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Successful Retirees

An Empirical Analysis of Retired Households

Much about what constitutes a successful retirement is subjective, and the concept of retirement itself is clearly in flux. Nevertheless, it would be extremely useful to understand what is necessary to be successful from the perspective of retirees who consider themselves successful. Where do they get their income? What are their demographics and financials? What are their motivations and goals? What types of financial professionals, institutions, and sources of information do they use? What financial transactions have they made recently? By examining these self-proclaimed successful retirees empirically and holistically, instead of considering what they should do, we gain an understanding of exactly who they are and why they think they are successful in their retirement. These and other questions have answers in the new CFD report, Successful Retirees.

Figure: Segment Sizes (Millions of Households)

The Consumer Financial Decisions (CFD) group of Strategic Business Insights is proposing the first comprehensive report about retirees that segments them on the basis of their own perspective toward their retirement. CFD is pleased to make this analysis—available in the fall of 2009 and based on data from the 2008–09 MacroMonitor—available to financial institutions for $10,000. This analysis is the first to explore what retired households are doing across all their financial needs (income, investments, insurance, transactions, debt, and so on), from all types of institutions and financial professionals.

The underlying data for this report come from the MacroMonitor, the largest, most complete source of comprehensive information about household financial behaviors and attitudes available. The MacroMonitor enables us to use self-reported data to define and segment households according to their "success" and then explore virtually every aspect of retired households' finances to see how they differ. For this report we created a population of "successful" retirees and some logical groups against which to compare them. Because of the subjective nature of a successful retirement, we decided to sort retired households into three groups on the basis of their responses to two self-reported attitudes:

  1. "I am satisfied with my household's current financial situation."
  2. "I am currently in a position to meet my long-term financial goals."

This comprehensive report of retired households consists of analysis, graphics, and tables, organized into the following sections:

  • Executive Summary
  • Segment Definitions
  • Income: 14 Sources and Amounts
  • Demographics
  • Access and Channel Preferences
  • Financial Products, Metrics, and Balance Sheets
  • Recent and Likely Financial Transactions
  • Attitudes toward Retirement, Investing, and Advice
  • Appendixes (includes data from the graphics).

Subscribers will receive a bound paper copy of the report along with an electronic version (not for dissemination to anyone outside your organization). To order your copy, download the subscription form, fill it out, and fax it to +1 650 859 4544. For any questions please feel free to contact us.