Baby Boomers reinvent retirement with luxury resort communities

Retirement is getting an upgrade with niche communities dedicated to ensuring each residents' golden years are lived in style.

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American singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett piqued the public’s interest when his Margaritaville Holdings partnered with Minto Communities and developed Latitude Margarita – a 55-and-older outfitted with luxury amenities – in Daytona Beach, Florida earlier this year.

"Latitude Margaritaville is redefining the approach to active adult communities with its no-worries lifestyle of fun, food and music for those 55-and-better who are growing older, but not up," Minto's Latitude Margaritaville President William Bullock said during the town center's grand opening in June.

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The retirees, a majority of whom are baby boomers, who move to Latitude Margaritaville can choose from four different pastel-colored home collections, including cottages, villas and single-family units.

Other amenities in the Jimmy-Buffett-themed community include a tiki swimming pool, private beach club, a tennis court, town square and more.

Still, living with those perks doesn’t come cheap: Houses at Latitude Margaritaville start in the mid-$200,000s, on top of a regular monthly fee. According to a report from 55places.com, the homeowners’ association fees cost more than $200.

Despite the cost, the retirement community is aiming to build 3,000 homes in Daytona Beach. Two other locations are set to be built in Watersound, Florida and Hilton Head, South Carolina.

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Thomesa Lydon, a real estate agent RE/MAX Excalibur, told FOX Business that many retirees have realized that standard single-family homes are “too large, require a lot of maintenance and in some instances aren’t very safe.”

As a result, she said that a number of old Americans are looking for a "lock-and-leave" situation where they can still be independent and social, but not have the responsibility of maintaining a house.

“There are amenities, activities and you can still be within a community of people without relinquishing your freedom.”

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A 2018 study conducted by the AARP Foundation found that one-third of U.S. adults over the age of 45 have admitted to feeling lonely. Plus, individuals who are socially isolated could be more susceptible to health problems.

According to the report, social isolation is growing due to people living longer. It contributes an estimated $6.7 billion in additional Medicare spending annually.

As a result, retirement communities – whether they're lavish resort-style or not – have an appeal in the market for their interactive offerings.

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“I think it is worth the money. I like to call this smart sizing rather than downsizing,” Lydon said.

“It’s ultimately saving you money because you’re able to get out of a ton of maintenance expense," she added. "Many retirees likely aren’t using half the square footage they have but they’re still heating and cool, paying landscapers, and any hired cleaning help.”

Although there are a number of positives that accompany retirement communities, it's not for everyone. Lydon said that lack of square footage and storage space can sometimes be a downside for retirees who have a lot of possessions they aren’t ready to get rid of.

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“It just depends on the individual," she said. "If you are having health issues that are critical, then perhaps you would want to consider one of these communities where you can have things provided to you. My number one recommendation is to always evaluate your safety first, then the cost and then the social.”