The majority of people under the age of 80 don’t feel old until they lose their independence and their health, according to a survey of high wealth investors by UBS Wealth Management Americas.
Only 47 percent of those between the ages of 70 and 79 felt they were old, compared to 77 percent of those over age 80.
UBS asked survey respondents which life events make a person old. Seventy-one percent said they would be old when they can no longer live in their own homes; 67 percent when they can no longer drive; 45 percent when they start forgetting things and 37 percent when they have a serious health issue or diagnosis.
People are living longer, which has changed their perspective on retirement. Because of this longevity, their retirement savings will have to last longer, sometimes more than 30 years, and their income needs will change throughout those 30 years depending on their current situation.
UBS divided retirement into three phases: transition, my time and the last Waltz.
They don’t need as much income during their transition from work to retirement but need more during their “My Time” segment, as they want to focus on travel and leisure. The Last Waltz is when people start relaxing and living a simpler life and health issues become more of their focus, UBS found.
Respondents said that during the “My Time” phase, maintaining their current lifestyle, having a steady income stream and health care were their top priorities. In the final phase, Health care or long-term care and cash flow/income stream were the top priorities.
Pre-retirees, also called the “sandwich” generation, are trying to take care of themselves while also taking care of adult children and aging parents.
When asked what percentage of their previous income they would need during retirement, survey respondents said 58 percent during the transition phase; 63 percent during the “My Time” phase and 56 percent during The Last Waltz. The traditional industry rule-of-thumb is 78 percent in all phases of retirement, UBS stated.
When asked how the increase in real estate prices in their area has impacted their view on the U.S. economy, 46 percent said it had a positive impact, while 51 percent said it had no impact. When asked how it impacted their personal financial situation, 63 percent said it had no impact and 36 percent said it had a positive impact.
The current political environment in Washington has negatively impacted investors’ economic outlooks, but so far has not led to changes in optimism about their own finances, investment behavior or cash holdings, which remain stable at 20 percent on average, according to UBS.
Seventy-three percent of respondents said they are highly concerned about the political environment in Washington, particularly its impact on their financial goals. Pessimism has risen from 29 percent to 37 percent since April. Sixty-three percent still feel excellent or very good about their own finances, which is virtually unchanged over the past six months, UBS found.
The survey was conducted Sept. 24-30, 2013. Those surveyed had at least $250,000 in investable assets.