BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich., Apr 13, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) --They have exchanged shuffleboard for pickleball; swapped out bingo for acting classes; and stopped watching television reruns to train for their first marathon.
Graying hairs and a few wrinkles haven't stopped the Baby Boomer generation from embracing a new host of challenges and experiences. Today, this active generation views their age as a mere number; it's what they do with their life and mind that makes a difference in how they live, work and play, according to the 2010 Del Webb Baby Boomer Survey released today.
"Baby Boomers have a much different mindset toward growing older than earlier generations," said Deborah Blake, Del Webb creative director. "Feeling older is just a state of mind for many of them - one that most have no interest in. Many consider themselves healthy and active, primed for the next part of their lives with no plans to slow down anytime soon. They want to do it all as they enter this next phase, from working longer to trying Zumba and acting classes to volunteering their time."
Del Webb is America's largest builder of active adult communities. Targeted to those ages 55 and older, there currently are more than 50 Del Webb communities open for new home sales in 21 states. Del Webb has now conducted 10 Baby Boomer surveys since 1996, seeking to better understand the attitudes and opinions of this generation - the current and future customers of Del Webb communities.
Armed with data from the first Del Webb Baby Boomer Survey conducted nearly 15 years ago in 1996 as the first of the Baby Boomers were facing age 50, the 2010 survey offers a look at the attitudes and opinions - from life, politics, culture, retirement, financial readiness, and working - of a 50-year-old Baby Boomer then and now. It also provides a peek at how opinions may have changed among those who were turning 50 in 1996 and are now turning 64 in 2010. While the first of the Baby Boom generation were just turning 50 in 1996, those same boomers have now passed 60 and reached an age where they can collect social security, and, theoretically, be ready to "retire."
Have they found the fountain of youth?
Findings from the 2010 Baby Boomer Survey indicate that Boomers feel much younger than their actual ages. And as age increases, the gap between their real age and perceived age expands. Boomers turning 50 this year see the difference as "merely" a decade, while older Boomers feel an average of 13 years younger than their age. Del Webb residents, with a median age of 65, say they feel 15 years younger than they actually are. Additionally, both groups of Baby Boomers agree that old age starts around 80. Standing out from this view were the Del Webb respondents, who think that old age does not start until one turns 85 years-old.
Why do Baby Boomers feel so much younger than their chronological age? "Mental attitude," "happiness" and "a good sense of humor" were the top mentions among both the younger and older Boomers surveyed. More than 50 percent of both age groups also said they work out regularly. Among Del Webb residents, a whopping 73 percent work out regularly.
"This new research echoes what we have heard in countless studies - for Baby Boomers at this stage of life, age is but a state of mind," said Matt Thornhill, president of the Boomer Project, the leading national authority on marketing to Baby Boomers. "The goal for Boomers is to pursue the 'Fountain of Vitality' for the next 40 years. Del Webb's communities and its facilitated lifestyle programming are designed to help Boomers stay active physically, socially, mentally and spiritually - all within a community environment. That's a winning combination."
"Boomers are approaching a stage in life when they are beyond their days of child-rearing. In many instances, they are also transitioning away from their full-time careers and find a whole new world of opportunity in store, perhaps 40 years. If you have 40 years, you're in reasonably good health and you're active and happy, you have so much more in front of you than with the old notion of retirement," said Judy Julison, Del Webb national director of lifestyle operations.
Highlights of this year's survey include:
- Not surprisingly, current 50 year-olds do not see themselves as seniors - yet. Among the older Boomers and Del Webb residents, a majority (56 percent and 64 percent respectively) do consider themselves seniors. Respondents in all groups, however, suggested that their current age is, "no big deal" or "just a number."
- New hobbies and activities. Approximately 40 percent of both younger and older Boomers have taken up a new hobby or activity in the last few years. This figures climbs to 50 percent among Del Webb residents.
- Baby Boomers are hitting the books. Nearly a third of the younger Boomers surveyed have pursued additional educational opportunities, much of them focusing on "re-education" and "expanding employment" needs.
- Contrary to popular belief, this generation is not self-absorbed, but is more interested in giving back to their communities. Interest and participation in volunteer activities is high among all Boomers.
- Boomers turning 50 this year plan to retire a median of four years later than 50 year-olds in 1996, at age 67 versus 63 years-old. Del Webb residents surveyed planned to retire at age 66 (median). Those that already did so retired at 60.
- Among the Boomers working, those turning 50 this year are three times as likely to think they will never be financially prepared for retirement - 41 percent today versus 15 percent in 1996. Twenty-two percent of Del Webb residents felt this way.
- The family structure is shifting. The survey uncovered differences among 50 year-olds in 1996 and those turning 50 this year. Seventy-six percent were married or part of a civil union 14 years ago, while only 59 percent are today. Among older Boomers, 64 percent are married. Marriage appears to be more popular among Del Webb residents, with 79 percent reporting being married/civil union.
"With 50 years of experience serving this demographic, we have seen the notion of retirement really change," said Steve Petruska, chief operating officer for PulteGroup, Inc. (Del Webb is a brand of PulteGroup, Inc.).
"Back around 1960, retirement was shuffleboard and rocking chairs and beyond the reach of 'Joe Lunchbucket.' Since the first Sun City opened in 1960 in Arizona, Del Webb's active adult communities have changed dramatically to evolve and meet social changes and desires of the diverse 55+ homebuyer, making the leisure-oriented life affordable to the retired football coach, the assembly line worker and the teacher," Petruska continued. "In understanding their needs, the Del Webb brand has evolved, as well - it's no longer a niche market. The company has entered new market segments, amenities have changed and programming has changed as our customer has a new focus to finding a more fulfilling life."
Staying Young:Staying Active
The fountain of youth cannot be found in a miracle drug. Rather, the secret to staying young is being active and exercise is the key. Whether its pickleball, Zumba, yoga, walking or swimming, the majority of those surveyed report high levels of exercise. Among younger Boomers, 56 percent work out regularly; 40 percent exercise several times a week. Likewise, 57 percent of older Boomers exercise regularly; 45 percent indicated several times a week. An impressive 73 percent of Del Webb residents exercise regularly, with 61 percent claiming they do so multiple days per week as they take advantage of the state-of-the-art fitness centers and various amenities easily accessible within their communities
Compared to 15 years ago, 56 percent of the younger Boomers are as or more active, while more than half of 64 year-olds indicate likewise. Del Webb residents are the most active, with 63 percent saying they are more active than 15 years ago. As for why they exercise, the top reason by far among all Boomers is to "optimize health." Others ranking high include "improve appearance," "reduce stress" and "improve self confidence."
Living Life:Many Interests
Scientists have said that using your brain is one way to stave off dementia and keep young. From brain fitness activities to the daily crossword puzzles and Suduko, learning new activities is an important step in maintaining and improving brain function at all ages.
Many Baby Boomers are hitting the books to learn, whether through continuing education programs, local community colleges or even earning advanced degrees. Nearly a third of the younger Boomers surveyed have pursued additional educational opportunities, much of them focusing on "re-education" and "expanding employment" needs. Approximately 22 percent of older Boomers surveyed sought additional education, but there was a greater emphasis on "personal interest."
This generation has often been labeled as self-absorbed, yet their willingness to volunteer and mentor is tremendous, no matter if they work full-time or are retired. Interest and participation in volunteer activities is high across all groups, ranging from 71 percent among younger Boomers to 60 percent among the older Boomers.
Additionally, approximately 40 percent of both younger and older Boomers have taken up a new hobby or activity in the last few years. This figures climbs to 50 percent among Del Webb residents. Those Boomers who have taken up new hobbies/activities are exploring a broad range of interests including acting, photography, yoga, gardening and woodworking.
The New Retirement: Keep on Working
Baby Boomers are continuing to work in retirement. Despite the current economic environment, Boomers are working not just to make ends meet, but rather because they find work physically and mentally energizing. Of those who are still working and have yet to retire, nearly 75 percent plan to do work in some capacity after they officially retire. Many have noted they plan to do so to "ward off boredom and keep busy" or for the "self satisfaction and enjoyment."
With Social Security no longer a primary source of income for many Baby Boomers, there is a growing trend of delaying retirement. Boomers turning 50 this year plan to retire a median of four years later than 50 year-olds in 1996, at age 67 versus 63 years-old. Additionally, among the younger Boomers, 72 percent plan to work in some fashion during their retirement years. For older Boomers age 64--but not officially retired--74 percent plan to work. Interestingly, however, just under 40 percent of the current Boomer retirees surveyed, including Del Webb residents, said they are actually working now.
"Several decades ago, nearly 80 percent of our residents would be fully retired," said Blake. "These days many of our Del Webb communities have about 50 percent still engaged in the workforce. They're either working part-time, starting new businesses or starting a new full-time career. They want to stay connected. It's an important part of well-being to stay connected and productive."
The full 2010 Del Webb Baby Boomer Survey findings can be found at www.dwboomersurvey.com.
The 2010 Del Webb Baby Boomer Survey
In late 2009, Del Webb conducted two surveys among different baby boom populations: Survey one included younger baby boomers turning 50 years of age in 2010 and older baby boomers turning 64 in 2010; Survey two included current Del Webb residents with a median age of 65 among respondents. The purpose of these surveys was to understand the similarities and differences between younger baby boomers and older baby boomers (Survey 1); and how those specific age-cohorts compared with residents of Del Webb communities across the nation (Survey 2). Also used in the analyses are responses from a survey conducted in 1996 among baby boomers turning 50 that year. Survey 1 was conducted by a third party research firm with the results analyzed by Del Webb research experts and Survey 2 was conducted among current Del Webb residents internally by Del Webb. Survey 1 was conducted among 504 turning 50 year-olds and 510 turning 64 year-olds and carries a sampling error of +/- 4.4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level among questions asked of all respondents. Survey 2 was conducted internally among 1,230 randomly selected current Del Webb residents and carries a +/- 3.1% sampling error at the 95 percent confidence level. Sampling errors for the various subsample results within the main populations are higher and vary.
About Del Webb
Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2010, award-winning Del Webb active adult communities provide a vibrant, enriched lifestyle for those ages 55 and older, creating an unmatched experience for "retirement." Del Webb active adult communities began with the original Sun City which opened outside Phoenix, Arizona in 1960 and have grown to include approximately 50 communities currently open for new home sales in 21 states. Del Webb is the best-known brand of active adult communities in America and draws on its 50 years of experience of providing residents an engaging life which fulfills their creative, physical, mental, and social needs. For more information on Del Webb, see www.delwebb.com.
PulteGroup, Inc. (NYSE: PHM) based in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., is one of America's largest home building companies with operations in 69 markets, 29 states and the District of Columbia. The Company has an unmatched capacity to meet the needs of all buyer segments through its brand portfolio that includes Pulte Homes, Centex Homes and Del Webb. In 2009, PulteGroup brands received more top rankings than any other homebuilder in the annual J.D. Power and Associates 2009 New-Home Builder Customer Satisfaction Studysm. Pulte Mortgage LLC is a nationwide lender offering PulteGroup customers a variety of loan products and superior service.
SOURCE: Del Webb
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