AP-LifeGoesStrong.com Poll Finds: For Most Baby Boomers, Home Is Where the Heart Is - and the Kids Too

Baby Boomers Say Family Is Their Biggest Priority During Retirement & Expect To Stay Close to Home

Empty Nest Boomers Split - Half Keep Children's Rooms Intact, While Half Convert Rooms Into Spaces That Fit Their New Life Stages

Oct 26, 2011, 09:00 ET from LifeGoesStrong.com

NEW YORK, Oct. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- According to a new poll from the popular boomer lifestyle site LifeGoesStrong.com (www.lifegoesstrong.com) and the Associated Press (www.ap.org), being closer to children or family is a clear priority (73%) over living in a community with "friends of your own age" (27%), when it comes to where boomers plan to live during their retirement years.

When asked to rate the importance of several aspects of their future retirement household, just one was rated deeply important by 50 percent of boomers: living close to their children.

The poll also revealed only about a quarter (23%) of boomers say it's very likely they'll move out of their current area or community in retirement. However, that doesn't mean boomers imagine they'll completely stay put -- just 40 percent of boomers expect they will stay in the home they live in today for their entire retirement.

"It's easy to understand why mid-lifers are interested in being near family and staying close to home during retirement," said Barbara Corcoran, prominent real estate entrepreneur and newly appointed guest contributor to LifeGoesStrong.com. "It's also important to note that most boomers currently live in a suburb, and that group is more likely to have lost money on real estate since the economic downturn began. But whether or not someone was directly impacted, the recession makes all of us more aware of the importance and comfort of a close family circle, and the value of strong home roots."

Even so, three in 10 boomers say that there is at least somewhat of a chance that they will purchase a new home for their retirement years. Nonetheless, very few expect to leave the state in which they now live, with 67 percent calling that unlikely, and only 13 percent saying there is a good chance that they would move across state lines.

Regardless of whether mid-lifers plan to buy or rent or simply stay put, in addition to closeness to family during retirement, many say they also place a premium on accessibility and proximity to medical care and other services. Thirty-nine percent rated "being close to medical offices or hospitals" as very important, and a similar number (38%) stated that they want to be "close to shops and services."

Those who noted that it is at least somewhat likely they will purchase a new home in retirement say a key reason is that they would prefer:

  • A smaller home (43%)
  • An area with a different climate (30%)
  • A more affordable home (25%)
  • To be closer to family (15%)
  • To be in a retirement community (12%)

Interestingly, three out of the top five reasons given by boomers for purchasing a future home had nothing to do with the actual home itself, but had more to do with weather, family proximity, and community elements – proving the old adage, "location, location, location" to be true.

Fixing Up The Empty Nest:

The survey found that 47 percent of those boomer parents who have already seen children move out of the house have converted their rooms to other uses, while 51 percent have left them as they were. Those that decided to remodel have transformed at least one of their newly spared rooms into useful spaces, including:

  • Guest bedrooms (58%)
  • Home offices (39%)
  • Craft rooms (28%)
  • Entertainment rooms (15%)

"Given the recent housing market crunch, many boomers are recognizing they may be staying put in their current home into their retirement years," said Corcoran. "Clearly, they're already thinking about how to make the best possible use of the space they have. The responses in this poll show that most 'empty nest' remodeling corresponds to a natural shift in life stages and the priorities that change as our lives do."

Interestingly, younger boomer parents are more likely to have repurposed their children's rooms. Among those boomer parents born from 1955 to 1964, 57 percent say they converted the room to other uses, just 40 percent of boomer parents born in 1954 or earlier say the same.

Among the 43 percent of boomers who still have children living at home, half say they plan to convert their rooms to other uses when they leave the nest (49%).

And in a finding that is perhaps an explanation for the popularity of converting children's rooms to guest bedrooms: 76 percent of boomers would prefer that visiting friends and family stay with them when they travel to the area, while only 23 percent think they ought to stay in a hotel.


The AP-LifeGoesStrong.com Poll of the boomer generation on housing and retirement was conducted Oct. 5-12, 2011 by Knowledge Networks of Palo Alto, Calif.  It involved online interviews with 1,095 adults born between 1946 and 1964, as well as companion interviews with an additional 315 adults of other age groups. The survey has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.8 percentage points for all adults, 3.6 percentage points for baby boomers.

The survey was conducted using KnowledgePanel, which uses a probability-based design.  Respondents to the survey were first selected randomly for KnowledgePanel using phone or mail survey methods, and were later interviewed for this survey online.  People selected for KnowledgePanel who didn't otherwise have access to the Internet were provided with the ability to access the Internet at no cost to them.

About LifeGoesStrong.com:

LifeGoesStrong.com (www.lifegoesstrong.com) was launched in May 2010 by Digital Works@NBCU, a division of iVillage Networks, as a vibrant online destination for adults between 46 and 65 years of age who are living well and going strong. A network of websites celebrating the topics and passions at the center of the boomer generation's everyday lives, Life Goes Strong currently attracts over 1.5 million uniques a month, featuring verticals devoted to family, style, technology, health, home, work and play.

About the AP:

The Associated Press is the essential global news network, delivering fast, unbiased news from every corner of the world, to all media platforms and formats. Founded in 1846, AP today is the largest and most trusted source of independent news and information. On any given day, more than half the world's population sees news from AP.

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SOURCE LifeGoesStrong.com