Iowa City makes 'best places to retire' list

Magazine cites commute time, diverse job opportunities

Downtown Iowa City in an aerial photograph in Iowa City on Wednesday, May 14, 2014. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Downtown Iowa City in an aerial photograph in Iowa City on Wednesday, May 14, 2014. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

Short commuting times and diverse employment opportunities are cited by Money magazine for naming Iowa City to its annual “best places to retire” list.

Money notes that the community of 71,600 has a 3.1 percent unemployment rate and last year added 2,500 jobs, many of which are held by older workers.

“The University of Iowa is the largest employer, with more than 16,380 faculty and staff, nearly 30 percent of whom are 55 and older,” the magazine says.

The magazine cites Neil Quellhorst, 60, who became an adjunct professor at UI’s John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center after retiring as director of engineering at Rockwell Collins, The gig provides “a lot more personal satisfaction” than he got from his corporate career, Quellhorst said.

Money said Iowa City also is home to many start-ups. Richard Ferguson, 74, who retired as chief executive officer of college-readiness assessment company ACT in 2010, found a spot in the tech sector.

Ferguson is as an adviser to two local start-ups in the online-education field.

“‘Retired’ isn’t an accurate term for what I’m doing,” said Ferguson, adding, “Iowa City is a great place for people who want to continue to feel intellectually engaged.”

Money said Iowa City offers retiree-friendly services such as free transportation for seniors and plenty of health care options, including UI Hospitals and Clinics, Mercy Hospital, and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The magazine said residents looking for ways to become involved will find a wealth of options, from volunteering at the UI REACH program, which serves students with disabilities, to participating in the performing arts community.

While the magazine pointed out Iowa City’s positive qualities, it also said winter is a challenge, along with noisy UI students and an income tax rate that can hit nearly 9 percent.

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