Baby boomers will make sacrifices now if that's what it will take to live well in retirement, a survey found.
The "Boomer Retirement Lifestyle Study" from MainStay Investments and Harris Interactive also says that boomers are redefining what they consider to be basic needs; clothes, shelter and food are now joined by Internet connections, pet care, shopping for birthdays and special occasions. The majority of boomers (57%) consider a professional haircut and coloring a luxury, but 43% consider it a basic need. Sixty-six percent of boomers say that ordering takeout is a luxury, but for 34% of cooking-averse boomers, this is a basic need.
And while health care coverage is still the top priority for 98% of those surveyed, with an Internet connection the second-most-popular basic need (84%), it's clear that boomers want the "good life" when they retire, the Great Recession be damned.
To meet these retirement goals, boomers are willing to sacrifice now. About three in four of those surveyed (76%) said they would rather spend less now to invest for a comfortable retirement than live the life they want now and spend less in retirement. Forty percent acknowledge that they will have to delay retirement if they are to achieve their desired retirement lifestyle.
Nearly half (47%) said they would downsize their home in retirement in order to afford their luxuries. And 55% said they are willing to work longer to pay for health care during retirement, rather than give up luxuries.
"Clearly we see boomers expanding beyond the necessities of basic needs during retirement," said Matthew Leung, director and head of practice management programs at MainStay Investments. "They associate those things with the way they live their life now. They have grown accustomed to a certain quality of life. Boomers have always wanted it all and they're willing to make sacrifices to really find the balance and have that life."
Although investors have historically moved more toward bonds as they retire, a majority of boomers said they do not plan to consolidate their assets or reduce their equity exposure in retirement. A good majority (84%) also said they would be willing to allocate a portion of their assets to a product that gave them guaranteed income for life.
"I'm not really surprised that they are staying loyal to equities, because longevity risk is something that boomers are really concerned about," Leung said. "They need to have growth potential in their portfolio."
Leung added that the high level of interest in guaranteed-income-for-life products is something new.
"Advisers need to look at the changing needs of the boomers," he said.
"As their demands increase and put pressure on their portfolio, we need to come up with new and innovative ways to generate an income stream."