It’s the East vs. the West again, no doubt about it. If you look at Baby Boomers today, they seem to have a lot in common but a recent nationwide survey by Bell Investment Advisors shows that those Boomers living in the Western part of the country have a markedly different outlook on their life and that includes health and money. Jim Bell, who is president of Bell Investment, says that people who get the greatest enjoyment from their lives are also the people who are the most proactive about planning for their future. “People’s physical condition, their family, career, and finances are all integral parts of their retirement well being.” He points out that these are the key areas where he finds the major differences between the West and the rest of the country. Now, I’m an Easterner, born, bred, and educated, and have questions about my Western brethren but according to Bell the survey of 500 high-net-worth 60-year olds uncovers the fact that Western boomer investors are less likely to get conservative in their investments and plan to continue reaching for higher investment returns over the next five years. Then too, the survey seems to indicate that Western boomers exhibit more optimism than Boomers living elsewhere and that they are more likely to pursue personal passions or alternative careers during retirement. So, what does this all mean? According to Bell, Westerners are taking a much more proactive approach to shaping the future of their retirement. “Whether it’s due to social atmosphere or political environment, Boomers in the West seem to be more open in discussing finances with their families and more committed to earning higher investment returns.” Bell points out that Boomers in the Northeast seem to show the most dissatisfaction with their lives and most expressed the need to improve their community, finances, career, and their relationships with family and friends. In fact, Bell notes that Northeasterners have the lowest rate in the country when it comes to discussing finances with their parents or children. As to the Midwest and South, Bell says they are squarely in the middle, showing enough confidence in their financial well being and ample interest in having a good life. But is there any common ground here? Yup! According to Bell, all the regions share in common a positive outlook on their future as they continue to redefine the meaning of retirement.
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