Living longer means having a second chance at some life decisions you came to regret


I've written quite a lot about the fact that today people can live just as long, or longer, in retirement, as they do in their working lives. The lesson is you can't scrimp on saving for retirement because it's likely you will live into your 80s or 90s.

Some people are using those active years after their "first" retirement to find encore careers or start businesses -- doing things they truly love instead of the things they had to do for the old careers.

Now there's a new take on those post retirement years. "A Gift of Time," a new study from Allianz Life Insurance Co. says Americans are embracing the opportunity to make up for those decisions they regret, such as the college they attended or the career they chose.

"As Americans come to terms with the fact that they'll likely live an extra 30 years, they have the opportunity to look back and evaluate their past decisions and consider the newfound possibilities for the future afforded by time," said Katie Libbe, Allianz Life vice president for consumer insights.

According to Allianz, 32 percent of Americans say they regret their major life choices. The biggest regrets were not following their dreams (39 percent); not taking more risks with their careers (38 percent) and not taking risks with their lives in general - things like taking new jobs or going back to school - 36 percent.

Thirty five percent also said they wish they had been gutsier in their choices and done things they really wanted to do.

Fifty-six percent said they would travel "extensively" or live in a different place and a quarter said they would "take more risks in life."

Ninety-three percent say are happy they can live another 30 years. (That 30 years is what the Stanford Center for Longevity says is the average increase in life expectancy in the U.S.) That extra time means more opportunities and different life and career paths, including:

Starting a new business, 29 percent

Having a second career doing something they really enjoy, 21 percent

Volunteering and supporting the environment, 19 percen

And finally, the survey respondents said they realize that a longer life means they have to do a better job with planning in order to fund those new life goals.


Author Information:

Rodney A. Brooks writes about retirement and personal finance for The Washington Post. Rodney has had a long and distinguished career in financial journalism. He previously worked at USA Today from 1985 until his recent retirement.

(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Rodney Brooks · BUSINESS, PERSONAL-FINANCE · Jun 17, 2016 - 3:44 PM



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