Retirees who think prior generations had it better than today’s most likely don’t realize just how good they’ve got it. That’s one of the conclusions you could draw from a fascinating report prepared by United Income titled “The State of Retirees: How Longer Lives Have Changed Retirement.”
It compares the health, wealth and daily life of current retirees to those from the 20th century. Here are some of the intriguing findings:
- The average remaining life expectancy for 60-year-olds has increased by almost nine years since 1900. This means many of today’s retirees would no longer be alive if they lived the average lifespan of prior generations.
- In addition to longer lives, 62 percent of current retirees are without physical or cognitive limitations, an increase of 25 percent since 1963. Almost three out of four of today’s retirees report they have no difficulty walking one-fourth of a mile and that they’re in good or excellent health. Even more report they have no difficulties remembering.
- The percentage of retirees who are living on the equivalent of the minimum wage has dropped from 28 percent in 1989 to 15 percent in 2016.
- The median amount of wealth held by retirees, expressed in 2016 dollars, has increased from $134,995 in 1989 to $206,600 in 2016, an increase of more than 50 percent. The average wealth has increased even more, from $359,307 in 1989 to $752,333 in 2016, an increase of more than 100 percent.
The United Income report is consistent withproduced by the Stanford Center on Longevity (SCL). For example, according to SCL, the average length of retirement for men in 1950 was eight years, increasing to 19 years by 2010. In 1959, roughly one-third of people age 65 and older lived in poverty. The United Income report shows this amount had dropped to 12 percent by 2016.