The State of Retirement: Healthier, Wealthier, and Living Longer

May 11, 2018 / Amanda Chase, Horsesmouth Assistant Editor

According to a new report from United Income, current retirees are healthier, wealthier, and living longer than any previous generation. The report, called “The State of Retirees: How Longer Lives Have Changed Retirement,” used a wide range of data from other surveys concerning retirees’ health, finances, time use, politics, and geography.

Their major findings include:

  • The average life expectancy of 60-year-olds has increased by 58% since 1900, or by almost nine years. And 62% of retirees are without physical or cognitive limitations, an increase of over 25% since 1963.
  • Average wealth among retirees increased by over 100% since 1989, now amounting to $752,000 in total wealth.
  • The largest change in activity is a near doubling of the amount of time retirees watch TV over the past 40 years, now adding up to almost three hours every day for the average retiree. In fact, for every 10 minutes of time added onto the life of a retiring 60-year-old, the share of time spent in front of a TV increased by about 1 minute, compared to a 20-second increase in the amount of time spent on physical activities.
  • Retirees are increasingly staying put and living in more expensive suburbs near urban areas instead of moving out to less expensive rural areas. Similarly, there is no relationship between the popularity of a state among retirees and the state's weather, tax burdens, or crime rate.
  • The percentage of retirees living on the minimum wage or less dropped in half over the past 30 years, and the share of retirees living below the poverty line decreased by more than 10% during the ssame time period.

The researchers conclude, “Although that additional vigor and wealth has initially been consumed largely with more hours in front of a TV, this group has tremendous civic potential that could be unlocked through creative market or public policy leadership, including potentially volunteer incentives or a new tax-incentivized bond fund that aggregates the $14T in financial assets held by U.S. retirees to address the broad educational, transportation, and building infrastructure needs facing the U.S.”


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