Quality of life and air can be very good in smaller cities, making them a better choice for leading an idyllic life, says Sonal Sachdev

Costs are spiralling, nuclear families are the norm and old-age savings seem to go only a little distance as life expectancies rise. Inflation is a savings guzzler for the elderly. Yet, it seems difficult to leave the humdrum of the big city to settle in a small town. Is it really?

If your idea of a small town was a semi-urban aggregation with single-storey houses, tiny shops, crowded markets and limited recreational avenues, think again. Second tier cities in India are offering everything city-buffs crave for—modern amenities in housing, malls, multiplexes, McDonalds, KFC, Dominos, even resto-bars and lounges. My journey by road across the States of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat and Rajasthan, have revealed to me the transformation that’s taking place beyond the Big 6—Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and NCR. What’s more, many of the emerging cities have caught the attention of reputed city developers, who have been early to spot the tremendous opportunities beyond their city walls.

These factors point to an option for those who have stepped out of the rat race. Quality of life and air can be very good in these smaller cities, making them ideal for leading an idyllic life. What’s more, the good life here is a lot easier on the purse.

In a broader sense, however, the emerging cities present an enticing opportunity for those looking to buy homes for their sunset years. You could get a sprawling home in a B city for far less than what an apartment might cost you in a metro. And with property sales in a slump across most markets, buying a home for the future at a steal-away price, and on an EMI that doesn’t pinch, can be a good investment for the future. Think of it as a vacation home that will transform into your retirement home in the future—at a cost that’s about 25-30% of what you’d pay in most Tier-I cities.

Formerly Editor, Outlook Business and Executive Editor, NDTV-Profit, the writer is now an entrepreneur and takes keen interest in personal finance. Contact him at hinduhabitat@gmail.com