Thursday , 25 July 2024

Study Shows American Retirees Healthier & Wealthier BUT NOT Necessarily Becoming Wiser

There is a new study out from money manager United Income regarding the recent wealth of American retirees.  The study finds that while the country’s retirees may be trending both healthier and wealthier, it also found an interesting notion that retirees are not necessarily becoming wiser. 

The original article has been edited here for length (…) and clarity ([ ])

According to the study,

  • [17% of retirees] in the U.S. are millionaires (when the value of homes are included). The average wealth of this group has risen more than 100% since 1989, to $752,000, and the share of those who are millionaires has doubled. 

See the chart below for more:


  • 62% of retirees…[are] enjoying life without any sort of physical or cognitive boundaries…up from 49% in 1963, which was the first year that this data was recorded.
  • the average retired 60-year-old retiree watches television almost three hours every day with
    • [the largest increase coming from] high-income, highly educated households, which experienced a large rise of 78% in time spent on the couch since 1975,
    • compared to 43% for lower-income households.
  • …retirees may not be learning much from their viewing habits, [however]…The report referred back to 2016 Pew Research Center data that showed that:
    • a staggering… 55% of households older than age 65 watch cable news programs, and also notes that one multi-country study found that:
    • public broadcast news (such as PBS) increased political knowledge, while
    • cable news actually reduced knowledge that people have about actual events.


         Source: American Heritage Time Use Study, United Income

  • income inequality has remained practically unchanged among retirees since 1989…[but] the outlook changed drastically when the financial assets of a household were put into play.
    • The ongoing rises in the stock market brought about a 42% rise in wealth inequality among older Americans…[but while] the wealthiest retirees are wealthier…[they] are not spending more, relative to previous generations…becoming unnecessarily frugal in their spending…leading overly contained lives as a result.
  • the gap between the wealthy and the ultra-wealthy has grown.
    • A median millionaire’s wealth increased by about 12% from 1989 to 2016, while
    • the median millionaire’s equity position expanded greatly from 27% of financial accounts to 55%.
    • Meanwhile,
      • the wealth of the top 1% of millionaires, grew…from $14.9 million to $31.3 million, in 2016 dollars, as their equity positions jumped from 30% to 69%
    • the dividends from being an investor are paying off for retirees fortunate enough to have savings and investments.What’s discouraging, though, is that those who are not saving or investing are just getting left progressively farther and farther behind as each successive generation enters retirement.

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