[sixties-l] Baby Boomers Turn 55, Eye Retirement Communities

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: 01/14/01

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    Monday January 8
    Press Release
    Baby Boomers Turn 55, Eye Retirement  Communities; Del Webb Survey Measures 
    Attitudes of Youngest and Oldest Boomers
    Forever Young?
    PHOENIX, Jan. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- SOURCE: Del Webb Corp.
    Their anthem is still Bob Dylan's "Forever Young." Their milestones are 
    still Vietnam and JFK's assassination. They still can't believe they turned 
    40. And now, the unthinkable has happened.
    Beginning this month, the oldest Baby Boomers become 55, the official age 
    "seniors" are welcomed into most of America's retirement communities.
    The latest Baby Boomer study by Del Webb Corporation reveals the leading 
    edge of this 76-million strong generation believes retirement is only a 
    mid-life event. They insist their lives are only half over and they won't 
    think of themselves as old for another 20 years.
    These 55-year-olds, many of whom are '60s Hippies turned CEOs, say they now 
    want simplified lifestyles and more religion in their lives. Compared with 
    earlier retirees, they want more challenging retirements where they 
    continue to work, start new businesses, increase their knowledge and 
    establish new goals. They put a priority on being debt-free and want lots 
    of disposable income. And, they insist they have worked hard and have 
    earned it.
    "The Baby Boomers' 55th Birthday is a defining moment for America and 
    certainly a milestone for our industry," says LeRoy Hanneman, president and 
    CEO of Del Webb. "We have been studying Boomers' attitudes for years. Webb 
    knows what they want in retirement and we will deliver it. Del Webb will 
    never build another shuffleboard court. We are, however, building computer 
    labs, health spas and college classrooms in our communities."
    Hanneman says like many of the stereotypes of the 55 and older generation, 
    the term 'Baby Boomers' itself may be becoming out of date. He prefers to 
    think of the vanguard of the 55-year-old Boomers as Zoomers. "They are 
    zooming into retirement with fast and far-reaching agendas. The Zoomers are 
    the financially established, healthy and demanding Boomers who will 
    continue to redefine retirement."
    The latest survey results show that in the very first year of Baby Boomers 
    entering Webb's target market, some 350,000 of America's "new seniors" 
    already say they will consider moving into an active adult community when 
    they retire.
    This national survey of Baby Boomers is the fourth conducted by Del Webb, 
    the company which pioneered America's retirement communities with its 
    active adult Sun City developments. The survey polled both ends of the 
    Boomer generation, born between 1946 and 1964. The results reveal 
    surprising similarities and striking differences and reflects what other 
    researchers have reported ... that as younger Boomers mature, their 
    attitudes, thoughts and needs evolve to more closely resemble their older 
    Boomer counterparts.
    Both the oldest and youngest of the Baby Boomer Generation agree on the 
         -- Their most longed-for objectives for retirement are no debt and no 
         -- They want simplicity in their retirement and are willing to 
    downsize to get it.
         -- With age will come more religious and spiritual devotion.
         -- They believe medical advances will contribute the most to their 
         -- They're not interested in cosmetic surgery.
         -- They are worried about the breakdown of the American family and 
    consider it the greatest social issue facing the nation.
         -- Most want a national health care program.
    And for pundits who have predicted the demise of the "Sun City-type" active 
    adult community, a reassessment of future trends may be warranted. One out 
    of three of the oldest and youngest Boomers who are aware of a Sun City 
    would consider living there.
    "Zoomers are responding to the new concept of retirement reflected in our 
    active adult communities. We are building amenities and environments that 
    are on the cutting-edge. It is not at all uncommon to see home offices, 
    multi-media rooms, wine cellars, fiber optics to the curb and smart houses 
    in Del Webb's communities," says Hanneman.
    But all Boomers are not equal. While they mutually rank the Vietnam War as 
    the one historic event they would most like to change, there is a distinct 
    difference in the response of the two groups to the assassination of Martin 
    Luther King. King's place in history looms larger for the younger 
    generation of Boomers, with three times as many 37-year-olds as 
    55-year-olds selecting his assassination as the event they would most like 
    to reverse. Researchers say this may signify a greater concern with issues
    related to race relations.
    Two other areas where the oldest and youngest Boomers disagree were on the 
    topics of lifestyle and technology. Twice as many of the younger Boomers 
    say they want to "upsize their lifestyles" to live more extravagantly in 
    retirement than they do now. And twice as many of the younger Boomers say 
    technology is important in their homes.
    Ron Manheimer, Director of the North Carolina Center for Creative 
    Retirement, was not surprised by the study's findings, saying generational 
    differences have been overblown by the media and marketing specialists 
    selling their expertise. "We have been led to think that because people 
    were born 20 or 30 years apart that they will be utterly different in all 
    their attitudes. This study shows this is not the case."
    The 800 participants in the national survey conducted by The Analytical 
    Group included people from all income levels and had a margin of error of 
    plus or minus 5-7 percent.
    I EARNED IT . . . (but you didn't Sonny)
    The Boomer generation has enjoyed a lifestyle like no generation before. 
    The 55-year-olds, who came of age with the Vietnam War, Women's Rights and 
    the Civil Rights movement, went on to lead the biggest peacetime economic 
    expansion in history.
    Almost unanimously they say they have earned their success. And these 
    leading-edge Boomers take exception to the claim of the youngest Boomers, 
    some of whom could be their children, that they too have "earned it." 
    Almost half of the 55-year-olds say their children's success has been 
    given, not earned.
    No matter if they were given it or earned it, the youngest Boomers are more 
    likely to want to pass on their wealth. Researchers say this may correlate 
    to the amount of effort put into earning success. They say there may be 
    more of a willingness to share if success is given and more of a resistance 
    if success is earned.
    Often called the "Me Generation" for their self-absorptions, the Baby 
    Boomers also have been thought of as big spenders (especially on 
    themselves.) With this in mind, survey participants were asked how much 
    disposable income they will need to achieve the desired retirement 
    lifestyle. After paying for housing, utilities, food and medical expenses, 
    about half of both the younger and older groups say they would need less 
    than $1,000 per month in disposable income. But 16 percent of the oldest 
    Boomers say they would need more than $3,000 per month.
    "These income projections are high compared to those of former 
    generations," says Hanneman. "They reflect government studies that show the 
    income levels of Boomers are at least a third higher than their parents' 
    generation. The Boomers are financially more prepared to enter retirement 
    and this will be reflected in their spending."
    Costco and Sam's Club will be delighted to hear that if given $200 and a 
    choice of where to spend it, the majority of both 55- and 37-year-olds said 
    they'd head to these mega-discount stores instead of well-heeled shops like 
    Nordstrom or Sharper Image. A trip to Victoria's Secret was not high on the 
    list for either group, but the 55-year-old male Boomers did slightly prefer 
    this choice over their female counterparts.
    Individuals who care for aging parents and children have recently been 
    labeled the "Sandwich Generation." A relatively high number of those polled 
    foresaw these types of living arrangements in their future. At least one in 
    five from both age groups see their parents and/or children and 
    grandchildren living with them at some point.
    "This societal change is impacting the way we design homes," said Hanneman. 
    "Many of our most popular models today have small detached 'guest houses' 
    which are perfect for multi-generational adult families."
    Previous research has unquestionably shown many Baby Boomers will choose to 
    work full- or part-time after leaving their primary careers. However, 
    37-year-old Boomers are more unsure about work in retirement, with one in 
    four saying they are undecided.
    Retirement today can span 40 active years. One in three of both age groups 
    responded that they would return to work because of their awareness of 
    longevity of life.
    Financial concerns weighed more heavily on 55-year-olds as they approach 
    retirement age. Supplementing social security and/or retirement savings 
    figured prominently (34 percent) compared to 29 percent of 37-year-olds 
    when asked what factor would most influence their decision to return to 
    work. Fifteen percent of 37-year-olds versus 10 percent of 55-year-olds 
    selected beginning a second career as their motivation for returning to 
    work after retirement.
    Del Webb Corp., based in Phoenix, is the nation's leading builder of active 
    adult communities for people age 55 and older. The company has developed 17 
    active adult communities, of which 11 are still actively selling homes. 
    They are located in Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz.; Las Vegas; Palm Desert, 
    Lincoln, Calif.; Hilton Head, S.C.; Georgetown, Texas; Ocala, Fla.; and 
    Huntley, Ill. The company also builds family and country club communities 
    near Phoenix and Las Vegas.

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