A recent CNBC article discussed the possible advantages of baby boomers heading to college towns for retirement. Having lived in a college town several times myself, and having a mother near retirement who lives in one as well, I can see some of the benefits of residing in such a location during retirement.
Actually, in retirement or not, college towns can make for great environments in which to live frugally. Not only can there be a large community of people (students) who are often trying to do the same, but there are often some unique opportunities that can come with a college town that can help save money in a variety of ways.
Transportation Needs…or Lack Thereof
One of the fantastic things about college town living is that there is often a plethora of activities and amenities available to a resident, all within walking distance. Not only can this add up to huge savings when it comes to things like gas, maintenance, and insurance costs. For retirees though, it can come as a health benefit as well.
We used to walk to the store, walk to and through the college campus, walk to the library, walk to the local farmers market, walk to the fairgrounds, or just walk around the neighborhood or downtown for exercise. I'd estimate that we probably filled our tank up with gas about once a month, and that was largely for camping and canoeing excursions outside of town.
Safety and Security
Having lived in a college town on several occasions, I've seen the types of crime that can be associated with such a location. Assorted beer cans landing in the front yard, noise complaints from late night parties, drunken frat boys getting arrested, and the occasional petty theft are typically some of the more common police blotter items. While there are certainly more serious offenses from time to time, I'd take most college crimes over drive-by shootings, gang violence, armed robberies, and felony offenses.
One positive when it comes to considering a college town for retirement can come in the form of security services. There can be an overlap of local police and campus security that can add an additional layer of security that can be nice for seniors…or those of any age group for that matter. Lower crime rates can equate to lower insurance rates and less worry about theft and similar loss.
Retiring in a college town can leave someone in their golden years with a vast array of things to do, things that are often relatively cheap or even free. During our time spent living near college campuses, there were any number of such events and entertainment venues. From plays and concerts, to sporting events, craft fairs and festivals, live music and entertainment, campus events, guest lectures, or just walking around or through campus or stopping in at the student union to people watch, there can be plenty of opportunities for senior (or non-seniors) to take in affordable entertainment in a college town environment.
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The author is not a licensed financial professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or financial advice. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader's discretion.
Brooks, Rodney. CNBC.com. "Retirement 101: College Towns Lure Boomers". January 15, 2013. http://www.cnbc.com/id/100381896. February 16, 2013.