Survey: Single Boomer Women Are Happier Now Than at 35

Survey shows the majority of single women older than 55 have a greater sense of well-being than two decades earlier. What to do if you’re not feeling it.


Forget the stereotype of grandma crocheting doilies. Instead, she may be biking, hiking or even weight training.

A survey conducted by Del Webb, a company that builds active adult communities, found most single boomer women aren’t sad, lonely or boring. On the contrary, many report being healthier and happier than they were at age 35, and nearly half believe their best years are yet to come.

“We’re not surprised,” Lindy Oliva, division president for Del Webb’s parent company PulteGroup, told Money Talks News. “We see this every day in our Del Webb communities.”

What boomer women have to say about the good life

Overall, 74 percent of those surveyed say they’re as happy or happier than they were at age 35. In addition, 81 percent say being physically healthy is very important, with 68 percent saying maintaining good physical health is a top priority.

To that end, nearly two-thirds of single boomer women older than 55 exercise a couple of times a week. And they aren’t just strolling in the park. Respondents said they did everything from tai chi to horseback riding, but these activities were mentioned most often:

  • Weight training – 27 percent
  • Hiking – 19 percent
  • Yoga – 18 percent
  • Biking – 16 percent
  • Swimming – 14 percent

“Retirement is different today,” Oliva says. “We found that [single boomer women] also feel more empowered.”

In fact, more than 3 in 4 survey respondents said they were more empowered now than they were at age 35, which helps explain why 55 feels like an improvement.

Does it matter if they were married before?

Del Webb broke its respondents into four categories: always single, separated, divorced and widowed. However, the results were similar across all categories, meaning an individual’s prior marital status may not have much bearing on their future happiness.

Here are a few highlights from where differences did appear:

  • Separated boomer women were most likely to feel younger than their age, with 84 percent agreeing with this statement. Meanwhile, among those who were never married, 74 percent said they felt younger than their age.
  • While separated women felt younger, they were also most likely to be less happy. The survey found 39 percent said they were less happy now than they were at age 35. Those who were never married were most likely to say they were as happy or happier than they were at age 35.
  • Among women who had never been married, 60 percent say they are as active or more active than they were at age 35. Divorced women were on the other end of the spectrum, with nearly half saying they are less active than they were in their 30s.

3 ways to up your happiness quotient

If you’re a single boomer woman and pining away for your 30s, you may want to try one of these three ways to bolster your sense of well-being:

1. Get physically active

“Being physically active and being happy go together,” Oliva says.

But don’t think sweating it out at the gym is the only way to get active. There are plenty of ways to move without it feeling like exercise. Gardening, dancing and even volunteering can be great ways to get and stay fit.

2. Nurture your social network

Being connected to a wide circle of family and friends is another way to improve feelings of happiness, according to a study covered by the Huffington Post. According to the report, the study of 6,500 50-year-olds showed that a network of friends is especially important to the psychological well-being of women.

Oliva says she sees Del Webb residents joining clubs and attending events to create strong social networks. Regardless of where you live, taking the time to seek out meaningful activities with like-minded people may reap significant emotional rewards.

3. Find what makes you feel confident

Often, physical health and strong relationships can automatically translate to greater confidence. But if you’re still not feeling it, it may be time to re-evaluate your situation. It could be that your friends are negative and toxic, or maybe you have a secret dream you’ve never followed.

Single boomer women may also feel financially insecure, which makes it hard to be empowered. If you feel that your money situation is out of control, we suggest good first steps may be to revisit your budget and review your retirement fund.

Are you a single boomer woman? Do you feel that your best years are in front of you or fading away in the rearview mirror? Tell us why in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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