Millennial have it worse than Baby Boomers

FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) There’s many things that can set parents and their children a part, but according to a new analysis of Federal Reserve data by Young Invincibles it’s more than just age.

The advocacy group says that millennials are a troubling generation that is worse off than the baby boomers with all the hardships they must overcome.

Many young adults dream of the day they walk across the stage and get that piece of paper saying it’s time to give me the money, but what many millennials are finding is what they’ve been told all along isn’t necessarily reality.

According to an analysis by the Young Invincibles, millennials are worse off than their baby boomer parents.

“Before I was born, I think it was assumed that I was going to make my way out of college. Basically, pay for my own college and there was no question about it,” says Laukii Cheng.

“So a big part of my decision of education for where I wanted to further my education came down to, ‘As a teacher, am I realistically going to be able to pay back my student loans?” says NDSU student Dana Steward.

Landing many millennials, those between the ages of 25 and 34, now enter the real world with student loan debt that will take years or even a lifetime to pay off especially when earnings for this age group has gone down by 20% since 1989.

One baby boomer says there’s factors that negatively impact that as well.

“Everything costs more. If you don’t make more money you can’t afford to buy expensive things,” explains Fred Haecherl.

The general wealth of millennials has decreased by a little over half since 1989 according to the study which can lead the number of those who own a home down as well by 7%.

Cheng says people around her age don’t want to settle in one place right after school because they want to travel instead.

“I think I have a lot to learn about just life in general. Not even just the states but other countries too” adds the Oahu, H.I. native.

For a Lisbon baby boomer, he believes millennials don’t want to work, lack work ethics or simply give up when the going gets tough which he says you can’t do so he is making sure that his 11-year-old daughter grows up with the same determination for life that his parents installed in him with the hope that things are different for her and her generation.

Homebuilders are betting on baby boomers to be big buyers | Real Estate

As an aging baby boomer, it’s hard to get find love from the consumer products sector.

All the mainstream advertising is pitched toward 20 and 30 somethings.

The only nod we boomers get is from hearing aid manufacturers and ED drug makers trying to stiff us out of our retirement savings.

Well, bless the homebuilders.

They’ve spent the last few years courting those fickle millennials and have now decided to dance with the ones that brung them – the 50-plus generation.

We boomers are da bomb when it comes to the builders.

We’ve got money and experience and know what we want in a house.

And the U.S. housing industry is ready to sell it to us.

The numbers of 55-plus homebuyers are increasing as America’s population ages.

By 2020 there are forecast to be 54 million 55-plus households in the U.S. – up by almost 4 million from 2016, according to studies by the National Association of Home Builders.

“Its growing and projected to grow every singe year,” said Paul Emrath, a senior researcher with the Washington, D.C. based builders group. “Not only are they growing in absolute numbers but as a share of all households.

“The 55-plus segment is on the rise as a share of the overall market.”

As these folks move kids out of the household and move into retirement, a large number are looking to change their address.

Often they have money from the sale of current homes to pay for new digs.

“Almost half of them are owned free and clear after a year,” Emrath said. “This is a segment of the market that’s paying cash.”

And even when they don’t, boomer buyers typically make much larger down payments than younger households.

In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the NAHB estimates there are more than 13,000 sales of homes to 55-plus buyers a year.

On average these buyers spend about $246,000 for a house. And they have annual household income of more than $109,000.

A share of the North Texas boomer buyers are coming from out of town. The NAHB estimates that more than 10,000 55-plus households migrate to the D-FW area each year – mostly from other locations in Texas, from California, Colorado, New York and abroad.

“Almost every area has a sub 55-plus market that s driven by people who move short distances,” Emrath said. “A lot of 55 plus households move from neighboring states or the same states.”

Jim Chapman, a Georgia builder who heads the NAHB’s 55-plus building council, said that since home values around the country have recovered from the recession, more of these buyers have the equity to make a move.

His average buyer is in their early 60s, Chapman said.

“Ten years ago when I started building active adult communities our average age was probably 72,” he said. “About 20 percent are moving to be near the grandkids.”

Both Chapman and Emrath said the biggest obstacles for builders who want to woo boomers is producing a house they can afford.

“I’m constantly asked if you have anything under $250,000,” he said. “Our average home is $400,000.”

Emrath said that a third of baby boomer buyers say they want a house priced under $150,000.

“There are virtually no homes built at those prices.”

So just like their millennial counterparts, boomer buyers are finding that home cost is the biggest issue in making their move.

Online boom from Baby Boomers

The FINANCIAL — KPMG’s global online consumer report, which analyses the online shopping preferences and behaviours of more than 18,000 consumers in 51 countries, has revealed that Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1965) are the generation that spend the most online while Millennials (born between 1982 and 2001) spend the least. 

Despite the common belief that the upswing in online shopping is largely driven by the younger and more ’tech-savvy‘ Millennials, Generation X consumers (born between 1966 and 1981) in fact made 20% more purchases last year than their younger counterparts.

Liz Claydon, UK Head of Consumer Markets at KPMG, commented: 

“Naturally stage of life and income levels are primary factors in driving both online and offline shopping habits. Generation X consumers, many of whom are more established in their careers and may be building homes and families, are likely buying more consumer goods than the younger Millennials. What’s more, due to structural quirks in the economy, a substantial proportion of wealth is concentrated in the older generations which means Baby Boomers have more disposable income than their younger counterparts. 

“Clearly the older generations should therefore not be underestimated in the context of ecommerce made even more apparent in our analysis which showed that Baby Boomers matched the digital-first Millennial generation in making on average 15 online transactions a year but spent on average $30 more per transaction.

“However, Millennials are significantly disrupting traditional shopping habits. They are very unlikely to be influenced by online advertising but the most likely to consult a blog or peer review before making a purchase. This means retailers need to find new and innovative ways to entice the younger generations to continue buying online.

“It also means that the perils of getting it wrong, be it a faulty product, bad customer service, or disjointed process can have a serious impact on Millennials’ decision making, particularly if any negative feedback makes it onto a review board.”

Millennials are not only more likely than the older generations to be influenced by online sources such as social media or peer reviews—they are also more likely to be influenced by offline channels when considering a purchase. According to KPMG’s report, Millennials were nearly 50% more likely than Baby Boomers to research a product by visiting a store or discussing the idea with friends or family. 

Liz added: “Convenience is the main motivation for online shopping but it’s clear ecommerce is not an online-only affair anymore. Both online and offline channels are effective in creating consumer awareness and demand, especially when used together. This means we should see companies becoming channel agnostic, so that it does not matter where purchasing decisions starts, what matters is that all channels are seamlessly connected in order to offer the utmost in consumer convenience.”

How did UK customers compare to the rest of the World? 

KPMG analysis found that UK consumers were more likely to compare prices before making their purchase.  Globally 27.3% of respondents noted price as the major factor and 64.9% of respondents researched more information on price. However, in the UK this increased to 32.1% and 72% respectively. 

Perhaps as a result, UK consumers took notably longer than their global counterparts in making a purchase decision. Globally, only 1.7% of respondents took more than 3 months to make a purchase, whilst in the UK this rose to 2.6%. 

Adrian Clamp, UK Head of Customer Advisory, commented:

“The British customer is more informed than ever but they have also binged on a diet of discounts for some time now. For retailers this has come at the expense of increasingly squeezed margins in an effort to compete for market share. 

“However, according to our research 65% of respondents cited excellent customer support as the top attribute for obtaining and retaining customer loyalty. Companies should find ways to provide exceptional customer support online which could in turn lead to loyalty in an environment where it can be challenging to stand out. With less and less wiggle room to compete on price, providing superior customer service, assistance and advice online could therefore become the differentiators for customers, regardless of age.”

 

Column: Broke baby boomers, it’s time to face reality

Senior Caucasian woman with chin in hands. Photo by Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Getty Images

In “Fifty-Five, Unemployed, and Faking Normal,” White offers advice to those baby boomers who, instead of facing cushy retirements in Florida, are facing financial ruin and the shame that comes with it. Photo by Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Getty Images

Editor’s Note: “Friends wonder privately how someone so well educated could be in economic free fall,” Elizabeth White wrote in a column for PBS’ Next Avenue. “At fifty-five, she has learned how to fake cheeriness and to appear to be engaged, but her phone doesn’t ring with opportunities anymore.”

The article about the growing number of women facing retirement and struggling to make ends meet hit a nerve, receiving thousands of likes and comments on Facebook. People resonated with the reality White faced herself. She had had a comfortable upper-middle-class lifestyle and a good-paying job, but after a failed entrepreneurial endeavor and the Great Recession, she was facing a stark reality. She was broke.

In “Fifty-Five, Unemployed, and Faking Normal,” White offers advice to those baby boomers who, instead of facing cushy retirements in Florida, are facing financial ruin and the shame that comes with it. The following is an excerpt from her book. For more on the topic, tune in to tonight’s Making Sen$e segment, which airs every Thursday on the PBS NewsHour.

— Kristen Doerer, Making Sen$e Editor


I have been fortunate. I have been poor for quite a long time now, so I’m pretty good at it. The simple no-frills life is fine by me. — Debie

Millions of us are trying to wrap our brains around futures that look nothing like the ones we imagined. How do we walk up that hill? It’s about letting go of what used to be and figuring out what we need to do and to change now so that we can have a shot at a more satisfying life in our fourth quarter.

You may not like all of the things that I invite you to consider and take on in the chapters ahead. Adaptation is hard at any age, but it’s especially hard now, as all of the rules changed just as we baby boomers are planning our end games. It would be so much easier to just do what we’ve always done.

All of those “wouldas, couldas and shouldas” are just a waste of precious time at this point.

But we can’t. We’re anxious, uncertain about the future and just scraping by for the next 30 years is just not going to cut it. Nor is being mired in some old stuck story or feeling mad, bitter and crotchety. All of those “wouldas, couldas and shouldas” are just a waste of precious time at this point.

The bottom line is that we are where we are. And it’s from here that we start. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the challenges we’re facing, there is much we can learn from our peers who are experimenting with unconventional approaches and innovative ways of relating to others, consuming goods and working to find security and happiness.

If we’re in denial, resistant to change or unwilling to consider anything new or outside of our comfort zones, we might as well close up shop now. How we start this exploration matters. Staying open and hanging loose are important.

I have to say one thing. You cannot have a victim mentality, or you might as well not get up in the morning. The days of cushy desk jobs, ordering lunch every day and fat paychecks might be over, but you have to keep pushing. If you have ‘friends’ who go to bars and restaurants that you can’t afford, find some new friends who enjoy a cup of coffee and a chat instead. Learn how to be self-sufficient and enjoy the things in life that cost less. Stop reading the don’t-want-you ads, and try to do something else. — Tracy

The cavalry ain’t coming

Where we start is by recognizing that the cavalry is not coming to rescue us. There is no national bailout—no prince charming on a white horse.

In the short to medium term, we’re going to have to save ourselves and one another.

Why? Well, with few exceptions, our politicians are not offering comprehensive solutions to the retirement-income crisis. Most are focused on Social Security as though it were the answer and the magic bullet. But what if you’re one of the millions of boomers under the full-retirement age, of between 65 or 67 depending on when you were born? Then for now, you’re out. Receiving the full Social Security benefit isn’t even an option.

READ MORE: Column: Questionable Social Security and Medicare policies put seniors in a bind

And even when you are eligible for it, the full benefit will only replace about 40 percent of your preretirement income, if that. Most financial advisors say you’ll need 70 to 80 percent of it to maintain your standard of living. For tens of millions of Americans, that small Social Security check is the only money coming in. Our lawmakers can pretend all they want that that’s enough to live on. Give me a break.

And while we welcome the recent talk in Washington about increasing the Social Security benefit, we also know that the wheels of change turn slowly. We’re living in the meantime.

And exhorting us to simply save more without telling us how to do it doesn’t help us either.

I went with my sister to one of those financial-planning seminars and had to leave the room a few times because I was so upset by what I was hearing. It was just so sobering. I have no savings. The planner kept talking about putting 30 percent of your assets into this or that thing. Well, 30 percent of zero is zero. — Chris

The truth is that Americans are saving less, not more.

It will take years for our government and institutions to find and scale solutions to the myriad of problems that underlie the retirement-income crisis. And as those most affected by the crisis, part of our job is pressuring them to do more and to do it faster.

But in the meantime, with no big interventions in the works, our immediate focus should be on what we can do for ourselves.

Saying goodbye to magical thinking

So where do we start? We start by dismantling the belief that if we just tough it out, things will return to normal. The truth is that we’re not going back. The normal we knew is gone.

In “normal land,” we could zig and zag, move, change jobs or spouses, try new things and still recover from our mistakes. We had time. Now, in our late 50s, 60s and beyond, we don’t have that time anymore.

“Normal” was when we had money and did not have to weigh our every decision against its affordability.

Normal was before we knew anyone trapped in their homes, unable to move because their mortgage was underwater.

It was before we were outsourced, merged downsized, rifted and surplused.

READ MORE: Can you guess how many Americans have absolutely no savings at all?

In normal land, the “sharing economy” had mostly not been invented yet. Instead, there were good IRS W-2 jobs with pensions and benefits.

In normal land, we measured our worth by our incomes, props and credentials. For some of us, working hard assured a nice retirement “dessert” of travel and kicked back living.

Normal was when we weren’t worried about our children’s futures. As one friend put it, we figured we’d done our jobs if our adult children were employed and could afford their own therapy.

Normal land had material perks too. There was stuff and more stuff. Back in those days, designer labels mattered more than the factory workers who made those labels.

Before marketers coined the term HENRY, or “high earners not rich yet,” there were yuppies and buppies. A good life of achievement and acquisition was what most of us aspired to and sought.

Magical thinking is believing that the old normal is coming back.

The new normal of financial vulnerability

Right now, depending on your work situation or bank account, you may feel like a tourist in the land of the poor people. At this stage, your main goal is to avoid getting trapped and having to take up permanent residency there. It is a paralyzing thought. I know.

This happened to me in my 40s, and it took me a good 10 years to get back to a normal wage. It took periods of working three jobs at crummy wages and doing whatever I had to do to keep going. The truth is, your friends don’t notice the struggle, because they fear it will happen to them. Decide who your genuine friends are, and come clean to them. If nothing else, it will help to talk about it and frees you up from pretending. This is more widespread than most people think. — Linda

You see friends who used to be at or near the top of the food chain off ramped with no clear path back to normal. You see it in their faces. It’s like they have dematerialized.

Most of the women (and men) I worked with who suffered a similar fate never seemed to quite get back to where they were even though they worked as hard as I did and even in the booming tech market. And I pretty much expect every day that this could happen to me again, no matter how hard I work or how many points I put on the board. The worst part is the isolation. This is the first time I have ever let on how bad it was (is), and it still feels extremely risky to do so in a valley rife with swagger. — J

And you know that if it happened to others, it could happen to you. No longer in denial now, you actually begin to contemplate what would happen if the bottom totally fell out. What would you do? How would you survive?

And millions of us aren’t contemplating it—we’re living it.

I am at the 15-year mark of my uphill climb out of my hole. I am living tiny, but it is mine, and I am able to live within my means. — Lesa

Many of us won’t be making the money we’re used to making. For the first time, we will be facing the prospect of significant downward mobility, with our accustomed earnings cut by 20, 30, 40 percent—or more.

I never had to resort to food stamps but was headed that way and am still rattled to the core by that. — Linda

And the truth is that if we lose our jobs in our 50s and 60s, we’re unlikely to be reemployed at the same salaries we had before. This is even true for those whose career choice privilege has, until now, firmly established them in the high five- or six-figure salary range.

READ MORE: Poverty makes financial decisions harder. Behavioral economics can help

Sure, a few of us will manage to find traditional W-2 jobs paying that long bread like before. But many more of us can expect months or even years of unemployment that deplete our savings and shake our confidence.

And when we do work again, we’ll likely do contract work in the gig economy or some part-time jobs in new professions.

I am single, 64, getting Social Security and working whatever jobs I can find that pay the bills. I’m finally in a job I like now, but it has taken years to get to this place. During those years, I worked in factories, in retail and at a gas station, and I did home care. You name it, and I’ve done it. I’m tired of job hopping to survive. — Anita

I drive a school bus, have a class B CDL with a passenger/school-bus endorsement and feel lucky to have a job. I was a music-ed teacher. You gotta lose your pride and get out there and start somewhere. I am 57 and was married to a doctor for 20 years, and I got divorced 16 years ago. Pull up your big-girl pants, and take whatever job(s) you can find. — Mary

Some people start entrepreneurial ventures to try to make ends meet. Whatever we do, we’re looking at a lot less money to live on at least in the short term—and maybe forever.

That’s why a big first step in securing our futures is adopting live-low-to-the-ground mind-set which means that we have to drastically cut our expenses to fit our new income realities.

I know, I know … that sounds easy peasy. You’re thinking, how hard could it really be to live within your new means?

It’s true that reality forces most people to make the needed changes eventually. But that click down from the standard of living that you assumed you’d always have to one that is much more modest is … well, it’s an adjustment. And it’s a big adjustment if you were living large and are now scrambling just to cover the basic necessities.

The real question is can we cut way back and still have good quality of life, still find ways to be connected to who and what we love?

But a downgrade in lifestyle is not hard only for the people who were doing well; it’s hard for everybody. The truth is that most folks just don’t have that much of a cushion. A recent Pew Charitable Trust Survey of American Family Finances found that “the median household does not have enough in liquid savings—money held in checking and savings accounts, unused balances on prepaid cards, and cash saved at home — to replace one month of income.”

And the average family in the lowest income quintile is even worse off, with less than two weeks of financial reserves—or, to be exact, enough to cover about nine days’ worth of expenses.

So as we look into the future, the key question will not be how to tighten our belts or live within our means in the conventional sense. In the new normal of financial insecurity, a lot of us are already doing that.

The real question is can we cut way back and still have good quality of life, still find ways to be connected to who and what we love?

I believe that the short answer is yes. But to have a shot at something other than being old and poor in America, we can’t just do what we’ve always done and be what we’ve always been. The world as we knew it has changed forever. And if we want better futures, we’re going to have to change too.

Comparing 25-34 year olds now to 25-34 year olds in 1989 is super depressing

Now, all of this is pretty bleak, but a lot can be done to rectify the situation as long as we confront some uncomfortable truths.

Like the fact that states need to start reinvesting in higher education. As the report points out, “for the Boomers we measured in 1989, average tuition at 4-year public colleges was $3,454 in today’s dollars.”

The report also suggests:

– Creating two-year certificate programs to prepare people for middle skill jobs that don’t require a four-year college degree. “These jobs are distributed across diverse types of occupations, including sales, health care, information technology, transportation, production, and installation and repair. Our educational system must be re-aligned to connect young people to these opportunities.”

– Encouraging college completion to ensure that more people can pay back their student loans.

– Raising the federal minimum wage.

– Expanding the earned income tax credit to individuals without children. Both President Barack Obama and Paul Ryan have proposed ways to do this.

– Allowing credit agencies to accept rent payment as trade lines on credit reports.

The report also suggests improving financial literacy and creating state-sponsored retirement plans for workers who don’t get them through their employers. Of course, measures like that would likely help all Americans, and we have the ability to invest in them.

It’s just a question of whether or not those in power have the will to do so.

Baby Boomers And The Mobile Push To Action 01/16/2017

Mobile devices have irreversibly altered the consumer path to purchase. Regardless of things like age, gender, location and income, mobile devices give everyone the same ability to
connect with the world of information, entertainment, commerce and more. 

When looking to engage with mobile users, however, marketers need to understand that demographic
differences can impact how we approach those connected capabilities. It’s these variations in preferences and behaviors that necessitate generationally sensitive approaches. 

When approaching Baby Boomers, marketers need to consider that the group didn’t grow up with glowing screens in their pockets and the world of information at their fingertips.
According to AARP, adults born between 1946 and 1964 remain less likely to own a smartphone than do
their Millennial and Gen X counterparts. Perhaps it’s a result of holding a “wait and see” attitude based on decades witnessing the rise and fall of different technologies (Betamax
or 8-track tapes, anyone?). Still, the majority of boomers, 60.7%, now use smartphones. 

Still, these devices are rather recent entries into Baby Boomers’ lives, and as a
result they view and use them differently. First, they often exercise greater caution when it comes to mobile interaction. Second, they may use their mobile as if it were just a little PC, which
affects what functions they do and don’t use. For marketers looking to engage, I offer one way to confront both issues: Push messaging. 

Push notifications such as an
ecommerce site’s sending a message that you’ve abandoned an item in your shopping cart or a travel site’s prompt that it’s time to check in for a fight are powerful ways to
reach audiences. But, imagine you’re already a bit wary of your personal privacy – to receive one of these messages seemingly out of the blue might be more alienating than helpful. This is
where permissions are critical. 

For most of us, app permissions are par for the course. Where we blindly hit okay and move on, a Boomer may view these asks at install as a
deal killer. To avoid stepping over a trust line, try allowing the user to have a positive experience with your app first. After the user has done something like watched a video, played a game, read
an article or booked a flight through your app, they’re far more likely to feel comfortable with you and more receptive to receiving further communication. 

Marketers
also need to be aware that boomers use their devices differently than do other demographics. For example, while they perform the same types of information retrieval functions such as searching for
restaurant reviews, they are more likely to be doing so via the mobile web. In fact, they may not fully understand when they’re in an app versus when they’re using a browser. If
you’re a marketer looking to boost your app engagement, push messages are an effective way to get that boomer browser to install your app. 

Given confusion and mistrust,
however, a simple “install the app” call to action isn’t going to cut it. Use the push opportunity to demonstrate the value of installing the app. One approach is to use a web push
message to showcase a personalized offer or highlight an app feature that makes the user experience of the app far superior to that on mobile. Even if the user installs the app in this instance, he or
she may not remember to launch it next time around. Set up triggers so that the user will automatically get another polite push the next time they visit your site via the mobile web. 

Lastly, let’s remember that boomers aren’t grandma and grandpa on their rocking chairs. The 50+ population today is active and eager to remain relevant. Push messaging can help
them keep up with — or even get ahead of — their sons, daughters, colleagues and other favorite folks-of-a-younger-generation. For example, it is one thing to hear about the affordable
drone that just came on the market or the latest findings from the International Space Station. With push messages, baby boomers can bask in the glory of being the first to know. 

Whether you’re an ecommerce site with cool products to sell, a news publisher with content you want people to read or even a weather app looking to increase app installs, push
engagement can drive results while allowing you to be personal, respectful and unobtrusive. You’ll earn the loyalty of this demographic that wants to be timely and appreciates all that makes
them smarter, faster, and that’s going to have positive impact on your bottom line.

Baby Boomers and their parents face the need for elder care

The holidays are a time for family gatherings, and it’s a good bet that at many of them, a couple of the adult “kids” huddled together and asked, “Do you think it’s time for mom and dad to live somewhere else?”

At others, those kids might have heard mom and dad announce they were selling the family home, ready to find something with fewer stairs, less yard work and more services, reported The Olympian.

The percentage of older residents in Thurston County is increasing. People ages 65 and older made up 13 percent of the population in 2010, according to the Census. By 2015, that number was 15.9 percent, slightly higher than the statewide average.

As baby boomers enter or approach their own retirement, their parents need more support for their physical and cognitive needs.

They are the first generation to live long enough to need widespread, years-long care, and many haven’t planned for it, said David Robinson, a geriatric care manager in Thurston County.

“It’s the rare person who decides they want to get ahead of change,” Robinson said. But making a change before it’s a crisis is the goal, he said.

Stacy Johnson, community relations director at Olympics West Retirement Inn in Tumwater, said part of the problem is there are misconceptions about assisted living and other housing options. Olympics West offers a range from independent living to assisted living and into end of life, if possible.

“I’m most often contacted by adult children,” Johnson said, adding it’s very rare to be contacted by potential residents. “The population of 80-plus thinks assisted living is a nursing home. They’re afraid to even consider it as an option.”

It’s the fear of the unknown, Johnson said.

“It’s like a new kid on the first day of school. Once they get here and realize ‘I don’t have to cook. I don’t have to clean. I don’t have to eat alone, I get driven to the store and the casino,’ they settle in.”

A triggering event

A number of circumstances can trigger a change of need, Robinson said.

On the physical side, a stroke or broken hip can suddenly make a home unusable. Or children may notice a parent having trouble keeping track of bills, appointments or medications, Robinson said.

“Most people prefer to age in their own homes, and every effort should be made to keep them there,” Robinson said.

For the Hensley family of Olympia, the first sign that their father needed help was his reluctance to travel from his retirement home in Arizona.

“Dad traveled almost a third of the time for his work,” his daughter, Stephanie Hurd, said. But he began making excuses for not coming back to the Northwest to visit.

In hindsight, she said, there was a lot of confusion about how to deal with situations he used to be able to handle, like traffic.

The four children convinced their parents to return to the Olympia area and settled them into a condominium. The next step was convincing their mother to accept in-home help with their father.

After finding a caregiver whom both parents liked, the couple was able to manage in their smaller home for about 2 1/2 years.

“We became aware that it was time to look for a residential solution,” Hurd said.

As their father’s dementia increased, the family first moved him into a memory care center and then into an adult family home.

In addition to their father’s increasing symptoms, their mother’s health was declining.

“She still struggles with ‘I should be able to take care of him,’ ” said daughter Stacia Hensley.

“We all miscalculated how hard it was going to be for mom physically and emotionally,” Hurd said. “She’s declined and depressed.”

Their mother now has moved into residential housing. Brother Tim Hensley has taken on many responsibilities for his mother, including helping her manage her finances.

Between them, the Hensley children spend about 30 hours a week or more visiting, caregiving and supporting their parents.

The Hensely family found support through their close sibling relationship and the Lewis-Mason-Thurston Area Agency on Aging, which offers resources and support groups. The LMTAAA mission includes assisting “individuals and families in making the right choices for them when confronted with the realities of loss and change,” according to its website. Caregiver newsletters offer information and a schedule of programs and training.

Stephanie Hurd said her advice is for people to reach out for resources.

“You need help,” she said.

Making a change for yourself

For seniors who are making the decision on their own, options range from simple downsizing, to a spectrum of senior communities, to facilities that offer increasing levels of care.

Some developers offer smaller, accessible homes in active senior communities. Another option, continuum of care, is offered at communities such as Panorama in Lacey. There, people can purchase a home or apartment where they live independently, then add services or move into more assisted housing options in the community as they age.

“What we’re finding the last 10 years is that residents are coming sooner and are younger and more active,” said Howard Burton, director of marketing for Panorama.

Dale and Georgia Vincent of Olympia decided in their 60s that it was time to leave their two-level, five-bedroom house near Olympia High School. They’d lived there more than 30 years, moving in when their son was 5.

“We looked around, not very aggressively,” Dale Vincent said. “Now and then we looked at condos. Surprisingly they were mostly two level.”

They were at the nearby Fred Meyer to buy some Mariners tickets when they decided to drop by Panorama. After looking at more than 30 homes, they ended up with a two-bedroom, two-bath duplex. That was eight years ago.

Burton said that boomers and active older people seek experiences instead of things, and the community expresses that.

Panorama has buy-in fees starting at $80,000 for a one-bedroom unit, he said, with a monthly rent of about $1,125 that includes utilities and taxes. But at least 20 percent of residents fall below the community’s low-income standard, Burton said.

People considering Panorama should be to the point of wanting to sell their home, and have a “decent pension or monthly income,” he said. Residents pay for their own meals and other expenses. Costs increase with larger living units or moving into higher levels of care.

“If you look at the financial side, if you add up all of the things that you pay for (now) that you won’t have to pay for at Panorama, I’m not sure it’s any more expensive,” Vincent said. “In the winter, it’s wonderful not to have to pay for heat.”

A step for many is assisted living, which is apartment living that includes housekeeping, meals and on-site nursing care.

Olympics West, for example, offers independent living for people who need very little assistance with daily activities, but want the security of quick emergency response and the convenience of communal meals. It also offers assisted living, which includes 24-hour access to assistance.

“It can be as simple as assistance with medications or intermittent assistance with bathing,” Johnson said.

The cost starts at $3,000 a month and tops at $5,400, depending on level of care, Johnson said.

Factors to consider

At some point, families need to have a conversation about senior housing options and what is needed, Robinson said.

“If you’re meeting with a lot of resistance, just plant some seeds,” he said as advice to adult children. “The default position feels safe and predictable, even if it doesn’t meet needs.”

An easy entry point can be a short-term stay, or respite care, at a senior housing complex, Robinson said.

Johnson agrees. “I will regularly counsel people trying to convince mom or dad to come in, to talk to mom, see if you can get them in for 30 to 90 days.” She said respite care rentals are month to month, and she recommends 60 to 90 days so the resident has a chance to settle in.

“In four years at this building, only one person left after 90 days,” she said.

Some things to consider to determine the right fit:

  • Medical condition: Do you or your loved on have a condition that will worsen? Do you need daily help?
  • Location: If you are completely independent, it may not matter how far your home is from shopping, but for someone who can no longer drive, or may be limiting driving to short distances and daylight hours, consideration of how far it is to the store, doctor, church and social activities is important. Is public transit available
  • Accessibility: Can your home be modified to accommodate a walker or wheelchair? Are there stairs to important parts of the house, or to get in and out of the house? Is the yard too much to maintain? According to the 2010-14 American Community Survey data, approximately 31,000 people in Thurston County — about 12.3 percent of the total population — had a disability. Of these disabled individuals, more than 40 percent were 65 years of age or older, according to the Thurston Regional Planning Council.
  • Social life: Do you like being around people? Are there hobbies you enjoy that you do outside the home?
  • Caregiving support: Do you have family nearby? Are family members available to help? If so, how much? Family support can be crucial, but is not always available, and family members may not be able to provide all the physical and medical support you may need.
  • Finances: Services in your home frequently cost considerably more than the same level of service in senior housing. If you have long-term care insurance, check what it provides, in what circumstances, how many hours a day and what the cap is on coverage.
  • Professional assessment: An objective assessment of your situation might be the best option. Geriatric care managers or agencies such as Area Agency on Aging can provide guidance and assist in placement.

Levels of care

Once you have a good idea of your needs, try to match them with the options available.

  • Senior retirement community: The first step from the family home might be a senior or retirement community where people own their homes. The community may offer amenities such as small yards, maybe with contracted maintenance, and a community hall with some organized activities.
  • Individuals must hire any housekeeping or caregiving, if it is wanted.
  • Residents are similar in age and income, and it’s a place to develop friendships, Robinson said.
  • Costs per month depend on mortgage payment and contracted services
  • Senior retirement living: This next step is generally rented apartments, with meals available (as well as kitchens), and often some planned activities. Small pets are often allowed. Personal care is still the responsibility of the individual (Cost per month is about $2,500).
  • Assisted living: The biggest change between “retirement living” and “assisted living” is having a 24-hour caregiver present, a nurse on staff, and help managing medications and bathing. Meals are provided. Individuals may have the option of light cooking in their apartment or eating communally. Activities are available (Cost ranges from $3,000 to $6,000 a month). “In assisted living, care is good up to a point, if the need is predictable,” Robinson said. “Once needs are unpredictable, assisted living is no longer sufficient.”
  • Memory care: For people with dementia and other cognitive impairments, more supervision and higher staffing and services in a memory-care facility may be more appropriate, especially if they are mobile (Costs are higher than assisted living).
  • Adult family home: State-licensed and privately owned, these homes meet much of the need that in the past would have been provided in a nursing home. They provide housing and care for about six residents and have a high staff-resident ratio. Some adult family homes are appropriate for people with dementia (Cost is approximately the same as assisted living).
  • Nursing homes: These facilities are now used primarily for rehabilitation before patients move into another form of housing. They are set up to provide heavier care and more supervision and are covered to an extent by Medicare and Medicaid.
  • Continuum of care: Some retirement communities, such as Panorama in Lacey, provide a continuum, from independent living to nursing care. Residents pay their membership buy-in, and pay monthly rent for their homes or apartments. Residents who meet financial requirements are guaranteed to have their needs met as they age.

A different future

The next generation of retirees will likely be more proactive about planning their own living arrangements as they age, Robinson and Johnson agreed.

“If I had a nickel for every time an adult child said, ‘Forget mom, I’m moving in,’ ” Johnson said.

One newer option is creating “villages” of like-minded people, who live in a neighborhood, share resources such as yard maintenance or caregiving, and have a common interest, like travel or art.

The village concept can be casual or very organized.

One example of senior co-housing is Silver Sage Village in Boulder, Colorado. There are 16 homes, each with a common dining area and guest rooms. It is not assisted living, but residents may opt to hire helpers. Residents also serve on committees to run the community.

Some senior living villages have an emphasis on pet ownership, with services that make it easier for residents to keep their dogs.

Another group is the Village Movement, which started in Boston more than 15 years ago. Villages are membership-based and self-governing to help the community address the challenges of aging.

There are 19 villages in various stages of development between Portland and Bellingham.

“It will definitely get easier, I think, as boomers continue to age and need this kind of setting,” Johnson said.

— The Associated Press

3 Smart Ways Baby Boomers Are Using Roth IRAs | Business Markets and Stocks News

Roth IRAs are one of the best retirement planning tools available to baby boomers, and if you’re considering investing in a Roth IRA, there are a number of strategies that you can use to get the most out of one. Do you know them all?

The Motley Fool’s IRA Center is a fantastic resource for you to learn all you need to know about IRAs and retirement, but in the meantime, read on to learn three money-boosting ways your peers are using Roth IRAs to get off on the right foot.

Image source: Getty Images.

No. 1: Lowering taxes in retirement

Roth IRAs are funded with after-tax dollars, and as long as these accounts have been open for at least five years and the account owner is at least 59 1/2 years old, money can be withdrawn from these accounts tax- and penalty-free, including gains from investments.

Baby boomers who expect to pay a higher income tax rate in retirement can lower their lifetime tax burden by paying taxes on income during their working years and then contributing to Roth IRAs.

Furthermore, converting existing traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs can result in lower lifetime taxes, too. These conversions can be complex, but they can be a useful part of tax-planning strategies, especially for high-income earning workers.

Roth IRA income limits prohibit many high-income earners from using them. However, post-tax contributions can be made to traditional IRAs regardless of income, and those contributions can be converted to a Roth IRA to circumvent the IRS income limits.

This backdoor approach isn’t right for everyone, and there are specific rules to follow to stay in the IRS’ good graces, so discuss the implications thoroughly with your tax advisor before embracing this strategy.

If you’re a high-income baby boomer, it may also pay off to sit down with your human resource department to find out if they offer a Roth 401(k). In some cases, income limits don’t apply to Roth 401(k) plans, allowing you to contribute significantly more after-tax money than you can contribute to a Roth IRA.

No. 2: Increasing estate size

As long as you have some earnings from work, you can contribute to a Roth IRA as long as you live. That’s a big advantage over traditional IRAs, which prohibit contributions and require minimum distributions at age 70 1/2.

Because Roth IRAs aren’t subject to distribution requirements, baby boomers who continue working in retirement — and whose income is below Roth IRA income limits — can stash away up to $5,500 per year in 2017, plus a $1,000 catch-up contribution that is available for those age 50 or older.

Those contributions can really add up. A 66-year-old retiree who earns enough to contribute the maximum $6,500 per year into a Roth IRA could end up with an additional $151,294.74 at age 81, if he or she earns 6% returns annually.

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No. 3: Stretching inheritances

Roth IRAs provide baby boomers with significant legacy-planning advantages, including the ability for Roth IRA beneficiaries to stretch distributions over their lifetime.

Typically, beneficiaries must begin withdrawing money from inherited Roth IRAs or face stiff penalties, but rules allow those distributions to be made over time, rather than all at once.

For example, if your beneficiary is a spouse, then your Roth IRA can be rolled automatically into a Roth IRA for them, and they won’t need to take any distributions over their lifetime if they’re the sole beneficiary. When your spouse passes away, their beneficiary can then elect to begin taking distributions based on their own life expectancy. Depending on the age of your spouse and your spouse’s beneficiary, this could stretch the usefulness of a Roth IRA out decades beyond your own death.

The $15,834 Social Security bonus most retirees completely overlook

If you’re like most Americans, you’re a few years (or more) behind on your retirement savings. But a handful of little-known “Social Security secrets” could help ensure a boost in your retirement income. For example: one easy trick could pay you as much as $15,834 more… each year! Once you learn how to maximize your Social Security benefits, we think you could retire confidently with the peace of mind we’re all after. Simply click here to discover how to learn more about these strategies.

 

Baby Boomers Could Spark Affordable Housing Boom

They were the baby boomers at birth, and today as they “grow up” and eye retirement, some builders expect them to jumpstart an affordable housing boom.

According to a report by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing, by 2035 more than one in five people in the U.S. will be aged 65 and older, and one in three households will be headed by someone in that age group. The Projections and Implications for Housing a Growing Population: Older Adults 2015-2035 report notes the growth will increase the demand for affordable, accessible housing that is well connected to services beyond what the current supply can meet.

Census data shows that income drops significantly after the age of 75, falling from an average of $54K to $36K. With data also showing that these citizens spend more than 1/3 of their income on housing, the average single family residence is not affordable.

“Right now, more than 19 million older adults live in unaffordable or inadequate housing, and that problem will only grow worse in the next two decades as our population ages,” said Lisa Marsh Ryerson, president of AARP Foundation, which provided funding for the housing report.

The CEO of Real Property Management, Lukas Krause, discussed with FOXBusiness.com what this means for seniors and the real estate industry. 

Boomer: What does the government need to do to rethink the types of housing needed for baby boomers?

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Krause: Most housing regulations are controlled at the local level and range from zoning restrictions to building codes, which can become impediments to building new housing for seniors.  San Francisco and Portland, for example, restrict and regulate new construction, which has led to a shortage of housing and run-away inflation in housing costs. City plans, zoning regulations and building codes should be reviewed to address the growing elderly population, in addition to transportation, healthcare, and financial assistance/incentives.

The number of older households with disabilities related to mobility, self-care, or household activity is also projected to increase by 2035. Many seniors want to ‘age in place’ and stay in their homes.  To do so, partnerships between health care and housing are needed to support the trend of providing long-term care in the home. 

Governments may need to consider offering financial assistance to low-income older adult renters, and incentive programs for safe and senior-friendly renovations, energy efficient home upgrades, and property tax relief. Affordability will be key, since more than half of all boomers have less than $100,000 saved for retirement. Public awareness and education is needed to encourage older adults to consider their future housing needs earlier in life.

Boomer: What does this mean for the real estate industry as a whole?

Krause: People currently over the age of 55 have saved only $150,000 for retirement, per Fidelity and Vanguard estimates. This savings amount will generate only $500 per month in income, if the recommended 4% withdrawal standard is followed. Social Security pays an average of $1,294 in benefits to retirees, so average monthly income will be $1,794 or $21,528 per year. If 34% – 38% is spent on housing, the average retiree will have a housing budget of $610 – $682 per month – half of today’s average apartment rental cost of $1,100 per month. This means cohabitation and new forms of housing will be needed in the future.  It also means that retirees who have not already purchased a home, will be unlikely to afford one. 

Boomer: Should boomers be looking at renting instead of buying houses in retirement?

Krause: Home prices are increasing more rapidly than the cost of rent, though both renters and homeowners pay relatively the same amount over a long span of time.

If a boomer has the financial resources, buying with a fixed mortgage rate would lock their monthly mortgage payment until the house is paid off. However, the costs of maintenance, insurance, lawn care, utilities, taxes, etc., are likely to increase at the rate of inflation, so buying is not a hedge against inflation. Buying opens the door to a reverse mortgage in the future, or down-sizing to free up cash. 

Renting puts the cost and responsibility for maintenance, taxes, floor, hurricane or earthquake insurance onto the landlord. It gives the tenant greater flexibility to move for health or financial reasons. Renting in a community specifically designed for boomers can provide the amenities, services and technology needed by boomers, though the cost may be prohibitive.

Boomer: With the impending growth of boomer retirees, how, in your opinion, should builders be incorporating into plans? 

Krause: Accessibility is crucial. Design elements should include: single-floor living without stairs, doorways and hallways at least 36” wide, non-slip flooring with smooth thresholds between rooms, handrails, adequate lighting, lever-style door/faucet handles, higher toilets with extra space around for easier assistance, showers equipped with a bench, and multi-height kitchen countertops. For the exterior of the home, zero-step entrances, level driveways, weather-protected walkway and entrance, and low-maintenance landscaping should be considered.

Ski industry targeting millennials to replace baby boomer business

WILMINGTON, N.Y. (AP) — When Aaron Kellett peers out the window of his office at Whiteface Mountain, these days he’s usually smiling.

“My office is right next to our beginner trail, and when I look out I see people on our beginner trail,” said the 38-year-old Kellett, who’s been the manager at Whiteface for four years. “That means we’ve got new people learning how to participate in our sport.”

And that’s a good thing. As baby boomers begin to pull back from the athletic endeavors of their youth, ski resorts are focusing on attracting new participants to the slopes. The idea is to get them there and keep them, and the millennial generation (those between the ages of 18 and 34 in 2015) tops the target list.

According to the latest demographics from the Colorado-based National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), baby boomers (aged 52-70 in 2016) and those 71 and older have steadily become a smaller share of the visitor base as they’ve aged. Combined, in the past decade they’ve declined from 36.2 percent of visitors to 21.3 percent.

Millenials, on the other hand, represent the largest group of snowboarders and skiers, but they also have the fewest number of days per season. The figures show that the industry will need to increase the frequency of the millennial participant to match that of the exiting baby boomer.

“That’s a significant wakeup call for us. There’s some challenges there,” said Nate Fristoe, director of operations at RRC Associates, which last year produced a report on the millennial generation. “We have this funny little dilemma. We’re trying to build participation. We know we have to grow participants, but we also know that on most of our weekend days we’re hitting capacity.

“It’s a fascinating conundrum,” Fristoe said. “Yes, we have a product offering that has appealed to an older generation for years. It also appeals to this generation in many ways, but there are ways in which we need to tweak it.”

To be sure, millennials are different. They embrace the environment, like to plan spontaneously, prefer to travel with friends and crave healthy food. They also relish sharing their adventures on social media.

“Millennials are harder to attract, for sure. It’s not as cut and dried as it was even 10 years ago,” Kellett said. “They want the best deals and they’ll do whatever it takes to get the best deal. They don’t mind spending money to do what they want. It’s the experience. It’s so much more than just skiing.”

Kellet says online ticket sales have been “huge” for Whiteface because of the savings they offer.

Whiteface , which has plenty of apres ski destinations in nearby Lake Placid, offers a Parallel from the Start program for beginners. It costs $169 and includes everything needed to start skiing, except the clothing — lesson, equipment rental, and three days of skiing. “It’s an awesome way to be introduced to the sport. It works,” Kellett said.

In neighboring Vermont, the cost is $129 for a Take 3 pass — three ski or snowboard lessons that includes rental equipment for the day plus a lesson and access to beginner terrain. The Green Mountain State also offers a $49 beginners package during January, national Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month nationwide.

“Cost can be a hurdle, so anytime we can lower that hurdle a little bit, especially for beginners, we see more people participate for a longer period of time,” said Sarah Wojcik, marketing director for Ski Vermont. “Getting new people to the slopes with incentives and then keeping them are two of the biggest goals nationwide.”

The granddaddy deal of them all might be the Epic Pass offered by Vail Resorts . It’s the most popular pass in the ski industry and features unlimited, unrestricted skiing at all of the company’s mountain resorts (Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone and Breckenridge in Colorado; Park City in Utah; and Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in Lake Tahoe). It also will include Whistler Blackcomb next winter season (2017-18), and offers five days at 30 resorts in Europe.

With the rise of social media and mobile phones, most ski resorts are trying to provide easy-to-navigate websites and free Wi-Fi so visitors can share their experiences digitally — think Snapchat. Excellent cellphone service is a must.

“Your website being mobile-friendly is kind of millennial-speak 101,” Wojcik said. “If you can’t look it up on your phone, it’s really difficult to get the message out there.”

At Taos Ski Valley in New Mexico, which was cited by NSAA for having the best overall marketing campaign for 2016, millennials aren’t separately targeted but the demographic is important.

“Millennials are big on experience, and Taos Ski Valley has long been known for delivering an authentic, unpretentious and culture-rich winter mountain experience,” marketing manager Dash Hegeman said. “That is something we work very hard to protect and cultivate.”