WalletHub recently ranked the 150 most populated cities based on their friendliness to retirees. Cities were scored in four equally weighted categories: affordability, activities, quality of life and health care.
There was a wide divergence between the top cities’ overall rank and their scores in each category. For example, Overland Park ranked 103 in WalletHub’s affordability score, one of the lowest scores in the 150 cities analyzed, but was No. 1 in health care. Orlando, which was No. 2 for activities, only mustered a score of 104 for quality of life.
Maurice MacDonald, professor of personal financial planning at Kansas State University and a commenter on WalletHub’s expert panel, said that retirees should consider carefully a move to a trendy area. “Stability is important to predict budgetary needs, so moving to rent in a trendy area that might experience home price, and thus rental price, appreciation is important to investigate,” he said. Furthermore, “moving to a hot spot for all retirees might get you into an area that is expanding services that have to be paid for down the road at a higher than expected rate.”
To determine the affordability score, WalletHub considered a city’s adjusted cost of living, and gave a half weight to the annual cost of in-home services and the state’s ranking in WalletHub’s Taxpayer report (that data is only available at a state level).
(Check out 20 Best & Worst Tax States.)
The activities score was based on the concentration of recreation and senior centers, fishing facilities and public golf courses; volunteer opportunities for adults; and WalletHub’s Recreation report ranking. WalletHub also considered hiking areas at a lower weighting.
Quality of life was measured by the percentage of the population over 65; the labor market’s friendliness to oder workers; and violent and property crime rates. The city’s rank in WalletHub’s Mild Weather report was double-weighted, and air and water quality were given half weight.
The health care score was based on the concentration of family and general physicians, dentists (at half weight), nurses, health care facilities and home care facilities.
Public hospital rankings and the death rate for people 65 and older, data for which was only available at the state level, were also considered.