Kiplingers Best Places To Retire

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How Important Are Family And Friends

3 Great States for Retirement

Ahmed Ali, outreach consultant with San Francisco-based home-management app Centriq, says that retirement is usually more enjoyable when you’re living near family and friends. There are plenty of hours to kill during your retirement. Visiting with friends and family members is one of the healthiest ways to pass that time.

For that reason, Ali recommends that retirees consider moving near their family members and not relocating across the country from them.

What if you move to a place where you dont know anyone? You might get bored, even if you move to a location with warm climates, water views and the rolling greens of golf courses.

And if you already live near family members and friends? Ali recommends that you consider staying in the same community after you leave the workforce.

“Why move for the sake of moving?” questions Ali.

A better choice? Ali recommends staying put after retirement but taking more frequent vacations or satisfying that urge for change by purchasing an inexpensive weekend getaway home.

We Home In On Two Places With Less Traffic And Lower Costs

Illustration by Kotryna Zukauskaite

This isnt about you, Northern Virginia. On second thought, maybe it is. We must be going. Not right now, but when we retire.

My wife and I have found a lot to like about our bedroom community near Washington, D.C. Access to the best of the arts, the soulful vibe of the city, professional sports and the historical sites make my heart sing. Point the car west and we can be in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains in 45 minutes, or on Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park in not much longer.

But as we approach retirement, we have to look at whether it makes financial or lifestyle sense to continue living in busy Northern Virginia after we retire. For us, it just doesnt. In pre-pandemic times, traffic was always nightmarishand, due to construction of even more federal government buildings a mile from our house, it was getting worse. Plus, the cost of living here is high.

Weve been scouting potential retirement regions for a few years, and were keeping metro access top of mind. Two areas are making the cut: the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and the Lowcountry region of South Carolina, close to Myrtle Beach. In both casesand to a greater extent in South Carolinahousing and taxes, among other things, are less expensive than in Northern Virginia.

Examine Your Finances To Determine The Best Places To Retire For You

Perhaps the MOST important criteria for determining the best place to retire, is assessing what you can really afford.

Most people are not as prepared for retirement as they would like to be and housing is usually the biggest cost for any household. If you currently own your home, it may also be your most valuable asset. So, the decision of where to live is hugely significant for your finances and could make or break your budget.

You might want to consider using a Retirement Calculator to determine what you can afford and try different scenarios.

The NewRetirement retirement planning calculator makes it easy to try different retirement housing scenarios.

  • Start by entering some initial information and then see where you stand.
  • Then, try different what if scenarios. What happens to your retirement finances if you relocate to a more affordable home. Upsize to your dream home? Would you consider a reverse mortgage?
  • The NewRetirement tool also lets you also look at the zip code comparison information to compare financial averages.

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Where Is The Best Place To Retire In The Us In 2020

Out of the top retirement cities in the country, the best place to retire is The Villages, Florida, according to our study. With a median age of 66.4 years and a mean Social Security income of $25,505, this inland, golf-cart-loving Floridian community is about 54 percent seniors. The only downside is a fairly high median rent at $1,274 per month. Its now well-known for being one of the best places for retirees to live perhaps thats why its one of the fastest-growing MSAs in the nation.

Lake Success New York

These college towns aren

Lake Success, a suburb of New York City, took home the third spot on Niche’s 2020 list of best places to retire. Niche calls Lake Success one of the best places to live in New York. The suburb might be the perfect choice for retirees who want a quieter everyday lifestyle with easy access to the shops, restaurants and nightlife scene of New York City.

Niche says that Lake Success boasts a rural feel, even though it does offer its own mix of restaurants, parks and coffee shops. It also provides that quick access to New York City.

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The Best States To Live: The Bottom Line

All of these rankings are based on averages and selected data. With any average, there will be experiences that are better, as well as worse.

You may live in a state that the list-makers say has a poor system of health care. And yet, you have a wonderful doctor and have received the best medical treatment you could want.

The lists dont consider other things like the types of communities. For example, college towns are worth considering because they may have interesting activities like art exhibits, lecture series and classes to audit. Or maybe you want to live by the water or in the mountains.

This is all to say that the rankings are useful for painting a big picture. But your results may vary.

Dig Deep To Find A Good Match

If you’re at the beginning of your search, you can get some ideas by looking at some of the best-places-to-retire lists on the Internet, such as TopRetirements.com. Milken’s “Best Cities for Successful Aging” index examines 84 factors that it determined are important to retirees. Criteria include job opportunities for older residents, housing options, crime rates, hospitals offering geriatric services, levels of senior volunteerism, access to fitness centers, investment in public transportation, and the availability of arts and education institutions.

Topping Milken’s 2014 list were two college towns. Madison, Wis., which is the home of the University of Wisconsin, led the large-metro list and Iowa City, Iowa, which is the home of the University of Iowa, led the small-metro list. “College towns often offer vibrant health care systems, good cultural opportunities and good public transit,” says Milken’s Irving.

Meanwhile, FindYourSpot.com will conduct a customized search for you. You answer dozens of questions on your preferences for climate, recreation, community size and more, and the tool suggests possible destinations. With NeighborhoodScout.com, you can zero in on individual neighborhoods and find the percentage of residents who are 65 and older, the educational attainment of neighbors, housing types and other data.

EDITOR’S PICKS

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Here Are 18 Of The Best Best Places To Retire Lists

Best Places to Retire in the United States:

Kiplinger: Kiplinger looked at cost of living, poverty rates, well being scores, population data and retirement taxes to identify 50 communities throughout the United States.

Forbes: Forbes Magazine identifies 25 places which they believe offer excellent retirement valuethat is, a high quality of retirement living at an affordable price.

U.S. News and World Report: to identify the best places to retire, U.S. News looked at the 100 largest metropolitan areas. The top criteria used were: the happiness of local residents, housing affordability, tax rates and healthcare quality.

Retirement Living: Retirement Living has identified five off the beaten track communities that stand out as great for retirement.

Bankrate: Bankrate ranks all 50 states for retirement. Number one? South Dakota. The worst? New York.

WalletHub: WalletHub has different results about the best states for retirement. Their number one? Florida. The worst state to retire? Kentucky.

The Little Things Matter Too

Tax-Friendly States for Retirement

Jesse Silkoff, founder of Austin, Texas-based MyRoofingPal, an online marketplace connecting people with local residential and commercial roofers, says that people ready to retire need to look at the big picture when choosing a retirement locale.

This includes, of course, looking at big costs such as taxes, but also the costs of housing, utilities, food and medicine.

But there are other things to consider, such as amenities. Will a community offer the type of services, entertainment, dining out options or activities that you want to take advantage of when you retire?

For example: Will you always need to get into a car to access restaurants, shops and entertainment, or will you be able to walk to these amenities? Are there community activities for retirees? Do local businesses offer senior discounts?

“These are smaller things, but depending on the type of person you are, they may make the difference between one area versus another,” says Silkoff.

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We Picked 50 Of The Best Places To Retire

Thinking about moving in retirement? You’re not alone. About two-thirds of retirees plan to relocate or already have, according to a survey by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave, a research firm focused on the aging population. And while most pre-retirees expect to stay in the same state or region once they retire, 40% want to take the opportunity to try someplace completely different.

Luckily, no matter which state you land on for retirement, you can pinpoint a promising place within state lines to settle down. To help you narrow the choices, here we highlight one great retirement destination in each state that offers attractive advantages for retirees. We’ve taken into account living costs, safety, median incomes and poverty rates for seniors, as well as residents sense of well-being and the availability of recreational and health care facilities. Take a look at our 50 picks for top places to retire around the country and see which ones fit your dreams for retirement.

The list is ordered alphabetically by state. See “How We Picked the Best Places to Retire” at the end of the list for details on our data sources and methodology.

1 of 51

  • 15.2%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 6.1% below the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: $51,853
  • Community score: 63.3
  • State’s tax rating for retirees:Tax Friendly

These Are The Best Small Towns For Retirement

If you’re up for changing your 9-to-6 workdays into leisurely vacations around the region, look no further than these incredible Southern spots. With the natural beauty, the up-and-coming food scenes in more cities that we can list, and the arguably the best golf in the nation, retiring in the South is a no-brainer. You can switch those long days into afternoons on the beach, swap out your morning commute latte for a piña colada, and leave your work woes at the door. These Southern small towns have lots of charm and character, not to mention views of the Smoky Mountains, the Guadelupe River, the Blue Ridge, and Susquehanna. We’ve included towns like Auburn, Alabama where the university crowd peacefully co-mingles with retirees, Maryville, Tennessee where all nature lovers find a peaceful retreat, and Paducah, Kentucky where bourbon and music are never far out of reach. So, tell us where do you want to retire in the South?

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Activities Total Points: 25

  • Note: This metric is based on WalletHubs States with the Best Elder-Abuse Protections ranking.
  • Violent-Crime Rate: Full Weight
  • Property Crime Rate: Full Weight
  • Air Quality: Full Weight
  • Water Quality: Full Weight Note: This metric measures the number of drinking water violations from Community Water Systems per 100,000 Residents.

The Best Places For Retirees

50 Best Places to Retire in the U.S.

Youve taken cost of living, amenities and proximity to friends and family members into account. So, where are the best communities to retire in the United States?

Thats a largely subjective question, but here are eight suggestions compiled from some of the most-respected lists of best places to retire. These cities arent presented in any particular order, but each of them offers plenty to keep retirees happy.

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Our Cities Provide Plenty Of Space To Spread Out Without Skimping On Health Care Or Other Amenities

Choosing a place to spend your retirement years has never been easy, but these days, its particularly challenging. The coronavirus pandemic has caused some retirees to rethink plans to move to urban or suburban walkable communities. But rural communities, while offering plenty of opportunities for social distancing, may not offer adequate health carewhich is a priority for many retirees, particularly while COVID-19 infection rates are still high.

Some of these concerns could dissipate after a vaccine becomes widely available. But in the interim, its a good idea to reevaluate plans to moveespecially if you are considering relocating to an urban area, says Bert Sperling, founder of Best Places, which ranks cities around the country on a variety of factors. One of the reasons people are moving to those places is their vibrancy, he says. If the restaurants are going away, if its difficult to go to shows and museums, then what is the point?

That doesnt mean its too early to start thinking about where youd like to retire, and, once you feel comfortable traveling, youll probably want to test-drive some destinations. Weve selected seven cities that offer a combination of good health care, low density, a modest cost of living and low to moderate taxes. For example, the cost of living in Pensacola, Fla., is below the national average and there are three top-rated hospitals within an hours drive or less. The beach is lovely, too.

Why Relocate For Retirement

Days in a hammock on the beach? Fishing mountain streams? Long afternoons with the grandkids? Where you live in retirement will determine what you will do and with whom, which are big factors for your well being.

Where you live is also a HUGE financial consideration. Might relocating enable you to spend less? Release home equity? Reduce taxes?

There are lots of reasons to think carefully about where youll live in retirement.

Below are some resources to help you decide:

  • 18 of the best Best Places to Retire lists
  • 6 Quizzes to help you choose the best places to retire for YOU
  • A list of considerations for deciding whether to relocate or stay put
  • The top reasons why most retirees end up staying in their own homes

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Health Care Total Points: 25

  • Average Daily COVID-19 Deaths in the Past Week per Capita: Double Weight
  • Average Daily COVID-19 Cases in the Past Week per Capita: Double Weight
  • Percentage of Residents Who Are Fully Vaccinated: Double Weight
  • Family Medicine Physicians per 10,000 Residents: Full Weight
  • Gerontologists per 10,000 Residents Aged 65 & Older: Full Weight
  • Dentists per 10,000 Residents: Half Weight
  • Nurses per 1,000 Residents: Full Weight
  • Physical Therapists per 10,000 Residents: Full Weight
  • Number of Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors per 10,000 Residents: Full Weight
  • Suicide Rate for Elders: Full Weight
  • Health Care Facilities per Capita: Full** Weight
  • Quality of Public Hospital System: Full** Weight Note: This metric is based on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services ranking of public hospital systems.
  • Top-Rated Geriatrics Hospitals: Full Weight
  • Home-Care Facilities per Capita: Full Weight
  • Life Expectancy: Full Weight
  • Death Rate of Population Aged 65 & Older: Full Weight

Where Do Seniors Live

Top Places to Retire Overseas

One indicator of good places for retirees is how many seniors live there already. There could be a reason or two for the attraction to those places.

According to the most recent data from the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics, 14.6 percent of the national population was aged 65 and older in 2014.

According to that data, the states with the highest percentage of people aged 65 and older are:

  • Florida: 19.1 percent
  • Alaska: 9.4 percent

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Kiplinger’s Personal Finance: Which Are Tax

State and local taxes are important when choosing where you want to retire.

To move or not to move? That is the question for many retirees.

When retirees are trying to answer that question, they often overlook an important factor: state and local taxes.

Your state and local tax burden can vary widely from one place to another. The difference between taxes in City A and City B could be in the tens of thousands of dollars for some people.

Kiplingers recently updated Retiree Tax Map can help you see how all these taxes come into play.

With the handy tool, you can uncover special tax breaks for common types of retirement income, see which states offer property tax exemptions for seniors, discover each states average sales tax burden, and more.

Data from the Retiree Tax Map was also used to determine Kiplingers list of the 10 most tax-friendly and the 10 least tax-friendly states for retirees.

This years most tax-friendly state is Delaware, which has low property taxes and no sales or estate taxes.

On the flip side, New Jersey claims the dubious distinction of being this years least tax-friendly state for retirees. The highest median property tax rate in the country is behind the Garden States poor ranking.

The rankings also reveal two surprising realities. First, states without an income tax dont always offer the lowest overall taxes for seniors.

Retirees also need to pay close attention to property taxes.

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