Client outcomes

Rethinking life after retirement

January 25, 2023

In recent months, Americans are rethinking what life in retirement looks like because of economic uncertainty, opting to adjust their personal priorities with financial stability in mind. Our recent Advisor Authority survey, powered by the Nationwide Retirement Institute®, helped us discover new trends and shifts in investors’ retirement planning motivations as well as opportunities for financial professionals to help their clients who are approaching retirement.


Working after retirement on the rise.

For decades, some retirees have worked part-time jobs while retired as a way to be social, stay busy and challenge themselves mentally as well as for other personally driven reasons. While the prospect of working during retirement is not new, we found that the reasons many retirees are considering continuing to work are changing in the face of prolonged economic uncertainty.

Among non-retired investors, more than two-thirds (69%) plan to or are considering continuing to work in retirement. More than half (60%) stated they want to continue working because it allows them to stay physically or mentally active. Similarly, 41% want to continue working because it gives them a sense of purpose.

Infographic providing statistics on life after retirement.

While these answers are in line with what we’d expect, financial motivations for working in retirement are on the rise – nearly half (44%) of tomorrow’s retirees say they’ll have to work in retirement to supplement their retirement savings or income out of necessity. And financial professionals agree; nearly 80% believe their clients will or may continue working after retirement.

Financial uncertainty in retirement can also affect the decisions that future retirees are able to make about their personal lives. Of non-retired investors surveyed, 40% plan to move to a different city or region after they retire but not necessarily for obvious reasons. While moving to be closer to family was among the top three reasons for 22% of non-retired investors, nearly half (43%) cited a lower cost of living as their most likely reason for relocation. Just over one-third (34%) plan to relocate to a region with lower taxes. These reasons, likely influenced by macroeconomic factors, are forcing retirees to deprioritize quality time with their loved ones.

Investors are anxious amid market volatility.

With increased market volatility and growing economic uncertainty comes increased anxiety and decreased confidence for most investors, particularly those preparing for a big life change like retirement. Non-retired investors are navigating uncertain territory and putting themselves at risk of potentially making costly blunders in the long term.

Non-retired investors who work with a financial professional are less confident than those who do not work with one. Nearly half (49%) of non-retired investors with a financial advisor are “very nervous” about spending down their retirement savings in today’s current market environment, compared to 32% of investors without a financial professional.

This sentiment continues across the board. Of those non-retired investors working with a financial professional, one in five (20%) are confident about their post-retirement financial futures, 20% are confident in their financial plans for retirement despite market volatility and 23% are taking steps to adjust their portfolios in light of recent market volatility. These confidence levels increase when talking with non-retired investors without an financial professional, with 36% confident in their post-retirement financial futures, 35% confident in their financial plans for retirement despite volatility and 43% taking steps to adjust their portfolio.  The discrepancy in sentiment and confidence between those with and without a financial advisor may boil down to a lack of familiarity with potential financial risks or an abundance of optimism for those without a financial advisor.

Trepidation about the current economic environment makes routine investment decisions more difficult, so it’s crucial that financial professionals work closely with their clients to answer questions, manage expectations and paint a realistic picture of the road ahead. As a financial professional, you can use the new year as an opportunity to check in with existing clients to provide guidance, address concerns and alleviate confusion about the current market environment. The new year is also a great time to touch base with prospective clients to offer support as the economic environment continues to change.

Traditional investment solutions provide comfort.

While it may be tempting to venture into new and different investments, especially during times of uncertainty, consider solutions that offer your clients protection against market volatility and guaranteed income in retirement.

Annuities are the top choice (71%) among financial professionals for protecting clients’ assets against market risks, followed by diversification and non-correlated assets (63%). Financial professionals are also moving cash on the sidelines to use for future buying opportunities (42%) and relying on hedging strategies (41%) to help protect against market risks. Non-retired investors tend to agree with their financial professionals – annuities are their top choice (54%) followed closely by financial diversification and non-correlated assets (52%).

As ongoing economic turbulence impacts all aspects of daily life, prudent planning is more important than ever ahead of major life changes like retirement, career changes and relocation. Building trust is so important when helping clients navigate through uncertainty as well as ensuring your clients feel confident about their retirement plans. By leading with empathy, financial professionals become trusted partners to their clients when they take the time to understand their worldviews, creating a zone of safety where realistic retirement goals can be discussed. Nationwide provides financial professionals with insights and solutions that you can use to help your clients have confidence in their financial futures.


  • The eighth annual Advisory Authority Survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Nationwide Advisory Solutions from July 27 – August 16, 2022 among 506 financial advisors and 521 investors, ages 18+. Among the 506 financial advisors, there were 266 RIA/Fee-based, 188 BD Advisors, 136 Wirehouse, and 54 Other advisors – advisors may fall into more than one category. Among the 521 investors, there were 105 Mass Affluent, 103 Emerging High Net Worth, 103 High Net Worth and 105 Ultra High Net Worth. Investors are weighted where necessary by age, gender, race/ethnicity, region, education, income, marital status, household size, investable assets and propensity to be online to bring them in line with their actual proportions in the population.

    This information is general in nature and is not intended to be tax, legal, accounting or other professional advice.

    Investing involves market risk, including possible loss of principal, and there is no guarantee that investment objectives will be achieved.

    Diversification does not assure a profit or protect against loss in a down market.

    Nationwide Investment Services Corporation (NISC), member FINRA, Columbus, Ohio. The Nationwide Retirement Institute is a division of NISC.