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This courthouse in Oxford, Miss. View All Lifestyles.
Many social and financial experts worry that the baby boomers, better known for spending than for saving, face an economic train wreck in retirement. Real estate, and a willingness to shift lifestyle gears, may come to their rescue, allowing the boomers to retire on considerably less than the 70 percent to 80 percent of their pre-retirement incomes recommended by the mutual fund industry.
By selling their homes that are paid for, or mostly paid for, in expensive urban areas and moving to sometimes astonishingly less expensive parts of the country, many boomers may well be able to pay cash for a new home and avoid the dire financial straits that some economists predict for them.
A lot of retirees, of course, will continue to flock to popular and traditional retirement havens like Florida and the desert Southwest, especially Arizona. These are areas with many months of good weather, although the summer heat can be punishing.
There are also facilities and activities geared to older adults, many of whom are lured there through promotions and advertising by homebuilders, whose construction efforts in recent years have been massive. But many boomers who do not view retirement as a permanent vacation are turning to nontraditional, and less expensive, retirement spots for their second act.
They are especially attracted to college towns that offer opportunities for culture as well as work, which many expect to continue, though on their own terms and at their own pace. Their strategy was to escape cold winters and move to a small college town where Mr. Kimery could complete an undergraduate degree. Ron Martin, 49, a specialty contractor in San Diego, bought a retirement home two years ago in Durango, Colo. His strategy is to avoid the rush and the higher prices when his fellow baby boomers begin to retire in force.
The paths of the Kimerys and Mr. Martin are a preview of a social migration that is expected to change the traditional concept of retirement as well as the character of many smaller cities and towns across America as the boomers, born between andleave the work force over the next two decades. Many cities and towns are working to attract these retirees because of the economic boon that is expected to follow them. Members of this older generation wanted nothing more Single baby boomers south do with work once they retired to what was considered a well-earned respite.
Unlike the boomers, the G. That, combined with a traditional pension and Social Security, provided a stable retirement in which most did not have to work. In addition, there is concern that Congress may reduce Social Security benefits. The G. Earlier surveys showed that 80 percent wanted to stay right where they were when they retired. These boomers often cite the desire for a simpler, less expensive lifestyle, which dovetails nicely with the fact that many do not have much money.
Their desire to continue working in some fashion during retirement also helps. Walker Smith, the president of Yankelovich Inc. Smith said. Deena B. Katz, a financial adviser in Coral Gables, Fla. They are redeing retirement to accommodate what they lack, which is a strong financial base. Katz contends that a lot of boomers who say they do not want to move to a less expensive part of the country when they retire will actually do so when the time comes.
Surveys among boomers who have retired early show clearly that college towns are a favorite because of their cultural and educational opportunities. Towns with strong, diverse Single baby boomers south are favored for the part-time jobs they offer. Also important are recreational opportunities, good restaurants and high-speed Internet connections, especially for those boomers who want to work from home. The houses that many boomers will be building and buying also reflect a desire to downsize.
The boomers want to pursue their own interests. Many have done that already. Evans says many decorators are telling her that the boomers want to transform the style of their houses along with their lives, trading in a suburban house for an urban loft, for example. Perhaps a more meaningful list was developed a few years ago from an AARP survey of baby boomers. The cost of living in these places varies widely, especially when it comes to home prices. Another helpful site is the Retirement Living Information Center www.
When Single baby boomers south city shows up on one of these lists, however, home values there will probably start to rise. Many characteristics that made the city appealing may melt away as popularity pushes up its population and degrades its services and attractive features. Santa Fe is a good example of this. Always popular with tourists, it has become a trendy retirement destination over the last couple of decades, and home values have soared.
Retirees from California, their bank s fat from selling their houses, have moved to Santa Fe and bid up property prices. Several Hollywood celebrities have bought second homes in the area. The mix has produced a lot of overpriced property.
SinceOxford and Lafayette County in northern Mississippi have successfully lured retirees to the area, helped in large part by the presence of the University of Mississippi. Christy Knapp, director of the Retiree Attraction Program sponsored by the Oxford-Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation, said that so far the program had attracted retiree households to the town of 14, and the surrounding area. She said that the Retiree Attraction Program Web site www. Before moving from Chicago and settling in Oxford last year, David and Anita Kimery looked for five or six years at other possible southern retirement spots.
Because they were looking for a college town so Mr. Kimery, 68, could complete his degree, they considered Chapel Hill, N. Kimery, a native of Oklahoma, had worked as a computer systems programming consultant for an insurance company; Mrs. Kimery, a native of New York, was a human resources specialist. Kimery, Plus, the people are really friendly. Oxford is a lot different than Chicago, but we had no trouble adjusting to Southern culture.
I had lived in the South for a short period when I was young, so I kind of knew what to expect.
Ogier said retirees were attracted to Durango, a southwestern Colorado mountain town of 14, because of its reputation as a nice place to live. Ogier said that town officials and residents were concerned about the possibility of overcrowding and related problems. Ron Martin plans to move from San Diego to Durango when his youngest son graduates from high school in two years.
Or I might buy an old Victorian house, restore it, sell it and buy another. I want to work at my own pace. I want to get out of the rat race where you have to keep the money machine running all the time. I want to get off the train. A year after he bought the house, Single baby boomers south sold his home in San Diego, making enough money to cover the costs of the Durango house. Martin said. Be older and sit around in my trophy home? I want to ski and mountain bike. I want to run the rivers. One of the things that attracted him to Durango was Fort Lewis College.
Information on Web sites like bestplaces. While for most people a home is their single biggest expense, it is also likely to be their biggest source of savings and investment. Consider, for example, the hypothetical case of someone who lives in San Francisco and plans to retire to Las Cruces in southern New Mexico, a popular retirement city. First, according to bestplaces. In other words, it is That assumes a mortgage and work-related expenses. Without those, it is cheaper still. The property tax rate is higher in Las Cruces than in San Francisco, but the total paid would be much less because of the difference in home values.
Almost every other category of expense is cheaper in Las Cruces. Retirees do not have to move across the country to take advantage of this phenomenon. Someone from New York Cityfor instance, who wanted to retire close to home could move to eastern Pennsylvania, where prices are sharply lower and more in line with those in Las Cruces.
Two cities there, Allentown and Bethlehem, are less than a two-hour drive from New York.
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