Which Classic 55+ Year Old Lifestyle Describes You Best?

These childless singles and couples live in older suburban homes with two cars in the driveway and a wooden deck out back.


Photo: Visual Pursuit
With their grown-up children recently out of the house, New Empty Nests is composed of upscale older Americans who pursue active-and activist-lifestyles.

Lifestyles Segments by Ages

With the help of our knowledge bank, you can choose for variations in your new neighborhood by:

But to zero in on the best place for you you’ll have to visit and schedule time to explore potential new homes in a region.

Oh, darn!


Gail Sheehy called this time of life the “Fearless or Flaming 50s”.

And, we’re about halfway through Erik Erikson’s Adulthood.

Existential Question:  Can I make my life count?


55+ Empty Nest Couples and Families

Where are you likely to find these seven more affluent single and couple lifestyles?

Here’s a sample of lifestyles and communities  in the 55+ age group living primarily in California and in Washington  (Pacific Northwest) regions.

Photo: Wikitravel
  • Indian Wells, CA
  • Huntington Beach, CA
  • Laguna Hills, CA
  • South Lake Tahoe, CA
  • St. Helena, CA
  • Ukiah, CA
  • Mukilteo, WA

We use Claritas / Nielsen PRIZM lifestyle segmentation profiles to evaluate best places for relocation to more authentic, quality-of-life communities.

And, if your community already includes the following profiles, you’ll have a better understanding of what’s going on in your neighbors’ lives.

By the time you’re in your mid-fifties your generation’s cohort splinters into 13 lifestyle segments stretching across the midlevel of status and influence.

Claritas / Nielsen PRIZM groups the more affluent seven segments into what they call Conservative Classics.

We’ll profile the second six segments in part two.

We know the number of households and income levels for comparison purposes based upon Claritas / Nielsen PRIZM 2011 Statistics:

2011 Statistics:

  • US Households: 10,765,041
  • Median Household Income : $58,658

“College educated, over 55 years old and upper-middle-class, the  segments in Conservative Classics offer a portrait of quiet comfort.

Photo: Visual Hunt

These childless singles and couples live in older suburban homes with two cars in the driveway and a wooden deck out back.

For leisure at home, they enjoy gardening, reading books, watching public television and entertaining neighbors over barbecues. 

When they go out, it’s often to a local museum, the theater or a casual-dining restaurant like the Olive Garden or Lone Star Steakhouse.”

Should you include these Birds-of-a Feather (BOF) lifestyles on your Bucket List?

  • Wealthy Influentials – Digitally Mobiles (WIDM) and Two Exurb Society (WIES)
  • Wireless Resorters –  Two Maturing Resorts (WRMR)
  • High Country Eagles – Satellite City-zens (HCESC)
  • Permanent Temporaries – Interim Middle Managers (PTIMM)

Which of the following 55 + Lifestyles  describes you best?

14M2S2, New Empty Nests, 55+, Couples, Conservative Classics, Affluentials, Exurb Society, WIES, Wealthy Influentials (Indian Wells, CA)

2011 Statistics:

  • US Households: 1,242,671 (1.06%)
  • Median Household Income: $71,468

Exurb Society (WIES): “With their grown-up children recently out of the house, New Empty Nests is composed of upscale older Americans who pursue active-and activist-lifestyles.

Photo: Visual Pursuit

Nearly three-quarters of residents are over 65 years old, but they show no interest in a rest home retirement. 

Lifestyle & Media Traits:

  • Shopped at Bloomingdale’s
  • Attended opera performances
  • Read Tennis
  • Watched The News Hour With Jim Lehrer
  • Drove a Buick LaCrosse”

15M2S2, Patios & Pools, 55+, Couples, Empty Nests, Conservative Classics, Affluentials, Exurb Society, WIES, Wealthy Influentials (Mukilteo, WA)

2011 Statistics:

  • US Households: 1,530,890 (1.31%)
  • Median Household Income: $71,900

Exurb Society (WIES): “Formed during the postwar Baby Boom, Pools & Patios has evolved from a segment of young suburban families to one for mature, empty-nesting couples. 

Photo: Visual Pursuit

In these stable neighborhoods graced with backyard pools and patios-the highest proportion of homes were built in the 1960s-residents work as white-collar managers and professionals, and are now at the top of their career

Lifestyle & Media Traits:

  • Shopped at Eddie Bauer
  • Owned a timeshare
  • Read Consumer Reports
  • Watched 24
  • Drove a Subaru Forester”

21M2S3, Gray Power, 55+, Conservative Classics, Couples, Suburbs, Middleburbs, PTIMM, Interim Middle Managers, Permanent Temporaries (Laguna Hills, CA)

2011 Statistics:

  • US Households: 1,093,066 (0.94%)
  • Median Household Income: $52,784

Interim Middle Managers (PTIMM): “The steady rise of older, healthier Americans over the past decade has produced one important by-product: middle-class, home-owning suburbanites who are aging in place rather than moving to retirement communities.

Photo: Visual Pursuit

Gray Power reflects this trend, a segment of older, midscale singles and couples who live in quiet comfort.

Lifestyle & Media Traits:

  • Shopped at Ace Hardware
  • Belonged to a veterans club
  • Read Audubon
  • Watched Masterpiece Theatre
  • Drove a Buick Lucerne”

26M2U1, The Cosmopolitans, 55+, Couples, Conservative Classics, Urban Uptown, WIDM Digitally Mobiles, Wealthy Influentials (Huntington Beach, CA)

2011 Statistics:

  • US Households: 1,321,917 (1.13%)
  • Median Household Income: $56,581

Digitally Mobiles (WIDM): “Educated, midscale and multi-ethnic, The Cosmopolitans are urbane couples in America’s fast-growing cities. 

Photo: Visual Pursuit

Concentrated in a handful of metros-such as Las Vegas, Miami and Albuquerque-these households feature older home-owners, empty-nesters and college graduates. 

A vibrant social scene surrounds their older homes and apartments, and residents love the nightlife and enjoy leisure-intensive lifestyles.

Lifestyle & Media Traits

  • Shopped at Costco
  • Bought classical music
  • Read Harper’s Bazaar
  • Watched BBC America
  • Drove a Lexus LX”

27M2C2, Middleburg Managers, Couples, 55+, Couples, Conservative Classics, City Centers, HCESC Satellite City-zens, High Country Eagles (South Lake Tahoe, CA)

2011 Statistics:

  • US Households: 2,276,009 (1.95%)
  • Median Household Income: $51,769

Satellite City-zens (HCESC): “Middleburg Managers arose when empty nesters settled in satellite communities which offered a lower cost of living and more relaxed pace.

Photo: Visual Pursuit

Today, segment residents tend to be middle-class and over 55 years old, with solid managerial jobs and comfortable retirements. 

 In their older homes, they enjoy reading, playing musical instruments, indoor gardening and refinishing furniture.” 

Lifestyle & Media Traits:

  • Shopped at Office Depot
  • Bought books on tape
  • Read VFW Magazine
  • Watched Inspiration Network
  • Drove Mercury Grand Marquis Flex Fuel”

28M2T2, Traditional Times, Empty Nests, 55+, Couples, Conservative Classics, Country Comfort, WRMR Maturing Resorts, Wireless Resorters (St. Helena, CA)

2011 Statistics:

  • US Households: 3,300,488 (2.82%)
  • Median Household Income: $55,175

Maturing Resorts (WRMR): Traditional Times is the kind of lifestyle where small-town couples nearing retirement are beginning to enjoy their first empty-nest years. 

Typically in their fifties and sixties, these middle-class Americans pursue a kind of granola-and-grits lifestyle.

On their coffee tables are magazines with titles ranging from Country Living and Country Home to Gourmet and Forbes. 

Photo: Visual Pursuit

But they’re big travelers, especially in recreational vehicles and campers.

Lifestyle & Media Traits:

  • Ordered from Gevalia Kaffe
  • Traveled domestically by motor home
  • Read AARP The Magazine
  • Watched Antiques Roadshow
  • Drove a Chevrolet Impala Flex Fuel”

Will you find a 100% fit?


These lifestyle descriptions are intended to paint a picture of a new neighborhood you’d enjoy, because you share some of the same traits with current residents.

If you plan to relocate, start visiting communities on your short bucket list.

Don’t have a short list yet?

Part Two:  Which of These 7 Mature 55+ Year Old Lifestyles Describes You?


26) If you know the zip code you can discover the lifestyles living in the community. You can compare your profile with theirs to estimate your degree of fit.

27) Estimate how well suited you are for the resorts. Refer to “Profiles-at-a-Glance” comparing 2008-2009 and 2013-2014 for changes in Life Stages – Singles, Couples, Families, Midlife, Empty Nests, Baby Boomers and Seniors; Ages – 20-29, 25-54, 30-44, 45+ 45-65, 55+ and 65+; and mix of Lifestyles in neighborhoods. Does the resort still offer the age, life stage and lifestyle profiles you prefer?

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