Chat about Lawrence's attractiveness to retirees with Warren Bland

January 9, 2007

This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.

Warren Bland is author of "Retire in Style: 60 outstanding places across the USA and Canada." Bland last week listed Lawrence as No. 5 in the country as a great place to retire.


Good afternoon. Welcome to today's online chat with Warren Bland, professor of geography at California State University-Northridge. I'm Dennis Anderson, managing editor of the Lawrence Journal-World. I will be moderating today's chat. Professor Bland just released a study placing Lawrence as No. 5 in the country for the best places to retire. Welcome, professor.

Warren Bland:

thank you, Dennis. I'm glad to be with you.


Mr. Bland, if Lawrence is No. 5 as a great place to retire, how come it cannot attract higher paying jobs for workers that are far from retirement?

Warren Bland:

I think that the list may be misunderstood. Lawrence is certainly a good place to live but it ranks high on the list because it is also an inexpensive place to live and especially to buy a house. I am not an expert on macro-economics but I do know that many factors other than attractiveness explain the economic fortunes of a place.


Since Lawrence is one of the top places to retire, where/in which publications would you suggest placing ads for home properties? The house I'm selling is in the $150 - $200 thousand range, and it is close to KU and Downtown.

Warren Bland:

I am not a real estate expert but if I were you I would seek help from one.


I have a question. When preparing to determine where to live in retirment, what questions should a person ask themselves?

Warren Bland:

They first of all need to decide whether they really want to relocate and if so, why. They then should prepare a list of what features and amenities would be important to them in retirement. Then the search for an optimal location can begin, perhaps by turning to a retirement places guidebook like Retire in Style, which would help them determine which places are worth further research and several visits.


Retiring in Lawrence, Kansas. It appears to me, a person who has resided/worked in Lawrence for the last 30 years, there are two distinct types of individuals who can afford to retire here. Number one, (1) those duel income producing families who made over two hundred thousand per year, and two (2) people who are homeless. I just don't see how Lawrence can ever be considered as a place to retire. The middle income people who basically support both extreme ends of the income hierarchy cannot afford to retire here. And, with an never ending sea of real estate brokers/agents constantly jacking the price of owning a home it is getting harder to retire in the surrounding areas, tonganoxie, baldwin, etc. So, my question is, what income group are you pitching your book to? Or, is it based on the liberal lifestyle of Lawrence?

Warren Bland:

My book is written for middle income and upper income people since they are the population most willing and able to relocate at retirement. For them, Lawrence is highly affordable especially if they now live in very expensive big cities like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago. People from such coastal communities would likely find the politics of Lawrence moderate rather than liberal but this had no influence on my rating. Rather, I looked at the cost of living and amenity factors primarily.


Thank you professor Bland.


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