Top Places To Retire
Upon reaching our golden years, many of us look around for top places to retire. The correct answer for you will depend on a variety of factors such as affordability, climate, community, proximity to loved ones, and quality of healthcare. Many seniors stay close to where they are used to living, but others consider it a great adventure to retire in a distant place where they can experience a high quality of life at an affordable cost. This article will list several rankings of the best and most affordable places to retire.
Top Places to Retire by Ranking
Most lists of the best places to retire consider comfortable climates, outdoor environments and activities, financial security, and safety as prime factors. Different lists can span the United States or even the entire world, giving you the incentive to choose from some of the best places near and dear to you either geographically or emotionally.
The AARP’s list of the top ten states for retirement ranks Florida, Colorado, South Dakota, Iowa, Virginia, Wyoming, New Hampshire, Idaho, Utah, and Arizona as the best states in descending order. Their rationale ranges from quality of life to quantity of retirement amenities to affordability to healthcare and notes that states such as South Dakota even have a high rate of employment for seniors who still wish to work on their retirement fund. Many seniors choose between these states depending on previous connections, budget, and preferred climates; some offer respite from cold winters, and others from hot and humid summers.
As far as specific cities go, the 100 Best Places to Retire list from U.S. News and World Report ranks several in many of the same states. Among the top results, Florida’s Fort Myers, Sarasota, Lakeland, and Daytona Beach exemplify the state’s year-round sunny climate and comfortable beach access. Texas earns top spots for Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas-Fort Worth for the state’s rich culture, beach access, golfing communities, and Mexican border access for vacations. Lancaster County in Pennsylvania gained a top spot for its pleasant farming communities, while Pittsburgh and Washington, DC gained top spots for their supportive metropolitan communities and healthcare. If you live in the United States and wish to remain in your home state, this top 100 list will have several options near you.
The Annual Global Retirement Index’s list of the best places to retire worldwide features Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico, Ecuador, Malaysia, Columbia, Portugal, Peru, Thailand, and Spain as its top ten countries. They chose these countries based on the cost of living, quality of life, healthcare, climate, availability of visas to international visitors, and rich cultural heritage and activities. Most of these countries feature warm, tropical climates that many seniors enjoy year-round.
Cheapest Places to Retire
Lists of the cheapest places to retire usually balance affordability and quality of life so that financial security can complement health and wellbeing. They also frequently calculate the affordability based on the cost of senior living, healthcare costs, and tax rates for retirees.
As far as the United States is concerned, Alabama, Arizona, and Arkansas are some of the cheapest states for retirement. Alabama does not require taxation for Social Security, pension funds, and other senior benefits, nor property taxes for people over 65, estate taxes, or inheritance taxes; however, it does require sales taxes. Arizona has a cost of living almost 4 percent lower than the United States average, and major senior living communities in Prescott, Tempe, Peoria, and Mesa. Arkansas has a cost of living 7.5 percent lower than the United States average and many popular senior living communities such as Hot Springs; it also substitutes sales taxes for taxing Social Security benefits. The other most affordable states for retirement include Colorado, Florida, Georgia, and Ohio. The overlap between this list and the states ranked best for retirement is in large part due to the importance of affordability as a factor.
The AARP also has a list of the cheapest U.S. cities for retirement. Birmingham and Montgomery are two Alabama cities high on the list. Ohio has three on the list, namely Toledo, Cleveland, and Akron. Still, other cities include Detroit, Michigan and Jackson, Mississippi and Memphis, Tennessee and Brownsville, Texas and Augusta, Georgia. These cities are ranked as cheapest based on housing, healthcare, and transportation costs.
When it comes to the cheapest countries in the world for retirement, the top ten are Panama, Ecuador, Mexico, Costa Rica, Thailand, Columbia, Indonesia, Nicaragua, Malaysia, and Cambodia. This list includes most of the same countries as the “top-ranking” list in part because of the comfortable climates and beachside environments, but also because Panama offers government benefits to seniors with pensions. Whether you have been to these countries before retirement or not, they have a clear appeal to seniors who enjoy traveling.
Choosing a Place to Retire
If you wish to retire in one of the states or countries listed above, there are several things to take into account. For instance, the cost of moving may be great if you choose to leave for a faraway location –which you will likely choose according to the proximity to your loved ones and other connections. When it comes to retiring in a tropical country that may be foreign to you, researching culture and which cities to avoid will allow you to stay safe and engaged in the community.
Other steps to retiring practically are renting a home before you settle into the city, researching government benefits, and making sure your prospective retirement community has the infrastructure and amenities you need. If you move into another country, be sure to consult an attorney to get your paperwork and visas in order. If you or your spouse have served in the United States military, you may also be able to join military retirement communities. The best cities for them include Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and Norfolk and Richmond, Virginia, and Austin and San Antonio, Texas and Madison, Wisconsin and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Raleigh, North Carolina and Omaha, Nebraska and Manchester, New Hampshire.
In summary, finding the right place to retire is an adventure unto itself. There are plenty of wonderful cities across the United States and the world for you to choose from.
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