TomorrowMakers

What are the biggest regrets among senior citizens? Survey reveals their financial concerns

Retirement planning

Retirement doesn’t come easy. The key to comfortable old age is appropriate planning and preparation. However, a new study depicts contradicting results – people do not squirrel away adequate amounts, and they realise this a little too late.

A recent poll conducted by US-based student loan platform LendEDU among 1000 senior citizens (65 years or older) revealed the financial state of American seniors. Of the responders, a majority (55%) stated they had not saved adequately for their retirement, whereas 27% and 18% felt otherwise. The former segment thought that they had saved sufficiently, but the latter wasn’t entirely sure if they have accumulated enough money for a cushy retirement.

Related: Is 50 too late for me to start saving for retirement? 

 

Inadequate savings 

This ‘savings inadequacy’ highlights the fact that a huge obstacle that most people face is retirement planning. Not giving enough importance to saving for retirement is the primary reason for this outcome. What’s more, according to USA Today, nearly 20% of American seniors aged 65 and older are delaying retirement. It’s not because they want to but because they do not have an adequate amount to retire on!

Related: Steps you can take to manage your money better during retirement

Financial decisions made in their 20s 

Coming back to the LendEDU survey, another question put forth to participants was to name some financial decisions made in their 20s that they regret today. A part of the respondents (21%) swiftly concluded that not saving enough for retirement is the most regrettable thing. The responses indicated that 17% spent more than necessary on non-essential items, 12% felt they should have invested their money more effectively, and 10% said they incurred excessive debt that they should have tried to avoid.

Related: 4 things to know about senior citizen travel insurance plans

LendEDU asked one of those who took the poll for his comments on the subject. He said that until he was a little over 31, he kept putting off the idea of saving for retirement. He kept justifying his decision by thinking he could ‘catch up’ with long-term financial plans after seeing an increase in income. Only when he hit the thirties did he realise that the initial delay can have severe consequences.

RelatedWhat is the right age to start planning your retirement?

Understanding personal finance 

Another question asked seniors what they understand and know about personal finance today that they didn’t know when they were 25. “How to live within my means” was a dominant answer by 29% of those polled. Another 26% answered “how to budget”, while 16% said they now know how to save for retirement. Lastly, 15% said they finally understand how credit works.

A large proportion (46.9%) of the people who took the poll said they were dependent on life insurance and an even larger percentage (69.1 %) said they were severely reliant on social security solely due to the absence of savings for retirement.

Related: Senior citizen savings scheme: Why it makes a good addition to retirement planning

The scenario in India 

In India too, people are deferring retirement planning. Most millennials contribute money towards PPF (Public Provident Fund) or EPF (Employee Provident Fund), but their goals are only short or medium-term like buying a house, car, etc. Instead, they should be looking for ways to put away money for retirement and the best instruments that will help them deal with inflation in the long run. Many people are also unaware of when they should start planning for retirement. Another concern that Indians face is the need to support family members even after retirement.

Additionally, with improved medical facilities, the life expectancy in India is improving. This, in turn, puts a further strain on individuals as their retirement funds need to sustain them for longer periods. Becoming more aware of their situations and the rapidly changing economic environment is vital if they want to live out their retirement years in comfort and peace.