Money, Minutes, Meaning
Merrill Lynch and Age Wave

According to a new study from Merrill Lynch and Age Wave, the complete elimination of charitable giving was the least popular option to shore up financial resources for retirement. Instead, people seek other, more creative ways of giving – 70% say they’d be willing to share their time or skills through a bartering economy, which would allow them to redirect their finances to other items.

From Merrill Lynch and Age Wave’s: Finance in Retirement: New Challenges, New Solutions (2017):

  • In order to have a more financially comfortable retirement, three-quarters of Americans say they would volunteer more of their time instead of giving money.
  • 71 percent would reduce how much they leave to their loved ones.
  • 77 percent would limit or cut back on charitable donations.
  • People at large do not want to eliminate their charitable giving, with complete elimination of giving being the least popular option (53 percent)


Additional Stats – From Giving in Retirement: America’s Longevity Bonus (2015)

  • Eighty percent of those age 65+ donate money and goods to charity, and their average donation per year of $1,672 is highest among age groups.
  • While people in their 30s and 40s are more likely to be donating time, those in their 50s and 60s donate many more hours per year.
  • Eighty-four percent say an important reason they are able to give more in retirement is that they have greater skills and talents compared to when they were younger.
  • Eighty-five percent define success in retirement as being generous rather than being wealthy.
  • Seventy-six percent say they get greater happiness helping people in need than spending money on themselves.
  • Retirees who donate and volunteer report having a stronger sense of purpose than those who don’t, and say they’re happier and healthier, too.


Download the document below to learn more about giving in retirement or download the full report here.