Retirement Through the Decades: 1960s vs. Now

There are several differences when you compare retirement in the 1960s with today.
Compared to the 1960's, today is a very different time. Here are some of the key comparisons between then and now.
There are several differences when you compare retirement in the 1960s with today.

When you think of the 60s some of the first things that come to mind include the civil rights movement, women’s liberation, Neil Armstrong walking on the moon, John F. Kennedy’s assassination, and Woodstock. These are some major events that occurred during the 1960s that have made a lasting impact on American history.

When you compare the 1960s to now, you may realize there have been many changes that affected the Baby Boomer generation and their retirement plans. From high inflation and longer life expectancies to rising health care costs and the decline of savings rates, America has surely changed since the 1960s.

Cost of Living

Back in the 1960s, the standard of living was much different than it is today. Common items may seem affordable to us now when we look back at how much gas, a loaf of bread, a gallon of milk, a carton of eggs, or a Big Mac used to cost. But then again the minimum wage was just $1.23 and most families had just one income, while today, most families are two-income households. The average annual income in the 60s was just under $5,000 while today it’s about $50,000. Buying a home back then was less than $20,000, but today purchasing a home costs more than $150,000 and there are more loopholes and bank loan approvals required before actually owning a home. Consumer products like television sets, air conditioning units, and large household appliances were a lot less in the 60s than they are today as well.

Personal Savings

Saving for retirement has also been a challenge for many people, whereas in the 1960s it was much more common to have a respectable nest egg. More experts agree that people don’t have enough money saved for retirement. They estimate that many Americans are at risk of outliving their retirement savings due to a growing gap between the money needed to maintain a standard of living and what they actually have saved in the bank.

Personal savings rates in the U.S. are also on the decline and have been for the past 30 years. People are only saving about four cents on the dollar of their income, which is less than half of what people used to save decades ago. And because people aren’t saving enough, experts say many retirees will be forced to go back to work during their retirement to supplement their income and afford medical care.

Health Care

Another major change from the 60s is health care costs. Americans today are paying more for health care than they did in the 1960s. Health care spending was at 5.2% in 1960 and has risen ever since. Today, health care costs are up to 17% of GDP and people will pay more than $300 per person over the next decade in out-of-pocket costs for health care. Baby Boomers will have to take this into consideration when preparing and saving for retirement. They might need to squeeze some pennies for medical care because it’s going to cost them more money to stay healthy.

Population Growth

The Baby Boomer generation in the U.S. makes up a large portion of the population, which is about 76.4 million. The population in the U.S. continues to grow as infant mortality rates are down and life expectancy is much longer than it was in the 1960s. Smoking is also less popular now than it was in the 60s. About 40% of Americans were regular smokers in 1969, but today only 22% of the population regularly smokes.

Although the country has made some big strides since the 1960s for social changes, there is room for more positive growth and improvement in healthcare, retirement reform, and government policies.

Can you spot the $207,744 difference between these identical homes?

Financing is the difference!

Get the details in The 62+ Loan Homebuyers Guide.

55places Mortgage is a joint venture between Mutual of Omaha Mortgage and
Details here.

Share this post:

We're here to help! (800) 928-2055

Call us to speak with a customer service representative.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Get Weekly Updates

I agree that 55places and its affiliates, partner providers or agents may call, text, or email me about my inquiry, which may be made with automated means. I understand that my consent is not a prerequisite for buying a property. I may revoke my consent at any time by contacting [email protected] Message/data rates may apply. I also agree to’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

The Best Places to Snowbird in 2021

We’ve gathered 25 of the best places for snowbirds, including cities in Florida, Arizona, California, Texas, South Carolina, and Nevada. For each entry, we’ve also provided a list of recommended 55+ communities in the area. If you’re ready to find your own winter retreat this season, here are some of the best places to consider.

Interior view of the indoor pool at Del Webb Ponte Vedra in Ponte Vedra, Florida.

Jacksonville Area 55+ Communities With Indoor Pools

There’s something so luxurious about an indoor pool. Take a look at these communities in Jacksonville and the surrounding northeast Florida area. You’ll find indoor pools and much, much more.

Sunset on sandy and rocky beach in the Bay Area of California.

55+ Communities on the Beach in the Bay Area

Perhaps you’re ready to turn your dream of living by the beach into reality. In that case, we’ve got you covered, because there are a few wonderful beachside 55+ communities right in the Bay Area.

A 55+ couple with arthritis holding hands and enjoying a day at the beach.

The Best Places to Retire With Arthritis

Those with arthritis know the pain and discomfort can be difficult to manage day-to-day. While there are many remedies to manage the pain, one you may not consider is climate. 55Places has taken a look at the best regions to live if you have arthritis, and many of them are home to 55+ communities!

A bridge over a pond on the grounds of Sun City Lincoln Hills in Lincoln, California.

Large 55+ Communities in the Sacramento Area

One of the greatest benefits of living in a large community is the vast amount of amenities typically offered. If you’re looking for larger 55+ communities in Sacramento, you’ll want to check out the three following communities.

Aerial view of the Downtown Spartanburg skyline in South Carolina on a sunny day.

Living in Spartanburg, South Carolina

Located in the scenic foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Northwestern South Carolina—also known as the Upstate—Spartanburg is an ideal destination for active adults who want to retire in a mid-sized city with a small-town, close-knit feel.

About 55places

We’re changing the way people 55 and older are searching for their perfect next place. With a national network of hand-selected real estate experts, plus comprehensive information, unbiased content, and on-the-go insight about thousands of communities across the country, we’re a trusted resource paving the way from here to home. Whether you’re interested in a low-maintenance single-level residence, an active lifestyle or age-qualified community, an intimate enclave, or anything in between, we can help you make your next move the best one yet.

Scroll to Top