Americans Are Excited to Grow Older, Worry More About Health Care Costs and Finances Than Death

Perceptions and aspirations for aging may be experiencing a major shift, according to the new survey of 2,002 U.S. adults commissioned by TD Ameritrade. The study reveals that aging timelines are lengthening, as the average age one would classify someone as “old” is now 74, up from 68 in 2009 1. Furthermore, expectations for longevity are reaching new heights – Americans expect to live to age 84, on average.

“People are living longer 2 and surely that influences perception of what is deemed to be ‘old age’. But it’s also influenced by how Americans aspire to live their lives as they age,” says Matt Sadowsky, director of retirement and annuities, TD Ameritrade. “Our survey shows that people see aging as a time to pursue new goals and passions, reflecting that they intend to live active, fulfilling lives deeper into retirement. A more active lifestyle at older ages contributes to the shift in our perception of old age.”

The Golden Years of Opportunity – Aging Aspirations Are on the Rise

Eight in 10 (81 percent) see aging as an opportunity to reach new goals Three-quarters (76 percent) agree that aging provides time to pursue passions that did not fit into their lives before As they age, most (62 percent) want to spend time with friends and family, travel abroad (57 percent) or take up a hobby (52 percent) Americans say retirement is – or will be – the most liberating phase of their life (72 percent retired, 61 percent pre-retired)

“Our findings show that whether you’re a millennial or a boomer, people are generally upbeat about the opportunities that come with aging,” continues Sadowsky. “Americans are more likely to associate aging with wisdom (65 percent) and experience (69 percent), than becoming a burden (18 percent) or becoming out of touch (17 percent). The optimism extends across all the generations.”

Yet Despite the Glowing Outlook on Aging, Worries Do Exist

Americans worry more about the health care costs and finances (43 and 35 percent, respectively) than death (26 percent) Declining health is the top fear Americans face about getting older, as losing mental and physical function (both 58 percent) rank the highest Nearly half (46 percent) fear losing loved ones.

Read more at The Associated Press.