Americans dream big about travel in retirement. Many see retirement as having unlimited vacation time, and they now have “time off” to take all those trips they put off during their working years. Yet many are unprepared financially to ensure their dreams come true. In a study conducted by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Research, results distinctly showed this disconnect:
Seven-in-ten (69 percent) of Americans say travel is an important goal worth saving for
Having sufficient financial resources is the biggest influence on planning to travel, with 81 percent citing this
Despite the importance Americans place on travel, just 44 percent have given a retirement travel savings plan any considerable attention and only 15 percent have placed a high priority on saving for travel. When it comes to taking action, less than one-in-five (18 percent) have specifically factored travel into their financial strategy for retirement
Although nearly half of retirees (49 percent) would have done nothing differently in regards to planning for travel in retirement, among those with regrets, more than half wish they would have saved more for travel
Only about four-in-ten (41 percent) Americans are confident that their current financial strategy will allow them to travel as desired in retirement
The study took their research a step further, highlighting the value of travel to people’s physical and mental states:
Travelers experience significantly greater satisfaction in overall mood and outlook (86 percent) compared to those who do not travel (75 percent)
Americans who travel report greater satisfaction in their physical health and well-being, compared to non-travelers (77 percent compared to 61 percent)
Strong majorities say travel improves their overall health and well-being. The effects of travel include improvement and benefits to:
o Mood and outlook (86 percent)
o Stress level (78 percent)
o Physical well-being (77 percent)
o Friendships (75 percent)
o Mental Stimulation (75 percent)
o Health (70 percent)
Travel can play an important role in helping Americans enjoy the things they most frequently mention as vitally important to their personal well-being including:
o Making time to do things you love (95 percent)
o Spending time with friends and family (94 percent)
o Staying active physically (93 percent)
o Staying active mentally (93 percent)
63 percent of travelers report that they walk more and 66 percent say participating in physical activity is important when they’re on a leisure trip
Among retirees who travel, a strong majority (82 percent) are satisfied with their “ability to get things done,” in contrast with only 57 percent of retirees who do not travel
Further motivated by the understanding that travel can lead to long-term health benefits, retirees should incorporate with their plan ways to ensure they meet these symbiotic goals.
When calculating your needs for retirement, factor in saving for travel and budget accordingly.
When considering travel among other big purchases, remember that staying active and traveling throughout the life course has physical, cognitive and social benefits that lead to a healthier aging process.
Travel can accomplish Americans’ top two retirement aspirations, so plan your vacations as a way to not only see new places but also strengthen family connections.
Remember that travel does not have to be an exotic or expensive outing, so begin saving now to help make your travel dreams of all sizes come true.
Employees should use their vacation time, a benefit that in most cases already exists but is underutilized, and employers should likewise encourage vacations to promote health and wellness in the workplace.