We tend to talk a lot about the 18-24 age demographic when we talk about Kent, which makes sense given the fact that some 24,000 young people descend on Kent each new school year, but smart college towns also go after the 60+ age group who in their retirement often find that living in a college town really suits their lifestyle. With that in mind, I came across a good article that ranks the top college towns for retirees to move to and I’ve shared it here in hopes of borrowing their ideas and stealing their seniors.
When you look at Kent’s age demographics, we really haven’t tapped the senior market nearly as much as some of our neighboring cities:
Now, the financial analyst in me knows that seniors (and admittedly I’m generalizing here) tend to pay less in taxes — they only pay the property tax but 90% of that goes to fund the schools, the city only gets 10% — and while they don’t use a lot of police services like the 18-24 year olds, they do use a lot of the City’s emergency medical services. The City’s paramedics are delighted to serve this rather large part of their customer base, but the financial folks cringe knowing that on the whole seniors tend to consume more in services than they pay for.
Recognizing that, I still say that as the baby boomers enter their retirement years, they’ll have money in their pockets and years of good health in them before they reach their later years when their medical needs start to rise. If you can attract those types of seniors, it’s a bit like a loss leader strategy, which businesses use all the time to firm up their bottom line by stimulating growth in other areas. To me, the same can apply with seniors.
The obvious question becomes what are those independent, healthy, middle to upper income seniors looking for? Here’s a good article that tries to answer that question.
Where are the best places to retire?
Almost 100 million North American “Baby Boomers” born between 1946 and 1964 are moving toward retirement in an era of increasing affluence and mobility, and the number of relocating retirees is expected to rise substantially above the current annual rate of 1,000,000. Award winning geographer and professor at California State University Northridge, Warren Bland, Ph.D. has identified the best places to retire for you in this beautifully illustrated book, Retire in Style, 60 Outstanding Places across the USA and Canada. His first book, Retire in Style, 50 Affordable Places Across America, published in 2002, has been featured in leading newspapers and magazines nationwide including the NY Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Christian Science Monitor and US News and World Report, to name just a few.
Drawing on the professional research he has done during the last 20+ years, Bland has identified the 12 criteria most important to retirees in picking a retirement location. According to AARP, today’s retirees are living longer and more actively, and are demanding a different mix of opportunities than did earlier generations. For many, upscale retirement no longer implies country club or beach resort living, but rather an active lifestyle in a safe, friendly, community that is rich in amenities. What criteria are retirees looking for when choosing a retirement town?
Top Ten College Towns for 2007 Retirement
Warren Bland, PhD, a nationally recognized expert on retirement towns, has just released his “best college towns” list for 2007. Not only are these great college towns, but they also rank high in Bland’s retirement location model which uses 12 criteria to evaluate each place. So if you plan to spend some time this summer visiting college towns for eventual retirement, start in Boulder, Colorado, Bland’s top pick. The towns are located in 10 different states across the US.
Chester, NJ April 17, 2007 — College towns have long been a favorite of retirees seeking an active lifestyle in an amenity-rich environment. Warren Bland, PhD, has just released his “Top Ten” College Towns for 2007, ranked on their overall scores on the 12 criteria utilized to evaluate places in his book “Retire in Style: 60 Outstanding Places Across the USA and Canada”. As Bland appropriately points out, “most college towns offer outstanding cultural arts choices including lectures, movies and art exhibits; numerous athletic events; and continuing education opportunities; and many have great medical facilities nearby.”
Bland’s top college towns, rank-ordered by overall rating of place are:
1. Boulder, CO
2. Chapel Hill, NC
3. Madison, WI
4. Gainesville, FL
5. Oxford, MS
6. Charlottesville, VA
7. Eugene, OR
8. Fayetteville, AR
9. Ithaca, NY
10. Bloomington, IN
Dr. Bland’s model uses 12 criteria most important to retirees. They are landscape, climate, quality of life, cost of living, transportation, retail services, health care, community services, cultural activities, recreational activities, work/volunteer activities, and crime.
Dr. Bland’s Book
Bland is a well-known expert in his field. An award-winning geographer and university professor, he has appeared on Bloomberg, Fox News and CNN and has been quoted in AARP Magazine, the NY Times, the LA Times, Consumer’s Digest, US News and World Report and many other leading media sources. Bland’s book is available through all major booksellers, at Amazon.com and directly through the publisher’s website at www.nextdecade.com
If the criteria for where seniors move really are landscape, climate, quality of life, cost of living, transportation, retail services, health care, community services, cultural activities, recreational activities, work/volunteer activities, and crime — then we’ve got something to work with in terms of how we rank in each of those categories and what we can do to improve.