Having Bored You About The ’60s, They’ll Now Bore You About The 60s

Sick of hearing about baby boomers? Be patient, they’ll die off soon enough. In the meantime, boomers and post-boomers alike must endure reportage on how boomers feel about reaching their 60s, as they’ve begun doing. AARP gets into the act with a survey of people who turn 60 this year, and it finds them bearing up well.

Whether because of or despite having made it to 60, 77 percent of respondents said they’re satisfied with their lives overall. Among those still working, the number was significantly higher (81 percent, vs. 60 percent among those who aren’t working). With all due respect to the joys of work, the disparity likely reflects the fact that 60-year-olds who still work are healthier on average than those who don’t. Speaking of health, the poll supports the conventional wisdom that semi-old folks are more robust today than was the case in prior generations. Two-thirds of respondents described their health as excellent (14 percent), very good (25 percent) or good (29 percent); 10 percent said it’s poor. Even so, when people were asked to list the areas in their lives they’d like to improve over the next five years, physical health won the most mentions (34 percent), well ahead of personal finances (23 percent).

In younger days, many boomers imagined themselves retiring well before the traditional age 65. Now, they may hope they aren’t pushed out of the workforce before they’re ready. (You know the old joke: “I left my job for health reasons—they were sick of me.”) Fifty-four percent of 60-year-olds are working, and 14 percent more hope to resume doing so in the next few years. Among those now working, 30 percent expect to call it quits by age 64 and another 20 percent by 65. Fourteen percent expect to work past 70, though time will tell whether they’re able to do so.

Among “life changes” 60-year-olds anticipate in the next five years, 30 percent plan to move to a different home—with more than half of them moving into smaller quarters. Eighty percent said they’ll be “spending more time with loved ones.” Seventy-two percent expect to be “spending more time on my hobbies and interests” and 56 percent to be traveling more. The poll presented respondents with a list of adjectives and asked how well each one describes their feelings about the next five years. Just 8 percent said “boring” describes their feelings very well. “Anxious” (15 percent) and “stressful” (17 percent) also had low scores. Fifty-three percent said “hopeful” describes their feelings very well, slightly exceeding the number who said “confident” does so (50 percent). The tally was middling for “exciting” (32 percent) and “fulfilling” (39 percent).