Entering Their 50s, Gen X Preparing for Their Next Milestone

Entering Their 50s, Gen X Preparing for Their Next Milestone

Sitting between their millennial children and baby boomer parents, Generation X appears to be hitting their stride as they take on a new milestone: their 50s. As such, Gen Xers are looking ahead to their next stage of life. According to a recent survey by Del Webb, America’s leading builder of active adult communities, Gen Xers who are celebrating their 50th birthday are looking forward to retirement.

Until they get there, they are enjoying their careers, building larger nest eggs and even getting ready for their next big move, which may require enough room for their boomer parents.

“It is hard to believe that start of the Gen X demographic is turning 55 and are closer in age to retirement than to when they were first introduced to grunge,” said Jay Mason, vice president of market intelligence for PulteGroup, the nation’s third largest homebuilder and owner of the Del Webb brand. “While smaller than other generations, Gen Xers deserve plenty of attention as they build larger nest eggs and assert their burgeoning buying power during the prime of their careers, while planning for their next stage of life.”

Seventy-two percent of surveyed 50-year-olds say they are looking forward to retirement, despite it still being several years away. While one could expect that working adults at this age are simply “counting down” until retirement, 85 percent of those surveyed report that they actually like their jobs.

“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 Mason.

“To meet the needs of 55 and older homebuyers wanting to work in retirement, we now offer more communities closer to large metropolitan areas and employment hubs, but with all of the lifestyle and amenity offerings of a traditional large-scale, destination active adult community.”

In addition to liking their jobs, today’s 50-year-olds are saving more of their earnings. In a comparable Del Webb survey conducted a decade ago, over 50 percent of respondents had less than $50,000 saved for retirement. This cohort has dropped to only 35 percent, with more respondents indicating much higher levels of savings:

  • 21 percent have saved between $50,000 and $99,000
  • 18 percent have saved between $100,000 and $249,000
  • 14 percent have saved between $250,000 and $499,000
  • 12 percent have saved over $500,000

Even the financial crisis of 2009 is largely viewed by this generation as a blip from the past. Only 17 percent of respondents felt as though the financial crisis had a meaningful impact on their retirement plans, while 70 percent still expect to be homeowners in retirement.

Living Large

Thanks in part to greater financial stability, 60 percent of surveyed 50-year-olds indicated they intend to move in the future, with over a quarter saying they plan to move in the next one to three years. Of those who intend to move, 58 percent are planning to make a significant life change by moving to a new city, state or country (with 22 percent planning to stay in the same town and 20 percent who just don’t know).

As previously reported, when they do move, space will be a priority, with the clear majority (71 percent) preferring a single-family home along with three or more bedrooms (67 percent). This may, in part, be because nearly 30 percent of those in the sandwich generation anticipate their next home will need to accommodate aging parents.

Given their growing nest eggs and large buying power, it is no surprise that more than half (56 percent) of respondents believe they are equally or more financially secure than their parents were at this age. The increased financial awareness and preparedness of today’s 50-year-olds compared to 10 years ago, has nearly 80 percent of respondents believing they are enjoying life the same as or more than their parents did at their age.

“While Gen Xers never seemed to care much for labels, the slacker image sometimes attributed to their youth certainly does not apply,” said Mason. “This generation is increasingly financially prepared for the future and is actively engaging in what’s ahead, including the prospect of making a big move that may include mom and dad.”

The trend towards multiple generations living under one roof has persisted for nearly a decade and does not appear to be changing anytime soon. Multi-generational design trends, such as dual master bedrooms, separate apartments – known as “in-law” suites – open-access floorplans and flexible room designs that allow for change in the future are among the many customizable options available when you build a new home designed for your particular lifestyle.

In response to these buyer trends and increasing demand, Del Webb has expanded its market presence over the past decade by offering more communities across more markets. Typically ranging in size from 500 to 1,000 homes, these communities provide an array of signature lifestyle amenities and activities to support body, mind and spirit. Del Webb continues to pursue its plans to add 10 new communities in areas ranging from Massachusetts, New Jersey and Florida to North Carolina, Minnesota and Nevada.