Health is more important than wealth when it comes to America’s retirees and their ability to enjoy life, according to a survey from MassMutual Retirement Services.
Retirees in better health are more likely to feel financially secure, enjoy retirement and feel fulfilled, and are less likely to experience negative emotions than those in poorer health, the survey found.
“Our study focused on people in the first 15 years of retirement. In many cases, serious medical issues arise after that, in older age. But even in the healthiest part of retirement, better health clearly has an impact on most people’s ability to fully enjoy retirement,” said Mathew Greenwald, president of Greenwald & Associates, which conducted the study.
The study split 905 retirees into those who characterized their health as excellent or very good, and those who characterized their health as good or poor.
Three-quarters (76 percent) of those with $250,000 or more in assets reported having a positive retirement experience, compared to 68 percent of those with less than half the assets. However, the health gap was much steeper: 80 percent of those in better health reported having a positive experience in retirement, compared to only 59 percent of those who are in poorer health, regardless of how many assets they own.
In addition, retirees in poorer health were twice as likely to feel anxious about their finances and lack a sense of purpose and three times more likely to feel lonely, the research found.