We’re the generation that thinks we own the trademark on youth, but now ironically headed for retirement. A lot of experts are trying to figure out how we will impact the multi-billion dollar retirement market when we hit it in force in the next few years.
Many experts agree that a significant portion of baby boomers will thumb our noses at the stereotypical retirements of our parents. To those of us who grew up in the Age of Aquarius, selling the split level and spending our days playing golf and shuffleboard at Leisure Acres is just not very appealing.
A broader consensus believes that we will be searching for retirement lifestyles that are youthful, interesting, and fulfilling. Consider this statement from Matt Thornhill of the Boomer Project: “The typical Boomer at 50 feels like 35. Mid-life extends from 50 to 75. Boomers have decided to put off old age. That’s something for the future. They think they’re never going to be seniors; they’re Boomers.” Or this one from Gene Warren, Retirement Consultant: “They (FL and AZ) are what our parents and grandparents were looking for. They are nice warm places where people can sit around. The boomers are looking for something different. They are looking for activities, for lifestyle.”
The first rule when it comes to categorizing baby boomers is – don’t try this at home! We are way too big a group for broad generalizations. That said, here are some of our predictions (and please give us yours via the Comments box at the bottom!):
– Boomers will do whatever they want to do. So their retirements will go off in a million directions – from the conventional to the completely wild. Retirement options will change as a result.
– Conventional retirement communities (55+, active adult) will change in many significant ways. Once a critical mass of boomers move into them these communities will become more casual, less hierarchical, and more individual. And the services they offer will change as well.
– Baby boomer finances will be part of the picture. Although there are millions of boomers who are very well off, more of us are going to be facing a tough financial future. Our savings are low, 401ks are shredded, and pensions aren’t as good as our parents’. Faced with keeping up the lifestyles we’ve become accustomed to, we are going to get creative. Retiring later, finder lower cost states and towns, working in retirement, even retiring out of the country will be more common.
– Mobility and flexibility. We’ve moved all over the country in our careers and a move isn’t that big a deal. We’ll be more willing than previous generations to move to a college town, small town, big city, or new area if that means a better retirement.
– Fulfillment. There is a significant segment of baby boomers for whom personal responsibility and fulfillment is very important. After working a lifetime for the man, many of us will be interested in doing some good for the world in their retirement. Volunteer organizations should start getting ready to exploit an important new labor source.
Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below. We’d like to hear!