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Many Post-Retirement Plans May Now Include Work

In the face of prolonged economic uncertainty and volatility, many investors are rethinking what life after retirement may look like and are adjusting their priorities accordingly. 

According to Nationwide Retirement Institute’s eighth annual Advisor Authority, nearly 7 in 10 (69%) non-retired investors may work or may continue working after they retire. More than two-fifths of these investors (44%) say they will have to work to supplement their retirement savings or income out of necessity. 

Similarly, 4 in 10 (40%) non-retired investors plan to move to a different city or region after retiring — though not necessarily for the reasons some may think. Less than a quarter (22%) of these individuals cite being near family among their top three reasons for relocating. Instead, the most common incentives for relocating include lower cost of living (43%) and lower taxes (34%), which may indicate that these investors’ decisions are being influenced by macroeconomic factors.

Meanwhile, advisors and financial professionals are noticing the same trend, with 78% of advisors saying their clients will or may continue working after retirement — in line with the 69% of non-retired investors who say post-retirement employment could lie ahead. 

But not all investors view working in retirement as a means to stay financially afloat. Instead, 60% cited staying physically and mentally active and 41% aim to preserve a sense of purpose in their continued employment. 

“The idea we have of what retirement looks like has changed for many people, whether due to necessity or because they are looking to stay active and engaged,” explains Rona Guymon, Senior Vice President of Nationwide Annuity Distribution. “Regardless of the reason, now is the time for advisors and financial professionals to check in with clients who are approaching retirement to make sure they have a plan in place for their next steps, and to work together to ensure their path is one that will lead to a secure and happy retirement.” 

Advisor Benefits

The survey  — somewhat surprisingly — finds that non-retired investors who work with an advisor or financial professional are less confident than those who do not work with one. Nearly half (49%) of non-retired investors with a financial advisor are “very nervous” about spending down their retirement savings in today’s current market environment, compared to 32% of investors without an advisor.

This sentiment proliferates across the board, Nationwide notes. Of those non-retired investors working with an advisor, one in five (20%) are confident about their post-retirement financial futures, 20% are confident in their financial plans for retirement despite market volatility and 23% are taking steps to adjust their portfolios in light of recent market volatility. These confidence levels increase when talking with non-retired investors without an advisor, with 36% confident in their post-retirement financial futures, 35% confident in their financial plans for retirement despite volatility and 43% taking steps to adjust their portfolio.  

“The confusing economic environment we’re living in could lead some self-guided investors to be more optimistic than their counterparts who work with financial advisors because they are less familiar with the financial risks they will face in retirement,” notes Guymon. “I think it’s likely that financial professionals are doing a better job of managing client expectations about uncertain realities of the road ahead.”

Regardless, Guymon emphasizes that the data shows that there is an opportunity for advisors to help calm nervous clients by reconfirming the importance of following their financial plan. “And I would guess that many of those without an advisor could have some blind spots that a financial professional could help address before it’s too late,” she adds. 

The survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Poll on behalf of Nationwide from July 27–Aug. 16, 2022, among 506 financial advisors and 521 adult investors with $10,000+ in investable assets.