I have no doubt that there are many retirees living in high density urban areas. Most of them probably lived and worked there long before retirement, so they just stayed to enjoy what they were used to. The question I have is whether it makes sense for a baby boomer to move into a large city as a specific retirement destination. A recent article in Forbes discusses that very issue and identifies some cities where that might make sense.
I enjoy time visiting some large cities. Chicago is a particular favorite. But I have serious doubts about large city living as a permanent retirement destination.
First, the cost of living just has to be higher. Let’s start with expensive residential real estate and high rents. Also, many large cities are located in areas where the state and local income taxes are astronomical. Add in the cost of owning a vehicle in a large city and the combined financial obstacles can be deal killers for a middle class retiree.
Downtown living in a large urban area usually means a high rise or other multi-dwelling building. This may involve stairs or other features that can present mobility problems for an aging retiree.
Although I would find it attractive to be close to cultural amenities found in many large cities, I am better able to relax in a less congested environment, particularly if there are outdoor recreational opportunities. This is clearly a matter of personal preference.
The Forbes article notes that crime rates in many cities have declined. That may be so, but they are still way higher than in suburban or rural areas.
Finally, many older adults – including me – enjoy pets. We have two large dogs. We like our dogs, for a lot of reasons. It would be close to impossible to keep them if we lived in an urban dwelling.
What do you think about the concept of retirement in the center of a large city?
Here is a link to the Forbes article and slide show.