July 13, 2016 — If you have been curious about how your plans for retirement stack up with other baby boomers, look no further. This article will let you compare your plans and dreams with the 1200+ community-minded members who responded to our recent “How Much Do You Expect to Receive in Retirement” survey.
The 11 questions in that survey asked how far you might move, where you intend to retire, whether you would prefer to rent or buy, financing plans, as well as your interest in a home designed for 55+ living. We also provided a space for you to tell us in your own words about your plans for moving in retirement. More than 500 people did, and there is a link to every one of those interesting comments at the end of this article. Note that last week we published these results in 2 separate articles, this article basically combines those into 1, although today’s includes 3 separate groups of comments not included before.
One thing we do know for sure, Topretirements members are way more likely to be interested in moving out of state than the general boomer population. Here are the major highlights from the poll.
– Retired vs. Planning to retire. Slightly more respondents are already retired or partially retired than are not retired (56% vs 44%).
– Moving plans. The vast majority of those completing the survey have already moved or plan to so soon. Only 9% indicate they will stay where they live prior to retirement.
– Plan to move out of state? Our Members plan on moving, and it won’t be local. Over three quarters plan on moving out of state for retirement.
Popular regions to move to. By far the most popular place to retire for Topretirements members is the Southeast, followed by the Southwest, and Northeast. Florida, the Carolinas, and Arizona are the most popular states – but there are many contrarian opinions.
– Renting is not on the table. As a group you seem to have very little interest in renting a home in retirement – owning is much more popular.
– Financing – half will pay cash. About half of you plan on paying cash for your next home, while the remainder will mostly be taking out a conventional mortgage.
– 55+ appropriate design. About half of you say your current home is not very or only slightly appropriate for 55+ living (universal design and 1 floor living). When asked if you would be interested in purchasing a home with 55+ type design, a higher proportion said yes.
We always ask qualifying questions 1 and 2 in our surveys to get a sense of who is responding. Compared to previous surveys, a slightly higher percentage is retired at this time, and the average respondent is a couple of years older (looks like us baby boomers are aging after all!)
1. Retirement Status
About half of our members and visitors are not retired – 46% retired vs. 43% who are not. Another 10% are partially retired.
2. Retirement Age
Almost all Topretirements members are members of the baby boomer generation. More are between the ages of 60 and 69 (67%) than any other age. Those between 50 and 59% were next (21%). Just 11% are 70 and over, and very few are under 50 or over 80.
3. Have you moved, if you ARE retired
The short answer is … not yet. But the overwhelming majority of retired folks at Topretirements intend to move in the next few years. Many people are either still deciding where to move or have to wait for something (2nd spouse to retire, family situations, etc.) before they can do so. Other comments explain what people are looking for in their retirement home.
Plan on moving
Yes we moved
4. Will you move, if you are NOT yet retired?
Our folks who have not yet retired are even more interested in moving once they do retire – 77% of them say they are “Extremely” or “Very likely” to do so. By contrast only 6% are Extremely or Very likely to stay where they are.
Main reason for moving. We asked people to give their “Main” reason for wanting to move in retirement. An amazing 425 comments came back with their main reason for moving (many gave more than one). Here in descending order are the main reasons
– Weather/climate (getting out of the cold)
– Cost of living
– Type of house/downsizing
– Move to a different kind of community
– Closer to family and friends
In addition to these reasons for moving there were many others mentioned. Those include: being near ocean or mountains, health, different region or state, walkability, and divorce. What is just as interesting are the items usually associated with retirement that were not mentioned frequently: low maintenance and a home designed for 55+ living. (use this link to read all 425 comments)
5. If moving, how far?
In this question we asked people to describe their plans for moving. Their responses are somewhat peculiar to Topretirements – the overwhelming majority (76%) of our members are planning on moving out of state for their retirement. By contrast, in the general population about 15% of people say they want to move – anywhere. The percentages for the various choices we gave are shown below in rank order:
New home, different state
New home, same region/state
New home, same town
6. What region of the country will you move to
The Southeast is overwhelmingly the place where Topretirements members plan on retiring; it was chosen more than two times as much as the next highest choice, the Southwest.
From the comments made it is clear that the Southeast is the most popular region because of its generally lower cost of living and warmer winters.
States. We also asked in this section which state people are thinking about moving to. Almost 800 people took the time to give us their intended retirement state – thanks! There are some certain favorite states, but the choices are astonishingly diverse. Every state got mentioned at least once, along with foreign countries including Spain, Greece, Portugal, and Italy. These were the five most popular states, in rank order:
What was especially interesting were the clusters of states that many others reported they were considering. Some are fairly obvious, such as Tennessee and Kentucky; Oregon, Washington and Idaho; North or South Carolina, Florida and Georgia; Delaware and Virginia; Arizona and Nevada; and Wyoming and Montana. But occasionally there were some disparate combinations of states that are not neighbors; in these cases you can see the complex family, friend, and other considerations that get plugged into a complex decision like choosing a retirement destination.
Question 7. Renting vs. Owning
There is little doubt about how our members feel about renting a home in retirement – you don’t want to! Some 74% said you would be Extremely or Very Unlikely to rent, vs. 12% who indicate they would be Extremely or Very Likely to rent.
Q 8. How will you finance your retirement home?
Survey takers were evenly split between those who will pay cash (presumably from the equity in their pre-retirement home) and those who will take out some kind of mortgage, mostly conventional ones. The choice of a conventional mortgage indicates, in our opinion, that retirees haven’t given enough attention to the usefulness of reverse mortgages like the HECM product (only 1% said they would use this tool). We say that because some of our Topretirements homebuilder advertisers say that significant numbers of the buyers in their developments choose HECM mortgages, once they are acquainted with the product. Obviously, such products are not for everyone, however, and customary caution is advised as in any financial transaction
HECM or Reverse
Q 9. Is your current home age appropriate?.
We were curious to see how people rate their current home for being 55+ appropriate – by which we mean single floor living, downstairs MBR, no steps, universal design (ability for anyone to live there regardless of physical condition). We included low maintenance as part of these characteristics, which we believe are important considerations for retirees to consider. The results were split – about half thought their current home is age appropriate, and half did not. Here is the breakdown:
Not at all appropriate
Slightly not approp.
There were 252 additional comments made on this question. Many people commented that they were looking for a ranch style home, that their current home had too many steps and levels, and that they want to downsize from what they have now. We are happy that folks are thinking about these considerations, and here is where you can read all 252 comments.
Q 10. How likely are you to buy a home that is 55+ appropriate (with all of the factors discussed in previous question?
It appears that there is fairly strong interest in buying a home with 55+ friendly features. About 3/4 of respondents were at least interested in the concept, while the remaining quarter said not so much. Given this interest we are, frankly, surprised that there are any active adult community builders left who don’t make all of their homes 55+ friendly.
Slightly not interested
Not at all interested
Q 11. Is there anything else you would like to share about your thought process concerning your move to a new home in retirement?
We were pleased to see over 500 comments made in this optional section. All of them are interesting, and they cover a broad range of issues. If you have the time you might want to skim through them as they provide considerable insight, food for thought, and just plain assurance that you are not alone in this challenge. This is where you can read all of the comments
We don’t have the space to include them all here, but here is a random sampling that will give you a flavor for what was contributed (our apologies for not including yours)
It is frightening to me…I have been looking at real estate websites as well as reading a lot about living in various places…..I am having a very tough time figuring out where I will live. Right now, I am alone……so even more scary as I eave my few remaining friends, it will be like completely starting life over again.
Struggling with choice of a 55+ community or not. There are strong pluses (facilities, peers, opportunities for activities) but also strong negatives (living only with old people, HOA controls over maintenance and personalizaion; more restricted resale market if choose to move).
I presently live on a lake in New Jersey where the taxes ($13,000 a year) are horrible. I can find the same size home?(even though I don’t need the size)in the southeast (SC or TN) with taxes of approximately $1000-$1500 a year. What I pay now in a month I can pay in a year and not change my lifestyle. It’s amazing. I have my home up for sale now can’t wait to sell.
We set clear criteria:?Near major urban area with art, culture, hospitals Near the beach? Age diverse living area? Lock and leave potential After several visits, We selected Daniel Island, SC.
Hate to leave current home but unable to afford to stay here. Forced out.
Having close access to towns to socialize, near hospital if ever needing medical attention.
Right now, our move is 6-8 weeks away, and i’m scared to death. I’ve lived in this area of the country for 38 years and it’s home. Is this the right thing for me to do???
I am bored here. I miss clean streets, and quiet nights. The weather is perfect here, but I’m willing to give it up in exchange for more opportunities to be active, e.g. hiking, biking, swimming, kayaking, and volunteering. And to make more friends who are intellectually stimulating.
Have to be in a 55+ community and have to have numerous activities.
We are moving to be more physically comfortable. The southern heat and humidity is killing us! Since most of our family?is on the east coast, we started our discussion in Florida. It gradually moved up the coast until we found a place that had the most of what we were looking for – small city with things to do, not overly taxed and cooler weather. A spreadsheet to compare places was also helpful.
The South holds no interest for either of us. It is getting more crowded here and we need some room. The West is beautiful and our savings will also go further there. Yes we will miss our family; we’ll visit. We are looking at this as a new adventure.
We wanted to be in a warmer climate during winter. Also wanted to have organized activities, walkability and trails to explore. Having all these things with the added bonus of being a part of an community.
We’ve RVed for vacations for awhile. We’ve decided there’s so much to see and do, so we are moving to our RV full-time, giving up our “sticks-and-bricks” home until we’ve either found the next place we want to call home or we can’t wander any long
Want to move to area of lower cost of living, lower property taxes & near adult children
Good airport? Good arts Wednesday, Good healthcare, Good sports
We are looking forward to the next adventure and are excited about the chance for a new beginning at that stage in our lives.
I really need to get out of Illinois.
Do it before your too old and trapped. I think a comfortable home in a stimulating area adds to longevity and quality of life!
We need to move to a smaller home that one of us could manage if the other person becomes ill or dies. We live in the NH. The winters are long and the shoveling is very difficult for us at this stage in our lives. The property taxes, vehicle registration costs, etc. are expensive in NH.
Thank you to all of the Topretirements members who took the time to share – we greatly appreciate your input! If you have an idea for a future survey, please leave your suggestion as a Comment at the end.
Links to Previous Surveys
Walking Trails, Clubhouse, and Single Floor Living Dominate Community Preferences (20160
Good News: Topretirements Members Very Confident About Retirement
Where to Retire Preferences
Topretirements Members Report High Degrees of Spousal Compatibility- 2013
Our Members Getting Ready for Big Retirement Moves- 2013
Retirement Living Preferences – 2013
Medicare Survey – 2012
Best and Worst Things About Your Retirement
Your Bucket Lists Are Amazing
Top Concerns about Retirement
Plans for Retirement
Comments? Please share your thoughts about these “where to retire” results in the Comments section below. Did any of the results surprise you or change your mind – please let us know!