If you feel like American society is in a period of rapid change, you’re not wrong. It’s undoubtedly affecting every aspect of society, including parts of our lives that you might not think about. One example? Retirement. Here are the biggest social trends that are now affecting retirement.
Over the past several years, seniors’ preferred recreational activities have shifted. For example, golf used to be one of the most popular options, alongside swimming and weight training. However, many seniors now favor camping, hiking, and cycling. This is perhaps due to shifting financial priorities, as clothing and gear can really add up! This trend may not affect individuals, but it’s certainly changing the way senior communities offer amenities to residents.
Between the years 2000 and 2016, the number of adults over the age of 65 employed in their “Golden Years” increased from 12.8% to 18.8%. Some seniors delay retirement simply because they can. With more better technology and health knowledge, seniors are able to work longer. Others delay retirement for financial reasons. Many have low retirement savings, while others are unable to enjoy the robust pension benefits that used to be more common.
While many retirees leave their job and don’t look back, others continue working in some capacity. Some may find their retirement funds don’t live up to their expectations. Some may find that retirement simply gives them time to pursue passion projects they didn’t have time for while pursuing their careers. Whether you’re trying to shore up your retirement account, want to chase a lifelong dream, or are simply bored, this trend is definitely changing the meaning of retirement.
Divorce rates have doubled among adults over 50 since the 1990s, and 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.
Divorce is less stigmatized than it once was, which is one contributing factor. Women are also gaining more economic freedom and are better able to provide for themselves in retirement. For many women, marriage is no longer necessary as a means of living.
Nearly 44 million Americans spend 37 billion yearly hours of informal care for family members and friends. Per the Family Caregiver Alliance, 75% of these caregivers are women and 34% are over the age of 65. Because life expectancy has increased with better medical care, adults in the 50-70 age range may even take on caretaker roles with their own parents. Caregiving often involves a variety of responsibilities, ranging from things like buying groceries to helping with injections.
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.