So you’re getting ready to step out of the work force, and you’re not yet 65? Perhaps you’ll consider relocating — but it might be wise to stay close to home.
It turns out there might not be anywhere that beats Naperville for those who’ve retired early.
Personal finance and business advice publishers at Kiplinger recently named the city as the number one spot for early retirement. The latest in a string of “best of” distinctions bestowed on the community over the past few years, the selection put Naperville ahead of Honolulu, which took the bottom rung of the 10 best list, as well as such places as Alexandria, Va., and Bellevue, Wash.
Posted online below a crowd shot taken during a summer concert in the Millennium Carillon’s shadow on Rotary Hill, Kiplinger’s list of Naperville factoids includes mention that nearly three out of 10 residents is between the ages of 45 and 64. It was the largest proportion of that demographic of any community in the top 10.
While he was amused by the news — and noted that Florida and similarly warm climes are presumed to be where most people go when they have the chance to leave the Midwest’s extreme winters — local real estate agent and longtime City Councilman Doug Krause wasn’t all that surprised to learn of the honor.
“This is a great location. One, you can hop on the train and go downtown to Chicago for any of the shows, sometimes before they go on Broadway,” Krause said. “Plus we’ve got all kinds of activities here. Naperville is a very safe community, and there are a lot of places to go walking here.”
All of those amenities were named by Kiplinger in announcing its choice, specifically also mentioning the Riverwalk as a feature that makes the city so appealing to older middle-aged people. The report also includes on the plus side the major yearly community events, such as Ribfest, Last Fling and Naper Nights, and Naperville’s “pedestrian-friendly downtown which is packed with shops and restaurants.”
That nod appeared welcome to Patrick Skarr, a spokesman for the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce.
“The Chamber really thinks it’s great news, and really a positive for long-term potential,” Skarr said.
People affiliated with the growing senior-housing element in town were similarly pleased by the recognition given to the city. Renee Garvin, executive director of Monarch Landing, said the “ideal location” is a large draw for residents of the senior community on the city’s far northwestern edge.
“Many take advantage of the educational and recreational offerings through our partnership with North Central College, located in downtown Naperville, while others enjoy biking or taking a walk along the Prairie Path,” Garvin said in an email.
And indeed, the rocking chair doesn’t appeal to everyone as a full-time pursuit. More than one in five working Americans responding to a recent Gallup poll said they expect their earnings from part-time jobs to furnish a major source of their income after they leave their current careers. Naperville offers good prospects for those people as well, Skarr said. Local employers have assorted opportunities available for employees who can bring experience and a familiarity with the working world to part-time jobs.
“That really strengthens the economy and allows the market to tap into a good pool of really talented people,” Skarr said, noting that many retirees want to stay busy, and a few hours in a familiar or new professional setting proves a good fit.
“It’s a great win for the business community, it’s a great win for our community at large in the long run,” he said.
Naperville’s newest anointing by nationwide media was just one bit of good news to come from Kiplinger recently. Citing a 27 percent rise so far this year in the Standard & Poors 500 economic health barometer; continuing robust increases in housing prices; and “overall gains in household wealth (that) are the strongest since at least 2005,” the publisher on Tuesday predicted a surge in consumer spending in 2014.
That means more great news for people who do business in Naperville, as well as those who patronize and work for them.
The Kiplinger report can be found at m.kiplinger.com.