Many retirees decide their last homestead largely due to family location. But with today’s nuclear family being spread across the country, potential and even current retirees should look for other reasons to select a retirement place or community.
(Related: 15 Best States for Retirement: 2016)
Bankrate did a survey of various sized cities to determine different mitigating factors, including cost of living, crime rate (both violent and property), well-being for seniors, walkability, state and local tax burden, health care quality, local weather and vitality of culture. Here are the top 15 places to consider living, and if you’re already living in one of the best, consider yourself lucky.
15. Glendale, California
Just down the street from Pasadena, Glendale is a big little town in Southern California. Of course it’s California, so its cost of living is very high, as are taxes, and health care is below average. But the upsides are crime is very low, well-being is good, walkability is great, its weather is good and its local culture is great. And once a year you have easy access to the Rose Bowl Parade.
14. Bradenton, Florida
Sitting on the Gulf of Mexico just between Tampa Bay and Sarasota, Bradenton is surrounded by waterways of both fresh and salt water. Other positives include a low cost of living, average crime rate, good well being for seniors, low taxes, great weather and good local culture. Bankrate found only a couple of negatives: Health care quality is only average and walkability is below average.
13. Mesa, Arizona
The summer heat might be forgotten amid all the positives of retiring to this community. Cost of living is low, the crime rate is low, well-being is good, taxes are low, health care quality is good, and weather is good. On the other hand, walkability and culture get below average ratings.
12. Round Rock, Texas
Located just 20 miles north of downtown Austin (ranked the 16th best place to retire), Round Rock, home of Dell headquarters, is a hidden gem. Round Rock positives include low cost of living, low crime, great well-being, very low taxes, good weather and good culture. On the downside, it has poor walkability and poor health care quality, which might be of key importance to a retiree.
11. Scottsdale, Arizona
Located next to Phoenix, Scottsdale is a small city of 217,000. Close to the other retirement haven, Mesa, Scottsdale has a low cost of living, low crime rate, good well being, low taxes, good health care quality and good weather; however, it is below average in walkability and local culture.
10. Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Smack dab in the middle of Tennessee, and down the road from Nashville, Murfreesboro lies on the west fork of the Stones River. Positives include a low cost of living, good well-being, very low taxes, good health care, average weather and great culture. However, crime is high and walkability is poor.
9. Des Moines, Iowa
The capital of Iowa still has a small-town, “Midwestern Nice” feel. Positives include low cost of living, good well-being, average crime and walkability, low taxes, great health care and average culture. Alas, Iowa is in the Midwest, so those cold winters aren’t so nice, and weather is ranked below average. That said, it is reputed to have the best state fair in the Midwest.
8. Rockville, Maryland
Just north of Bethesda, located on the old Sinequa Trail, Rockville has a rich history in both American Indian and Revolutionary War periods. Positives include a low crime rate, great well-being, good walkability and great culture. The negatives include a high cost of living, high taxes, below average health care and below average weather.
7. Sarasota, Florida
Located on the Gulf of Mexico and just south of Tampa Bay, Sarasota has been a longtime retirement favorite. Reasons include low cost of living, good well-being, good walkability, low taxes, average health care, great weather and good culture. A negative? The high crime rate.
6. Nashville, Tennessee
Nestled in the rolling hills of central Tennessee, Nashville is good for more than just country music. For the retiree, it has a low cost of living, good well-being, very low taxes, good health care quality, average weather and great culture. However, it does have a couple of downsides, including high crime rates and below average walkability.
5. West Des Moines, Iowa
Like its neighbor, Des Moines, West Des Moines includes many positives of living in the Midwest, including low cost of living, low crime rates, good well-being, low taxes, great health care quality, and average local culture. Downsides? Below average walkability and weather. Just can’t escape those Midwest winters!
4. Silver Spring, Maryland
Close to Washington, Silver Springs has a Southern gentility. Other positives include a low crime rate, great well-being, good walkability and great culture, especially being a stone’s throw from the nation’s capital. Negatives include a high cost of living, high taxes, below average health care and below average weather.
3. Franklin, Tennessee
Located about 20 miles south of Nashville, Franklin has that Southern feel complete with a Civil War history. Positives include low cost of living, very low crime rate, good well being, very low taxes, good health care quality, average weather and great culture. The downside is walkability is poor.
2. Alexandria, Virginia
Located along the Potomac River, and just next to Washington, Old Town Alexandria is a compact, walkable area with many historical flavors. Positives also include low crime, great well being, good walkability, low taxes, great health care quality, average weather and great culture. Its downside is it has a very high cost of living, as it also serves as a key home base of professionals working in the D.C. area.
1. Arlington, Virginia
Drumroll, please: The best place for retirees to settle is Arlington, Virginia. It, too, is situated along the Potomac River and across from Washington. Home of the Pentagon and Arlington Cemetery, it has a strong military air, but it has a Southern feel as well. Positives for retirees include low crime rates, great well-being, great walkability, low taxes, great health care, average weather but great culture. One downside: a very high cost of living.
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