Seven ways boomers are rewriting the rules of retirement

American boomers aren’t heading quietly into retirement. They’re launching businesses, embracing digital technology and living abroad in greater numbers than ever before. But in other ways they are struggling more than the previous generation.

This article from Reuters covers seven ways boomers are rewriting the rules of retirement:

1. THEY ARE LEAVING THE U.S.

The number of retired workers, spouses and survivors getting Social Security benefits in a foreign land is rising almost twice as fast as the number of Social Security beneficiaries generally, according to Social Security Administration data.Reuters

(See Reuters graphic: http://link.reuters.com/qev65t )

And 21 percent of baby boomers say they are “interested or very interested” in retiring abroad.

2. THEY ARE STARTING COMPANIES

Almost a quarter – 21 percent – of new U.S. businesses started in 2011 were launched by entrepreneurs age 55 to 64, up from 14 percent in 2007. Entrepreneurs age 45 to 54 accounted for an additional 28 percent of the 2011 startups. Taken together, that’s 49 percent of all startup activity – far larger than the 20- to 34-year-old bracket, which accounted for 29 percent of new ventures.

(See Reuters graphic: http://link.reuters.com/pev65t )

3. THEY ARE TECH SAVVY

23 percent of older boomers and 27 percent of their younger siblings use tablet devices, compared with 30 percent of Gen Xers (born 1965 to the early 1980s). The gaps also are small when it comes to smartphones and social networking services.

(See Reuters graphic: http://link.reuters.com/vev65t )

4. THEY ARE BORROWING MORE

Mortgage debt is the biggest factor: Forty percent of homeowners over age 65 had mortgage debt in 2010, compared with just 18 percent as recently as 1992.

(See Reuters graphic: http://link.reuters.com/tev65t )

5. THEY ARE OUTLIVING THEIR EXPECTATIONS

Life expectancy for men has jumped an average of almost two years in each of the last five decades, to 75.7 years in 2010, according to the Society of Actuaries. For women, life expectancy has risen by 1.5 years, on average, to 80.8 years.

Yet more than half of older Americans haven’t gotten the memo. A survey of 1,600 adults age 45 to 80 found 40 percent underestimated their likely average longevity by five years or more; 20 percent were too pessimistic by two to four years.

(How long will you live? See Reuters graphic:

http://link.reuters.com/sev65t )

For a couple with above-average health, there’s a 60 percent chance one of them will live to age 90, the Social Security Administration has reported.

6. THEY ARE PROVIDING FINANCIAL SUPPORT

Some 58 percent of boomers are providing financial assistance to ageing parents, such as helping them purchase groceries or pay medical and utility bills.

When it comes to their kids, boomers are even more ready to help out. (See Reuters graphic: http://link.reuters.com/mev65t )

Almost all boomers surveyed – 93 percent – say they have given their children a hand. A majority have “boomerang kids” who have moved back home to live rent free (55 percent) or afford a car (53 percent).

7. THEY AREN’T RUNNING TO FLORIDA

Counties known as retirement havens slowed their annual population growth to 1.7 percent from 2007 to 2009, compared with 3.1 percent between 2000 and 2007.

The metro areas with the fastest-growing population of 65-plus residents include locations in North Carolina, Texas and Nevada, as well as Colorado, Idaho and Georgia.

(See where the fastest-growing senior populations are: http://link.reuters.com/rev65t )

The biggest draw affecting relocation? The kids.