BLOOMFIELD HILLS — The path of economic recovery has made baby boomers more optimistic about their retirement timeline. According to 2013 Del Webb Baby Boomer Survey data released this month, the majority of boomers surveyed now say they expect to retire sooner than they planned to in 2010.
According to the survey, which polled still-working boomers ages 50 to 60 years old, most plan to retire from their current full-time career by the age of 65, compared to a median age of 67 in 2010.
- More than half (57 percent) of still-working boomers surveyed intend to retire from their current full-time career by age 65.
- The boomer retirement plan today is more in line with Del Webb Baby Boomer data from nearly 20 years ago (1996), when 50-year-olds planned to retire at a median age of 63.
- Meanwhile, consistent with prior boomer surveys, 41 percent are either likely or very likely to move at some point, with 29 percent currently undecided on a future move.
“Boomers are clearly feeling more positive about their situation and the housing market in general, with more expecting to retire sooner than just three years ago,” said Deborah Wahl, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for PulteGroup Inc., parent company of Del Webb, the nation’s leading builder of communities targeted to pre-retirement and retiring boomers. “The percentage of respondents who indicate that they are likely to move again is comparable to prior studies and is significant when you consider the vast group of 79 million boomers in America today.”
Wahl said the survey data are consistent with the trends Del Webb is experiencing as boomers continue to indicate they are more comfortable with the housing market and their overall financial position. Del Webb had a 19-percent increase in 2012 sales compared with 2011.
What Work Looks Like at 65â€¨
While 79 percent of boomers anticipate working in some capacity, even after they retire from their current job, many are planning to make a change.
- 51 percent plan to work full time either in their current or at an entirely new job; 28 percent anticipate working part-time or having a flexible schedule; and 21 percent anticipate no longer working for a paycheck.
Of those who plan to work full or part time at age 65:
- 18 percent plan to do something different than their current career.
- The majority (74 percent) anticipates working in a traditional office setting or off-site location; 14 percent expect to primarily work from home; and 12 percent anticipate a combination of telecommuting and working from an off-site location.
Family, Active Lifestyle Take Priority at 65
â€¨While the vast majority of still-working 50- to 60-year-old boomers plan to work in some fashion when they are 65, most hope to find better balance in their lives, according to the survey. At age 65, only three in ten (30 percent) anticipate their job will be a primary focus. When asked how they will feel about their career and lifestyle, the top responses were:
- Focusing on activities and hobbies that enhance physical/mental well-being (62 percent)
- Spending time/focusing on family (51 percent); and
- Traveling (34 percent)
“While boomers are still working, they are not putting off a retirement lifestyle,” Wahl said. “An increasing number of our Del Webb homeowners continue to work in some fashion, but have changed their focus from their careers to their family and activities that enrich their lives.”
Why Work? Finances Are Not the Only Motivation
â€¨While many boomers say they aren’t financially prepared to retire (66 percent), some are making a deliberate choice to work longer for other reasons:
- To ward off boredom/maintain a sense of purpose (51 percent)
- Like to work and are doing it for self-satisfaction (46 percent)
- Maintain insurance benefits (29 percent)
- Spend time away from spouse/significant other (6 percent)
Boomers Have Different Definitions of Retirement â€¨
Respondents were asked to define “retirement” and had varying views on what it means. Some define retirement as still working, but in a different capacity than their current full time career.
- Most (58 percent) said “not having to work,” “working when you want to,” or “not depending on others to make a living” defines retirement. Many boomers (31 percent) define retirement as “enjoying life” and doing their favorite activities.
- Twenty two percent define retirement as “financial security,” “being able to live comfortably,” and “not worrying about money.”
Del Webb has been surveying the 50 and older demographic for more than 15 years, seeking to better understand the attitudes and opinions of this generation. The diverse definitions of retirement reflect the diversity of the baby boomer generation and are evident in the variety of Del Webb community sizes, types and locations across the nation.