Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)





Don't expect boomers to follow their parents' example of retirement

Retirement isn't the start of old age. "It's the beginning of the second half of your life," retirement economist Gene Warren says.

And how will the tidal wave of boomers approaching retirement spend that second half? Probably differently from their parents, Warren told real estate editors gathered in Dallas in May for their annual conference.

"Boomers have been more likely to move in their previous lives" for work or personal reasons, he said, "so they'll be less fearful to move in retirement."

And when they do move, he said, it won't necessarily be to a warm climate.

"They'll be amenity migrants, not sun migrants," said Warren, whose Phoenix-based company Thomas, Warren + Associates, tracks the economics of retirement.

What they'll be looking for, he said, isn't the house or the retirement community ("active-adult housing all looks alike"). It's the area at large and its amenities: sports, shopping, recreation, educational and cultural offerings, medical care.

"They realize they're not going to live in their active-adult community alone."

Boomers also have this mind-set: They may not live longer than their parents, but because of better health care, they feel younger.

"Retirement isn't an endgame," agreed Deborah Blake, vice president of marketing for the Southwest for Pulte Homes and its Del Webb active-adult communities.

"Many people can't afford to retire," she said. "Others see this as a time to live a purposeful life. It's not just a time to relax, play golf and 'hang out for 10 years before I die.' It's an opportunity to take advantage of what's next."

Residents of her company's active-adult communities say this is a time for self-expression and personal growth, "time to do what they've always wanted," a time of lifelong learning and social networking.

Senior adults "are the fastest-growing users of technology." You'll find no paper newsletters in these communities, she said: Everything is on community intranets.

Fifty percent of her communities' residents "are still working," she said, and that drives the home designs, with home offices and computers in the kitchen.

The new retirees "want to leave a legacy," Blake added, and that often means using their expertise and experience as volunteers. But they don't want to stuff envelopes or rock babies at the hospital maternity ward.

"They want to write business plans for startups and nonprofits. They want to write the urban renewal plan for the city. They are a very professional bunch" who want to draw on the professional skills they spent decades developing.

When retirees move to a new area, they leave behind a network — friends, family, personal and health care services — and they need to rebuild that network for their own health and wellness, Blake said.

"These years need to be the highest quality of life: We need to look at nutrition, fitness, medical care. Mind and body need to hit the finish line at the same time."

Meanwhile, Florida shouldn't get too complacent about its spot as the No. 1 retirement destination, ahead of No. 2 Texas, said James P. Gaines, a research economist at Texas A&M.

Over the next decade, or sooner, "Texas will overshadow Florida," and the reason is housing affordability: You'll be able to buy a home for less than $200,000 in Texas, he predicted, but not in Florida.

Judy Stark can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8446.

Don't expect boomers to follow their parents' example of retirement 06/23/08 [Last modified: Monday, June 23, 2008 4:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 'Me too': Alyssa Milano urged assault victims to tweet in solidarity. The response was massive.

    Human Interest

    Actor Alyssa Milano took to Twitter on Sunday with an idea, suggested by a friend, she said.

    Within hours of Alyssa Milano’s tweet, tweets with the words “me too” began appearing. By 3 a.m. Monday, almost 200,000 metoo tweets were published by Twitter’s count.
  2. Tampa tax shelter schemer too fat for his prison term, attorney says


    TAMPA — A federal judge sentenced two Bay area men to prison terms last week for peddling an offshore tax shelter scheme that cost the IRS an estimated $10 million.

    Duane Crithfield and Stephen Donaldson Sr. were sentenced to prison after marketing a fraudulent offshore tax strategy known as a "Business Protection Plan" to medical practices, offering doctors and others coverage against unlikely events such as a kidnapping.

  3. Weinstein Co., overwhelmed by backlash, may be up for sale


    NEW YORK — The Weinstein Co., besieged by sexual harassment allegations against its namesake and co-founder, may be putting itself up for sale.

  4. Trial begins in 2014 death of 19-month-old Tampa girl


    TAMPA — Even before his trial officially began, Deandre Gilmore had planted his gaze on the floor of Judge Samantha Ward's courtroom Monday, taking a deep breath and shifting in his seat as a pool of 60 potential jurors learned of his charges.

  5. Rick Pitino officially fired by Louisville amid federal corruption probe


    In an expected move, the University of Louisville Athletic Association's Board of Directors on Monday voted unanimously to fire men's basketball coach Rick Pitino. The decision came 19 days after Louisville acknowledged that its men's basketball program was being investigated as part of a federal corruption probe and …

    In this Oct. 20, 2016, file photo, Louisville head basketball coach Rick Pitino reacts to a question during a press conference in Louisville, Ky. Louisville's Athletic Association on Monday officially fired Pitino, nearly three weeks after the school acknowledged that its men's basketball program is being investigated as part of a federal corruption probe. [AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File]