The Longevity Curve

Americans Are Excited to Grow Older

However They Worry More about Health Care Costs and Finances Than Death

TD Ameritrade survey sheds light on shifting attitudes around aging

October 11, 2018 — OMAHA, Neb.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Perceptions and aspirations for aging may be experiencing a major shift, according to the new survey of 2,002 U.S. adults commissioned by TD Ameritrade. The study reveals that aging timelines are lengthening, as the average age one would classify someone as “old” is now 74, up from 68 in 20091. Furthermore, expectations for longevity are reaching new heights – Americans expect to live to age 84, on average.

“People are living longer2 and surely that influences perception of what is deemed to be ‘old age’. But it’s also influenced by how Americans aspire to live their lives as they age,” says Matt Sadowsky, director of retirement and annuities, TD Ameritrade. “Our survey shows that people see aging as a time to pursue new goals and passions, reflecting that they intend to live active, fulfilling lives deeper into retirement. A more active lifestyle at older ages contributes to the shift in our perception of old age.”

The Golden Years of Opportunity – Aging Aspirations Are on the Rise

  • Eight in 10 (81 percent) see aging as an opportunity to reach new goals
  • Three-quarters (76 percent) agree that aging provides time to pursue passions that did not fit into their lives before
  • As they age, most (62 percent) want to spend time with friends and family, travel abroad (57 percent) or take up a hobby (52 percent)
  • Americans say retirement is – or will be – the most liberating phase of their life (72 percent retired, 61 percent pre-retired)

“Our findings show that whether you’re a millennial or a boomer, people are generally upbeat about the opportunities that come with aging,” continues Sadowsky. “Americans are more likely to associate aging with wisdom (65 percent) and experience (69 percent), than becoming a burden (18 percent) or becoming out of touch (17 percent). The optimism extends across all the generations.”

People are living longer and surely that influences perception of what is deemed to be ‘old age’. But it’s also influenced by how Americans aspire to live their lives as they age...

Yet Despite the Glowing Outlook on Aging, Worries Do Exist

  • Americans worry more about the health care costs and finances (43 and 35 percent, respectively) than death (26 percent)
  • Declining health is the top fear Americans face about getting older, as losing mental and physical function (both 58 percent) rank the highest
  • Nearly half (46 percent) fear losing loved ones

Most Aren’t Confident That They’re Preparing for Retirement Correctly

  • While half of the respondents would like to retire by 60, just 33 percent expect to do so, primarily due to the need to save more (72 percent)
  • Seven in 10 (72 percent) do not believe social security will cover their spending
  • Six in 10 have/had no idea how much to save for life beyond 65
  • Half (51 percent) do not believe they’ll have more than enough money to cover their needs in retirement

“Financial considerations for retirement are very real concerns and do weigh heavy. Nevertheless, our survey shows most people view retirement as the most liberating phase of their lives,” Sadowsky concludes.



About TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation
TD Ameritrade provides investing services and education to more than 11 million client accounts totaling more than $1.2 trillion in assets, and custodial services to more than 6,000 registered investment advisors. We are a leader in U.S. retail trading, executing an average of more than 780,000 trades per day for our clients, more than a quarter of which come from mobile devices. We have a proud history of innovation, dating back to our start in 1975, and today our team of nearly 10,000-strong is committed to carrying it forward. Together, we are leveraging the latest in cutting edge technologies and one-on-one client care to transform lives, and investing, for the better. Learn more by visiting TD Ameritrade’s newsroom at, or read our stories at Fresh Accounts.
Brokerage services provided by TD Ameritrade, Inc., member FINRA ( (
About The Harris Poll
The Harris Poll is one of the longest-running surveys in the U.S., tracking public opinion, motivations and social sentiment since 1963. It is now part of Harris Insights & Analytics, a global consulting and market research firm that strives to reveal the authentic values of modern society to inspire leaders to create a better tomorrow. We work with clients in three primary areas; building twenty-first-century corporate reputation, crafting brand strategy and performance tracking, and earning organic media through public relations research. Our mission is to provide insights and advisory to help leaders make the best decisions possible.
About the Redefining Aging Survey
This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of TD Ameritrade from July 17 – 21, 2018, among 2,002 U.S. adults aged 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. The Harris Poll is separate from and not affiliated with TD Ameritrade, which is not responsible for their services or policies.
Source: TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation