How baby boomers are transforming the idea of retirement

By Dan Reilly

Every day, 10,000 baby boomers hit the retirement age of 65. In fact, there are over 70 million people in the retirement age range living in the United States right now, with a huge portion of them already out of the workforce and many more planning to join them soon. Many of the boomers are enjoying their golden years in new and surprising ways. Here are just a few examples of how they’re changing the face of retirement as we know it.

Baby boomers are active, social and more likely to travel. 
(Photo: wundervisuals, Getty Images)

Active Lifestyles

Boomers are living longer than previous generations and it’s not only due to advances in medical care – it’s also due to their health habits. More and more communities are geared towards fitness-minded seniors, with state-of-the-art facilities and workout programs like water aerobics and planned hikes.

In Florida, The Ronto Group is among developers who are catering to this trend, offering amenities like fitness centers with massage, steam and locker rooms in their Omega Tower and a resort-style pool at the Seaglass property, for taking laps in that warm Florida weather. The Ronto Group has even invested in state-of-the-art strength and cardio equipment in its Naples Square location, helping this generation continue moving stronger and faster. 

You’ll also notice more and more boomers wearing Fitbits, Apple watches and other smart activity trackers – the number of people 55 and over using wearable devices is expected to grow by 15% this year alone, more than any other age group of the 61 million users in the country. Baby boomers are well known for their influence on the fit lifestyle – they’re the group that brought trends like exercise videos and gym memberships into the mainstream. Not surprisingly, they’re extending those desires into their retirement years.

Getting Social

Boomers aren’t only looking for physical health – they seek better social and emotional health, as well. With 70% of the nation’s disposable income, boomers are poised to enjoy all that life has to offer. In popular retirement locale Naples, Florida, communities like Naples Square are setting the standard for connected, dynamic living. Located in the middle of downtown Naples, the stylish residences offer walking-distance access to eateries, boutiques, galleries, dog parks and even the beach. Within the community, residents can take advantage of a club room featuring a bar, terrace and ample seating or the courtyard deck that’s outfitted with grills and gas-fire tables – both of which lend well to family visits and get-togethers with friends.

Luxury Living

Real estate developers are focusing on higher-end communities that are packed with amenities not seen in traditional senior-living sites. They include concierge services, top chefs and gorgeous condominiums designed more to resemble luxury hotel suites. Luxury living also means creating a space that looks and feels more like home.

In Southwest Florida, condos like the Seaglass and Omega offer multiple floorplans in addition design choices in everything from tile color to paint hue. Other condos, like sophisticated Naples Square, have enlisted the help of prestigious interior designers like Renee Gaddis Interiors of Naples, who help create residences that are unique, timeless and clearly reflect the work of professionals.

More Travel

According to the AARP, boomers average about $6,500 on travel each year, with over 80% of them booking trips online. A growing number are planning trips abroad, mostly to Europe and the Caribbean, looking for the type of experiences and adventures they couldn’t get to while they were still working. Still, destinations like Southwest Florida remain popular, thanks to its forgiving weather, proximity to major U.S. cities – and the option of having a second home there. 15% of traveling boomers were also planning “skip-generation” trips, taking their grandchildren and leaving their own kids at home, making family-friendly destinations like Florida high on the list of places to visit.

Thankfully, developers like The Ronto Group are taking these trends seriously, creating places that reflect boomers’ active lifestyles and cater to their needs in a beautiful setting. As the baby boomers continue to dominate the retirement landscape, expect to see more locations looking to incorporate the same.