Retirement Lifestyles, Classical Faves, Etc.

They may be kidding themselves about their ability to live independently until they keel over. Anyhow, a poll of “pre-retirees” finds that staying in their own homes after retirement is the preferred living arrangement for 86 percent of them. The survey was conducted for the MetLife Mature Market Institute in conjunction with AARP Health Care Options. (Half the respondents were 50-55, one-quarter 56-60, one-quarter 61-65.) Next in preference were apartments specifically for people age 55-plus and “communities where people can live independently but have access to special amenities.” What factors matter most to pre-retirees as they decide where to live in retirement? Fifty-one percent mentioned “being in a community of family and friends”; 42 percent spoke of “not having to follow anyone else’s rules”; 38 percent cited weather or climate. The poll did note growing interest in novel retirement-living arrangements. Thirty-four percent of pre-retirees voiced interest in “a clustered living community, in a campus like setting, that included private space and communal areas such as a dining room, kitchen, library, entertainment center and laundry facility.” Such answers come against a backdrop of optimism that may go unfulfilled: Just 14 percent of respondents expect to need day-to-day assistance or ongoing healthcare in their retirement years.

Are these guys the leading bon vivants of Raleigh, N.C.? Probably not. But the craftsmen at Re-New Construction Inc. sound suitably serious about their work installing vinyl siding, doors, windows and roofing. Posters, print ads and direct-mail postcards hammer away at the “anal retentive” theme to persuade home-owners that the company is meticulous. And who’s going to doubt a company that praises itself in such an unflattering way? The Republik, in Raleigh, created the series.

What will succeed carbohydrates as Americans’ dietary bête noire? A report by Packaged Facts nominates trans fats as a likely candidate. In discussing the market for packaged cookies, whose sales have been flat in recent years, it suggests that “no trans fat” versions could be the category’s next big thing.

No wonder consumers think corporate leaders are unethical. The corporate leaders’ employees think the same. In a Maritz Poll of workers, a non-landslide 12 percent said their companies’ leaders are completely ethical and honest. Fewer still (7 percent) strongly agreed that “the actions of senior leaders were completely consistent with their words.” Of course, corporate leaders don’t always view their employees as ethical paragons, either. That could help explain why 52 percent of respondents said the relationship between labor and management is “lukewarm” or downright “negative” where they work.

When I hear the word “culture,” I reach for my spoon. Yogurt is gaining in popularity, says a Mintel report. More than two-thirds of Americans now eat the stuff, compared with 57 percent as recently as last April. “The increasing market penetration in such a short time is likely due to reaching new consumers through low-carb and dessert-style yogurt,” says the research firm. It’s also a food that has expanded beyond its traditional daypart: Once seen mainly as breakfast fare, yogurt has established itself as a lunchtime food. In fact, the proportion of people who eat it at lunch is higher than the proportion who eat it at breakfast (71 percent vs. 62 percent). Mintel says yogurt’s rise stems partly from the fact that it “is moving away from being seen strictly as a health or diet food for women.” Nonetheless, low-fat yogurt has driven the category’s growth. Sales of light yogurt rose 84 percent between 1998 and 2003. Mintel forecasts that total yogurt sales in the U.S. will increase 48 percent between 2003 and 2008, reaching $4.1 billion. By the way, women are (as you may suspect) more cultured than men: Nearly three quarters of the former, vs. just over half of the latter, are yogurt eaters.

Most museums are repositories of the past. But not Seattle’s new Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame. By its nature, such a museum focuses on things that don’t exist—yet. That fact is the basis of an exuberantly futuristic campaign to publicize the museum. Along with the space-age condos seen here, the series features the launch pad for a lunar-vacations company whose motto is, “Leave your troubles 240,000 miles behind.” Cole & Weber/Red Cell of Seattle created the ads.

Does democracy contribute to marital strife? In a survey commissioned by Ladies’ Home Journal, 65 percent of women said they and their husbands always or usually vote for the same presidential candidate. For the rest of the happy couples, an election gives them one more thing to disagree about.

Let’s say you want to gussy up a TV spot with a bit of classical music. Which composers have the ear of the American public these days? A study by the American Symphony Orchestra League gives some guidance. It catalogued all 9,814 performances of individual works by 104 orchestras around the country in the 2003-’04 season to determine which composers got the most play. Beethoven led the standings, with 688 scheduled performances, edging out Mozart (675). Nobody else in the top 10—Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Berlioz, Prokofiev, Ravel, Rachmaninoff and Shostakovich—was close. The study included a list of the 10 most frequently performed individual pieces. (Actually, it was a top-11 list, due to a tie.) Surprisingly, Mozart was shut out. Not surprisingly, Beethoven was amply represented, with six of the 11 slots, including his Symphony No. 5 as the most-performed orchestral piece of all. Berlioz had the No. 2 piece (Symphonie Fantastique). Also among the tops of the non-pops: Rimsky-Korsakov, Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Handel.

Finally, our oddball gender gap of the week: Polling by Gallup found women more likely than men to say they believe that angels exist (84 percent vs. 72 percent). No doubt this was because the men were less inclined to view themselves as angelic.