Note: This article has been updated with the top 2011 active communities trends.
With many baby boomers expecting their first social security checks in the mail soon, the next obvious question is…. where will all of these boomers live in retirement? Indeed, a favorite baby boomer cocktail party conversational gambit these days is “Where are you thinking about living in retirement?” With big events like this afoot, we thought we would try our hand at predicting 2008’s top 10 trends for baby boomer retirement communities. One thing is certain – baby boomers are so diverse that just about every retirement will be different. Here goes:
– Boomers will be wary of buying a property in 2008 over fears that they might overpay, or that their developer might go bankrupt
– The vast majority of baby boomers will stay in their own homes, but 25% plan on moving to another area (but mostly in their own area or state). Source: MetLife Mature Market study
– Baby boomers are looking for something different; cookie cutter developments are out
– They are going to seek out communities where there is a lot going on – college towns, urban environments, smaller towns with vibrant downtowns.
– Active adult communities with extensive and unusual recreational facilities are treasured. To a certain segment, “being green” is important
– Good transportation infrastructure is a plus – boomers don’t want to have to drive everywhere. Walking, biking, golf carts are OK; just so long as they don’t have to drive everywhere
– They will start investigating an active adult community near (but not too close) to their children or grandchildren
– The segment of baby boomers that the Age Wave consulting firm calls the “Live for Todays”, characterized as wanting to have fun but haven’t saved enough, will be attracted to expatriate retirement communities in countries like Costa Rica, Mexico, and Panama. Many of them will be disappointed to find out what it is like to live in the third world. But many more will be unhappy to discover how far that puts them from family members
– Marketers who continue to market to “seniors” will wonder why they have no customers. The average baby boomer doesn’t think he will be old until he reaches about 78 years of age. Active adults, or just plain “baby boomers”, will be the terms of preference to describe these retiring baby boomers
For the first time in their lives boomers will be more concerned about property taxes than they are about the quality of schools in their new communities. States and communities with reputations for being tax and retiree-friendly will get a larger share of baby boomer retirees.
For more information:
New York Times article on baby boomers
Metlife Research Study