Despite a commonly-held thought that the baby boomer generation will need to “work forever” because of financial insecurity, a 2011 MetLife Mature Market Institute study found that boomers are actually “retiring in droves,” and gives some insight on where this generation is living in retirement. Hint: Staying at home still rules, but active adult communities are gaining in popularity.
Many of the oldest boomers are already well into their retirement phase, with almost twice as many 65-year-olds saying in 2011 they were fully retired as opposed to working full-time, at 45% to 24%, according to MetLife data. About a third of those still working anticipate retiring within the coming year once they turn 66 and are eligible for full Social Security retirement benefits.
And although health is a major factor in someone’s decision to retire earlier than expected, a majority of those surveyed reported good health. This may contribute to the oldest Boomers continuing to push back the age at which they view themselves as “old”—not until they’re 79, a year older than in 2007.
After Retiring, Where are They Living?
Almost all respondents, at 93%, currently own their homes—significantly higher than 2008’s 85%, MetLife data shows. On average, those homes are valued at approximately $255,000. In 2008, the average reported home value was approximately $269,000, and the troubled housing market is still affecting some re-contacted survey respondents, 17% of whom reported a decrease in their home price compared to last year. Only 5% reported an increase in value.
While 26% said they had no concerns regarding retirement, 18% listed “having enough money” as their biggest concern, while another 18% were split evenly between concerns of outliving retirement money and being able to afford health care in retirement years.
This may have something to do with the vast majority of new, 2011 survey respondents, at 83%, who have no plans to move from their current residence—a significantly higher number than in previous years (78% had no plans to move in 2008, compared to 75% in 2007), says MetLife.
Source: MetLife Mature Market Institute
Only 16% of respondents in 2011 are planning to move from their current residence, with 10% planning on moving within the next five years, and the remaining planning to move in five years or more. More than half are looking to downsize to a smaller home, while 11% are off to active adult communities, up from 9% in 2008.
View the whole “Transitioning into Retirement” report here.
Written by Alyssa Gerace