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Data Snapshot: Silver lining

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  • | 11:00 a.m. April 21, 2017
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Seniors are living longer than ever before, and, according to a new report, they are more active and want to work and volunteer late in life.

Will Florida have the infrastructure to support the surge?

The Urban Land Institute, starting with a large survey of Floridians 55 and older, is among multiple groups addressing that topic. Southwest Florida's ULI Council District received a report on the survey and an update on the organization's efforts during a mid-April gathering at Florida Gulf Coast University. Representatives of organizations and businesses that serve retirement age Floridians attended the event, sponsored by FGCU and Neal Communities.

The survey will help local governments, other municipalities and businesses assist postretirement age Floridians with embarking on second careers, says Steven Hartsell, a Fort Myers lawyer and chair of ULI's Southwest Florida Council. The organization is also producing a white paper on the topic, expected in August.

“The takeaway is that we all recognize this is a discussion that needs to be had,” Hartsell says. “I think there are opportunities for developers and builders who are seeing this new recognition by folks who are hitting retirement age.”

Hartsell, 64, says his own personal priorities for the future align with the survey. “We're all looking for how we can cut back... but still stay engaged with what we have all found fulfilling that last 30 or 40 years,” he says.

The Urban Land Institute, a nonprofit education and research institute that promotes responsible land use worldwide, worked with Orlando-based real estate advisory services firm Compspring on the survey. The survey of 1,012 people was conducted online in December and includes residents from each Florida county.

The survey also makes some predictions on the senior population that could have a big impact on the state. Those nuggets include:

• More than 445,000 people ages 55 and over who are retired plan to move within the state. An additional 315,000 people 55 and over who are working also plan to move within the state.

• Of those who plan to move, about 95,000 people who are retired will seek a 55-plus community, while 44,000 people currently working will seek this type of community.

• A significant amount of people who are unsure about 55-plus communities would be compelled to consider a community if technical support and workspace were provided.

• At least 1 million people ages 55 and older plan to pursue volunteer opportunities — a figure equivalent to the population of the Naples-Marco Island and Cape Coral-Fort Myers Metropolitan Statistical Areas combined.

• Survey intentions suggest about 300,000 adults who are 55 and older may start a business. At least 80% of those people are willing to collaborate with millennials.

• At least 700,000 plan to pursue part-time work, which may include being an independent contractor.


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