As the baby boomer generation starts heading into their Golden Years, retirement seems to be one topic that generates both relief and anxiety. On one hand, the prospect of retiring, after 20 to 30 years of working the same nine-to-five, provides a sense of freedom. But on the other hand, many baby boomers are struggling with the fact that their pensions and insurance programs — the very programs that had once seemed permanent — seem capable of disappearing in the blink of an eye. It’s one thing to know that you won’t be given health insurance when you retire, but it’s another thing to put in 25+ years of work with the promise of having retirement funds, and see it all taken away.
In a recent Forbes article, the words of Ken Dychtwald, the CEO of a retirement consulting firm, seem to get the point across quickly: he calls this potential lack of insurance coverage “the retirement wild card.” Even for those, like Forbes contributor Richard Eisenberg, who believe that healthcare costs after retirement can be planned out, there’s no denying that medical bills are still unpredictable. In fact, a recent survey shows that healthcare costs are the number one concern for Americans over the age of 50, regardless of financial standing.
The concern with post-retirement health happens to coincide with a growing trend among baby boomers to stay active during retirement — although this is probably more than just a coincidence. It’s common knowledge that an active lifestyle is more conducive to better overall health, but the baby boomer generation appears to be the first generation of retirees to really act on this preventative solution.
In fact, according to a recent report by Fox News, big cities and college towns are becoming “retirement hot spots” because they present more opportunities to stay active. Whereas states like Florida once attracted herds of retirees, the baby boomer generation appears to be moving toward states that present financial security, optimal weather, and opportunities to stay active. A recent WalletHub survey shows that Arizona is one of the top states for new retirees, simply because it offers all three features.
Suburbs close to Phoenix, such as Parker and Lake Havasu City, present easy access to a big city as well as outdoor activities like hiking and golfing — and all without the steep price tags that are found in a city, which makes it easier for retirees to direct their money toward their health needs. A simple dental visit, for example, can be expensive for someone with a limited income, and it’s part of the reason why almost 50% of all adults neglect to see the dentist annually. New retirees, however, are more aware of how important preventative strategies are for maintaining good health, and they’re more likely to move to areas that allow for greater financial freedom in order to ensure physical health.
Quite simply, a lot of factors go into the retirement process, but these factors weren’t quite as evident before the baby boomers began retiring. Now that we’re more aware of these trends, however, retirement communities — like those in the Phoenix metro area — should start to prepare for the influx of new residents.