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Baby Boomers and the Quest for the Perfect Retirement Location

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By Nick Caruso

retirement_locationBaby boomers have many decisions to make regarding retirement, and where they call ‘home’ is a top priority.

According to a recent Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate survey, baby boomers (ages 49-67) are optimistic about living out their life passions, unrestrained by traditional planned retirement communities. Findings show that 39 percent want to retire in a rural community, such as a farm or small town. After all, small, close-knit, familiar communities allow retirees opportunities that don’t exist elsewhere: myriad activities that cost little, mixed with relatively safe and quiet neighborhoods. It’s an attractive option for many.

However, 26 percent of boomers do want to sell their houses and move to a major city or metropolitan area when (or if!) they retire. If more than a quarter of our biggest adult population wants excitement and proximity to culture and nightlife more than a backyard, how will they afford this shift in lifestyle?

The key is their retirement plan, according to the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate study.

“To have the utmost confidence in their retirement, this generation is actively executing a comprehensive lifestyle plan, taking into account the type of home and community they want to live in,” says Sherry Chris, president and CEO, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC. “Many are seriously contemplating the option of continuing to work. It’s no longer about solely saving money; it’s taking into consideration the life they want to live.”

According to the Roper Fall Core Report 2012 and Changing Households report, these opportunities for being in a walkable community, closer to shops and restaurants, etc., are some of the reasons more than 60 percent of millennials aspire to live in urban areas.

But the attraction for older adults goes far beyond the superficial. For boomers, it means downsizing an otherwise empty house for a condo. It means having more opportunities for extracurricular activities. It means being closer to their kids.

Although retirement is one of their top concerns, many of the 77 million American boomers still have a lot of work life left, which means disposable income that can be thrown into an urban economy. There are still plenty of over-50 patrons at expensive restaurants, concerts, events—this isn’t an untapped market. What it does signal, though, is a new trend of individuals not wanting the quiet life.

In fact, most boomers have says they will either push back retirement or forego it completely. Half of those who do plan to retire will still work part-time. It’s also a positive effect of financial literacy. Plus, according to the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate survey, 57 percent says they want to sell their current homes once they retire. It makes sense that many of them turn to apartment living (where they can save on other costs like home maintenance and taxes) in places with mass transit (which cuts down on driving expenses). This fits in line with the 42 percent of survey respondents who says low-maintenance upkeep is the top factor for their retirement home.

All in all, both cities and small towns offer priceless benefits and differences in cost and quality of living. If boomers are truly prepared for retirement, these golden years will be their best yet.

For more information, please visit bhgrealestate.com.

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