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Community Manager

Ever consider retiring to a college town?

With their relatively small size and big-city amenities, many of these communities might warrant a closer look. (Read more.)

 

Ever consider retiring to a college town?

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Before retiring to a college town make sure it offers all you plan to do when you retire. I moved to a town with 3 colleges. Thought I would take a few courses most colleges offer to Seniors for free and get another degree or subsitute teach to make extra money  No free courses here, woman in admissions asked me why did I want to get a Doctorate (not that they had the kind I wanted) to substitute here scares me because the neighborhoods are all mixed together good and bad. In other words I assumed they would have these things. Just check it ll out before.

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It's my dream to retire to a particular college town which I won't name here. But college towns have so much culture to offer with their sports, drama, music, and other programs that are offered to the public. Not to mention that many offer Continuing Ed classes that are usually of "special interest" and often inexpensive. 

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I have lived in Champaign, IL and loved it and am currently living in Carbondale, IL and loving it even more. For my money college towns are the best. Carbondale is blessed with great scenery, wineries, cheap cost of living and lots of characters, I mean character. I really love it. However I am not yet retired but will probably retire to one of these towns.

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I like Jonesboro Arkansas, a city of about 75,000 and home to Arkansas State University.  It is very senior friendly, has low crime and very clean and progressive.  There's a medium sized hospital and doctors of all specialities, several grocery stores and places to shop.  The cost of living seems to be cheaper than most places.  There's a nice park on the south side of town with bike trails, exercise stations and a large fishing lake.  Memphis is about an hour away.  Another plus, anyone over the age of sixty can get a tuition waver at the university.  

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Gold Conversationalist

No thanks.  Too many loud frat parties and the beer costs more in college towns!

Super Contributor

I grew up in a college town.  It was beautiful back then and you could walk to everything.  The college turned in to a university and the growth began and not in a good way.  There is every chain eatery and chain store you could imagine with all the beautiful landscape cluttered with malls and lackluster shopping.  The entire city revolves around JMU and it's students.  No thanks.

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Community Manager
Community Manager

Hello @jamessurratt, thanks for sharing your endorsement of Iowa City. Sounds like a great option for retirement living!

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I have read many articles that agree with you that college towns are very attractive to retirees. They have their youthful energy which appeals to the elderly that gets too "set in their ways." Now I'm not a well travelled retiree that has caused our many college towns. I can only speak for the one I'm living in which is Iowa City, home of the University of Iowa which has enrolled over 33,000 students. It has a wonderful Senior Center which is strongly supported and offers many resources for the seniors to use in accessing various services and activities. Mass transit is well used giving them access to the whole town. It has a paratransit service for the elderly and handicapped offering door to door service which is a boon for seniors who's offspring live too distant to run errands for them. The university brings students from all over the world and they, in turn, have set up shops that offer their cultures and foods in the downtown area. This makes the downtown attractive for those that want to enjoy such cultural offerings. The university offers many educational opportunities and a world class hospital with specialist doctors of most divisions of medicine covered. 

 

Now it is true that Iowa's Climate is humid continental with hot summers and cold winters. However that hasn't slowed down the population growth that Iowa City has seen. It is one of the very few growth areas of the state. In fact over half the state's population lives in towns and cities. I will say that because of this growth, the housing vacancy at this time is less than 1% in Iowa City. So expect higher housing costs. I believe the median home cost is $219,000. Our two sons recently sold their homes that were valued below $200,000 and they were sold in less than a week! It's a seller's market. And Construction is booming, not just in Iowa City but in all the smaller communities surrounding it. I've recently passed through a couple of them and was amazed to see the number of both houses and condos going up. 

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What I've found in the Carolinas within college towns is the eating establishments leave something to be desired when it comes to the seniors/healthy eating/peaceful atmosphere, etc.  Pubs are aplenty.  Beer crawls and craft beers become an advertised attraction.  Food quality is average to substandard.  The evenings can become a bit rowdy on the sidewalk cafes.  Just not appealing to this AARP member.

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no

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Newbie

You make some good points.  You would likely always be the oldest at any gathering.  Well just a thought.

Regular Contributor

I just discovered several places today in the triangle  of colleges in NC.

NC is conservative, but that triangle is highly liberal which is right for me.

The place is a non-profit and sounds pretty ideal.

But of course the problem always is--can I afford it?

 

To an AARP rep: I was recently informed that  there are AARP employees who reply on this line, and suggest various assisted living communities.

I think that's dishonest and should be looked into.

 Isn't AARP supposed to be on our side, rather than the independent living/assisted care/memory care facilities? How do we know we won't be ripped off if we should reply to one of these AARP employees?

 

I think rather less of AARP now.

Community Manager
Community Manager

Hello @cm2216799, thanks for contributing to the AARP Online Community.  I'm not aware of an instance in the forums where we would make a specific recommendation about an assisted living community. If there's something we can help you with, please reach out to a customer service agent at 1-888-687-2277

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