Survey: 57% of Americans want to travel abroad as they get older

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.

Scaling up the age ladder doesn’t automatically mean you have to stop having fun. In fact, recent data from TD Ameritrade shows that 57% of Americans say they want to “travel abroad” as they get older. The company also reports that “on average, Americans expect to live to age 84.”

Plus, 81% of respondents said getting older gives them “an opportunity to reach new goals.”

The Harris Poll surveyed 2,002 American adults for TD Ameritrade’s research. Here’s how each generation was defined: Millennials (ages 18 to 34), Generation X (ages 35 to 52), Baby Boomers (ages 53 to 72) and the Greatest Generation (ages 73 and older).

What Americans aim to do as they get older

Here are their goals:

  • “Travel abroad:” 57%
  • “Take up a new hobby:” 52%
  • “Track health using a wearable:” 28%
  • “Join new social circles:” 24%
  • “Live abroad:” 12%
  • “Participate in extreme sports:” 3%

In the same vein, Americans’ top five “priorities when aging” are:

  • “Spend time with friends and family:” 62%
  • “Focus on my health and wellness:” 51%
  • “Seek out new experiences:” 51%
  • “Increase leisure time:” 29%
  • “Create a legacy for my children and grandchildren:” 20%

Matt Sadowsky, director of retirement and annuities at TD Ameritrade, commented on the research in a statement.

“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,” he said.

The most popular “health priority” among respondents was “living a balanced lifestyle,” at 32%.

The report also took a look at people who have and have not retired, showing that 63% of non-retirees plan to hang out with family members and friends, compared to 58% of people in their Golden Years.

When it comes to honing in on their personal “health and wellness,” 46% of non-retirees say they do this, compared to 66% of people who have retired.

But Americans don’t always think aging equals smooth sailing.

The most popular two concerns about getting older both tied, with “losing mental function” and “losing physical function” each coming in at 58%. “Dying” came in at  26%, and “losing looks” came in last place at 15%.

Here’s when you are officially “old,” according to different generations

Here are the top two positive things that Americans “associate with aging:” “wisdom” (65%) and “experience” (62%). The top two negative things are “forgetfulness” (43%) and “ill health” (41%).

Here’s when you’re “old:”

  • Millennials: age 67
  • Generation X: age 72
  • Baby Boomers: age 79
  • Greatest: age 82

How people feel as they age

Here are some of the results, among many others:

  • “Trustworthy:” 59% of Millennials, 55% of Generation X, 69% of Baby Boomers, 70% of the Greatest Generation
  • “Independent:” 46% of Millennials, 43% of Generation X, 51% of Baby Boomers, 46% of the Greatest Generation
  • “More comfortable in my own skin:” 46% of Millennials, 46% of Generation X, 48% of Baby Boomers, 52% of the Greatest Generation
  • “More control in my life:” 52% of Millennials, 41% of Generation X, 39% of Baby Boomers, 34% of the Greatest Generation

Jane Burnett|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at jburnett@theladders.com.