The “silver wave” of baby boomers hasn’t even hit yet — the oldest boomers won’t even turn 80 for another seven years — and yet one company is looking past that wave to the next one.
The oldest GenXers turn 55 next year, and a new survey by active adult community builder Del Webb examines their preferences and savings habits.
It makes sense that the company is looking at this younger group, given that active adult community residents are, on average, about two decades younger than independent living residents at move-in (aged 60 to 65 compared with 82, respectively, according to the ProMatura Group’s Margaret Wylde). Despite the age difference, however, the survey results provide useful information for the senior living industry, too.
It turns out, for instance, that younger GenXers may be planning to make room for their older-boomer parents in their homes, providing some competition for senior living communities. Del Webb said it is including double master suites, “in-law suites,” open floor plans or flexible space in some homes to accommodate those plans.
When those GenXers need senior living themselves, however, they may be in a better financial position to afford it, survey results suggest.
In a Del Webb survey 10 years ago, more than 50% of 50-year-old respondents said they had less than $50,000 in savings. Today, 35% of respondents of that age said they have less than $50,000 saved.
In fact, 21% said they have saved $50,000 to $99,000, 18% have saved $100,000 to $249,000, 14% have saved $250,000 to $499,000 and 12% have saved more than $500,000. And if GenXers retire when they can collect full Social Security (as the law is written now), then they’ll be working at least 13 more years so will have the opportunity to save much more.
Del Webb said it already is building more communities closer to large metropolitan areas and employment hubs, in addition to its traditional “destination” locations, in response to the longer work lives of older adults.
“Today, about a quarter of Del Webb residents are still working in some capacity, and we expect this number to increase as Gen Xers contemplate their next move,” said Jay Mason, vice president of market intelligence for PulteGroup, owner of Del Webb.
And the company said it also has expanded amenities and activities “to support body, mind and spirit.”
Of course, senior living is seeing trends related to building in urban locations and wellness-focused programming, too. Maybe baby boomers and GenXers aren’t that different from one another after all — at least younger boomers and older GenXers. But by paying attention to GenX-related trends, the industry will be prepared for the wave after the silver one.