What are the top five cities to retire in the United States? This is a difficult question to answer. For most people, the number one city to retire in is where their children and grandchildren live. Being close to family is one of the most powerful motivators for where people live.
Next, comes where your friends and cultural roots are. Many people stay in their neighborhoods after they retire because it is familiar, where their friends are and where they “fit”.
But, what if you are looking for change, a “better lifestyle”, no more shoveling snow, etc. Each of us has specific criteria that top our list of places to live. One might be cost, another would be availability of healthcare, or warm weather may top the list. Below are some of the “Top 5” places to retire in based on selected criteria.
Best Weather (Sunny)
San Luis Obispo, California – moderate weather, miles of beaches, thriving cultural scene, impressive state parks close by. Cooled in summer by the ocean and moderate in winter, this city has it all.
Las Cruces, New Mexico – average 350 days of sunshine and affordability. New Mexico State University supports a thriving arts scene. Close to Mexico and lots of outdoor spaces to explore.
Santa Fe, New Mexico – arts, culture, sunshine, big foodie scene and skiing in winter. At over 5,000 feet, summers are moderate and winters have a few days of snow.
San Diego, California – temperatures range from 60s in the winters to high 70s in the summer. Parks, beaches and 3+ million people in the county give you everything you need in a big city with a small city feel. With the large military presence here, veterans are welcomed and catered to.
Sarasota, Florida – on Florida’s gulf coast, 350 days of sunshine, white sand beaches, miles of hiking, golf and tennis year round.
Honolulu, Hawaii – sunny days, outdoor activities, unique culture are all positive features for Honolulu. The only drawback is the high cost of housing. If you can afford it, this would be a great place for your golden years.
Beaufort, South Carolina – this small costal town has all the southern charm you would like along with the southern laid back lifestyle.
Fort Meyers, Florida – relaxing beaches and parks, lots of other retirees and low cost of living might attract you.
Portland, Oregon – all the big city benefits with the small town feel. Lots of outdoor recreation nearby and a large senior community. The only drawback is the weather – winter tends to be rainy.
Santa Fe, New Mexico – warm weather, good food, plenty of art and culture. Lots of sunshine and outdoor activities to help with your health.
Best Urban Cities
Miami, Florida – has average temperature of 76 degrees, very walkable and a large senior community.
El Paso, Texas – low annual price for hiring in-home services, close to Mexico, lower than average cost of living.
Jacksonville, Florida – lots of beaches and lower than average medical costs.
Tampa, Florida – warm weather, close to Disney World and low cost of living.
Memphis, Tennessee – low cost of living, moderate temperature, southern lifestyle.
Best Places For A Working Retirement (from Forbes Person Finance 2/04/2013)
Amarillo, Texas – low home prices, cost of living 10% below US norm, unemployment rate of 4.1%.
Auburn, Alabama – cost of living 11% below US norm and 5.7% unemployment.
Lafayett, Louisiana – cost of living 12% below US norm and 3.7% unemployment.
Morgantown, West Virginia – cost of living 8% below US norm and 5.3% unemployment.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – cost of living 7% below US norm and 4.6% unemployment.
Best US Cities To Retire In (from Market Watch – February 23, 2013)
#5 Prescott, Arizona – active adult retirement community, good weather and home to several colleges.
#4 Austin, Texas – good weather, live-music capital of the world.
#3 Venice, Florida – planned retirement community – 55 and older with many canals.
#2 Sarasota, Florida – considered to be the cultural capital of Florida.
#1 Asheville, North Carolina – has charming environment with mild weather and has been desirable retirement community for the rich and famous and ordinary.
As you can see there are many ways to look at finding the best city to retire in. What is important is for you to set your highest priority and then start looking. From the lists above, most people prefer the sunbelt states.
Florida seems to attract a lot of retirees, but that is due in part to the close proximity to the heavy populated northeast of the country.
Don’t count out New Mexico, Utah, Colorado and Arizona. These states are showered with abundance of sunshine and lower costs of living. If you like the outdoors, those four states have a lot to offer.