Boomers Aren’t Delaying Retirement—They’re Redefining It, Staying Local

The economic recession forced many to delay or revise their retirement plans, but the outlook for the baby boomer generation isn’t necessarily the doomsday scenario it’s been made out to be, according to the results of a PulteGroup Home Index survey conducted by national homebuilder PulteGroup, Inc. (NYSE:PHM).

After surveying 500 people aged 55 and older who had not yet retired, PulteGroup found that 61% plan to retire within the next 10 years, while only 17% said they don’t intend on ever retiring. 

While 42% said they expect they’ll retire at an older age than originally anticipated, nearly half (46%) believe they’re financially prepared to retire in the same time period they had originally planned on.

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“After a couple years of being challenged about the future and their finances, boomers are taking control, they’re taking charge, and they’re redefining the direction of their next phase of life,” says Deborah Meyer, senior vice president of PulteGroup. 

A few years ago, she says, there were a lot of warning signals regarding the “dire straights” of retirees. But despite the financial challenges that they’ve faced, many aren’t delaying retirement and instead are redefining it. 

“We’re seeing about 50% of our residents still working either part-time or full-time,” says Meyer. It’s been an upward trend in the past few years, she says, and that percentage could ascend higher. 

“People are working longer, and they’re doing a lot more activities,” she says, noting that the gyms and health rooms in PulteGroup’s Del Webb-branded, 55+ active adult communities are “always full.” Nearly three-quarters of Del Webb residents report exercising regularly, and most boomers indicate they feel younger than their current age, according to PulteGroup.

In response, Del Webb communities have made subtle changes to accommodate residents who are still in the workforce, but want to participate in free-time activities. They’ve had to change some of the community or activity meeting times to coordinate with work schedules. A decade ago, most meetings or activities were scheduled during the day, says Meyer, but with about half of residents working, they’ve been pushed back to evening. 

Another “significant” shift is where boomers plan to move in retirement, and it’s related to their working trends.

Two years ago, says Meyer, about 20% of survey respondents said they planned to stay close to their current home once they retired. That percentage more than tripled to 62% in the most recent survey.

PulteGroup has been opening communities recently near commercial areas, including one near Houston, Tex. and in Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C.

“We’re staying ahead of what they’re looking for in terms of wanting to be able to have a fuller, more engaged life with activities but still be by family or a job network,” says Meyer. “Retirement is looking different, and [boomers] are redefining it.” 

While Del Webb communities originated from Arizona, the development group is seeing the Southwest and North Carolina areas become more desirable, Meyer notes. 

Written by Alyssa Gerace

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