Housing, the Longevity Landscape and Us

Amid rising inflation, a sharp downturn in the markets, and ongoing impacts of the pandemic, millions of older Americans are navigating a highly unusual economic landscape. At the same time, the Federal Reserve reports that the median home price jumped by more than $100,000 from the middle of 2020 to the beginning of 2022—good news for homeowners, but troubling for those looking to move or buy. And it’s all playing out within a wider paradigm shift brought by modern longevity, transforming how people approach their later decades.

Bank of America’s latest report, Housing in retirement: Your life, your choice, offers a critical update for older adults who are making housing and other financial decisions in this new environment. It adds to Bank of America’s long track record of pioneering research on the financial aspects of modern longevity, recognizing that how we plan, save, invest, and spend must evolve for a world where lifespans routinely stretch into our 80s, 90s, and beyond.

The new report reflects key changes to the period after traditional retirement age, when people are pursuing new priorities and opportunities for fulfillment, contribution, and impact. As Cynthia Hutchins, Director of Financial Gerontology and the report’s author, states in the introduction:

“The U.S. population is growing older and living longer than ever before, transforming our society, health care and retirement systems, and expectations for our later years. With increasing longevity, the retirement landscape has changed dramatically. The mindset of today’s retirees has shifted from living a life of leisure for however many years were left, to pursuing new dreams, new goals and new passions, and making the most of what could be a 20-, 30- or even 40-year retirement.”

Of course, this has important implications for where and how older adults live. Rather than the outdated idea of the gated retirement community, the report presents a far more dynamic picture, as older adults tailor their housing decisions to their individual preferences, needs, and priorities. Some will choose to move closer to family members or to more age-friendly communities, while others will place a premium on aging in their current home. Some may downsize and travel more, while others may “upsize” and live with multiple generations. And some may want that gated community, after all.

In short, just as no two people are alike, no two retirements are alike. In fact, some might not be retirement at all, at least not in the traditional sense, with many choosing to stay in the workforce, volunteer, or launch second careers. In a similar vein, the report reflects several areas where we must update societal and financial planning assumptions for the new longevity landscape:

  • This is not your grandfather’s retirement. Instead, what’s emerging is far more interesting: a new stage in life, where people pursue their passions, start new ventures, volunteer, travel, and spend time with family. In short, people are using this period to focus on whatever is most meaningful for them, often for decades after 60 or 65. Throughout it all, they will need to shift their living arrangements to match their preferences for community, functional ability, financial resources, and other key factors.
  • Older adults are a diverse, vibrant demographic—not a monolith. So, rather than prescribe a one-size-fits-all solution, the report outlines a number of factors, challenges, and potential solutions that older adults can consider and adapt to their needs. At the center of it all is a simple but profound goal: building the health, wealth, and community to live well for as long as possible, with a person’s home playing a central role.
  • Healthy aging is inextricably linked to healthy finances and housing decisions. The vast majority of older adults want to age in their own home, but achieving this goal requires remaining healthy and independent, potentially with support from home care services. In fact, 65% of older adults receiving care choose to receive it in their own home. This, in turn, has important financial implications. Home care services are significantly less expensive than residential long-term care, as the national average cost of a private room in a nursing home facility is now nearly $9,000 a month.

Understanding this new aging landscape now reflected in the WHO/UN Decade of Healthy Ageing is essential not only for older adults and their families, but also for the employers, policymakers, and organizations who serve them. 20th century retirement norms have grown outdated, creating a need to update everything from retirement plan design to workforce strategies to urban planning. The latest report from Bank of America offers an important resource for individuals, organizations, and leaders, as we pursue the new possibilities of modern longevity.



Latest Developments

We keep our members and partners in touch with the most recent updates and opinions in the worldwide dialogue on population longevity and related issues.

Global Coalition on Aging, Leading G7 Government Officials, Call for Incentivized Antibiotic Innovation

The Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA), in partnership with the Japanese Pharmaceutical Manufacturer’s Association (JPMA), and public health leaders call on G7 governments to fund pull incentives and make “fair share” investments in antibiotic innovation to fight the global antimicrobial resistance (AMR) crisis. GCOA, JPMA, and health and government officials from the European Union, Italy, Japan, and United Kingdom recently convened to discuss how G7 countries must respond. GCOA today published a report detailing takeaways from the closed-door meeting, “The Role of G7 Governments in Global Efforts to Encourage Antimicrobial Development Through a Pull Incentive: Challenges and Collaboration.”

2024 AMR Preparedness Index Progress Report Highlights Urgent Need For Global Action Against Antimicrobial Resistance

Today, the Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA) and the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) launched the 2024 AMR Preparedness Index Progress Report. Released in the lead up to the United Nations General Assembly 2024 High-level Meeting on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) this September, the 2024 Progress Report assesses how the eleven largest global economies have advanced on calls to action laid out in the 2021 AMR Preparedness Index.

New Global Analysis Across Five Cities Shows Inequities in Adult Immunization Uptake, Signaling Need to Redesign Local and National Policy Interventions

GSK, in collaboration with the Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA), announced a new report from the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science (IQVIA Institute). The report, funded by GSK, explores the role of social and structural determinants of health in adult vaccine access and uptake across five global cities with strong data about their aging populations: Bangkok, Thailand; Brussels, Belgium; Chicago, US; Manchester, United Kingdom; and New York City, US.

New Report From the Global Coalition on Aging Highlights the Connection Between Adult Immunization and Economic Health in Aging APEC Region

As leaders from across the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) region convene in San Francisco over the next week, a new report from the Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA) points to investments in healthy aging as a growing economic imperative amid the region’s changing demographics. According to the new report, programs that keep populations healthy, active, and productive – like adult immunization – are increasingly becoming a prerequisite for economic stability and growth.

Menopause, the Silver Economy and Workplace Opportunities

As we recognise World Menopause Day, take a moment to consider the economic power, diverse expertise and skills, and incredible societal contributions of the estimated 1.1 billion post-menopausal women worldwide by 2025—a population on-par with China or India, and dwarfing any other country. Indeed, if we want to fuel the vibrant $15 trillion silver economy, societies, governments, and employers must empower older women in the future of work, including solutions that fight stigma and increase workplace support related to menopause.