Despite a commonly-held thought that the baby boomer generation will need to “work forever” because of financial insecurity, an MetLife Mature Market Institute study released last week finds that boomers are actually “retiring in droves,” and an overwhelming amount indicated they want to stay in their current homes, at 83%.
Many of the oldest boomers are already well into their retirement years, with almost twice as many 65-year-olds saying in 2011 they were fully retired as opposed to working full-time, at 45% to 24%, according to MetLife data. About a third of those still working anticipate retiring within the coming year once they turn 66 and are eligible for full Social Security retirement benefits.
And although health is a major factor in someone’s decision to retire earlier than expected, a majority of those surveyed reported good health. This may contribute to the oldest Boomers continuing to push back the age at which they view themselves as “old”—not until they’re 79, a year older than in 2007.
Aging in Place, With a Little Help from Reverse Mortgages
Although very few of the survey boomers, at just 2%, have either used or plan to use a reverse mortgage at some point in the future, another 12% are willing to consider the option, while 4% are unsure. However, the number willing to consider getting a reverse mortgage has gone down from 18% in 2008. Those who already have gotten a reverse mortgage indicated the primary reason is “to support their aging and long-term care needs.”
Almost all respondents, at 93%, currently own their homes—significantly higher than 2008’s 85%, MetLife data shows. On average, those homes are valued at approximately $255,000. In 2008, the average reported home value was approximately $269,000, and the troubled housing market is still affecting some re-contacted survey respondents, 17% of whom reported a decrease in their home price compared to last year. Only 5% reported an increase in value.
While 26% said they had no concerns regarding retirement, 18% listed “having enough money” as their biggest concern, while another 18% were split evenly between concerns of outliving retirement money and being able to afford health care in retirement years.
This may have something to do with the vast majority of new, 2011 survey respondents, at 83%, who have no plans to move from their current residence—a significantly higher number than in previous years (78% had no plans to move in 2008, compared to 75% in 2007), says MetLife.
Only 16% of respondents in 2011 are planning to move from their current residence, with 10% planning on moving within the next five years, and the remaining planning to move in five years or more. More than half are looking to downsize to a smaller home, at 52%, while 8% plan to move into a larger home.
View the whole “Transitioning into Retirement: The MetLife Study of Baby Boomers at 65” report here.
Written by Alyssa Gerace