TD Ameritrade Explains the Changing Retirement Landscape

December 6, 2017 — 1:10 PM EST

Rewind a few decades, and retirement was all about putting your money in something safe and spending the remainder of your years modestly living off of that. These days, retirement is completely different, with people living longer thanks to advances in medicine and technology and maintaining active lifestyles way after they stop working. But the changes don't stop there. According to TD Ameritrade, the way people save for retirement is also different today than it was years ago.

"Historically, pension plans were the norm, but fewer and fewer people are getting pensions these days," said Dara Luber, senior manager of retirement at TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation (AMTD​), in a recent post. "Now, 401(k)s and IRAs are more common. And we all know where we think Social Security is headed."

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With pensions largely gone from corporate America and the likelihood of Social Security being around in the decades to come up in the air, saving on your own for retirement is becoming increasingly important. A recent TD Ameritrade survey showed that only about 30% of millennial parents and grandparents with millennial children are confident that they will have enough money saved for their retirement. In addition, four in ten millennial parents and close to half of grandparents said that they had to tap their retirement savings to cover emergencies and household bills.

Luber says that, to improve savings rates, Americans have set goals. Setting a specific amount of money you need in retirement, taking into account any unexpected health expenses, can go a long way in making sure you have enough money in the coffers when you are ready to exit the workforce. Sure, it will be hard, but Luber says those that have a specific savings goal tend to be more successful at saving than those that don't.

For retirees with grandchildren, making sure their retirement savings last can be a little more difficult, largely because many see their job as spoiling the little ones. In a survey of grandparents, TD Ameritrade found that 38% of grandmothers and 22% of grandfathers said spending time with their grandkids brings the most joy. The results were reversed between males and females for those who said that spending time with their spouse brings the most happiness. However, along with that joy comes a need to spend that can affect the retirement savings. According to the same survey, 54% of grandparents said that they have or would reduce their lifestyle to make their retirement savings last longer, but only one in five grandparents have or would curb spending on the kids, even if that would mean having money to live off of for longer.