Boomers Turning 62 Ready to Embrace Retirement

December 31, 2007 ( - In a first-ever in-depth profile of baby boomers who will turn 62 in 2008, the MetLife Mature Market Institute has found they are excited about and, for the most part, financially ready to embrace retirement.

According to a press release on the study, the majority of baby boomers to turn 62 in 2008 reported that they are retired or will be fully retired by age 65, and that they will collect Social Security by age 65. Thirty-one percent said they plan to apply for Social Security when they turn 62 and 32% said they will wait until age 66 or beyond when they can receive full benefits.

Survey respondents who said they will take Social Security at age 62 reasoned that they feel they are entitled and would rather have the money than let the government have it. Others reported that they believe it’s in their financial interest to take Social Security sooner. Some respondents said they need the money right now and others fear there will be nothing left in the system if they wait, the release said.

The survey found 68% of boomers poised to turn 62 have employee or retiree health insurance; and 47% are covered by a defined benefit plan, 50% are covered by a 401K, and 50% have an IRA. Thirty-eight percent own stocks and 38% have mutual funds.

Twenty-two percent have long-term care insurance, and 54% acknowledge doing only a poor to fair job of ensuring that they have adequate coverage for their own long-term care needs. Sixteen percent said they would consider a reverse mortgage primarily to take care of their own long-term care needs and costs; 74% are aware that they are eligible at age 62 to apply for a federally backed reverse mortgage.

The fact that 68% of respondents have neither of their parents living indicates that caregiving for an older relative is not a concern as cited in other studies. Eighty-seven percent said neither they nor their spouse are caregivers to elderly parents or relatives right now. Thirty-eight percent are expecting an inheritance of an average of $210,000, while 35% have already received an inheritance of an average of $113,000.

Eighty-five percent of boomers surveyed own their own home, with the average reported value of their homes being $297,900. Twenty-five percent say they plan to move to another area for retirement.

The most popular words respondents used to describe the best things about being 62 are 'retirement,' and 'not having to work,' and the words used to describe the worst things are 'old age' and 'health problems.' Forty-five percent said they like the term 'baby boomer' outright and another 38% are somewhat in favor of it, while 17% don't like it.

As for the term 'retirement,' 52% like it, 31% like it somewhat, and 18% do not like it. "They're comfortable being identified as a baby boomer, and contrary to claims that they're not ready to retire, only 18% dislike the term 'retirement' to describe their next transition," said Sandra Timmermann, director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute, in the press release.

The survey reports that the majority (77%) of boomers born in 1946 said they are in good to excellent health. Their net worth, (excluding home value) is an average of $257,800 and their average annual income is approximately $71,400.

For the most part, the boomers surveyed are empty nesters; of those who have children very few have children living with them (fewer than one in five). Of those who have grandchildren, 8% have grandchildren living with them.

Boomers Ready to Launch was conducted by GFK Custom Research North America on behalf of the MetLife Mature Market Institute during November 2007. The study consisted of a 15-minute telephone survey of 1,000 participants, from multiple survey panels, who were age 61 in 2007.

Highlights of the study can be viewed here .