Longevity and the new journey of retirement

Thanks to greater longevity, retirement today isn’t a destination but a new journey. Our study in partnership Age Wave details what’s ahead to help you thrive at every step.

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There’s more to retirement than retiring.

It's easy to think of retirement as simply “before and after.” However, we’ve found that today’s retirement journey actually unfolds in four distinct stages.1 Understanding these stages can help you thrive along the way to and through your own retirement.

Stage 1: Anticipation

(10-0 years before retirement)

At this pre-retirement stage, people are still focused on their careers and families, with optimism mixed with anxiety for what lies ahead.2


Stage 2: Liberation/Disorientation

(0-2 years retired)

This is a time of transition. New retirees feel a sense of freedom but many also feel uncertain about what the future holds.3


Stage 3: Reinvention

(3-14 years retired)

This is the heart of retirement, where retirees hit their stride, actively shaping their new post-work identities and lifestyles.4


Stage 4: Reflection/Resolution

(15+ years retired)

Here retirees are intent on enjoying life and creating their legacy; health concerns now tend to outweigh financial concerns.5


Journey paths offer more insights

In exploring these phases of retirement, we uncovered more life lessons, identifying four journey paths in the heart of retirement known as the Reinvention Stage. Each path’s trajectory reflects and amplifies decisions you make in your early and middle years of life, and how they can impact your later retirement years, both positively and negatively.

Purposeful Pathfinders

This is the most active, engaged and fulfilled group. They’ve prepared well for retirement and began saving the earliest.6

Relaxed Traditionalists

They pursue a more traditional retirement, focused primarily on rest and relaxation. They’ve prepared well financially and are enjoying life.7

Challenged yet Hopefuls

This group makes the most of retirement despite lack of preparation. They feel satisfied with today, but financial challenges lie ahead.8

Regretful Strugglers

They enjoy retirement least of all and tend to struggle with financial and health problems. Most say they have many regrets in life, with nearly half saying life has dealt them a bad hand. 9

We can help you navigate this new retirement.

Greater longevity offers you more opportunity than ever to enjoy a deeply satisfying retirement. But you also face new challenges, especially around your health, finances and finding your purpose. Our financial advisors understand the importance of creating a holistic plan that gives you confidence in your future. Start with a no-risk, no-obligation conversation.

Find a Financial Advisor

More New Retirement studies

These ground-breaking studies reflect our efforts in partnership with  Age Wave  to explore people’s hopes, dreams and concerns in retirement.

Resilient Choices: Trade-offs, Adjustments and Course Corrections to Thrive in Retirement (2023)
Full report (PDF)
Executive Summary (PDF)

The Four Pillars of the New Retirement: Tracking Updates with a Spotlight on Family (Fall 2021)
Executive Summary (PDF)

The Four Pillars of the New Retirement: What a Difference a Year Makes (June 2021)
Full Report (PDF)
Executive Summary (PDF)

The Four Pillars of the New Retirement (2020)
Full Report (PDF)

Important Information:

1-9 The Edward Jones and Age Wave Thought Leadership Study, “Longevity and the New Journey of Retirement,” 2022.