Just can’t wait to retire to Maine

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Huh? Retire to Maine?

Has an odd ring to it, yet it’s happening. For decades, people from away have vacationed here, and people from here have retired to Florida or Arizona.

But healthy, active, wealthy seniors increasingly are retiring to small towns, according to a recent story in the New York Times. And several states are spending big money to attract them.

They are tired of high housing prices in urban areas, weary of traffic and eager to escape urban and suburban chaos.

The trend is breathing new life into small towns with diminishing populations and industries – and we certainly have a few of those in Maine.

For years, states have poured millions into attracting industry, and that’s still an important part of the equation. But new research shows that one job is created for every 1.8 retirees who arrive in a state.

Basically, retirees bring jobs with them when they come. And, contrary to long-held assumptions, they do not cost communities more than they pay in taxes.

Today’s transplants are generally in good health, have stable income streams, want to become involved in their communities and often contribute to local charities. What’s more, they tend to pay more in taxes than they receive in services, and they often start second careers in their new locations or open businesses.

Unlike younger people, they do not require new schools and other social services.

Generally, transplanted retirees tend to resettle in places where they have vacationed. In a sense, every summer and fall tourist to Maine is a potential future “investor” in the state’s future. They see retirement like being on vacation full time.

Maine has made fledgling efforts to attract retirees, but the experts quoted in the New York Times story said retirees are a growth business that no state can afford to ignore.

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