Gen-X Planning for an Active Retirement

They grew up watching the Brat Pack, embracing Grunge, and surviving mosh pits, and now they’re thinking about retirement? It may seem hard to believe, but Gen-Xers are starting to look at 55+ active adult communities as they begin planning for retirement. In a recent study by Del Webb, they shared their goals, plans, and concerns for the next phase of their lives, as well as what they’re looking for in an active adult community and lifestyle. Read more to uncover some of the key findings.

 

Gen-X Attitudes Toward Retirement

Sandwiched between the huge generational cohorts of Baby Boomers and Millennials, Gen-X often gets left out of conversations around lifestyle and trends. However, with about 84 million individuals falling into this category, the move toward retirement constitutes a significant potential economic and demographic shift.

 

While 72% of 50-year-olds surveyed said they were looking forward to retirement, it’s not because they’re unhappy at work. In fact, 85% of respondents said that they like their jobs. This suggests that many of those Gen-Xers thinking about retirement are, in fact, thinking about partial retirement or a second career.

 

To meet the needs of those homeowners wishing to continue working in retirement, Del Webb now offers communities closer to large metropolitan areas or exurban employment hubs. In addition, new flexible floorplans offer a variety of ways to incorporate a fully functional home office into your home’s design, creating an ideal setting for partial retirees.

 

Those second career plans don’t reflect a lack of retirement savings. In a Del Webb survey conducted a decade ago, more than half of respondents had less than $50,000 saved. By contrast, only 35% of those represented in the new survey had savings at that lower level. Many respondents indicated much higher levels of savings suggesting that many Gen-Xers have money stored away for retirement.

 

These higher levels of savings resulted in 58% of respondents planning to move to a new city, state, or country in retirement, in contrast to 22% who plan to stay in the same town. However, higher levels of savings don’t necessarily translate into greater confidence. Because they expect to live longer in retirement, 52% of Gen-Xers expressed a lack of confidence in their savings plan, or said that they didn’t have one at all. This figure is only 1% off from Baby Boomer confidence levels and indicates there is still financial uncertainty around the cost of retirement living.

 

A Move Toward Multi-generational Living

Unlike previous generations, Gen-X isn’t anticipating a move to a small retirement condo near the beach. In fact, of the respondents who said they plan to move in the future, 65% said their home would need to be the same size (43%) or larger (22%) than their current home.

 

This need for more space reflects a rise in multi-generational living, with 29% of Gen-Xers saying that they would design their next home to accommodate aging parents. Rather than downsizing, 71% said they would prefer a single-family home with three or more bedrooms.

 

Home trends focused on multi-generational living have been popular for nearly a decade, and these survey results indicate it is here to stay. Dual master bedrooms, separate apartments or in-law suites, open-concept floorplans, and flexible room designs that allow for changes are among the desirable design options Gen-Xers are looking for.

 

These flexible designs and floorplans also reflect the trend toward “aging in place,” which allows homeowners to stay in their own home for as long as possible. When your home can be adjusted to accommodate your changing needs, you’re able to enjoy it for longer.

 

Health, Lifestyle, and Wellness for Your Active Retirement

The Del Webb survey didn’t just look at Gen-Xers view on retirement. It also looked at current Del Webb residents to understand how the Del Webb lifestyle impacts health, wellness and outlook. The findings suggest Gen-X should feel right at home.

 

As the generation that still thinks of itself as hip and trendy, Gen-X doesn’t plan to slow down in retirement. That makes Del Webb a perfect setting for these active adults -- 47% of Del Webb residents surveyed said that they feel five to ten years younger than their actual age, compared to only 31% of Boomers in the population at large.

 

Del Webb residents also report being more physically active than their peers, with 35% saying they are more active than they were ten years ago. Only a quarter of Boomers exercise several times each week, while almost twice as many Del Webb residents do so, meaning active Gen Xers will feel at home in these communities.

 

Del Webb has pioneered an emphasis on health and wellness in its communities, and the results of that focus shows in the statistics among community residents. In fact, 46% of Del Webb residents report being happier today than they were ten years ago. 

 

“Del Webb communities are focused on providing the active and healthy lifestyle that today’s 55 and better adults are looking for in this next phase of their lives,” said PulteGroup Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer John Chadwick.

 

So, if you’re starting to think about retirement, Gen-X or not, there’s a Del Webb community wherever you want to be. With exceptional home styles, floorplans, and amenities, you’ll find that life is healthier and happier in a new Del Webb community.

 

 

Contributed to The 55+ Society by Christy Murdock Edgar

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