Florida is the Top Retirement Destination in the Country


2011: A boom year for Baby Boomers

by Barbara Marshall

WEST PALM BEACH, Fl. They’re big, self-entitled and about to start sucking down federal benefits like a college student on free beer night. The first wave of Baby Boomers turns 65 in 2011, making them eligible for Medicare, then full Social Security benefits beginning in 2012. Just as they forced societal changes from infancy on, Boomers will radically change retirement, demographers say.


In addition, this huge bulge of 78 million people between the ages of 47 and 65 is the most economically powerful population in U.S. history, even though the recession took big bites from nest eggs, leaving many futures rocky.

A batch of recent surveys reveals what Boomers are thinking and likely to do in retirement. Some are contradictory, but then, when have Boomers ever been predictable? — Beginning Jan. 1, 7,000 Boomers a day will turn 65. That’s 78 million between now and 2030. In 2011, 200,000 an additional Florida Boomers will turn 65.

This will add to the 4,600,000 Baby Boomers already living in Florida

Overall, there are 78 million Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964. They make up 26 percent of the U.S. population. Fifty-one percent of Boomers are women. — As Boomers age, so will the country’s population. The number of people 65 or older is expected to double in the next 20 years. By 2030, one in five Americans or 72 million people will be 65 or older.

Boomers scoff at the current life expectancy of 75 for men and 79 for women. Those turning 65 next year say they expect to live to 85 and would like to be around until age 89. — Boomers are mostly happy with their own lives but …


Of those turning 65 next year, 78 percent are happy with their lives. Yet only 40 percent are where they expected to be in terms of health and financial security.

About 21 percent say they feel less well-off than their parents are the same age. About 70 percent say they’ve achieved all or most of what they expected in life, while just 3 percent say they’ve achieved little or none of what they wanted. — Get ready for the new phrase: “Working in retirement.”

Boomers will reinvent retirement to mean less than full-time work but not all-out leisure either.

In past generations, 75 percent of men and women would be retired within a few years of turning 65. By the time the first Boomers approach 70, only about half will be retired. Those that retire are likely to work at another career.

Partly, their finances will keep them in the workplace, as they try to pay off the excessiveness of the boom years, such as home equity credit lines and kids’ college debts. But many don’t want to entirely drop out of the workplace.


Among those turning 65 next year, 40 percent of those still working say they’ll never retire. And 35 percent of those still working say they returned to work in a new career after retiring earlier.

That’s good news for younger generations, as older workers may put off taking Social Security benefits and instead continue to contribute. — Boomer retirement capital: Florida, of course!

Florida is the top retirement destination in the country, with eight of the most popular places to retire. Tops on the list is the SarasotaBradenton area, followed by Prescott and Lake Havasu City in Arizona. Then come Fort Myers, Naples, Melbourne-Palm Bay, Homosassa Springs, Ocala, Punta Gorda and Port St. Lucie rounding out the nation’s top 10 retirement areas.

Twenty-four percent of younger Boomers expect to move in retirement, but only 17 percent of older Boomers say they’ll relocate. — Look for new ways of living in retirement. Supportive communal living, known as co-housing in Europe, may gain popularity, where homes are clustered around a common building used for social gathering.

There may be more “active adult” communities and fewer traditional retirement developments. — A big Boomer fear: Running out of money.

About 45 percent of Boomers are at risk of running out of money in retirement. In 1950, 68 was the average age for retirees to begin claiming Social Security. Today, it’s 63 and life spans are longer.

A 65-year-old couple’s health-care costs are about $215,000 for the rest of their lives, but staying healthy and active can cut costs by $2,000 a year. — The Boomer lifestyle: Go-go instead of slo-mo.

They’ll embrace and change technology. The fastest growing group of Facebook users are 55-to-64-year-olds. Cell phones and other devices are likely to have larger screens and buttons. We may see hearing aids that look like Bluetooth headsets.

Some 44 percent want to take classes to learn something new. Expect gyms and fitness classes to cater to Boomers.

Many Boomers are opting for RVs rather than second homes or moving to a new location.

Sixty-one percent of Boomers want to travel in retirement but the generation that backpacked in Europe as college students is not going to do it on a tour bus. Look for biking tours, ski trips, sailing and cruising to be vacations of choice for active Boomers.

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, Money Magazine, CNBC, Social Security Administration, AARP, Portfolio.com, MetLife, Del Web, Employee Benefit Research Institute

Barbara Marshall writes for The Palm Beach Post. E-mail: barbara(underscore)marshall(at)pbpost.com.

Story Filed By Cox Newspapers

Published 1/1/11 in NewsOk

The changing demographics resulting from the growth of the Baby Boomer segment has implications for commercial real estate, especially as that segment ages

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