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Baby boomers delaying retirement

Who they are and how to help

4 min read
An older man smiles as helps a customer at a cash register.

Inflation can be like a bad house guest—it doesn’t come around very often, but most want it to leave when it does. In fact, rising prices have become a big enough concern that 26% of workers say they are delaying retirement. That jumps to 39% for Baby Boomers.


Our quarterly survey findings from workers can help you understand their outlook
and tailor your approach and recommendations―which may help your clients retire with confidence.*

Those who are not delaying retirement are still delaying something

Action

TDR = Those delaying retirement

NDR = Not delaying retirement

(Shown in order of
largest difference)

Traveling

TDR

39%

NDR

31%

Making a decision with an existing financial account

TDR

20%

NDR

13%

Moving

TDR

16%

NDR

10%

Home repairs

TDR

38%

NDR

39%

Purchasing a vehicle

TDR

24%

NDR

36%

Takeaway: Delaying some discretionary purchases may be a smart move while waiting for supply chain issues and prices to ease. If you have clients who are reducing spending on or eliminating essential expenses, suggest establishing or revisiting their budget.

A comparison of actions taken during 2021

Action

TDR = Those delaying retirement

NDR = Not delaying retirement

(Shown in order of
largest difference)

Checked the balance of my retirement savings more often

TDR

70%

NDR

55%

Tried to pay down consumer debt

TDR

43%

NDR

30%

Changed my investment mix to be more conservative

TDR

18%

NDR

10%

Increased the amount I'm saving in my emergency savings account

TDR

23%

NDR

16%

Increased the amount I'm saving for retirement

TDR

30%

NDR

26%

Changed my investment mix to be more aggressive

TDR

12%

NDR

8%

Revisited my budget

TDR

26%

NDR

24%

Met with a financial professional

TDR

24%

NDR

24%

Takeaway: Boomers delaying retirement seem to be more engaged—likely because they’ve identified a retirement savings gap. Help reinforce the behavior shown above—saving more, paying down debt, and reconsidering their investment mix. Support those behaviors and answer questions on their mix of investments to help make sure it's appropriate for your client’s situation.

Comparing financial confidence

Confidence that...

TDR = Those delaying retirement

NDR = Not delaying retirement

(Shown in order of
largest difference)

I will remain in a positive state of mind through my retirement years

TDR

45%

NDR

60%

I will have enough money saved to live comfortably in retirement

TDR

34%

NDR

46%

I will reach my financial goals for retirement

TDR

37%

NDR

49%

I have the knowledge to make good decisions with my retirement account if I change jobs or retire

TDR

47%

NDR

56%

Takeaway: Naturally, financial confidence lags for those delaying retirement. Reinforce that there are steps they can take (see above for saving more and attacking debt) and underscore their ability to be resourceful, hopefully boosting their confidence.

Comfort with financial concepts

I am comfortable with...

TDR = Those delaying retirement

NDR = Not delaying retirement

(Shown in order of
largest difference)

The amount of debt my household is trying to pay off

TDR

55%

NDR

71%

The balance of my emergency savings fund

TDR

46%

NDR

55%

Saving money

TDR

64%

NDR

69%

Spending money

TDR

45%

NDR

47%

Takeaway: Understand that those who are delaying retirement feel less comfortable in their ability to save and the balance of their emergency savings. Their amount of debt is likely more problematic. Help them determine the best approach to paying down debt while giving them more cushion in their emergency savings.

Financial stress

This causes me to feel stressed...

TDR = Those delaying retirement

NDR = Not delaying retirement

(Shown in order of
largest difference)

Discussing my retirement budget

TDR

34%

NDR

24%

Increased the amount I'm saving in my emergency savings account

TDR

27%

NDR

17%

Takeaway: These sentiments seem quite normal if you feel you can’t retire on time―however, note that the increase in stress for those delaying retirement is nearly 50% higher. Validate their feelings and focus on concrete steps they can follow to feel more secure.

General demographics

Attribute

TDR = Those delaying retirement

NDR = Not delaying retirement

(Shown in order of
largest difference)

Debt is at least a
minor problem

TDR

35%

NDR

23%

Female

TDR

45%

NDR

45%

Gender

Male

TDR

52%

NDR

52%

<$99,999

TDR

55%

NDR

55%

Household
income

> $100,000

TDR

45%

NDR

45%

Takeaway: There aren’t many differences in general demographics―rather, it may come down to how they’ve handled day-to-day finances. Those delaying retirement show a 52% increase in finding debt problematic over those who are not delaying retirement.

Next steps

Resources to use with clients:

We’re here to help you be successful in the overarching goal to help people achieve financial security. Starting with market intel and understanding your clients’ motivations can improve your recommendations.

For you:

As you prepare for conversations with clients or prospects, reach out to your Principal representative for additional perspective on these topics.

Fore more client insights, bookmark our Principal® retirement research and thought capital site.

* All data presented here, unless noted, is from the Principal® Retirement Security Survey, Plan Sponsor Results, September 2021 (Q3), segmented by Baby Boomers who report delaying retirement (n=174) and compared to those not delaying (n=309).

 

Principal®, Principal Financial Group® and the Principal logo design are registered trademarks of Principal Financial Services, Inc., a Principal Financial Group company, in the United States and are trademarks and service marks of Principal Financial Services, Inc., in various countries around the world.

 

2006467-022022 | 2/2022

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