Advantages & Disadvantages of Retiring in Chicago
You think about retiring in Chicago but want to get additional information about the city, medical infrastructure, public transport, entertainment, safety, overall quality of life and much more before making your final decision in this regard?
Great! Stick with me since I will show you the pros and cons of retiring in Chicago in the following article.
Retire in Chicago – Overview
|Living Costs||While living costs in Chicago are higher compared to most other cities in the US, they are still lower compared to L.A. or NYC.|
|Housing||Even though housing shortage is a big problem in Chicago, rents and property prices are still far lower compared to Silicon Valley or other more popular regions in the US and pensioners have an easier time paying their bills in the Chicago region.|
|Climate||While summers are pretty warm, winters are really cold in Chicago and you should not retire in Chicago unless you really like the snow.|
|Crime||Crime rates in Chicago are pretty high and many retirees no longer feel safe in this region anymore.|
|Opportunities to Socialize||There are many senior centers, bars and other locations where you can meet up with other pensioners in Chicago.|
|Entertainment||Chicago is one of the biggest cities in the US and has lots of entertainment for every age group.|
|Public Transport||While public transport is decent near the Chicago city center, it becomes worse in the suburbs.|
|Walkability & Bicycling||Chicago is a pretty bicycle-friendly city and distances are also rather short near the city center so you will find most things for daily life within walking distance.|
|Medical Infrastructure||Many decent doctors and hospitals in Chicago so pensioners will find excellent medical treatment in case of emergency.|
|Supply of Material Goods||Pensioners find everything they need to live a happy and convenient life in the Chicago region since supply of material goods is pretty decent.|
Reasons to Retire in Chicago
- Chicago is a multicultural city
- You will find many great restaurants in Chicago
- Decent number of senior centers in Chicago
- Lots of entertainment in Chicago
- You can watch many great sports teams
- Easy to get around by public transport near the city center
- Chicago is a pretty bicycle-friendly city
- Pensioners can find most things they need within walking distance
- Decent medical infrastructure in Chicago
- Chicago is not as hot as many other major cities
- Rents are still affordable for many pensioners
- You can spend lots of time in nature
- Internet connection is decent in most districts of Chicago
- Chicago is well-connected to the world
- Chicago will be an important place to live for many decades
Chicago is a multicultural city
One advantage of retiring in Chicago is that it is a pretty multicultural city where you will have many opportunities to meet really interesting people to hang out with so you can make your retirement phase a really exciting period of your life.
Moreover, Chicago is also a pretty tolerant place where you will be welcome no matter where you come from as long as you are willing to adapt to local customs and traditions at least a little bit.
You will find many great restaurants in Chicago
Retiring in Chicago can also make quite a lot of sense since you will find many great restaurants where you can enjoy really tasty foods and this can make your life as a pensioner much better since you can learn to enjoy the little things in life and can also learn a lot about healthy nutrition in general.
Decent number of senior centers in Chicago
Since there are enough senior centers in Chicago, you can also hang out with many people of your age, play games, talk to each other and just have a great time so you will have a rather easy time socializing and can also make sure to maintain enough social contacts so you will never feel lonely.
Lots of entertainment in Chicago
Chicago is also a pretty vibrant city where you will find more than enough entertainment for every age group.
For instance, you can go to the opera, go to the movies, do various sports or just hang out in a nice bar and chances are that you will never run out of ideas regarding how to spend your time as a pensioner.
You can watch many great sports teams
Retiring in Chicago can also make sense if you are a sports fan who wants to watch games in person on a regular basis since there are many great sports teams in this region and you can therefore watch many games at the highest level and will never run out of options.
Easy to get around by public transport near the city center
Another upside to retiring in Chicago is that you can get around by bus and other means of public transport in a pretty efficient manner as long as you live close enough to the city center and this can be really important for pensioners to stay mobile and participate in society in general.
Chicago is a pretty bicycle-friendly city
If you don’t want to get around by public transport and are still fit enough, you may also just use your bicycle for driving short distances since Chicago has many bike lanes and you can therefore get from A to B in a pretty efficient manner most of the time even if you don’t want to use public transport or a car.
Pensioners can find most things they need within walking distance
Chicago is also a great city for pensioners since public infrastructure is excellent and supply of material goods is decent so you will find most things you need within walking distance and can get everything you need just a few minutes away from your home so you will not have to stress your body too much as a retiree.
Decent medical infrastructure in Chicago
Chicago also has some pretty good doctors and hospitals and as long as you have decent health insurance or just a really good pension, you can get really good medical treatment and can maximize your chances of overcoming health conditions you might experience sooner or later.
Chicago is not as hot as many other major cities
Since you will not have to deal with the heat as much as people moving to Austin and many other much warmer places, your body will also not be stressed as much by the heat in Chicago and your risk of fainting may be lower as well.
Rents are still affordable for many pensioners
While property prices and rents have increased substantially over the past decades, housing costs in Chicago are still far cheaper than in many other big metropolitan areas and you will therefore not have to spend as much money on housing as people living in San Francisco or other much more expensive regions.
You can spend lots of time in nature
Since Chicago is located at Lake Michigan and is also surrounded by nice forests, you can go fishing, hiking or do many other things in nature and can just have a great time outdoors which can help you stay fit in the long run.
Internet connection is decent in most districts of Chicago
Since you will have pretty good internet connection in Chicago, it is also pretty easy for you to stay in touch with your loved ones since you can make video calls and also stay in touch over social media so you can stay emotionally connected with your family and friends in other parts of the US or even the world.
Chicago is well-connected to the world
Another benefit of retiring in Chicago is that the city is well-connected to the world since it has a big international airport and your loved ones will therefore have a rather easy time visiting you.
Chicago will be an important place to live for many decades
Since Chicago is one of the biggest cities in the US, it will be an important economic region for many decades and you as a pensioner can greatly benefit from this fact since the city and the state will likely spend lots of money on infrastructure projects that will also benefit you in the long run.
As you can see, there are many reasons for retiring in Chicago.
Yet, there are also many drawbacks of retiring in Chicago that I want to address in the following so you can better decide whether you still want to retire in Chicago or rather want to spend the last chapter of your life in a different region instead.
Disadvantages of Retiring in Chicago
- High living costs in Chicago
- Pretty high crime rates in Chicago
- Many pensioners no longer feel safe walking down the streets
- Many people in Chicago live below the poverty line
- Many pensioners have trouble finding a decent place to stay
- Increasing level of inequality in Chicago
- Many pensioners have to work during retirement age
- You may just not like big city life
- Chicago is a pretty crowded city
- People in Chicago are often in a rush
- Chicago may be too cold for you
- Rather poor air quality in Chicago
- Many retirees have to live in dodgy neighborhoods
- You may get socially isolated if you don’t have money
- Your loved ones may worry about your well-being
High living costs in Chicago
One problem with living in Chicago is that living costs are pretty high.
In fact, drinks and many other things are pretty expensive and many pensioners really struggle to make a decent living in this region since their pensions are often just not high enough to pay for nice things that cost lots of money in this region.
Pretty high crime rates in Chicago
You should also know that Chicago has pretty high crime rates that are far above national average and this can be a real issue since you may always have to worry about getting involved in serious incidents in this regard and may have a really hard time enjoying your leisure in this place.
Many pensioners no longer feel safe walking down the streets
Due to high crime rates, many pensioners are also pretty scared of leaving their homes and therefore rather stay in their place which may lead to serious social isolation in the long run.
Many people in Chicago live below the poverty line
Another downside to retiring in Chicago is that many people in this region also live below the poverty line, including many pensioners who are often not even able to pay for basic expenses.
In turn, this is not a nice picture at all and many old people also become increasingly desperate since they no longer know how to make a living in this region.
Many pensioners have trouble finding a decent place to stay
Since housing shortage is a big problem in Chicago, competition in the housing market is fierce and many pensioners have a really hard time finding a decent place to stay since they will often not be able to afford lots of money for rent or may just not be the ideal candidate and landlords may choose a person with better income prospects.
Increasing level of inequality in Chicago
You should also know that Chicago has experienced an increasing level of inequality over the recent past and in case this trend continues, crime rates may become even higher and social cohesion may deteriorate even more.
Many pensioners have to work during retirement age
Since living costs in Chicago are pretty high, many pensioners who haven’t saved enough money during their active careers still have to work during retirement age to be able to pay their bills and this is pretty sad since they are often not able to really enjoy the last chapter of their lives since they often have to spend lots of time with things they don’t like.
You may just not like big city life
While many people like the comfort of living in a big city, you may belong to a certain group of people who just doesn’t like big city life at all and in such a case, you should rather move to Long Beach or other smaller towns instead of retiring in Chicago.
Chicago is a pretty crowded city
Another disadvantage of retiring in Chicago is that it is also a pretty crowded city and traffic is a big problem.
Consequently, you may not only lose lots of time in traffic when you try to get around by car but you may also always have to worry about getting run over by a car in case you get around by bicycle or just walk down the streets.
People in Chicago are often in a rush
Since Chicago is a pretty hectic city, people are also often in a rush and may not have the time to help you out in case you need support in various parts of life and you may also have a harder time making new social connections compared to people living in more relaxed places.
Chicago may be too cold for you
You will also have to deal with pretty cold winters in Chicago and if you are a person who really loves the heat and can’t stand the cold at all, you may be far better off moving to Houston or other warmer places instead.
Rather poor air quality in Chicago
You should also know that like many other big cities, Chicago also has pretty poor air quality and this can be harmful to your health, especially if you suffer from breathing issues at an older age which may turn into serious health conditions in the long run.
Many retirees have to live in dodgy neighborhoods
Since many pensioners are no longer able to afford to live in a good neighborhood in Chicago, many of them just have to go for rather dodgy districts where they don’t feel safe and also don’t feel welcome at all.
You may get socially isolated if you don’t have money
While Chicago can be a great place to live if you have the money to do many nice things, the opposite is true if you receive a rather low pension since you may just not be able to participate in society and may miss out on many nice things you could do and while many of your peers will have fun, you will just have to sit at home due to financial problems.
Your loved ones may worry about your well-being
Since Chicago is not the safest city, your family and friends may always worry about your well-being and retiring in Chicago may therefore not only be stressful for you but may also have an adverse impact on your loved ones.
Top 10 Retiring in Chicago Pros & Cons – Summary List
|Retire in Chicago Pros||Retire in Chicago Cons|
|Lots of entertainment for pensioners in Chicago||High living costs in Chicago|
|Chicago has decent medical infrastructure||Hard to find a decent place to stay for retirees|
|Decent public transport in Chicago||Housing shortage is about to get worse|
|Easy to get around by bicycle||Many retirees still have to work at retirement age|
|You will find most things within walking distance||Chicago has pretty poor air quality|
|Decent senior centers in Chicago||People in Chicago are often in a rush|
|Good internet connection in Chicago||Crime is a big problem in Chicago|
|Easy to visit you in Chicago||Many pensioners no longer feel safe in Chicago|
|Chicago is not a hot place||Your loved ones may worry quite a lot|
|Retirees can enjoy beautiful nature||Poverty is a big problem among pensioners in Chicago|
Is Chicago A Good Place To Retire?
While retiring in Chicago can make sense since you will have good medical infrastructure, decent public transport and solid supply of material goods, you should also know that Chicago is not the safest city and many retirees who only receive small pensions often struggle to make a decent living in this region.
Alternative Cities To Retire
If you don’t want to retire in Chicago, you should also have a look at the following articles:
About the author
This site is about living, moving and traveling to various parts of our fascinating planet.
My name is Andreas and when I was younger, I traveled the world and learned a lot about different cultures and countries.
Thus, I want to share my experiences with you so you can benefit from them and avoid common mistakes in this regard.
In my articles, you will find everything you need to find the best location for a happy and successful life.