The way Americans are thinking about retirement is creating ripples of dramatic changes leading to a paradigm shift affecting policy, politics, behavior and the social fibers of our nation. As Baby Boomers reach the age of retirement many new challenges and opportunities are emerging.
Boomers are a diverse population, yet as a generality, Boomers do share some common ground with each other: Strong work ethic, self-assured, competitive, resourceful, disciplined, team-oriented. Boomers tend to have incredible focus on meeting their goals. It is no wonder that investors, retailers and even property managers are taking notice of the unique opportunities presented during this fundamental shift about the way American’s think of retirement.
10,000+ Baby Boomers are retiring daily, with that number increasing yearly. Life expectancy is longer than ever before. Boomers are arriving at retirement with expectations. Many of these coming of age folks want to enjoy their retirement years and anticipate spending the wealth they’ve accumulated, and taking a more leisurely pace in life. Alarmingly, in contrast, others have not saved enough, or have had their investments shaken by unstable economic conditions leaving some Boomers to anticipate working well into their golden years.
Retirement brings both relief and obstacles to the lives of Boomers. Boomers have been at the helm of their families, during their working years balancing career and family. Not surprisingly, many of this generation are arriving at retirement while still playing a vital role in the lives of their children and grandchildren, but many are also now needed as caretakers for aging parents. Some Boomers are choosing to purchase neighboring homes for their aging parents or move them closer, but with the peace of mind of a care facility to assist with the more physical aspects of caring for a loved one.
Another way that Boomers are addressing the challenges of retirement is by downsizing and purchasing affordable housing. Moving to Florida is a bucket list dream for many. Some Boomers opt to become snowbirds and enjoy the best of both worlds. The cost to live in Florida is comparable or lower than many other places in the nation. Florida has a lower tax rate and does not have a state tax which makes it quite enticing.
In the manufactured housing industry owners and investors know that they can offer some prime advantages to new retirees beyond just the economics. There has been considerable reinvestment in communities. It is clear that retirees want to enjoy their free time. Clubhouses, shuffleboard courts, billiards, and heated pools have become the standard. Retirees want to remain active. Tennis courts, pickleball, lap lanes in pools, and fitness centers have become very desirable amenities. Some larger communities even have golf courses, saunas, restaurants and more.
Community managers know that retirement is a social time. Planned activities are often a deciding factor for Boomers when choosing which community to settle into and call home. Many have moved south for the warm, sunny weather and the Florida lifestyle, leaving behind family and friends. This can be an overwhelming transition for some, but community living has advantages when it comes to staying active and making friends. As newcomers join activities, residents tend to be welcoming and their common interests create strong ties. They often report these new relationships feel like extended family and lifelong friendships have been created.
No doubt that even in retirement the Baby Boomers continue to be a generation that has changed our nation. Baby Boomers continue to redefine retirement. Aging is no longer about growing old gracefully, it is about living more, new beginnings, and chasing passions. And who is more qualified to challenge the status quo than the Baby Boomer generation?