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Articles for Baby Boomers

Poll: Boomers have wish list for retirement spot

but unlikely to move in shaky economy

by Associated Press, October 26, 2011

Many baby boomers say they’re likely to stay put in retirement amid a shaky economy. Those who hope to buy a new place are looking for a smaller home somewhere with a better climate that’s more affordable and close to family, a new poll finds.

The 77 million-strong generation born between 1946 and 1964 is increasingly worried about retirement and their finances in light of the economic crisis of the past three years. Just 9 percent say they are strongly convinced they’ll be able to live comfortably when they retire, according to the Associated Press-LifeGoesStrong.com poll.

Shelley Wernholm, a 47-year-old single mother of two who works for a health insurance company in Cleveland, said she wanted to retire and move to a new home by 60. But her pension was eliminated five years ago, her personal investments tanked during the recession and her home of 21 years has lost more than half its value.

“I was hoping I’d be moving to a beach somewhere, anywhere, preferably a warm one,” Wernholm said. “But I’m not moving. I can’t. It’s hard to remain optimistic.”

Overall, about 6 in 10 baby boomers say their workplace retirement plans, personal investments or real estate lost value during the economic downturn. Of this group, 53 percent say they’ll have to delay retirement because their nest eggs shrank.

Financial experts say those losses, including home prices that have dropped by a third nationwide over the past four years, have left boomers anxious about moving and selling their homes.

“There’s a mistrust of the real estate market that we didn’t have before,” said Barbara Corcoran, a New York-based real estate consultant. “There’s a concern about whether people will get money out of their house. They envision the home as a problem, not an asset, and this unshakable belief in homes as a tool for retirement has been shaken to the core.”

Fifty-two percent of boomers say they are unlikely to move someplace new in retirement, unchanged from March. And 4 in 10 say they are very likely to stay in their current home throughout their retirement.

Older boomers are more apt to say they’re already settled in for their golden years; 48 percent say it’s extremely or very likely they’ll stay in the home they live in now throughout their retirement, compared with 35 percent among younger boomers. Those who’ve lived in their current home for 20 or more years are also more likely to say they’ll stay.

Midwestern and rural baby boomers are more inclined to stay put, too.

Not surprisingly, higher-earning boomers who make more than $100,000 a year are more likely to buy a new home during retirement.

Overall, boomers are just as likely to say they expect to buy as rent their retirement home: About 3 in 10 say it’s at least somewhat likely they will buy, and about as many expect to rent.

Why buy a new home? About 4 in 10 of those who say it’s likely they’ll buy a new home would prefer a smaller one. Other important considerations include a different, and perhaps warmer, climate (30 percent); a more affordable home (25 percent); and being closer to family (15 percent).

 

About the Author

 

Article was prepared and published in the Washington Post by the Associated Press.


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