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September 2009

By David Bloom

New Directions Home

Retirees Roll into Texas

Baby boomers have rarely been shy and retiring. The poet of their generation, Bob Dylan, long ago urged them to stay “forever young,” and while the nearly 80 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964 are indeed becoming retiring types, they’re not about to be stereotypical retirees. And they’re not necessarily shuffling off to traditional retirement havens.

That’s good news for Texas. According to Texas State Demographer Karl Eschbach, Census Bureau data for 2000 through 2007 indicate that Texas saw more net migration from the 65-and-over set than any other state, and more than twice as much as Florida.

Retirement Dreams

The great boomer wave is just beginning to crest. The consulting firm Age Wave reports that, on every day between now and 2023, about 10,000 Americans will celebrate their 60th birthday. That’s nearly 3.7 million people a year blowing out candles — and making retirement wishes.

For many people considering retirement in Texas, is their first stop.

Many, of course, have deferred their retirement dreams. The nation’s current economic sluggishness has them rethinking their retirement options, as savings and pension funds have taken substantial hits. A recent survey by AlixPartners found that Americans estimate their nest eggs have lost about 25 percent of their value in the recent downturn. As a result, current and prospective retirees are looking for affordable areas with low taxes that also offer the promise of active retirement lifestyles.

Many current Texans will retire here, of course, but the state will attract residents of other states as well. Gene Warren, managing director of TW+A Research, a consulting firm specializing in retiree marketing and research, says that one in 10 Americans move to another state at retirement. And Warren expects that percentage to rise to 20 percent in the next few years, as travel-savvy boomers — who often followed careers around the country and vacationed in a much wider array of places than their parents — make their retirement choices.

Hey, Look Us Over

According to the Texas Department of Agriculture’s GO TEXAN program, from July 20 through August 19, 2009:

the top 10 states (other than Texas) of visitors to were

  • California
  • New York
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Virginia
  • Ohio
  • Kansas
  • Oklahoma
  • Wisconsin
  • Minnesota

the top 10 home nations of international visitors to were

  • Canada
  • United Kingdom
  • Germany
  • Mexico
  • South Korea
  • Japan
  • France
  • Brazil
  • The Philippines
  • Puerto Rico

Source: Texas Department of Agriculture

Certified Communities

For many people considering retirement in Texas, is their first stop online. Sherri Gothart-Barron, coordinator of the GO TEXAN Certified Retirement Community Program, says the site is attracting growing numbers of visitors from across the country and around the world. The Web site has ranked GO TEXAN as the best program of its kind in the country.

The GO TEXAN program, run by the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA), has certified 28 Texas communities as top-quality retirement sites, a stamp of approval that marks them as vibrant places offering all the amenities today’s retirees want. And the communities benefit, too. TDA estimates each retiree spends about $36,000 annually in Texas, and pays about $3,000 in state and local taxes.

Whether they visit online or in person, boomers will find that our state offers all sorts of possibilities for active retirees – everything from coastlines to dude ranches, from small town living to metropolitan excitement, and all possibilities in between. FN

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