Shakespeare Blog: View from the Lake

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City Living in Retirement: Pros and Cons

Written By: Kevin Reardon, CFP®

City View

People live most of their working years in a suburban setting, where they put down roots and raise a family. As they approach retirement, a move from the suburban home to an urban dwelling is often a consideration.

The beauty of building deep, long-lasting relationships with our clients is we get to be a part of that discussion during these big life transitions. A common theme is wanting to downsize to an apartment or condo where they can walk to their favorite coffee shops and restaurants and have more time to pursue their hobbies and interests. Clients are often looking for a different lifestyle in retirement, where they can take in a last-minute show or a ballgame, as well as the ability to travel extensively without the fear of leaving their home sitting empty for an extended period.

Moving to a downtown setting in retirement can offer both advantages and disadvantages, and the decision ultimately depends on your personal preferences, lifestyle, and financial situation. Let’s take a look at some pros and cons of moving to the city:


Access to Amenities: Cities typically offer a wide range of amenities, including healthcare facilities, cultural attractions, restaurants, shopping centers, and entertainment options. This can enhance your quality of life and keep you engaged in various activities.

Public Transportation: Cities usually have well-developed public transportation systems, making it easier to get around without the need for a car.

Healthcare Facilities: Cities often have world-class healthcare facilities and specialist doctors, which can be important as you age and may require more medical attention.

Social Opportunities: Cities are hubs of social activity, with many opportunities for socializing, joining clubs, and meeting people who share your interests. This can help combat loneliness and keep you active.

Diverse Food Options: If you enjoy dining out or exploring different cuisines, cities offer a plethora of restaurants and food options to satisfy your culinary interests.

Turnkey: For those who love to travel, the ability to walk out of the condo or apartment and not worry about home maintenance when you’re gone can be a huge benefit.


Cost of Living: One of the most significant drawbacks of living in a city is the higher cost of living. Housing, groceries, and other expenses may be substantially higher than in rural or suburban areas.

Noise and Crowds: Cities can be noisy and crowded, which may not be ideal if you’re seeking peace and tranquility in retirement.

Limited Outdoor Space: In many cities, outdoor space is limited, which can be a drawback if you enjoy gardening or spending time in nature.

Traffic Congestion: Traffic congestion and limited parking can be frustrating in cities, and it may become challenging to navigate as you age.

Higher Taxes: Cities often have higher property taxes, income taxes, and other taxes that can impact your financial situation in retirement.

Housing Options: Finding affordable and suitable housing in a city can be challenging, and you may need to downsize or make compromises.

Family Friendly: Cities are not typically family friendly and your new digs may have limited space to host the family that comes to town or the annual holiday celebration.

Lack of Storage: You’ll be amazed how much ‘stuff’ you’ve accumulated in your family home over the years and how challenging it will be finding space in a city home.

Ultimately, the decision to move to a city in retirement depends on your individual preferences and priorities. It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons carefully, consider your financial situation, and think about the lifestyle you want in retirement before making a decision. Some retirees may find the city’s amenities and social opportunities appealing, while others may prefer a quieter and more cost-effective suburban or rural retirement.

Before you move, talk to your Shakespeare advisor about the pros and cons, as well as the financial impact of this decision. We are here to be your sounding board and trusted partner through these big life transitions.