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College Towns Lure Boomers

Is retirement in a college town right for you?

A USA Today report looks at how Baby Boomers are choosing other than traditional places to retire.  The generation that defined so much of American culture also demands more when they call it quits, and some are beginning to discover that college towns offer some really good — and low-cost — places to retire these days.

Of course most people that retire stay in the houses they have lived in for years, but the AARP shows that Baby Boomers, being an especially adventurous and mobile generation, have realized that they don’t have to spend $500k for that dream retirement home on the golf course.

I would think that with the economy the way it is now and with the hit we have all taken to our 401(k) s, this thinking “outside of the box” may be just what the person retiring or considering retirement needs.

Instead of the typical Florida or Arizona for retirement, these seniors are opting for college towns like Athens, Flagstaff, Gainesville, FL, Tallahassee and many more.

Mike and Helene Krupa just closed on their dream retirement home in Athens. They moved from southern New Jersey, where they lived for 20 years.  “I didn’t want to live in Florida with the higher heat and the hurricanes,” said Mike Krupa, 55. “We wanted to live someplace with moderate temperatures.

And weather is not the only advantage to a college town, according to the Krupa’s, their property taxes dropped 50% for a home the same size as their previous home. Homeowners insurance dropped 40%. Their health insurance also dropped. The only thing that increased was auto insurance. Reason: all the inexperienced drivers around them, according to their insurance company.

Considering the cost of housing in and around college towns, it’s possible to find a very reasonably priced home, townhome or apartment for the retired couple to live in.  As long as when retiring these seniors remain the active outgoing people they have always been.

If you plan on being that grumpy old man when you retire, sitting on your front porch yelling at the kids for walking on your grass or banging on the walls because your neighbors music is too loud, then retiring to a college town would be best left to someone else.

If on the other hand, you are outgoing, cheerful and still full of life, then a college town just might be the best place for you to retire.  Think about it.  College towns always have part-time jobs with a high turnover, so if you want a little extra cash it’s likely you could land a nice part-time job with a flexible schedule.

Among financial perks there are other benefits to consider.  There is never a shortage of places to eat in a college town; you can attend major college sporting events on the cheap.  If you need help around the house there are always college kids looking to make some extra money.

Heck, if you happen to purchase a house with an extra room, or even a whole duplex (buy both sides) you could have a tenant and supplement your income.

I think it’s a great idea for seniors to retire to a college town, and I’m not the only one.  There are developers that have built or are planning retirement communities especially for those seniors who want to retire to a college town.

Cheap homes, a reasonable cost of living, livability and lots of culture and sports, what more could you ask for when retiring?

I think it’s possible that the worst thing for old people is to just be around old people.

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