3 Trends Changing the Way Seniors Experience Retirement

It’s unquestionable that technology trends have impacted how young and old alike live their lives. However, social trends are having an unexpected impact on Baby Boomers.

Going through divorce later in life

Divorce rates have doubled among adults over 50 since the 1990s. For adults over the age of 65, they have tripled. This trend’s demographic has earned it the name “gray divorce.” In a Pew Research Center study, about 10 of every 1,000 marriages between adults over 50 end in divorce.

What’s the reason for this particular trend?

Second marriages are statistically more likely to end in divorce, so this may be part of the reason for this trend. Plus, older generations are more likely than younger generations to have married twice.

Divorce is less stigmatized than it once was, and women now have more social freedoms. Both of these factors make it more feasible for them to end marriages they couldn’t have in previous decades. Women are also continuing to gain economic freedom, meaning they’re now more able to provide for themselves in retirement. Marriage is no longer necessary as a means of living for many women.

Working longer into retirement years

Between 2000 and 2016, the number of adults over age 65 employed in their “Golden Years” increased from 12.8% to 18.8%.

There are several reasons seniors might delay retirement. The first reason is that life expectancy is higher. Additionally, with better technology and widespread health knowledge, seniors are experiencing healthier lives and are able to work longer.

Finances are another big reason seniors are staying in the workforce.

Retirement policies have changed, meaning fewer seniors work toward maxing out pension benefits than they previously have. Social Security benefits increase each year a person works past post-retirement age. This is another thing keeping seniors in the workforce.

Many seniors are also finding that their savings won’t stretch far enough into their retirement. In research conducted by the National Institute on Retirement Security, many seniors were found to have worrisomely low retirement savings. The NIRS reported that for households approaching retirement, median retirement account savings were about $13,000.

Caring for Aging Parents

Nearly 44 million Americans spend 37 billion hours providing informal care for family members and friends every year. These loved ones may be unable to care for themselves due to chronic illnesses or other disabilities. Per Family Caregiver Alliance, 75 percent of these caregivers are women and 34 percent are over the age of 65.

Because life expectancy has increased with better medical care, adults in the 50-70 age range might be taking on caretaker roles with their own parents. Caregiving often involves a variety of responsibilities, ranging from things like buying groceries to helping with injections.

These duties make caregiving challenging work. The rise in “gray divorce” and in seniors remaining in the workforce longer both create extra challenges for those who take on a caregiving role for their loved ones. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, the average unpaid caregiver spends more than 20 hours a week providing care. Balancing this role and work is challenging, especially since the need for care might come with significant life changes.

Though these trends might seem disheartening, there are still ways to prepare for unexpected changes that might occur during retirement. Check out our Finances page for articles on how to financially prepare for retirement.