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
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
“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
Midwestern and rural baby boomers are more inclined to stay
Not surprisingly, higher-earning boomers who make more than
$100,000 a year are more likely to buy a new home during
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.