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What the study found

The 2000 respondents to the survey were investors nationwide ages 28-79 and included 498 retirees. Current retirees identified five top concerns, with inflation chipping away at assets weighing on roughly nine in ten (89%).

“Whether it’s a trip to the gas station, grocery store or pharmacy, prices in the U.S. have increased noticeably in recent years, and that is particularly challenging for retirees living on fixed income sources,” said Deb Boyden, Head of U.S. Defined Contribution at Schroders. “The challenges facing retirees today are further evidence of the retirement savings crisis. For younger generations with longer time horizons, now is the time to prioritize saving for a brighter future.”

Other factors that have retirees at least “slightly concerned” are higher than expected healthcare costs (85%); a major market downturn significantly reducing assets (76%); not knowing how to best generate income and/or draw down assets (69%); and outliving assets (68%).

At least one other vexation links back to the healthcare question: One in three retirees (33%) worry that financial stress will impact their overall health.

Taken as a whole, the study has made enough waves to be featured in major media outlets and compel YouTubers to get their cameras rolling.

“It is a harsh, harsh retirement reality check,” said Lou Reyes, host of Over50tv. “No doubt about it.”

He said awareness is key: “Knowing the challenges ahead, it’s half the battle.”

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3 ways to improve retirement

If successfully reaching the point of retirement stems from a consistent work ethic, it stands to reason that those close to the goal, or already there, can benefit from their disciplined ways. Here are three productive actions you can take:

Painlessly cut expenses. If you lived frugally before retirement, it’s almost a matter of muscle memory to keep the good habits going without depriving yourself. Take a lesson from billionaire Warren Buffett, who still drives a 2014 Cadillac XTS he has owned for about 10 years. Retirement also allows you to downsize in sensible ways that can lower your household expenses (especially if you move to a smaller home) and pare down possessions, which could even put money in your pocket.

**Get a travel agent. **Though travel represents one of retirement’s joys, it can also get expensive fast. In many cases, travel agents can save you money by using their know-how to find the best prices on airline tickets, hotels, and upgrades. It’s not a slam dunk, so shop around for the most affordable, effective agent – or get a word-of-mouth recommendation from a satisfied friend or relative. You can also check out the best travel rewards credit cards in 2024.

Find enjoyable or effortless revenue streams. Let’s stress this: We’re not talking about returning to the grind. If you get joy from mentoring, your pre-retirement skills can easily translate to career coaching, becoming a board member or working as an adjunct professor. On the passive income side, you can rent out a barely used garage, parking space or spare room with little effort. If you know a particular collectible market well, you can have fun flipping items for profit. Also, consider referring bigger-ticket clients to businesses you know for a finder’s fee.

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Lou Carlozo Freelance writer

Lou Carlozo is a freelance contributor to Moneywise.

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