7 Misconceptions About Retired Life

Many seniors are not enjoying retirement as much as they thought they would.

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You will be able to maintain your current standard of living. The majority of employees age 50 and older (62 percent) expect to be able to maintain their current standard of living in retirement. But unless you saved very diligently, you may have to make some spending cuts in retirement. More than a third (35 percent) of retirees say their financial ability to live comfortably is worse than it was while they were working. "A lot of people retire and they discover that the amount they thought they would need to live comfortably is not the amount that their investments and Social Security and their house end up yielding them," says Blendon. "People are not looking forward enough in terms of the health issues they will face and the actual financial income they are really going to have." Most retirees (63 percent) say you need an annual income of $50,000 or more to live comfortably in retirement, and more than a third (35 percent) admit that they do not currently have their target level of income. Healthcare expenses are a major problem, with 1 in 5 of survey respondents saying they have trouble paying for healthcare.

You'll improve your relationship with family members. Many current workers expect their relationship with their spouse (45 percent) and other family members (40 percent) to get better in retirement. But only just over a third of seniors report an improved relationship with a partner (34 percent) and other family members (35 percent). Most retirees say their relationship with family members (61 percent) and their spouse (62 percent) stayed the same in retirement.

[See The 10 Most Difficult Retirement Decisions.]

Retirement is a choice. We like to think that we will be able to retire when we hit a certain age or savings goal. Most current workers (60 percent) expect to retire at age 65 or later, often because they need the money or health benefits from their job, but also because they enjoy working and want to make a difference. But only about a quarter (26 percent) of retirees held onto their jobs that long. Retirees (58 percent) generally say they left their jobs at the same or an earlier age than they initially thought they would, perhaps due to a layoff, buyout, or health problem.

Twitter: @aiming2retire