled 24,270 online subscribers age 55 and up about their finances and satisfaction with their lives. The results appear in the February issue of Consumer Reports. The survey found that retirees with regrets about past actions, opportunities missed, or misfortunes were less likely to be highly satisfied than those with no regrets. Fifty-seven percent of retirees in the survey said they had regrets about financial decisions they had made.
Twenty-one percent of retirees wished they had taken better care of their health, and nearly as many (19 percent) regretted not having developed lasting interests and friendships.
In its report, Consumer Reports offers 15 ways to ensure folks don't run out of money on their way to personal satisfaction, while they work and after they retire. Consumer Reports' survey respondents and the people they profiled in the story demonstrated their "best practices" that anyone can emulate. Employing just a few of them can pay off big-time in the long run. Here are some of the highlights:
• Live modestly. For those millions of Americans currently out of work or underemployed, that is not a choice. But even when times improve, living within your means has its benefits. Retirees in Consumer Reports' survey who were most satisfied with their situation credited living modestly as among the best steps they'd made earlier in life.
• Start saving early. The survey found that retirees who began saving and planning early—say, in their 30s—had a greater net worth: $1.1 million on average, compared with $868,000 for those who waited until their 40s, and $651,000 for those who started later. Thirty-nine percent of retirees said they regretted waiting to save.
• Work longer. Twenty percent of CR's survey respondents worked part-time in retirement; 37 percent of that group said they needed the income. But the psychological benefits of continued employment also were important to many. More than half said working made them feel useful; 38 percent said they enjoyed work too much to give it up.
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