Mid-life expert J. Walker Smith joined me for an interview this week to discuss how mid-lifers can help their parents transition into their later years. He also discussed the latest housing trends for baby boomers, and whether or not they should relocate.
Candace Rose: What are the biggest concerns for mid-lifers today?
J. Walker : Well, when we talked to baby boomers about what’s important to them, at least when they think about a place to live, right at the top of the list are pocketbook issues, so it’s all about affordability, it’s all about finances.
That’s followed by a broader category of peace of mind issues, financial security is part of that, but issues related to crime and safety are part of that, as well as issues related to environment and quality of life.
And then that’s followed by the things that are a little bit more the baby boomer stereotype if you will- the proximity to amenities, things to do, the adventure, the travel, the experience, the novelties that have always characterized the baby boomer generation.
Right at the top of the list though are things related to financial security.”
Candace Rose: How can families help baby boomers transition into their older years?
J. Walker: “Well, I think recognizing that baby boomers more so than prior generations are thinking about retiring in place is an important thing to keep in mind. Baby boomers are going to have to make a transition where they are today, and they’re going to need to make that transition hand in hand with support networks for which family are going to be key. Baby boomers, while there will be lots of them who will think about picking up and moving some place else when they retire, for the most part this generation is going to be retiring where they are now. It might not be in the same house, but it’s going to be in the same locale. So community ties and family ties are much more important to baby boomers today than they have been for baby boomers in years past and trying to take advantage of that and support to baby boomers through those ties, I think is key.”
Candace Rose: And how about for those who are looking to relocate- where should they consider relocating, retiring, or starting a career in mid-life?
J. Walker: “Well, at the top of the list of course are issues related to affordability, so if you’re going to pick up and move then that’s going to be the number one criteria. It’s probably going to be for most boomers (there obviously will be some who think differently) that’s probably not going to be things like lots of interesting things to do. Boomers are kind of at an age where they can do some of that and can’t do other parts of it. It’s probably not going to be weather per say. Weather is important but boomers are thinking about different things nowadays. Affordability is going to be really key, followed by security and safety and peace of mind issues. If you’re a city planner and you’re trying to think about how to make your community attractive to the baby boomers who are there today- the ones who want to retire in place or the ones who might be thinking about moving there, then you need to think about housing issues, you need to be focused on mobility issues, you need to be focused on local services that can provide things that boomers need. And if you can do those kinds of things, then you are focused on what’s most important to baby boomers right now.”
Candace Rose: Where can we go for more information?
J. Walker: “The best place to look is the number one lifestyle website for baby boomers- LifeGoesStrong.com. It’s a website with a lot of tips and baby boomers who want to continue to enjoy their active lifestyles.”