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Where’s the best place to retire is a big question clients ask their advisors. While most opt for the most simple answers — stay put, move close to family or make that second home a first home — many retirees pick up and move. And according to five-year rankings of top cities to move to, it seems warmth is a big factor, but not always.
Over the past five years ThinkAdvisor has published rankings by WalletHub of the top U.S. cities to retire to based on four key factors (although many more metrics are counted into the equation): affordability, activities, quality of life and health care. The number of cities included 150 of the most populated U.S. cities plus at least two of the most populated in each state.
Of the top rankings in 2021, we found four cities ranked in all five years going back to 2017. Further, the same city has been ranked number one the past five years.
Others found themselves on the list as many as four times.
However, some cities ranked in the early years, such as Austin, Texas, fell off the top 10 listing, no doubt due to the city’s surge in growth and waning affordability. Atlanta was ranked No. 4 in 2017 and then dropped off until a reappearance in 2021 as number 10, no doubt due to the city’s regeneration.
Cape Coral, Florida, near Fort Myers, was ranked twice (#8 in 2019 and #9 in 2018) but then dropped off, although rankings seem to be fluid.
Cities named once in the five years include Cincinnati, Ohio (#7 in 2021), Casper, Wyoming (#7 in 2020), Jackson, Mississippi (#9 in 2020), Cheyenne, Wyoming (#10 in 2019), Honolulu, Hawaii (#7 in 2017) and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (#10 in 2017).
See the above gallery to find the top U.S. cities to retire ranked over a five-year period, the number of years they were in the top 10, and their 2021 rankings in affordability, activities, quality of life and health care (the lower the better).
We also included four honorable mentions, who made the top 10 in four of the last five years.