BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich., Oct. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Think parents are depressed because the kids have left the nest? Think again.
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Empty nesters are enjoying better social lives, traveling more frequently and have more financial freedom, according to the most recent Del Webb Baby Boomer Survey from national homebuilder PulteGroup, Inc. (NYSE: PHM). The survey asked 509 adults age 40-70 throughout the country about their feelings on being an empty nester and the effect it is having on their lives and future plans.
As a whole, nine out of ten empty nesters, defined as those whose children have permanently moved out of the home, indicate they are happy and look forward to more social and personal time now that the kids are gone. The top responses included:
- Having more personal time (95 percent)
- Lower grocery bills and fewer expenses (91 percent)
- Spending more time with their significant other or dating (85 percent)
- Going on a dream vacation (80 percent)
- Socializing with friends (80 percent)
- No longer attending school-related functions (68 percent)
"As with most transitions in life, when the kids leave the home, many adults have a period of exploration," said Fred Ehle, vice president of brand marketing for Del Webb. "We see this zest for personal discovery in our own Del Webb communities, where residents are beginning their next stage of life – even before they quit working for good. They finally have the opportunity for 'me' time to do things that maybe they put on hold during the more active child-rearing years."
Lend a Hand, Not a Room
The empty nesters surveyed were asked what they would rather do if their adult child was facing a hard time with finances – help support them financially or allow them to move back home. The answer was clear: 68 percent said they'd lend their child financial support rather than allowing them to move back home.
Ehle said, "Once kids leave the home, parents take a close look at their home and often find their large home no longer fits their new lifestyle. Do they need all this space? Do they want to maintain the large yard? So, they think about downsizing or moving to a new area. Often, they look at redecorating their kids' former rooms as a temporary solution before making the leap to move."
The survey revealed that 70 percent have turned their child's room into another room for personal use, including 34 percent as a guest room; 14 percent as an office; four percent as a media room and two percent as a storage/junk room.
Making plans to move
The National Association of Home Builders says that buyers over 50, including baby boomers, empty nesters and pre-retirees, are in the housing market's fastest-growing category. People 55 or older bought slightly more than one-fifth of new homes sold in the U.S. in 2012.
When asked if respondents are planning to move now that the kids are out of the house, more than half (55 percent) are planning to move to a new home at some point in the future, with nearly 10 percent indicating they may move out of state or to a warmer climate.
"Becoming an empty nester marks a new life phase, and downsizing in place or moving to a new home is an exciting part of the transition away from their primary career or from the day-to-day rearing of school-aged children," said Ehle. "Whether staying close to home or moving across the country, there are many options for empty nesters as they plan for their newfound freedom," added Ehle.
Savings Inspired by Wanderlust
No longer budgeting for kids-related expenses, empty nesters are now saving for "big ticket" items besides their retirement and a new home. According to the U.S. Travel Association, adults born between 1946 and 1954 take an average of 4.4 trips each year. So it's no surprise the vast majority of empty nesters (78 percent) are saving for a trip of a lifetime and/or more traveling.
Other top mentions: 50 percent are saving for their children and grandchildren's inheritance; 38 percent are saving for a sports car, boat or other recreational vehicle; and 21 percent are saving for a second/vacation home.
Del Webb has been surveying the 50 and older demographic for more than 15 years, seeking to better understand the attitudes and opinions of this generation. The diverse definitions of retirement reflect the diversity of the baby boomer generation and are evident in the variety of Del Webb community sizes, types and locations across the nation.
About the Del Webb Baby Boomer Survey
The Del Webb Baby Boomer Survey was conducted online by Russell Research from September 13 – September 16, 2013 among 509 online empty nesters across the United States. Figures for gender, age and geography were weighted where necessary to match their actual proportions in the population. With probability samples of this size, one could say with 95 percent certainty that the results have a statistical precision of +/- 4.3 percentage points of what they would be if the entire adult population had been polled with complete accuracy.
About PulteGroup, Inc.
PulteGroup, Inc. (NYSE: PHM), based in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., is one of America's largest homebuilding companies with operations in approximately 50 markets throughout the country. Through its brand portfolio that includes Centex, Pulte Homes, Del Webb and DiVosta Homes, the company is one of the industry's most versatile homebuilders able to meet the needs of multiple buyer groups and respond to changing consumer demand. PulteGroup conducts extensive research to provide homebuyers with innovative solutions and consumer inspired homes and communities to make lives better.
For more information about PulteGroup, Inc. and PulteGroup brands, go to pultegroupinc.com; www.pulte.com; www.centex.com; www.delwebb.com and www.divosta.com. Follow PulteGroup, Inc. on Twitter: @PulteGroupNews.
SOURCE Del Webb