Nearly half of Americans expect slow transition into retirement

Allianz Life study finds younger Americans more focused on leaving a financial legacy

KEY FINDINGS:

  • 47% of Americans say they think about retirement as a slow transition away from full-time work
  • 68% say people should expect to work later in life in order to have enough money to retire
  • 15% say they don’t see themselves ever slowing down or retiring

MINNEAPOLIS – May 7, 2024 – Americans’ view of retirement is shifting as nearly half of Americans think about retirement as a slow transition away from full-time work rather than a distinct day in the future to leave the workforce, according to the 2024 Annual Retirement Study* from Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz Life).

While 47% of Americans say they think about retirement as a slow transition away from full-time work, only 38% now say they think about it as a distinct date in the future to stop working and start drawing down on retirement assets. At the same time, 15% say they don’t see themselves ever slowing down or retiring.

“In the past, retirement started abruptly on your last day of work but that idea is changing,” said Kelly LaVigne, VP of Consumer Insights, Allianz Life. “Many Americans are thinking about slowly working less and less as they age. That’s an important change for creating a retirement financial strategy that will affect when you start drawing down on retirement assets and how much you withdraw.”

Boomers, who are either near or past retirement age, are more likely to think about retirement as a slow transition (58%), compared to Gen X (53%) and millennials (45%). The majority of Asian/Asian American respondents (56%) say they think about retirement as a slow transition, compared to 49% of black/African American, 48% of white and 46% of Hispanic respondents.

Many Americans say they expect to work later in life in order to achieve financial stability for retirement. Nearly seven in 10 Americans (68%) say people should expect to work later in life in order to have enough money to retire. What’s more, 61% say people should expect that they’ll need to work in retirement to survive. This is important when, on average, most Americans expect to live nearly 30 years in retirement.

“Some people may want to slowly transition away from full-time work in order to stay busy, but for many Americans it is necessary in order to feel financially confident that your money will last your lifetime,” LaVigne said. “Working longer will put off when you start drawing down on retirement assets. You could also benefit from staying on an employer health plan. A financial professional can help you think through how that shift into retirement will work for you financially and how continuing to work could affect your retirement outcomes.”

The vast majority of Americans (80%) say working longer or retiring later would help ensure that they could financially support all the things they want to do in life. On a personal level, 63% say they will likely continue working at least part-time in retirement to supplement their income. This is most pronounced among millennials (64%) and Gen Xers (64%), compared to boomers (59%). Hispanic respondents (71%) were more likely than white (64%), Black/African American (61%), and Asian/Asian Americans respondents (60%) to say they will likely continue working at least part-time.

“Working later in life can help you put away more money, postpone withdrawing from retirement accounts, delay taking Social Security, and hopefully have a more enjoyable time once you actually do leave the workforce,” LaVigne said. “The important thing is that working later won’t address all the potential risks to your retirement strategy like inflation and market volatility. That’s why having a written retirement strategy that includes contingencies for risks that could derail your retirement can make a significant difference.”

*Allianz Life conducted the 2024 Annual Retirement Study online survey in February and March 2024 with a nationally representative sample of 1,000 individuals age 25+ in the contiguous U.S. with an annual household income of $50k+ (single) / $75k+ (married/partnered) OR investable assets of $150k+.The study included an oversample of respondents who identified as Black/African American (416 responses); Hispanic (398 responses); Asian/Asian American (366 responses).

About Allianz Company Profile

Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, one of the Ethisphere World’s Most Ethical Companies®, has been trusted since 1896 to help millions of Americans prepare for financial uncertainties and retirement with a variety of innovative risk management solutions. In 2023, Allianz Life provided additional value to its policyholders via distributions of more than $13.73 billion. Allianz Life is a leading provider of fixed index annuities, registered index-linked annuities, and fixed index universal life insurance. Additionally, Allianz Investment Management LLC (AllianzIM), a registered investment adviser and wholly owned subsidiary of Allianz Life, offers a suite of exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Allianz Life and AllianzIM are part of Allianz SE, a global leader in the financial services industry with approximately 157,000 employees in more than 70 countries. Allianz Life is a proud sponsor of Allianz Field® in St. Paul, Minnesota, home of Major League Soccer’s Minnesota United.