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Where Will Baby Boomers Move?

In 2009, Del Webb, a division of Pulte Homes, continued its ground-breaking 1996 study of Baby Boomers and their attitudes when it comes to where and how they want to live in retirement.

In 1996, the first wave of Baby Boomers was turning 50, anticipating early retirement in many cases, or at least winding their careers down while they turned up the fun in the sun, or “aged in place.” 

Fast forward to 2010, and the priorities of boomers turning 50 have changed. Two recessions, one of which is the broadest since the Great Depression of the 1930s, has changed their wish lists, creating more desire to move and to new destinations.  

According to the survey, about 1/3 of Baby Boomers plan to move to a new home during retirement.  Forty-two percent of today’s 50-year-olds are planning to move, compared to 36% of 50-year-olds in 1996.

The Carolinas have overtaken Florida and Arizona as the preferred havens for retiring boomers. The 50-year-old respondents chose South Carolina (20%) as their number one choice in where to move, followed by North Carolina (16%), Florida (15%), Tennessee (9%), Arizona (8%), California (8%), and Virginia (8%).

The 64-year-olds surveyed preferred the same states, but in different percentages,  ranking North Carolina (19%) first, followed by South Carolina (16%), Florida (15%), Tennessee (12%), Virginia (10%), Arizona (6%), and California (6%).

In 1996, the most important consideration in choosing where to retire was climate. Today, it’s cost of living and healthcare.  Among the reasons is that many more Baby Boomers today are resigned to the fact that they’ll be working much longer than their peers surveyed 15 years ago. Of those turning 50, 41% said they will never be financially prepared to quit working.  They plan to retire at age 67, four years later than their peers planned to a generation ago.

One thing is certain, the Baby Boomers that arrive in their new communities are planning to stay active with volunteering, working out , taking classes, and other activities to keep busy.

Interestingly, Baby Boomers don’t consider old age to begin until age 80.

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