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NEW YORKâ€“ March 2, 2015 â€“ Sixty-five percent of retirees say they’re living in the best homes of their lives, according to a new Merrill Lynch study conducted in partnership with Age Wave.
But many retirees â€“ free from work and family restrictions â€“ will choose to move. The study, “Home in Retirement: More Freedom, New Choices,” found that 64 percent of retirees are likely to move at least once during retirement, with 37 percent having already done so and 27 percent planning to relocate.
“How and where our nation’s aging population chooses to live will have widespread implications on the way homes are designed, the resources people will need, and how communities and businesses nationwide should prepare,” says Andy Sieg, head of Global Wealth and Retirement Solutions for Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
During the next decade, the number of age 65+ households in the U.S. will increase by nearly 11 million, while growth in the number of households across all other age groups will be less than 2 million. Powerful demographic forces, including the massive baby boomer generation now moving into their retirement years and increasing longevity leading to longer retirements, is driving the growth among older households.
The new research explores priorities and concerns of retirees and pre-retirees when choosing the type of homes and communities they hope to live in during retirement.
Home free in retirement
Through most people’s lives, where they reside is determined in large part by work and family. However, as people enter their late-50s and 60s, they approach and begin to cross what the study calls the “Freedom Threshold,” with retirement representing a gateway to unprecedented freedom to choose where to live:
Retirees on the move: The “downsize surprise”
Retirees’ top motivations for moving include being closer to family (29 percent), reducing home expenses (26 percent), and changes in health (17 percent) or marital status (12 percent):
Among retirees who do not plan to move during retirement, the top reasons include a deep emotional connection to their home (54 percent), close proximity to family (48 percent) and friends (31 percent), a desire to remain independent (44 percent), or because they simply can’t afford to move (28 percent).
Prior to age 55, more homeowners say the financial value of their home outweighs its emotional value. As people age, however, they become far more likely to say their home’s emotional value is more important â€“ a reason cited by nearly two out of three people (63 percent) age 75 and older.
Among people age 65+ who moved last year, most (83 percent) chose to remain in the same state; however, roughly one out of six (17 percent) relocated to a different state:
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