Upscale retirees and empty-nesters in comfortable communities
With two-thirds of members over 65 years old, Golf Carts and Gourmets contain a mix of retirees and empty-nesting couples living in relative comfort. Most of these households are married couples without children enjoying active retirements. However, about a third of these educated residents are still in the workforce and earn solid paychecks from professional and technical occupations. With their salaries, pensions and investments, these households report incomes of more than $120,000 - enough to afford relatively new homes and condos in beachfront retirement resorts. Nearly half of all households in this segment live in Florida.
Golf Carts and Gourmets feel they have put in their time raising families and working hard, and they’re ready to enjoy the finer things in life. They like going out to restaurants, plays, classical concerts and casinos. They have the time and money to travel and they especially enjoy taking Caribbean cruises and visiting friends and relatives around the country. These active seniors try to stay fit by golfing, playing tennis and swimming. Around their homes, they lead quiet lives: reading books and newspapers, playing cards and doing needlework.
With their solid incomes, Golf Carts and Gourmets like to frequent malls and shop at middle- brow department stores. These traditionalists buy clothes that are conservative and high-quality. However, they also like their possessions to make a statement, and they seek out designer labels and luxury cars to convey a sense of status. While they care about having a healthy diet, they also consider themselves foodies who like foreign foods and spicy dishes, especially if served in an artistic way.
These maturing households will always be fans of traditional media. They read newspapers from cover to cover and subscribe to venerable magazines that cover travel, sports and senior issues. They tune in the radio for news and music stations, especially those that play jazz and country, but really any background music will do. They consider TV their favorite form of entertainment, preferring movies, dramas and how-to programs. By contrast, they’re still a little nervous around new media like the Internet. They’ll go online for news and information - stock quotes, medical research and map directions in particular - but this is no segment for downloading music, watching video streams or gaming. Even email and social networks are a little too advanced for this crowd.
Golf Carts and Gourmets are more of a conservative bastion on political issues as well. They describe themselves as people of faith who attend religious services. A majority belong to the Republican Party despite some pockets of liberals and Independents. Many have a global awareness and give generously to political, educational and cultural groups.
However, that philanthropy is tempered by a fiscal conservatism. These households have amassed large nest eggs and are typically drawing down their retirement accounts. In order to maintain their comfortable standard of living, they carry plenty of insurance and umbrella coverage to protect their substantial assets.
Golf Carts and Gourmets are a mix of empty-nesting couples and retirees living in upscale comfort. Two-thirds are over 65 years old. More than nine out of ten households are childless. The overwhelming majority of these white households contain married couples, but about a quarter contain widows, widowers and divorced individuals. What they share are college educations and, among the 30 percent still in the workforce, white-collar jobs in the professional and technical sectors.
Golf Carts and Gourmets can be found in many of the nation’s well-known retirement communities. Centered in Sun Belt states and beach communities, high concentrations of Golf Carts and Gourmets live in Naples and St. Petersburg, Fla., Avalon and Stone Harbor, N.J., and Rio Verde and Tucson, Ariz. Most own single-family homes and condos in recently-built, nicely landscaped and well-protected communities where the real estate is sought after and pricey; the average residence is valued at more than $425,000. But with many residents just now making the transition from work to retirement, the communities are relatively mobile. Many members have lived at the same residence for only a handful of years.
Golf Carts and Gourmets enjoy comfortable, but not opulent, lifestyles. They have plenty of leisure time and enjoy going to cultural venues such as theaters, museums and classical concerts. Maintaining active social lives, they enjoy dining out and going to casinos. These senior sophisticates are also frequent travelers. They are twice as likely as average Americans to have taken a cruise in recent years. They also like to visit friends and relatives throughout the country.
Golf Carts and Gourmets have active lifestyles - and that includes trying to stay fit. They’re health-conscious and devote time to regular exercise in the form of swimming, golf, tennis and working out at a club on cardio and rowing machines. At home, they enjoy reading, playing cards, doing needlework and, especially, watching TV.
Fairly conservative in the marketplace, Golf Carts and Gourmets describe themselves as brand- loyal shoppers who look for bargains. They shop at retailers like Dillard’s and Stein Mart, but use mail-order catalogs too. At supermarkets they typically carry wads of coupons. However, they will splurge on expensive cameras, TVs and DVD players. They do like cars that make a statement, preferring premium, imported CUVs, sports cars, SUVs and sedans.
Golf Carts and Gourmets represent a strong market for traditional media. They read a daily newspaper and subscribe to magazines like AARP, Good Housekeeping, Golf Digest and National Geographic. They tune in to radio stations for a quick news report, a pro football or baseball game or music. Their musical preferences are wide ranging, from classical to jazz to country to religious. Mostly, they are fans of TV, which serves as their chief form of entertainment. Their taste in TV fare runs toward movies, documentaries, dramas and how-to shows on such channels as AMC, Bravo, CNN, Encore and the Hallmark Channel.
Many may be retirees but Golf Carts and Gourmets show no sign of retiring from society. Segment members attend international events and the arts.
Golf Carts and Gourmets also have a need for status recognition and believe in the importance of aesthetics. When they want to buy a car, they tend to acquire a new model, preferably with plenty of options. When they go clothes shopping, they look for high-quality, conservative styles and favorite brands. Wearing designer labels, they say, improves a person’s image. They tend to be foodies who like eating ethnic foods and trying new and spicy dishes. And they’re three times as likely as average Americans to prefer food presented artfully.
Politically, Golf Carts and Gourmets have mixed views. Although a majority are conservative in their outlook, they’re nearly twice as likely as average Americans to describe themselves as “somewhat liberal” or register as Independents. Part of this ambivalence is that these voters are relatively happy with their lives and see no need to align themselves with either major party. They describe themselves as optimistic and secure in their future.
One of the older segments, Golf Carts and Gourmets live on upscale incomes averaging more than $120,000, including cash from pensions and distributions from diversified portfolios. They’re more than twice as likely as average Americans to own stocks, mutual funds, CDs, money market accounts and tax-sheltered annuities. Many receive regular disbursements from high- balance IRAs and Keogh accounts. While these fiscally conservative households carry a lot of credit cards, they make sure to pay off their balances each month. At their advancing age, they show little interest in life insurance, but they do have umbrella coverage, as well as policies for their homes and cars. Many have enough cash left over to indulge their philanthropic side, donating to a wide range of medical, educational, political and cultural groups.
The maturing households in Golf Carts and Gourmets are infrequent users of the Internet. They go online for basic functions: to check their stocks, shop, answer medical questions and read newspapers and magazines. Many are content with dial-up access though nearly half have already moved to high-speed cable modems. They typically use desktop machines at home to access the Internet, though their web use is relatively limited. The only major Websites they visit often are MSNBC, Netflix and AOL. They’re about equally divided between those who say that the Internet has changed their lives and those who say that it’s had no impact at all. Needless to say, they are a weak audience for email ads.