AAII Survey: Readers Outline Retirement Goals, Biggest Obstacles to Achieving Them


Everyone has a different view of retirement and, thus, different goals they hope to achieve in retirement. The goals may include taking better care of themselves, traveling more, spending more time with friends and family, etc.

AAII Weekly Survey Question

To get an idea of the biggest goal our readers have for retirement, last week’s survey question asked:

What is your biggest goal when planning for retirement?

Here are the results:

The majority of readers said that their biggest goal for retirement is to live comfortably. That is why most investors start investing in the first place, to have enough money to retire with a lifestyle that suits them.

Another 17% say their biggest goal in retirement is to become more financially secure. Perhaps this is counterintuitive, since retirement means not collecting a regular paycheck. However, many people, upon retirement, downsize and simplify their lives, which leads them to spend less.

Coming in with the third-most responses as the biggest goal for retirement is making improvements to well-being.

Weekly Special Question

It’s one thing to have a goal, but it’s quite another to actually reach it. Just as individuals have many different goals for retirement, so too are there many different things that can derail us from achieving those goals.

To see what could keep our readers from reaching their retirement goals, last week’s special question:

What do you feel are the biggest hurdles to achieving your retirement goals?

In all, we received 295 responses.

Nearly one-quarter of readers (24.1%) said the biggest hurdle to achieving their retirement goals is their physical or mental health. This was by far the biggest single category for all responses, by a three-to-one margin.

From here, there were several general groupings that garnered around 7% to 9% of responses.

In second place, with roughly 9% of responses, was not having enough money. This is not surprising, as this consistently ranks as one of the biggest fears for retirees.

Close behind in third place with just under 9% of the responses was the fear of a market correction or crash preventing readers from achieving their retirement goals.

Next, with 7.1% of responses, our readers see changing tax policy as the biggest hurdle to their retirement goals. This reflects the general unease among many individuals about what the final form of the Republican tax plan will take.

Here is a sampling of the responses:

  • “Not becoming the crazy cat lady.”
  • “Taxes on qualified accounts because of RMDs.”
  • “Volatility of the markets.”
  • “Short-term wants versus long-term needs.”
  • “Declining health.”
  • “The current administration seems hell-bent on not including the middle class in its ‘tax cuts.’ I don’t want to see the proposed cuts in Medicare and Social Security, which are central to my well-being in retirement.”
  • “Unexpected expenses.”

Everybody has an opinion! Why not give us yours? Participate in our weekly member poll, updated every Monday, and see the results online at www.aaii.com/memberquestion.



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