BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Set aside the rapid fire of all those studies saying you won't have enough to retire on. Beneath the fear and uncertainty there remain dreams, big and small, for how we envision our golden years.
While dreams aren't always grounded in reality, and a fixed-income lifestyle may not seem to offer much opportunity for living large, frugal talk often undercuts what people really want out of retirement.
A survey by MainStay Investments, the adviser distribution arm of New York Life Investments, found that 76% of more than 1,000 preretirees it surveyed were willing to sacrifice today -- working longer and saving more -- in their pursuit of enjoying the finer things once they retire.
Forty percent of the boomers surveyed said they will have to delay retirement to afford the lifestyle they want to live. Besides working longer, boomers -- in their pursuit of an ideal lifestyle -- are saving more, adjusting their portfolio allocations and seeking help from financial advisers -- in that order.
"An interesting pattern that we noticed throughout the research was that as consumers age, things that were once considered luxuries are more likely to be considered basic needs, thereby reaffirming that boomers essentially want it all," says Matthew Leung, director and head of practice management programs at MainStay. "In fact, almost half of [of the respondents] said they would downsize their home in retirement in order to afford these luxuries."
Among the items boomers now consider "basic needs," according to the survey, are pet care, vacations, hair stylists and helping pay for their family's education.
Financial advisers often describe a "U" shape when discussing retirement spending: It starts with an active lifestyle early in retirement, which many fail to take into account in their planning; spending typically levels off as they get older; and finally spikes in later years when health issues become more frequent, persistent and expensive.
In plotting out a 20- or 30-year retirement, people need to be honest about what they want out of life. Calculations can't just be based on basic needs -- "finding your number" for what you need to save for retirement needs to also include discretionary spending.
What constitutes a dream retirement and how much will it cost? More importantly, can you afford it? Here are 10 retirement dreams that, with planning and some reality-based economies of scale, may still be within your reach: