As a baby boomer looking to retire, you’re not alone. In the coming year, 2024, a remarkable wave of Americans is poised to embark on a transformative journey: retirement. Yet, it’s not just an isolated moment in time; it’s part of a broader demographic shift. By the time we reach the year 2050, a staggering 88.5 million individuals in the United States will have crossed the threshold into their golden years, at the age of 65 or beyond. And if you happen to be a baby boomer woman, you likely have an important role to play: The Retirement Industry Trust Association (RITA) predicts that the orchestrators of this grand transition are none other than baby boomer women.
Picture this: across the nation, women like yourself constitute more than half of our population, wielding an astounding 85% of the influence overall consumer spending. Forbes describes them as the guiding lights in our economic galaxy, channeling their formidable buying power and sway into the very fabric of our society. According to the Federal Reserve, women are the custodians of trillions of dollars annually, overseeing more than 60% of all personal wealth within the country.
These empowered women are the true compass in major financial decisions, from healthcare to car purchases, and most notably, the selection of a place to call home. In a revealing survey by Housing.com, a resounding 95% of women proudly assert their authority when it comes to buying or renting homes.
But your generation of retirees is distinct, not just in numbers, but in your education, wealth and life expectancy. You’re better educated, more prosperous and enjoying longer lifespans compared to predecessors. Moreover, women are poised to outlive their male counterparts, with the Centers for Disease Control predicting that women in the United States will enjoy an average lifespan of 81.2 years, while men are expected to reach 76.2 years. This means that women will often find themselves taking up the mantle of primary family administrators in their later years.
Imagine the scene at Tellico Village, a vibrant senior living community nestled in the embrace of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Here, the residents were surveyed about their aspirations for retirement, and more than 500 voices chimed in, but it was the women who truly painted a vivid portrait:
Affordability is the cornerstone of their dreams.
Every woman surveyed echoed the importance of affordability. According to the National Council on Aging, 56% of retired women harbor concerns about whether they’ll have enough financial cushion to comfortably savor their retirement years. It’s not just about mere survival; it’s about basking in the freedom from the relentless pangs of financial worry.
In a world of uncertain economic tides, retirees are flocking to the states that promise lower taxes, the absence of income tax, and affordable housing, like eager bees swarming to a honey-laden flower.
Proximity to healthcare is non-negotiable.
And what about healthcare? In the pursuit of the perfect retirement destination, proximity to top-tier hospitals and healthcare facilities is non-negotiable. A resounding chorus of retirees chants that good health is the foundation of a joyful retirement, as underscored by a Merrill Lynch/Age Wave report.
The numbers tell a tale of concern, with 89% of women reporting anxiety over the escalating cost of healthcare. But it’s not just about their own well-being; women bear the weight of caring for partners and loved ones, with a watchful eye on long-term care and caregiving needs.
Today’s retirees desire an active lifestyle.
In this modern age, retirement has undergone a facelift. It’s not about idly watching soap operas from the confines of a sofa; it’s a bustling, vibrant chapter. Today’s retirees, especially baby boomers, are enjoying longer, more active lives. Their calendars are brimming with family time, part-time jobs, pickleball tournaments, and volunteer work.
Opportunities for a vibrant social life are a must-have.
A 2020 study by the AARP Foundation unearthed a startling truth: two-thirds of adults confess to grappling with social isolation, a silent epidemic that fosters depression, anxiety, and hastens the erosion of both quality and quantity of life. Thus, a thriving community with a dynamic social scene is a lifeline against the looming specter of loneliness.
But it’s more than just wellness centers and clubs; the crux lies in altruistic social interaction. Many baby boomer women prioritize volunteerism and community service, infusing their golden years with purpose.
Destinations with scenic beauty are sought-after.
As for the scenery, it’s an integral piece of the puzzle. The natural beauty of their retirement locale ranks high on their wish list. A recent Gallup poll indicates that nearly half of Americans would choose the tranquility of a town or rural haven over the bustling city or suburbs. Something is enchanting about gazing out from the porch at nature’s canvas.
Yet, it’s not merely about aesthetics. Living amidst nature offers tangible health benefits. A recent study shows that proximity to green spaces prolongs women’s lives and nourishes their mental well-being. Nature beckons them outdoors, encouraging activities like walking, hiking, and other sports that contribute to overall wellness.
Retirees are fleeing extreme weather for temperate climates.
Last but certainly not least, there’s the matter of temperate weather. It’s a cornerstone of popular retirement destinations across the nation. Historically, retirees have fled extreme winter climes for the welcoming embrace of warmer southern states. However, the landscape is changing, with many retirees now seeking respite from excessive heat, humidity and the dreaded hurricane season.
In the wake of volatile weather patterns, retirees are scouting locations sheltered from the tempestuous wrath of hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, droughts, floods and blizzards. In their quest for the ideal climate, the mid-south region of Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina have emerged as beacons of promise.
If you’re a baby boomer woman, perhaps the sentiments of the women surveyed sound familiar, and you look towards a retirement destination, these are all helpful considerations. After all, as a major portion of the population looks towards retirement, it is the women who wield the most significant influence and decision-making power in American households. You all are the architects shaping the future of retirement, painting your dreams in vivid hues on the canvas of life.
Beth Kuberka is the chief development, marketing and communication officer of Tellico Village, a planned active adult community in Tennessee. She oversees all communications, marketing, sales and first impression initiatives for the village. She has nearly 20 years of experience in planned senior community marketing. She spent 8 years at Rarity Bay, working her way up to marketing director before joining Tellico Village in 2012. Kuberka has extensive knowledge of the workings of senior living communities. She has developed several programs, and currently manages an alliance of 88 village-based businesses. She earned a Bachelor in Informational Science from the University of Tennessee in 2004 with a focus on advertising and business marketing.