If you are looking for an active, engaging and entertaining retirement, there is no place like New York City! Surprisingly, it can also be much less expensive that you’d expect.
Since transitioning into working part-time, and starting this blog last fall, I have discovered that there are two New York Cities. There is the “working 9 to 5” city, where you rush to work in the morning, fighting your way into the subway car, then back home in the dark at night, exhausted and stressed. If someone dares to suggest going to see a show or out to dinner, you are likely to snap. That’s the city where I have lived for many years.
However, when you start cutting back on work, another city opens up that is more fun and, shockingly, far less expensive that the “9 to 5” city. Let’s call that other city “boomer” city because that’s where us baby boomers live. In the “boomer” city you might work — paid or volunteering — a few hours, then share a lunch special with a friend and spend rest of the afternoon at a museum, after paying a cheaper senior admission, of course. Or you might do what I did with a friend recently: meet after lunch at a museum; followed by happy hour drinks and appetizers at a favorite local place; then to a Broadway show on deeply discounted tickets. While this would be an expensive afternoon by boomer standards, it would still be only a fraction of the cost of doing the same things at a full price, in prime time.
On an even lower cost end of boomer-friendly events, I have also enjoyed a master class conducted by a world famous pianist at a local music school and celebrated the 50th anniversary of Fiddler on the Roof at a sing-along event, among many other free events. And during the summer there are too many free outdoor plays, concerts and movies to count, including, most likely, some just a short stroll from where you live.
When people tell you that they could not possibly afford to retire in New York City on an average income, they are only thinking of the “9 to 5” city. In that city you are locked into tight schedule and have to spend whatever it takes to do anything. However, when you qualify for senior discounts and have the flexibility to take advantage of off-hours and last minute offers, your cost of living drops and you cannot possibly do everything that falls into your new affordability range. Even the cost of housing — the one cost that will be same in both “9 to 5” and “boomer” cities — is partially mitigated by the fact that you don’t need a car, and your property taxes are a fraction of what you’d pay in the suburbs.
So, check it out, and run the numbers. Your dream NYC retirement may be waiting for you!