Study : Baby Boomers set to downshift

LifeGoesStrong.com and the Associated Press collaborated on another study that looked at housing and living preferences of Baby Boomers as they transition from parents with live-in children to empty-nesters.
One key finding of the study is that a wide majority, almost three out of four Boomers in fact, are far more likely to base decisions on where to live not on finding a hospitable retirement or older-person enclave, but rather on the proximity of the location to friends and family.

The bottom line is that only 23% expect to move out of town for retirement purposes, and only 13% expect that move to include crossing a state line.

However, that doesn’t mean the Boomers will be staying put – only 40% are looking to ride out their golden years in the same domicile in which they raised their family.

“It’s easy to understand why mid-lifers are interested in being near family and staying close to home during retirement,” said Barbara Corcoran, prominent real estate entrepreneur and newly appointed guest contributor to LifeGoesStrong.com. “It’s also important to note that most boomers currently live in a suburb, and that group is more likely to have lost money on real estate since the economic downturn began. But whether or not someone was directly impacted, the recession makes all of us more aware of the importance and comfort of a close family circle, and the value of strong home roots.”

The study found that wherever they go, and whether they buy or rent, many Boomers will be taking into account the proximity of medical care, shopping and other services.

Here are priorities of Boomers who expect to move:
* A smaller home (43%)
* An area with a different climate (30%)
* A more affordable home (25%)
* To be closer to family (15%)
* To be in a retirement community (12%)

Those that will be “fixing up the empty nest” have their own priorities – and of course many have already seen their children move out and have taken their priorities and acted upon them. Here’s a breakdown of plans for newly-emptied spaces:
* Guest bedrooms (58%)
* Home offices (39%)
* Craft rooms (28%)
* Entertainment rooms (15%)

“Given the recent housing market crunch, many boomers are recognizing they may be staying put in their current home into their retirement years,” said Corcoran. “Clearly, they’re already thinking about how to make the best possible use of the space they have. The responses in this poll show that most ’empty nest’ remodeling corresponds to a natural shift in life stages and the priorities that change as our lives do.”

The Boomer generation came of age in a turbulent time – anybody remember the struggle between hippies and hardhats to determine the direction of the nation back in the late 1960s? That wasn’t the only thing going on of course, but in a lot of ways we seem to be right back there, as Occupy Wall Street has come together in opposition to the Tea Party.

One thing is for sure – the Boomers are still here in numbers too big to ignore – broadcasters need to be on top of how Boomers are thinking, living and consuming in their own neck of the woods – and somebody in the market is going to have to learn how to make a living advertising to this group as it ages out of the old advertising agency sweet spot that caps off at 54.

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