Hatching the Nest Egg: How Retired New Yorkers Spend Their Money

The baby boomers have always been a force to be reckoned with when it comes to the economy. The workforce exploded in the ’60s thanks to them, and as they enter their 60s, they’re changing NYC’s demographics all over again. By 2030, there will be 1.35 million retired New Yorkers — a 44% jump from their share of the population in 2000.

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As the first 401(k) generation, they’ve spent decades building enough savings to retire comfortably. So comfortably, in fact, that they have extra cash to spend. Here’s what they’re doing with it.

Cruising All Over the World

Cliché, but true. NYC seniors love taking cruises, and it’s easy to see why: In 2016 alone, there are more than 100 cruise itineraries leaving from the Manhattan terminal, bound for destinations as nearby as New England and as far-flung as Australia. Norwegian Cruise Line leads the way with 86 options (with the lion’s share of cruises heading to ports of call in the Caribbean), but it’s also an embarkation port for Carnival, Balmoral, and Holland America, among others. Looks like New Yorkers aren’t just heading to the Hamptons anymore.

Getting Cosmetic Surgery

Today’s seniors want to look as young as they feel, and for dramatic results, they’re flocking to cosmetic surgery as a splurge item after retirement. Among the most common procedures that can turn back the clock with natural-looking, long-lasting results are eyelid and facelift surgeries.

NYC plastic surgeon Dr. Konstantin Vasyukevich says on his website that cosmetic surgery procedures, particularly facelifts, are appealing to seniors to treat multiple concerns including wrinkles, neck bands, skin laxity, fullness under the chin, and jowls. With the disposable income to make it happen and no concerns about recovering in time to get back to work, the decision for seniors becomes even easier.

Forging New “Unretirement” Career Paths

Perhaps most surprising of all, more and more seniors are deciding not to retire, at least not in the traditional sense. Instead, as economics columnist and editor Chris Farrell writes in Unretirement: How Baby Boomers Are Changing the Way We Think About Work, Community, and the Good Life, they’re choosing to extend their careers on their own terms by pursuing the things they’ve always wanted to do.

Having saved all their lives, seniors are using that relative financial comfort as a springboard for entrepreneurial ventures, new career paths, or volunteer projects. The Kauffman Index of Startup Activity confirms the trend: Nationwide, 25.8% of new entrepreneurs in 2014 were between the ages of 55 and 64. That’s the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity across all age groups.

For example, senior and former reporter Norberto Bogard decided it was time to pursue his dream of striking out on his own late in life when he saw an opportunity to create a Spanish-language counterpart to Time Out and founded Pie Derecho (Spanish for “right foot”), a magazine focused on the events and cultural happenings that NYC’s Latinos care about. Since launching in 2009, the monthly magazine now prints 10,000 copies and functions entirely on advertising revenue.

No matter how you slice it, the baby boomers are doing what they do best, even in their golden years: reshaping the economy with their bold ambitions.

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