Retirement planning must include transportation component

Dion coupleThe New York Times ran a recent story about the importance of considering transportation needs when you are planning for retirement.

The story highlights Roland Dion, an 81 year old retired marriage and family therapist, and his wife who live on the eastern edge of San Diego where cars reign supreme.  Everything the Dions do – doctors appointments, grocery shopping, going to the movies, or even just going to the beach – it all requires a car.  As Dion states, “‘if you don’t have a car, you’re stranded.'”

Though still regularly driving 16 miles on 3 different freeways, he has decided to start making plans to go carless in the future.

To begin the switch, he and his wife, also 81, took a day trip to the closest Trolley station and spent the day exploring Old Town via transit with a local nonprofit like CMT called We Get Around that promotes the use of public transportation for adults nearing the end of their driving days.  (If you are interested in a similar program in St. Louis, register for the Ten Toe Express and learn to get around the region using transit.)

Though the transition away from driving is not an easy one in San Diego, weighing the transportation options for a couple like the Dion’s is important in order to avoid being isolated in place.

The need to consider transportation options for aging adults is important because Americans are routinely outliving their ability to drive safely and not driving by choice is different than realizing you are no longer fit to drive.  Weigh your options and choose your path while you have the ability to make the choice!

Other factors to consider when planning your retirement are the fact that 25% of income is spent on transportation in car-dependent communities.  Compare that to the 9% of income spent on transportation in areas that are close to work, shopping, restaurants, and other amenities.  Also consider your network of family and friends and how able they are to provide transportation into the future.

The article then goes on to offer some guidelines for considering transportation for those planning their retirements.

  • “Analyze your current neighborhood in terms of where you typically need and want to go, and determine how you might reach those places if you weren’t driving.  Include leisure activities like classes, entertainment and simply meeting friends…
  • Look at the social support where you live…”
  • Consider becoming a volunteer driver through an Independent Transportation Network, where you can build credits for rides in the future by driving today.

Article source found on the world wide web October 20, 2014 at http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/18/your-money/when-retirement-planning-consider-transportation.html?emc=eta1&_r=1