One retiree boasts of his new digs in Pueblo
Retirement has a marketing problem. In a culture where almost every product is pushed, promoted and proliferated to a demographic that is at least half the average age of retirement, it is hard to see where the common 65-year-old comes into play.
“It’s a marketing problem,” said Pete Gourley, 71, a recent retiree who relocated from Westminster to Pueblo in November 2015. “People look at retirement as the end. As if life is over. I say life is just beginning.”
Gourley has a subjective look on retirement. Now two years out of the workforce, where he spent time as a pressman and graphic designer, Gourley chose to migrate south for retirement.
“A distant relative lives in Phoenix and I had read up on it as a decent destination for retirement,” said Gourley, whose spouse passed away unexpectedly in 2005. “Since it’s just me and my dogs, I thought Phoenix might work out, but I didn’t make it further south than Pueblo.”
Gourley, a resident of Colorado since 1993 – he and his wife lived in St. George and Beaver, Utah prior to moving east with their two daughters – decided he really didn’t want to leave the Centennial state.
“I really liked [Denver], but I wasn’t too fascinated by the skyline,” he said laughing in reference to the amount of construction cranes that decorated the Denver skyline in 2015 and currently. “I wanted to go somewhere that still felt like home, without feeling like that home was being invaded.”
In route to Phoenix, Gourley stopped in Pueblo to watch the daughter of a close friend and former colleague graduate from Colorado State University-Pueblo. It was then that he decided he was home.
“For retirement it was ideal for me,” he said. “I could still feel a good sense of youthful exuberance being in a college town, but also have plenty of time and space to myself miles away from any major city centers. And I wouldn’t have to deal with that Phoenix heat, which I was dreading.”
An additional factor that attracted Gourley was housing costs.
“I was looking to spend about $300,000 to buy a three bedroom house in Phoenix,” he said. “I know that sounds absurd for a man living on his own, but I wanted the spare rooms for my daughters and their families. I have nine grand children, so I need to make sure there is space for them if they all decide to visit at once.”
That $300,000 he was looking to spend in Phoenix went a lot further in Pueblo. Gourley was able to purchase a three-bedroom home in Pueblo West for just over $200,000. The kicker, for Gourley, however was that “it didn’t look like it was cut out of a mold.
“I don’t like Denver suburbs,” he said. “Those houses are straight out of the Twilight Zone in my opinion. Can’t tell one from the other. I have a beautiful home that didn’t require much work, which is good for me because I’m retired, and has a good size backyard where I can host gatherings for friends and family.”
Gourley remains very active – he completed his second marathon of 2017 in Costa Mesa, Calif., in May – and Pueblo is ripe with running and biking trails, easy access to the mountains and, of course, endless days of sunshine.
“It’s not like it’s some oasis that is entirely different from the rest of the state,” Gourley said. “I think it gets a bad rap, because among the other major Metro hubs of Denver, it doesn’t stand out. But I can tell you outside of professional sports and the light rail, there is nothing in Metro Denver that isn’t also in Pueblo. And it’s a lot cheaper.”
Those interested in finding retirement locations in Pueblo, visit the Senior Resource Development Agency at www.srda.org or by calling 719-545-8900.