By Anna D. Banks, GCDF

The baby boomers of today are retiring much earlier than the past generations ever have, and many of them are considering unconventional destinations to retire in. More than 500,000 amongst those that have retired already move from their own states every year, seeking the perfect spot to retire in, be it by the sea, in mountain resorts, or near arid deserts.

Experts are of the opinion that relaxation and rest are the primary things baby boomers look for when shopping for a real estate destination for retirement. They hunt for places where they can sit back, kick their shoes off, and settle down. Apart from rest, baby boomers also want to have fun and enjoy their retirement to the hilt. So they look for destinations where there is great shopping, golf, theater, sight-seeing, antiquing, tennis, boating, and more. So, where are these intrepid baby boomers heading? While California, Arizona, Florida, and North Carolina continue topping the list as most popular destinations for retirement, baby boomers are choosing other places as well.

Baby boomers are redefining the trends in real estate destinations. With their better purchasing power, they have begun to expand the real estate destination market. In other words, they are beginning to focus their attention increasingly seriously to international locales.

This shift toward real estate destinations abroad comes as no great surprise to analysts who have been tracking baby boomers for several decades. The advent of the Internet and globalization has been the primary factors for this venturesome generation to seek recreation and investment outside the borders of their country. The baby boomer generation is being wooed by hot spots at international locations, and they are responding by investing in the attractive real estate destinations worldwide. While the main foreign real estate destinations continue to be the Caribbean, Canada, and Mexico, baby boomers are also expanding out to Western Europe.

One of the best predictors of sales of real estate is the trend in tourism. This is especially true wherein both investors of real estate and tourists travel some way from their home country, and stay in a foreign locale for a considerable amount of time. Naturally, purchasing a piece of real estate involves a bigger discretionary expense compared to a vacation, with additional factors having to be considered. However, generally there is a significant overlap of the characteristics real estate investors and tourists look for.

People go on a holiday abroad. They chance upon a quaint little seaside haven and end up spending two or three heavenly weeks just chilling and having fun. When it gets time to return home, they look up the realtors and end up buying a house, or at the least, begin looking for one. This is how tourism and real estate are linked inexorably.

This trend can be seen all across Central America, which of late has become an increasingly popular area for U.S. baby boomers to retire in. The best tourism destinations are also the ones that are generating the most real estate purchasing activity. Some of the most popular ones are: Ambergis Caye, Belize; the Bay Islands, Honduras; San Juan del Sur and Granada, Nicaragua; Antigua, Guatemala; and Panama City, Bocas del Toro and Boquete, Panama.

© 2008 Anna D. Banks, GCDF

Author’s Note:
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