Monday January 8 Press Release Baby Boomers Turn 55, Eye Retirement Communities; Del Webb Survey Measures Attitudes of Youngest and Oldest Boomers <http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/010108/az_del_web.html> 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says like many of the stereotypes of the 55 and older generation, the term 'Baby Boomers' itself may be becoming out of date.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. A BOOMER GAP? GASP! 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 following: -- Their most longed-for objectives for retirement are no debt and no dependents. -- 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 retirements. -- 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. I EARNED IT AND I'LL DECIDE HOW TO SPEND IT 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. THE SANDWICH GENERATION IS NO BALONEY 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." TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS 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. DRIVING THE PAYCHECK 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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