Alaska Missing the Boat on
Baby Boomer Retirement
By Mark Neckameyer
January 28, 2006
The Post World War 2 Generation, the "Baby Boomers"
seventy-five million strong, are getting ready to retire. The
oldest baby boomers turn sixty this year and not surprisingly,
lots of us are planning to move to new, smaller homes in exciting
areas that have lower than average costs of living and good climates.
Those of us who live on either coast, places like Los Angeles,
New York, Boston and many other metro areas have huge amounts
of equity in our homes to supplement pensions, Social Security
and the inheritances being bequeathed by our parents, the Depression/WW2
generation. We are a very prosperous demographic group.
Many states, especially Sun Belt places, Florida, Arizona, Nevada,
Texas among them are advertising and promoting themselves as
active retirement havens. They have figured out that retirees
spend money in their local economies, pay taxes and support local
merchants yet they require little from local governments in return.
Retirees don't have children to be educated in tax supported
schools and older people generally do not require the services
of police, courts and prisons. Our sole area of public tax consumption
is for medical care and that is assumed by the Federal government
through Medicare. Retires can be very beneficial to the fiscal
health of the states where they live. Sun Belt states are advertising
plans including no state income tax for seniors, discounts on
seniors' tuition at state universities and they are building
"senior centers" in cities where Baby Boomers may wish
to live. These ads which I see in magazines, on television and
receive in direct mail always mention great climate and recreational
opportunities. I have seen advertisements like this from South
Carolina, Mississippi and even Louisiana but have not ever seen
so much as one "re-locate here" ad from Alaska .
Anyone who has spent time from mid-Spring to mid-Autumn in the
Sun Belt can attest to how hot and miserable it can be especially
in the Summer months. The desert Southwest is incredibly hot
and the Gulf area is muggy, humid and teems with mosquitos in
the warm months. Alaska can and should boast about eighteen
hour summer days with temperatures in the high sixties most of
the time. The cost of living is surprisingly low compared to
other states with no state income tax, low gas and sales taxes
and housing costs half what they are in California for example.
There is the beauty of the glaciers and forests, wildlife to
see and enjoy and the fishing may be the best anywhere. The
cruise industry certainly recognizes that Alaska markets well
to senior citizens so what is holding back the "active retirement"
With the equity from a mostly paid off home in California or
New York, a person can buy two homes ... one in Florida for the
Winter sun and one in Alaska for cool, fun Summers. Even the
Winter in southwest Alaska is much more comfortable than it is
in the northeast U.S,. So where is the promotion? Where are
the Alaska Sun Cities being built? Where are the "Live
the Alaska Dream" ads? Who is screwing up?
Irvine, CA - USA
Note: Comments published
on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
About: Mark Neckameyer, a frequent contributor to our Opinion
section, presently resides in Southern California but has plans
to retire to spend Summers on the Alaska coast in two years.
He has been an active volunteer in a variety of civic activities
including animal charities and MADD and he has been a volunteer
in his local Republican Party during elections.
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.
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