« British Airways wants its staff to work for free, but would you? | Main | Air Canada brings small pets on board (for a price) »

June 17, 2021

Alumni return to college towns in retirement

By Gordon Powers, Sympatico / MSN Finance

We've all heard stories of people retiring to spots they thought were just right, only to get there and realize they miss their family or friends or the activities that had enriched their lives while working.

Although advertisers and real estate developers might suggest otherwise, it appears that most retirees actually choose to stay put instead of heading off to the beach.

According to a recent AARP report, close to 90% of retirees aged 60 and over say they'd prefer to stay in the same house or county. In fact, currently less than 10% of the people over age 60 actually do move each year. Of those who do, about half remain in the same area, often close to where they went to school. 

In fact, the hottest trend for senior settlements right now is university towns. Retirement communities associated with big U.S. universities such as Cornell and Duke are particularly in vogue. While private developers have been building such projects for several years, universities and colleges themselves are playing an increasing role, seeking new sources of revenue and a way to cement ties with alumni.   

Until recently, the Village by the Arboretum at the University of Guelph was the only such offering in Canada. Soon, however, the University of British Columbia will be home to a 180-unit seniors’ residence right on campus

Although not cheap, these settings offer lots of attractive amenities, including free or reduced-price classes, cultural activities, as well as part-time jobs, a youthful vibe, accessible teaching hospitals, low crime rates, and good restaurants.

Not sure if this is for you just yet? Explore AARP’s Location Scout quiz to see what might be out there. Answer questions about what you want in climate, housing, property taxes, culture, job growth and then see where your search takes you. Although currently limited to the U.S., the "Scout" will find several cities that might match your needs.



Post a comment


About the Authors

Deirdre McMurdy

Deirdre is a veteran business journalist and born-again policy wonk. She has covered corporate and financial markets news for 20 years in both print and broadcast at the Globe & Mail, Maclean’s, CTV’s Canada AM and...

Gordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James Havers

James is the senior editor of Sympatico / MSN Finance living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo), canoe.ca, AOL.ca, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Joe Lee

Joe is the product manager of Sympatico / MSN Finance. While attending a journalism school in New York, he never thought that dollars and cents would later rule his career as a journalist. Despite meeting several savvy money experts...

Dawn Cuthbertson

Dawn is assistant editor of Sympatico/MSN Finance. With caviar dreams on a tuna can budget, she’s always looking for ways to save for a down payment and contribute more to her RRSP with a little left over for fun...