AARP Warns NYC Headed for Baby Boomer Economic Crisis

AARP-City & State Forum Details Boomer Flight Problems & Solutions w/ Comptroller Stringer, NYC Labor & Financial Leaders

Aug 07, 2014, 08:30 ET from AARP New York

NEW YORK, Aug. 7, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The 50 and over crowd mean big business for New York City, surpassing the $70 billion consumer expenditure mark more than three years ago. City Baby Boomers would contribute over $100 billion to the city's economy in retirement – if they retire here. But, AARP warns, the majority of that money could be headed outside NYC, following the more than half of Baby Boomers saying they plan to flee the city in their retirement. And that means potential economic woes looming for the Big Apple. 

Today, the Association convened a forum called Boomtown to look at what's driving Baby Boomers and their billions from NYC.

While 53% of all Baby Boomers say they plan to leave NYC when they retire, the number jumps to nearly two-thirds - 64% - among Boomers who are confident they'll be able to retire. AARP is calling it Boomer Flight, and it could mean roughly $54 billion or more headed out of the local economy every year.

Boomers also mean big votes; they're the group that helped elect Bill de Blasio mayor – with 75% of Boomers voting for him. The group accounted for 35% of all ballots cast. And they are worried about economic issues; according to an AARP report (The State of the 50+ in New York City) released today detailing the experiences and worries that are driving Boomers from NYC, 62% think NYC's economy is in bad shape, and 35% state their own family's financial situation is worse now than it was just four years ago.

AARP New York teamed up with City & State to host today's forum at Baruch College to explore the issue, what's driving Baby Boomers from NYC and what can be done about it. Beth Finkel, State Director for AARP in New York State, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Rebecca Gillan, Senior Vice President of AARP's Research Center (her presentation can be viewed here) provided an in-depth look at the Boomer economy. A panel discussion on the issue followed with Mitra Behroozi, Executive Director of 1199SEIU; Jason Bram, Research Officer, New York Federal Reserve Bank; Lesley Hirsch, Director, NYC Labor Market Information Service, CUNY; and Tom Wright, Executive Director, Regional Plan Association.

"So, the million dollar question – or rather, the billion dollar question is: Why are Boomers looking to flee New York City in their retirement?" said Beth Finkel, State Director for AARP in New York State. "It comes down to the basics. Like most other New Yorkers, they're worried about housing costs, increasingly worried about paying NYC's sky-high utility bills and concerned about livability issues as they age: traffic lights that are timed too fast and cars not yielding to pedestrians. These are just some of the key issues pushing Boomers and their billions out of the city."

The report finds that the ripples from Boomer flight could deplete the number of middle class retirees – with NYC's upper class Boomers being the least likely to leave, the lower class finding it difficult to afford to leave even if they want to – and the middle class the most likely to retire elsewhere. AARP says the loss of revenue and loss of population could prove polarizing for social classes in NYC.

"We know what the problem is, and AARP is committed to working with our city's leaders to make New York City a better place to live, work and age for all age groups," added Finkel.

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AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 37 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services.  A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world's largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin;; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en Espanol, a Spanish-language website addressing the interests and needs of Hispanics. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity of AARP that is working to win back opportunity for struggling Americans 50+ by being a force for change on the most serious issues they face today: housing, hunger, income and isolation. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at