Fifty-nine percent of Americans who plan to retire believe they can afford a comfortable and secure retirement lasting more than 10 years, according to the findings of a new study by Edward Jones and Age Wave.

Today’s retirees are approaching retirement with general optimism and enthusiasm, according to “Resilient Choices: Trade-Offs, Adjustments and Course Corrections to Thrive in Retirement. Two-thirds of retirees (67%) and almost as many pre-retirees (62%) who responded to the survey said they feel confident in their ability to handle the unexpected. Many, however, said they are eager to learn about the full range of options available to them and how much control they have over improving their lives.

Preparation, flexibility and willingness to adapt are keys to success in retirement for 93% of Americans, according to participants.

The Harris Poll conducted the survey through online focus groups and bulletin boards. The study explored course corrections and other tips related to four pillars of retirement: health, family, purpose and finances. Respondents showed an increasing resilience in their willingness to make changes and set boundaries to improve their well-being in retirement, according to the researchers. 

Course corrections

“Today’s pre- and current retirees know they will face challenges but are willing to make adjustments, trade-offs and course corrections to improve their quality of life and sense of well-being as retirement continues to last longer than ever,” Head of Wealth Management Advice and Solutions at Edward Jones, Lena Haas, said in a statement

Life events often require course corrections, which may not need not be drastic, the study authors said. Developing habits such as eating a healthful diet, getting regular exercise and getting mental stimulation can dramatically improve healthspan, lifespan and well-being in retirement, they said. And setting emotional and financial boundaries with family members can be a helpful course correction.

“Majorities of partnered retirees and pre-retirees say they have already discussed and aligned on retirement plans and goals with their spouse or partner, and almost all the rest

are willing to do so,” the authors said. “Less common, but often needed,is setting boundaries with family about how much time and money retirees can afford to spend on those family members.

The authors also recommended that retirees not be afraid to try new things, expand their social circles and seek out financial guidance to increase their savings and minimize their debt.