WHAT THE DATA SAY: Americans view retirement today much differently from their parents

By: Ray Day


Ray Day 

We wanted to share our latest consumer and business insights, based on research from The Harris Poll, a Stagwell agency.

Among the highlights of our weekly consumer sentiment tracking (fielded Jan. 6-8):


Today, 84% of Americans are concerned about the economy and inflation – down 4 points from last week.

  • 81% worry about a potential U.S. recession (down 3 points)
  • 80% about U.S. crime rates (down 4 points)
  • 77% about political divisiveness (no change)
  • 72% about affording their living expenses (down 3 points)
  • 72% about the War on Ukraine (down 1 point)
  • 60% about a new COVID-19 variant (down 1 point)
  • 50% about losing their jobs (down 4 points)

Nearly half of Americans are looking for a bargain – and more are planning to shop in person this year versus last. Those are among the insights in our survey with DailyPay and Dollar Tree.

  • 44% are more likely to prioritize shopping for bargains in store compared to last year.
  • Overall, 67% of Americans plan to spend either the same or more in 2023 as they did in 2022 on retail purchases.
  • 73% plan to shop the same or more in person this year.
  • When it comes to Americans’ preferences regarding purchasing items in-store versus online: 81% prefer in-store for furniture, 69% in-store for home goods, 65% in-store for apparel, 65% in-store for sporting goods and 59% in-store for electronics.

To most Americans, retirement is not their parents’ retirement. Rather than a destination, it’s become a new journey, based on our survey with Edward Jones and Age Wave.

  • 55% of pre-retirees and retirees ages 45 and older say that retirement today is best described as “a new chapter in life” versus the 27% who view it as “a time for relaxation.”
  • When asked how today’s retirees view their parents’ retirement, 42% said it was “a time for relaxation” and only 22% described it as “a new chapter in life.”
  • Half of retirees say they are “reinviting themselves in their retirement,” particularly women (53% versus men at 47%).
  • 72% say they are now “able to realize their hopes and dreams.”
  • At the same time, retirement isn’t without worries: Pre-retirees and retirees ages 45+ are worried about their physical health (49%), healthcare costs (34%), unexpected expenses (32%) and economic conditions (32%).

Dry January continues to grow in popularity – with better health and weight loss the prime motivators, according to our survey with Go Brewing.

  • 79% of Americans who consume alcohol said they considered participating in Dry January this year.
  • The top motivators include a desire to be healthier (52%), lose weight (35%) and the ability to focus better on personal or work goals (33%).



Southwest Airlines has some work to do to repair its reputation after cancelling flights during the busy holiday travel season, our survey with AdAge

  • 45% of Americans have a worse opinion of the airline since before the meltdown.
  • That dissatisfaction rises to 52% among people who have recently traveled with Southwest.
  • 41% of respondents say they are less likely to travel with Southwest now compared to before the mass cancellations

In case you missed it, check out some of the thought-leadership and happenings around Stagwell making news:


As always, if helpful, we would be happy to provide more info on any of these data or insights. Please do not hesitate to reach out.


Thank you.





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