Just like so many other differences from previous generations, Baby Boomers are continuing to live differently than previous generations. We are staying in the workforce at a percentage much higher than previous generations, with over 53% of Boomers in retirement age still working according to Pew Research; https://www.pewresearch.org/topics/baby-boomers/” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>https://www.pewresearch.org/topics/baby-boomers/ . Baby Boomers are still the largest voting block, but Millennials will soon take over that position.
According to AARP, we travel more than any previous generation with most planning on 4 to 5 leisure trips a year and average spending somewhere around $6,600 a year; https://www.aarp.org/research/topics/life/info-2018/2019-travel-trends.html” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>https://www.aarp.org/research/topics/life/info-2018/2019-travel-trends.html . Our travel plans are very similar to what we did in 2018 with about half traveling mostly within the US and the other half with international travel plans. What is surprising is few of the Boomers mix travel and work, even with the high percentage of working Boomers.
According to Guidant financial “Millennials may control disruptive start-ups, but boomers rule American small business. …self-determination and independence motivate these later-life entrepreneurs.” https://www.guidantfinancial.com/small-business-trends/baby-boomer-business-trends/” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>https://www.guidantfinancial.com/small-business-trends/baby-boomer-business-trends/ There are mixed reasons we are still working. The recession that started in 2007 took a big financial toll on many, which they have not recovered. Other Boomers are worried about the next recession and do not want to get caught without cash flow. Many Boomers enjoy working and feel a fulfillment from their work they don’t want to give up.
There is also a not so good side to what Boomers are doing. Reading a recent article from Forbes Business, it shows that the median debt for the senior household is increasing. While it peaked in 2010 because of the recession, it has not returned to pre-recession levels. One of the most stressful ingredients in our lives is debt. As we age it becomes even more so. Baby Boomers continuing to live active lives and “live for today” this can become a recipe for disaster. https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2019/08/09/the-hidden-retirement-crisis-older-americans-debt/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily-dozen#2c8bdb86114f
In addition Boomers are “retiring in place” according to USA today article https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/05/21/home-buying-many-boomers-choose-age-place-and-not-move/3698390002/. Part of the reason, as we come full circle, is that we continue to work and or open up small businesses.
The conclusion for all this is that Boomers have higher debt level including credit card debt that causes more stress in our lives. Boomers are not selling their biggest asset (their home) but staying in a place which means they are not using it to fund their retirement or downsizing to more modest size and cost of upkeep. In addition, Boomers are still trying to live an active lifestyle with high levels of expenses than previous generations. We frankly expect to live longer and want to continue to enjoy our lives. I hope more Boomers will downsize their homes and overhead cost so that as we do live longer, we can remove the stress and enjoy what we have and have accomplished. That doesn’t mean stop working or doing activities that make you feel good about yourself.
Jim Clifford is designated Broker for Washington Realty Group with over 40 years of helping people sell and buy homes, land and other real estate. He can be contacted at 253-826-7513 or email at [email protected]