Used to be, when people thought of Hoboken, New Jersey, they thought of On the Waterfront, Frank Sinatra, and probably a decaying town where landlords were setting their own buildings on fire for the insurance money. More recently, people tend to think of Hoboken as a sort of yuppie paradise, overstuffed with expensive condos and assaulted by loud drunks at night. Many (though certainly not all) folks who start families while living in Hoboken move away when the kids are old enough to head out to school, and overall Hoboken has a “sixth borough” vibe, which isn’t a bad thing.
Whatever your take away about Hoboken is, it’s probably not as a retirement destination. Too expensive, for one. Too loud, for another. Too crowded, too urban, too Jersey, maybe. But Time.com recently included Hoboken on its very short list of the seven best places to retire, and we concur 100%. Hoboken may not be your obvious thought when it comes to retirement, but it should be.
Time’s editors included Hoboken for the “urban enthusiasts,” that is, people who already like cities. Which makes sense; if your retirement dream is to go fishing and hiking in the mountains, Hoboken will be a disappointment. While Time concedes that there’s a lot to recommend within Hoboken itself, it’s clear from their article that the main reason they like Hoboken as a retirement destination is its close proximity to New York City. And we can’t blame them—the fact that you can be in Manhattan within half an hour just about any day of the week is pretty awesome. All of New York’s restaurants, museums, theaters, and activities are available to you, no car necessary. That’s a huge reason to retire here—you’ll never be bored.
But we here at HoLi can think of plenty of other reasons why retiring to Hoboken is a good idea:
1. All the Cities. Sure, proximity to New York is huge. But so is our proximity to Jersey City, whose downtown area rivals (and sometimes surpasses) Hoboken in terms of bars, restaurants, and entertainment. The shopping in North Bergen is great, too—in fact, the huge urban sprawl of this area offers nearly infinite resources, all within walking, biking, or a short car drive distance.
2. Home Values. Hoboken can be an expensive buy in, and folks staring down a fixed retirement income might find that scary. But because of our proximity to Manhattan and the twin financial districts in Jersey City and New York, those values can be relied on to remain strong. During the Housing Crisis of 2008, Hoboken’s real estate did better than most areas for this reason. So, a bit steep to get in, but your investment will be pretty safe.
3. Walkability. Getting older means fighting a constant battle with time, and walking more is a great idea. In fact, you can shed your car entirely and never miss it, because anything you want to do is within walking or PATH distance. You won’t have to worry about either losing your ability to get around if you can’t drive, or losing your independence.
4. Medical Care. Hoboken sports a hospital and plenty of doctors—and it’s also, once again, within minutes of some of the greatest hospitals and world-class doctors in New York City. As we get older we have a lot more health issues to deal with, and if you’re retired in Hoboken getting to the best doctors in the world is no problem.
5. Peers. People tend to think of Hoboken as a young person’s town, but the Time article revealed that about 17% of the population here is over the age of 50. In other words, you won’t be an isolated island of Get Off My Lawn in Hoboken—you’ll find plenty of folks who remember the same things you do, and understand your cultural references.
Hoboken’s not for everybody—at any stage of life. But it shouldn’t be automatically excluded from your retirement plans just because of the cliché retirement image of a condo in Florida, or a sleepy suburban subdivision. If you love the energy and access of urban life, rethink everything and buy in to Hoboken.