Many Americans regret the risks not taken in life, according to Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, but they may have time to make up for it.
As the average American lives longer -- up to 30 years longer than 100 years ago -- nearly a third of Americans wish they had done something different with the time they have already spent on earth, according to the Allianz survey, The Gift of Time, released Monday.
Among the major bad decisions cited by respondents were when or where they went to school, the profession they chose, or when or where they worked. Also among the top regrets were not following their dreams, not taking risks with their careers, not taking risks with their lives in general, and not being gutsy enough in making choices. The survey polled 3,000 Americans.
Nearly one-quarter of those surveyed vow they will fix that by taking more risks with the time they have left.
“As Americans come to terms with the fact that they’ll likely live an extra 30 years, they have the opportunity to look back and evaluate their past decisions and consider the newfound possibilities for the future afforded by time,” says Katie Libbe, Allianz Life vice president of consumer insights.
“While the concept of longevity is relatively new, its implications are far-reaching and important. It’s important for people to understand that alternative life paths are still an option, but they may need to adjust their financial strategy to achieve goals that extend beyond a traditional retirement,” she adds.
Ninety-three percent of Americans have a favorable view of an extended life with the feeling it could open new and interesting possibilities or that it is a wonderful development for themselves and for all people. About 5 percent found the prospect terrifying, the survey says.
For many Americans, having more time opens the door to new opportunities. Respondents say they want to pursue a dream, have a second career, volunteer or retire later but work fewer hours. Nearly half feel a longer life can enable a totally different view of how and when major life choices are made. The majority also acknowledged a longer life is going to require some different approaches to financial planning, something some financial planners have already begun to consider.
“It’s encouraging that many Americans seem to understand that a new paradigm is needed to think about, plan for and fund a longer life,” says Libbe. “By taking short- and mid-term goals into consideration while saving for retirement, people will have more freedom to try different things, pursue their passions and explore alternative life plans.”
The report can be found here.