As a Generation X woman with so-called "Millennial generation" children, I am always curious to hear about the retirement plans of baby boomers. Baby boomer retirement trends such as delaying retirement or retiring in place affects the younger generations as they begin to hunt for jobs and eventually houses.
According to a new survey by Pulte Group, there was a dramatic shift in baby boomer attitudes regarding retiring in place and working during retirement.
Sixty-two percent of the respondents said they will retire in their home state, which is a 20 percent increase compared to two years ago.
I think one explanation may be the fact that retirees on the older side of the baby boomer spectrum (those born between 1946 and 1954) tend to have a more traditional view of retirement. They want to be "snowbirds," retiring to warmer climates and spending their days golfing and playing Bingo.
Enter Generation Jones
Younger baby boomers such as President Barack Obama were born during the second half of the post-World War II baby boom between 1954 and 1965. Some people refer to this group as "Generation Jones."
They plan to work for many more years. They don't necessarily want to be snowbirds. In fact, home builders such as Del Webb and Centex Homes (which are part of the Pulte Group) have noticed the trend. They are building in four-season locations such as Chicago and Detroit. They are also building developments near larger cities so their younger baby boomer customers can commute to work, even if it's part time.
Retire already, please
A lot of baby boomers I know have mixed feelings about retiring. One of my older friends, who is a nurse, says she feels like Generation Y kids are after her job. "They can have my job. They can take it," she says, clearly tired of working.
While I don't think anyone is out to "steal" anyone's job, retiring and allowing the younger generation to find gainful employment is what society expects.
According to the Pulte survey, 32 percent of the baby boomers plan to retire in less than five years. Ten percent are retiring earlier than expected (thank goodness.)
As baby boomers retire, they leave behind vacant "seats" in corporations, businesses, offices and hospitals around the country. All of the job vacancies are welcomed by the newly-minted college grads from the Millennial generation as well as the younger ones like my sons who are still in college. I think it's the answer to high unemployment figures.
I don't want my sons to go through what I went through as a Generation X'er who graduated from college in the mid-1990s. It was ridiculously difficult to get a job at that time if you were in your 20s or fresh out of college.
Too much inventory
As far as the real estate trends, I think the survey shows that sunnier states such as Florida might not draw as many baby boomers as expected. As a Florida resident, I have seen a dramatic increase in retirees in the last couple years. But if it's true that younger baby boomers want to retire in place and not become snowbirds, real estate values in Florida may stay depressed.
Any way you look at it, I think home builders are foolish to continue to construct retirement communities. The younger baby boomers or Generation Jones don't appear to be gravitating toward that kind of "lifestyle." And, many of my Generation X peers become violently ill just at the thought.
Since we are in the middle of an "un-baby boom," I'm not sure what will happen with the excess housing inventory once baby boomers are out of the picture. Houses going for the price of cars might just become the new normal, which would be nice for my sons and their generation.
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