Del Webb's Baby Boomer Survey 2002; `retired' Boomers Refuse to Quit

Feb. 8, 2002
 BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 8, 2002--They're happy, healthy and "young." They are even retired. So why are so many Baby Boomers dusting off their resumes?    Could it be they are suffering from 8 to 5 withdrawal?    "Boomers were racing down that road to early retirement thinking it was going to be utopia, but the results of our study show a significant proportion believe something is missing after retirement. They want to go back to work," says Paul Bessler, Vice President of Market Research at Del Webb. "They think of retirement as a new beginning and that more productive years are still ahead. The fact they refuse to quit must seem especially strange to older retirees."    Del Webb, the nation's leading developer of active adult communities and a subsidiary of Pulte Homes, has conducted five national Baby Boomer studies since 1996. The studies are designed to help the Company understand what the nation's 76 million aging Boomers will want from retirement and from `retirement' communities.    The oldest Boomers turn 56 this year and for the first time Webb interviewed Boomers who have already retired, as well as those still-working Boomers. Both groups were 50-55 and in good health.    While both groups share a number of common beliefs about retirement, still working Boomers predict they won't retire until they are 60 - 69 years old. Boomers who have already retired left their main careers at an average age of 48 and have some strong advice for the still-working Boomers.    Here are some key findings from the study:-- While almost half of retired Boomers plan to return to work, only 26 percent of still-working Boomers say they will consider a new career. -- About 23 percent of the retired Boomers say they planned to retire when they did, a surprisingly equal number of still-working Boomers say they have not even thought about planning for retirement. -- One of three retired Boomers said they are healthier since they retired. -- The difference in income between the retired Boomers and still-working Boomers is not significant. In fact, 54 percent of retired and 62 percent of still-working Boomers have an income of more than $50,000 per year. -- The U.S. Social Security System is of increasing interest to both groups. -- Buying new homes in retirement was a priority for about 30 percent in both groups polled. -- Continuing education is a prime goal for many retirees and they want education facilities within retirement communities. -- Among well-known talk show hosts and newscasters, all Boomers surveyed overwhelmingly wish Geraldo Rivera would take an early retirement.     "Del Webb has been studying Boomers for years and is determined to evolve and change with them," says Mark O'Brien, CEO of Webb's parent company Pulte Homes. "We already offer home office options, business centers and continuing education centers in our Sun City communities. You can bet those kinds of facilities will only increase as more Boomers retire. There are no shuffleboard courts in our future."
    In fact this year's survey shows that of the nation's Boomers who have already retired as many as 30 percent will consider moving into an active adult community like Webb's Sun Cities.
    Anne Mariucci, President of Webb, says like many of the stereotypes of the Boomer generation, the term `Baby Boomer' may be out of date. She prefers to think of the vanguard of the Boomers as Zoomers. "They are zooming into retirement with far different timetables than previous generations. Zoomers, as defined by Webb, are the financially-established, healthy and demanding Boomers who will continue to redefine retirement." Indeed, about six out of 10 retired Boomers say they consider themselves "Zoomers."

    But Are They Happy?

    Eight of 10 retired Boomers say they are happy in retirement and that their retirement has met expectations. Of those who say their expectations have not been met, most attribute it to financial reasons and boredom.
    Baby Boomers are often thought of as the "me" generation...focused on their own lives, wants and dreams. Many seem to have changed their ways in retirement, however, with more than half saying the best thing about retirement is they have more time to spend with their families. Some old habits die hard; however, as 30 percent said they enjoyed having more time for pampering themselves.

    Work Withdrawal?

    A majority of those retired Boomers say they're not couch potatoes and believe many productive years are still ahead of them. Indeed, almost half said they wanted to go back to work. Key reasons given for returning to work were financial, followed by a need to stay active.
    One key as to why Boomers "won't quit" may be the circumstances under which they left their main career.
    One-fourth planned to retire when they did. But an equal number say the roller coaster economy of the 1990s was instrumental. These Boomers were either forced out of their companies or they elected to take early retirement. Only 6 percent said they retired because they were burned out.
    Asked what they missed most about work, 43 percent said they missed friends and colleagues at work.

    How do they afford it?

    Besides pensions, savings and traditional sources of income about 8 percent of Boomers said they came into money allowing them to retire. Of that group a lucky 32 percent say they inherited enough money to retire early. A close second uncharacteristic source of income was the selling of a business.

    Psssssst -- That young guy can't really be retired, can he?

    Roughly 40 percent of the retired Boomers say people treat them differently when they tell others they are retired. Most reactions are of surprise and envy.
    Retired Boomers are likely to have left their main careers as much as 20 years before their parents. Asked what they believe their parents think about their children's leisurely lives, almost half said they thought their parents would believe they were "lucky." But 39 percent said their parents thought they "earned" their new lifestyles. Only 15 percent said they believed their parents considered them too lazy and young to retire.
    Survey results show only 28 percent of still-working Boomers are envious of their retired peers. In fact, half say they enjoy working and many claim their careers define who they are.

    Words to live (and retire) by: "Save, Save, Save"

    The one piece of advice that retired Boomers have for their non-retired peers is "SAVE." Investing is also advised but not as strongly, perhaps reflecting the recent stock market slide. Retired Boomers also tell their peers to plan for retirement early, get new and challenging interests and stay active.

    He's Now All Yours Fox

    According to the Webb survey some celebrities should also think about an early retirement now. Boomers asked to select whom they would like to immediately retire: Jay Leno, David Letterman, Katie Couric, Oprah Winfrey, and Geraldo Rivera. Rivera, 58, was the overwhelming choice. This could be good news to CNBC, which just saw Rivera move from their network to Fox. In fact, more people want Rivera to retire than all the other celebrities combined.
    And even after all these years at the top, Oprah Winfrey is still the Boomers' favorite, with only 9 percent wanting her to leave the air now and 46 percent wishing she would never retire.

    No Peace and Quiet for Boomers

    Individuals who care for aging parents and children have been labeled the "Sandwich Generation." A relatively high number of both groups polled see themselves caring for their parents or grown children or grandchildren. "The housing needs of multigenerational families is something we know a lot about," says Webb's Mariucci. "Many of our homes offer two master suites or guest houses that we call casitas."
    The latest Baby Boomer survey included 700 participants and was conducted by ProMatura Group of Oxford Miss., for Del Webb. It included phone interviews with Boomers from all economic levels. The margin of error is plus/minus 3.8 percent.
    Del Webb, based in Phoenix, Arizona and a subsidiary of Pulte Homes, Inc., (NYSE:PHM) is the nation's leading builder of active adult communities for people age 55 and older. The company operates active adult communities in Arizona, California, Texas, Nevada, Illinois, Florida and South Carolina. Del Webb also operates multi-generational and country club communities in Nevada and Arizona. Four of Del Webb's communities are currently ranked in the top 10 of the best-selling master planned communities in America.

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