Dollars and sense: Retirees help boost your economy

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 22, 2008

By BEN MCCRORY / Guest Columnist

In an earlier column, I wrote about the economic impact of tourism. Equally important is promoting, developing, pursuing and establishing retirees as part of your community.

Baby boomers will continue to retire at a dramatic pace. In Montevallo, we love retirees; in fact, we should put up another billboard on the interstate that says “Send us Your Retirees.”

With retirees, according to Alabama Advantage, new jobs are created for goods and services. The business cycle is stabilized because most retiree income is not cyclical.

Retirees increase local and state tax revenue and enhance the local property base. Retirees are a clean industry, and they diversify the economy.

In fact, you might want to, as other cities have, think of retirees as permanent tourists.

We think of attracting retirees as one of the best forms of economic development. They don’t ask for tax breaks, nor do they ask for relaxed environmental regulations. Many rural communities and college towns without the urban infrastructure have a chance to compete for migrating retirees the way others compete for relocating companies.

While numbers vary, it has been revealed that the average retiree moving to a new community brings an income stream of approximately $60,000 annually with all income combined, retirement/pension, social security and income from investments. Along with the income retirees can potentially bring a net worth of approximately $600,000.

Attracting 10 retirees to your community can compare to bringing a small business with 25 employees and a $600,000 payroll with little or no investment in infrastructure.

Retirees are attracted to amenities and think highly of cultural activities and love first class libraries, plays, music, but also want a safe, friendly city to become a part of.

One of the most valuable assets retirees bring to a community is an experienced pool of talent and committed volunteers. Many communities, and our county for that matter, would be hard pressed to do without these valuable volunteers, especially with non-profit groups.

RETIREES, court them, spoil them and entice them to become an important and integral part of your city and community.

Ben McCrory is the president of the Montevallo Chamber of Commerce. He can be reached at 665-1519 or by e-mail at