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Giving in Retirement: America’s Longevity Bonus

A Merrill Lynch Retirement Study, conducted in partnership with Age Wave

Generosity is at the heart of America. And while people of all ages give, retirees lead the nation in donating and volunteering finds this latest research report. According to the study, two thirds of retirees say retirement is the best time in life to give back. As a result of this generosity coupled with the enormous baby boomer generation entering retirement, there is the potential for a giving surge valued at an estimated $8 trillion in the United States over the next two decades.1

This study, the latest in a series exploring new retirement realities, takes a close look at the priorities, rewards and challenges of giving in retirement, as well as the benefits of giving back in retirement — for retirees, their families and society at large.

Key insights from the study also include:

  • How retirement transforms giving, and why retirees are able to give more, and with greater impact, than younger age groups
  • Giving gives back, and how retirees who give report feeling happier and healthier, and their retirement more purposeful
  • Strategies for creating a meaningful legacy, and advice from retirees on teaching generosity to the next generation
  • Challenges to giving in retirement, and what is most important to retirees when seeking guidance and advice
  • Creating a retirement giving game plan to give strategically while protecting one’s own financial security


This report is part of a series of in-depth studies focusing on seven life priorities for people as they move to and through retirement, including family, work, health, home, giving, leisure and finance. The study was conducted in July 2015 and is based on a nationally representative survey of more than 3,600 respondents. To learn more about the findings, download the study here.

1 Calculations based on data from the Center for Wealth and Philanthropy at Boston College, the U.S. Census, the U.S. Corporation for National Community Service, and Giving in Retirement: America’s Longevity Bonus survey.

Age Wave is not affiliated with Bank of America Corporation.


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