So where will be baby boomers live as they retire? That is the question that is being answered right now as 10,000 boomers a day turn age 65 like I did this year.
I spend a lot of time reading everything I can about the very same thing. Plus I am living this myself and see my friends moving for retirement. Here is my take.
Where Will The Boomers Live in Retirement?
The options are several but let’s just consider these:
1. move to an active adult community in another state
2. move to an active adult community in your own state
3. move to suitable home in another state
4. move to a suitable home in your state
5. stay where you are living now
From the way it looks now, the majority will stay in their own homes for many reasons, not the least of which is affordability. They make make some changing to their homes to make them more liveable as they ended up aging in place. This is option 5 above.
The next sizable tier, those who can afford it, may just move in a more suitable home in their own state. This is option 4. They may move from a large home to a ranch with a basement or a townhouse with master on the main and same level living areas. This may be to a location right in their current neighborhood because they like living there but just want a more suitable home for their retirement living. They may move a little closer to their children (grandchildren) and I see this happening quite a bit.
Some but a smaller group will elect to move to one of the 55+ places in their current neighborhood or one of the active adult communities on the edge of their metro area. This is option 2. I am seeing more of these 55+ communities being build in the suburbs where people are living now and I think this will become more popular as time goes on. These boomer communities will be smaller because of the land acquisition cost than those large Del Webb type active adult communities on the outer edges of metros.
Wearing your retirement lightly
How times have changed since you first entered the job market, wore a suit or silk stockings to the office, and used terms like “groovy”! Now you are facing retirement, and old folk no longer look like old folk back in the day. The elderly wear jeans and T-shirts, try to decipher the texts their grandchildren send them, and no longer take retirement lying or sitting down!
Experts argue there is a lot to be said for staying active and engaged during your retirement years. You will not only be healthier and live longer, but you will be able to create an entirely new life and find your true happiness doing those things you never had the time for while you were still working.
Where to begin to plan for a rich and rewarding retirement? Well, here are some ideas to get you started.
Give in order to receive
There are few things that act as such an immediate pick-me-up, confidence booster and natural high as helping those who are less fortunate. There are many ways in which you can pay it forward, whether by using the skills and experience you have gained during your career or by simply sharing of yourself and your time. Charities, welfare organizations and even political causes are always appreciative of an extra pair of helping hands, and you will get back far more in terms of the feel-good factor and a sense of working for something bigger than yourself.
Open your mind
You may be concerned that you are starting to forget things – no worry, learn some new stuff to replace what you’ve forgotten! It may be decades since you last seriously studied or sat for an exam, but the great thing about studying when you are retired, is that you don’t have to worry about getting good grades. You are simply learning for personal growth and development, and because a particular subject interests you. What better reasons are there?
Consider taking a course in something unexpected, such as a sculpting class or a guitar course, or even learn at home with dvd guitar lessons, its the next best thing to having your own private tutor. Find out if there is an art school in your area, or go online and be prepared for the wealth of information about anything from flower arranging to learning how to master blues guitar.
Unleash your creativity
The routine and structure of corporate life has had a hold on you for a very long time; now it is time to let down your hair (or wear a French beret if you no longer have hair) and find the artist within you. Kick off your sensible shoes and join a dance group. Express yourself through writing, singing, art and music.
But you don’t have to do the dance of the seven veils to connect with your creative side. A fun way to start is to take up scrapbooking – organize your family photos and mementoes in an album, and bring some artistic flair to the project. You will be doing three things at once: Tidying up your valuable treasures, creating a beautiful object, and giving your loved ones something truly memorable of yourself. Creating a beautiful handmade book or illustrated diary can be the next step.
Reality is virtual
You may think that you are up to speed, for a golden oldie, because you have a smartphone, and you know how to send an MMS. But what about Skype? Which blogs do you follow? And do you have a twitter account? Obviously it’s not necessary to keep up to date with every cyber fad that comes along, but from the comfort of your dining room table you can do some fancy things these days. It will be worthwhile to get to grips with internet shopping, for example, if you haven’t already done so. And to connect with groups online that are interested in the kinds of things you are interested in. Believe it or not, through the internet you can establish a real sense of being part of a community of, say, chess enthusiasts.
Smell the daisies
Something that is truly good for both body and soul is taking a stroll in nature. And when you have spent several hours immersed in cyberspace, this is just what you need. You can find out whether there are walking or hiking groups in your area, or you could arrange to take regular walks with a friend at set times. When you were still working, you would hope for good weather at the weekend; now you can simply make use of a sunny day with no restrictions. Or simply take a book and some bottled water along to the park on a nice day.
Pets are priceless
The value that an animal can add to your life is enormous: They are loyal, loving, devoted friends who will encourage you to be more active, make you feel special and needed, relieve stress and provide companionship 24/7.
All of a sudden while planning a cruise to celebrate our 40th anniversary it occurred to me. This year besides the big anniversary, I am turning age 65 and am fully retired (except for my retirement job which I am not counting). Wow, that is just special, a sort of boomer triad, hitting the 40th anniversary in the same year you turn 65 and also retire.
Then I noticed something else. Three other couples I have met this year also have a 40th anniversary this year. One couple from the senior center, one from an upcoming cruise and one from our dance club. What are the chances of that. Apparently pretty good. Since I am near the leading edge of older boomers having been born in 1948 there are a lot of us. We know that. Also I got married at age 25 and that was the average age to get married back in 1973. So it makes sense there are a lot of couples celebrating their 40th anniversary in 2013. Some of us may even make it another 10 years and celebrate our 75th birthday and 50th anniversary in 2023. That would be something. I remember my grandparents celebrating their 75th anniversary but they got married very early. We would have to live to 100 to celebrate our 75th anniversary.
Turning age 65 means you can officially retire and it is expected. No more early retirement, just retirement. The full retirement date for our age group for social security benefits is age 66, but you can start receiving the SS benefits as early as age 62. However the big thing is at age 65 you can get on Medicare. That is big because if you retire before age 65, then you will have trouble getting or paying for private health insurance. At 65 it comes together so you can get both Medicare and Social Security allowing many more people to actually retire.
Speaking of retirement, it is happening regardless of the financial press stories saying people can’t retire. Yes we boomers can retire. I have observed that retirement is a transition that takes most people 3 to 5 years to really feel retired. Yes, there is consulting and part time jobs that linger longer than we expect sometimes. There is learning how to retire and what retirement means for us. You will find your way and be happily retired.
Any way those celebrating the baby boomer triad this year, take a moment to reflect on our accomplishments and futures and then let’s party like it 2013! Take a cruise, a special vacation, a weekend away or something to mark this special time. With all the negative vibes in the world today, let’s forget them for awhile and focus on our special accomplishment.