Retirement, like many things in life, is a balancing act. There are some daunting challenges to solve and practical realities to face – and you’ll ignore them at your peril. But you don’t want them to limit your aspirations or put a damper on imagining what’s possible in this next phase of life. So, how are people thinking about retirement these days? And what can pre-retirees learn from the experience of those who’ve already retired? The Transamerica Institute and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies recently surveyed over 4,650 people in the US, with a sample comprised of 58% pre-retirees 50+ and 42% retirees, on their views on retirement. We’re glad to have Catherine Collinson return to The Retirement Wisdom Podcast to share the findings and her insights.
Catherine Collinson joins us from Los Angeles.
Catherine Collinson is CEO and president of nonprofit Transamerica Institute and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. Catherine is a retirement and market trends expert and champion for Americans who are at risk of not achieving a financially secure retirement. She oversees all research and outreach initiatives, including the Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey.
With more than two decades of experience, Catherine is a nationally recognized voice on retirement trends. Catherine is regularly cited by top media outlets on aging and retirement-related topics, speaks at industry conferences, and authors articles in leading industry journals. She has testified before Congress on matters related to employer-sponsored retirement plans among small business, which have featured the need to raise awareness of the Saver’s Credit among those who would benefit most from the important tax credit. She co-hosts ClearPath: Your Roadmap to Health and WealthSM podcast on WYPR, Baltimore’s NPR news station.
In 2018, Catherine was recognized an Influencer in Aging by PBS Next Avenue for her work in continuing to push beyond traditional boundaries and change our society’s understanding of what it means to grow older. In 2016, she was honored with a Hero Award from the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER) for her tireless efforts in helping improve retirement security among women. In 2015, Catherine joined the Advisory Board of the Milken Institute’s Center for the Future of Aging.
Catherine is employed by Transamerica Corporation. Since joining the organization in 1995, she has held a number of positions and has identified and implemented short- and long-term strategic initiatives, including the founding of the nonprofit Transamerica Institute and its Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. Prior to her employment at Transamerica, Catherine spent nearly a decade at The Walt Disney Company, serving in information services and business planning posts.
Catherine earned her bachelor’s degree in British and American literature at Scripps College, Claremont, California, and her master’s of business administration at the University of California, Irvine.
For More on Catherine Collinson
Is 2024 your year?
Resources for a strong start:
Build the Right Habits – 3 Week Fast Start program – Starts January 5th
Design Your New Life in Retirement – 6 sessions over 12 weeks – starts January 25th
Take the first step. Sign up today!
Podcast Episodes You May Like
On How People Are Viewing Retirement
“The good news is people love retirement, and when we ask about word associations, they’re twice as likely to cite positive words than negative words. And the top three word associations are the top three word associations are freedom, enjoyment, and stress-free people are dreaming of a very active retirement, full of travel, has consistently been the top sided retirement dream as long as we’ve been doing the survey, spending more time with family and friends, pursuing hobby, also doing volunteer work. And some people even dream of doing paid work in retirement. They love what they do. It could be continuing to work in the same field, starting an encore career or even starting a business. So people have dreams of keeping very busy when they retire.”
On Preparing for the Transition to Retirement
“We recently published a report called Life and Retirement:Pre-Retiree Expectations and Retiree Realities and I hope everybody reads it because we find some really good similarities, but we also see some disconnects. The number one disconnect that I see relates to retirement transitions. If we look at the experience of retirees, almost six in 10 – 56% – say they retired sooner than they planned. And often it was either due to personal health issues or employment related issues. So when one is considering their retirement planning, it’s really important to have contingency plans if retirement comes sooner than expected. And then also, and this is my interpretation of the data in looking at it, it seems that some of the transitions may have been abrupt, not something that happened peacefully and serenely and seamlessly, but it could have been a jolt. So I think it’s important that everybody prepare themselves. There could be a bumpy road ahead getting to the other side of that transition and to be kind to yourself and expect it to kind roll with it. And the encouraging news is once people are retired, the retirees are living their best lives in retirement. That’s a finding across the survey, we see that they’re enjoying life. They say their happiness is improved, maybe not their finances, but at least their everyday experiences are quite positive. Many workers today and pre-retirees are looking to work longer and fully retire at an older age with a flexible transition to retirement. It could be switching from full-time to part-time, maybe working in a different capacity. And many employers are not yet offering flexible transition options. So if that’s your vision, it’s really important to stealthily do your homework to see if that’s something that you can accomplish with your current employer. And if not, then stealthily do your homework to find out ways that you might be able to do that.”
On Why People Choose to Work Longer
“And when we look at people and workers and pre-retirees who have expectations of some sort of work beyond traditional retirement age or in retirement, they’re almost as likely to reference healthy aging-related reasons as financial reasons. Of course, the money and the benefits are important, but people are also seeing it as an opportunity to stay active, be involved, keep our brains alert, social connections, sense of purpose, so there’s good from that, and that can actually even help promote healthy aging. So that I think is a really encouraging trend.”
About Retirement Wisdom
I help people who are retiring, but aren’t quite done yet, discover what’s next and build their custom version of The Multipurpose Retirement.™
A meaningful retirement doesn’t just happen. It takes more than a vision. It takes creative an practical ideas you can test and refine.
Schedule a call today to discuss how The Designing Your Life process created by Bill Burnett & Dave Evans can help you make your life in retirement a great one – on your own terms.
About Your Podcast Host
Joe Casey is an executive coach who also helps people design their next life after their primary career and create their version of The Multipurpose Retirement.™ He created his own next chapter after a twenty-six-year career at Merrill Lynch, where he was Senior Vice President and Head of HR for Global Markets & Investment Banking.
Today, in addition to his work with clients, Joe hosts The Retirement Wisdom Podcast, which thanks to his guests and loyal listeners, ranks in the top 1 % globally in popularity by Listen Notes, with over 1 million downloads. Business Insider has recognized Joe as one of 23 innovative coaches who are making a difference. He’s the author of Win the Retirement Game: How to Outsmart the 9 Forces Trying to Steal Your Joy