When I’m 64

Retirement communities prepare for the U-Boomer invasion

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You’ve heard of the U(na)-Bomber and U-2 the rock group. Now get ready for another U, the U-Boomers. Forbes Magazine recently published an article that differentiates among different sub-sets of baby boomers. The U-Boomers are a huge segment that constitutes about 24 million of the 76 or so million baby boomers out there.

The “U” stands for uncompromising, so U-Boomers are folks who intend to maintain their lofty lifestyle aspirations–but who won’t necessarily have the financial means to execute on those dreams. The article is a call to action for baby boomer marketers. U-Boomers are such a big and important group that these marketers have to figure out creative ways to meet boomer demands–without going beyond the resources available to them. This group is expected to represent 25 percent of total U.S. consumption by 2015.

For marketers of active adult communities, that will be a challenge.

Part of the solution is in positioning communities so they deliver high value and prestige without pricing the product out of reach.

Maybe that means inexpensive hiking and biking trails instead of ultra-expensive golf courses. Or intimate clubhouses instead of monstrous edifices. A la carte services instead of the buffet approach. Environmentally sustainable communities that not only keep energy expenses down, but make U-Boomers feel like they are fashionable and responsible. Or, co-housing communities that use the community to deliver services at a reduced cost.

From all we hear about the poor state of retirement preparation that exists among baby boomers, there certainly seems to be something to this demographic. The question remains: How will over 55 developers try to tackle this verging market?