If you remember, a couple of weeks ago I asked for ideas and suggestions about good places to retire for this article I was doing for U.S. News retirement
site. So here are the results based on my own experience, some research I did, and the input from you guys.
I did get some comments. A few of them were nasty (as they always are on the Internet), including one that said the writer is mentally handicapped (and people wonder why I don't use my real name on my blog). Some other comments were helpful, a couple were funny. I've added a selection of choice responses, in italics, where I thought they had any informative or entertainment value. Although several people offered a general comment, like: "Coincidentally, this is my exact top ten places not to live or retire in."
Um ... maybe you have a few choice comments of your own, which is okay, because as many people have emphasized time and time again, the best place to retire is always up to the individual, and where their family lives, and what climate and activities they enjoy.
Anyway, for your consideration . . .
Most retirement sites use affordability
as a top criteria in choosing best places to retire – as though
retirees are spending their last dollar. But recent figures show the
over-60 set is among the wealthiest groups in America, with lower
levels of poverty than average and greater numbers of millionaires.
|Quaint Cape Cod|
Of course, plenty of Baby Boomers may
never want to move, either because they can't afford to, or they want
to stay near children and grandchildren. But many are eager to
relocate, and don't want to go economy class. They know a high cost
of living often indicates that a place is desirable, so people are
willing to pay top dollar to live there.
You don't have to be a 1 percenter to
consider the following retirement destinations. But they all sport a
cost of living above the national average of 100, so you should have
a few extra dollars in your pocket.
Cape Cod, MA.
Located less than a hundred miles southeast of Boston, this spit
of sand where the Pilgrims stopped off before continuing to Plymouth
Rock offers many miles of seashore and over a dozen charming New
England towns. CC enjoys mild winters (for New England), cool
summers, and lots of golf, boating, art, history and summer
festivals. The town of Chatham, for example, has an upscale main
street, picturesque lighthouse and local airport. Cost of Living
New York, NY.
You don't need a car in this mecca for the culturally inclined, and
there are plenty of elevators which makes the city surprisingly
accommodating to the disabled. The Upper West Side, between Lincoln
Center and Columbia University, offers all the culture you could
want, including Tom's Restaurant of Seinfeld fame. Cost of Living
One person responded simply: "Who would retire in New York?" The person got a number of "Likes" and only one or two responses extolling the virtues of New York. The simple fact of the matter is that New York is a unique place, and some people love it, a lot of people hate it, and even more people (like me) think it's a great place to visit but they wouldn't want to live there.
|What's wrong with Washington?|
Summers are hot and muggy, but that's a small price to pay for the
cultural, educational and historic attractions available at no or low
cost. The Metro doesn't go everywhere, like the New York subways do,
but it provides fast, comfortable transportation. Cathedral Heights
and Cleveland Park both offer high-rise apartment buildings on the
avenues, and charming old houses on tree-lined streets. Cost of
I expected some blow back on New York, but was surprised at the enmity toward Washington (a place I would love to retire ... if I could afford it, which I can't). One reader said: "Being retired in NYC or DC is great motivation to die quickly." And an anonymous person replied, "I would rather spend the rest of eternity in hell than retire in either New York or DC." Yet another commented wryly: "I especially like New York and Washington. Why not Detroit?"
SC. The island, 40 miles from Savannah, GA, features
beautiful wide beaches, lots of golf, and a series of upscale
retirement communities. HHI is a bit off the beaten track, but
there's a branch of the University of South Carolina in nearby
Beaufort, and your family will surely beat a track to your door come
spring break. Sea Pines Plantation is host to the annual Heritage
Classic golf tournament. Cost of Living: 135.
Naples, FL –
Some people tout upscale Sarasota a hundred miles to the north for
its cultural attractions, but Naples is even more upscale, with its
own botanical gardens, museum of art, philharmonic center – and
more golf holes per capita than any other town in America. Naples is
not as remote as many people think: less than two hours by car to Ft.
Lauderdale, and nearby Marco Island offers a high-speed ferry to Key
West. Cost of Living Index: 160.
Several people agreed that Naples would be a wonderful retirement destination; many offered other Florida alternatives such as Clearwater, Venice, Vero Beach. So why is it that I can't get my beloved B to even visit Florida? She hates Florida. Some people do.
|Skies Over Scottsdale|
Austin, TX –
Located on the edge of the beautiful Texas Hill Country, Austin is
known for the University of Texas, the state capital, and its
world-class music scene. Georgetown, 30 miles north, features
Victorian architecture, picturesque walking and biking trails, and
the Center for Lifelong Learning at Southwestern University. Cost of
Again, nobody objected to Austin. Several people also suggested South Padre Island and other spots along the Texas Gulf coast ... and who could argue with them?
Scottsdale, AZ –
A perfect place if you like a desert climate, with plenty of golf,
tennis and hiking. Bonus: it's near Phoenix, but not in Phoenix.
Arizona State University is located in Tempe, just south of
Scottsdale, offering cultural and educational opportunities as well
as Pac-12 athletics. Paradise Valley is home to famous retirees
Muhammad Ali and Sandra Day O'Connor, while Anthem to the north is
ten degrees cooler than the city. Cost of Living: 120.
San Diego, CA
– The climate offers mild winters, with an average high of 50
degrees, and equally mild summers, with an average high of 76. The
downtown Marina district
|Sunset in San Diego|
has been revitalized with a new stadium, an
art museum, and a lively theater and restaurant scene. La Jolla,
Encinitas and Carlsbad are jewels that dot the coast north of the
city. Cost of Living: 145.
Everyone loves San Diego -- even the person who said he was a native of Northern California and would never leave.
Bellingham, WA –
This city, 90 miles north of Seattle and 50 miles south of Vancouver,
Canada, boasts more sunny days than Portland or Seattle, yet also
offers a mild climate that rarely brings a frost. It has fewer
doctors per capita than its larger neighbors, but boasts better air
quality and less traffic. It's also the home of Western Washington
University, and near the beautiful San Juan islands. Cost of Living:
One person objected, saying Bellingham has a high crime rate. Another responded: "No it doesn't."
Hawaii – It's a long way from
San Jose, but as one person said: “How long does it take to get
used to living in Hawaii? About 20 seconds.” Honolulu, with a
population of about 380,000, spreads along the coast on Oahu. The
island of Maui offers a more laid back lifestyle. Best place to live?
Anywhere near the ocean … again, if you can afford it. Cost of
So, go figure. Opinions are like noses. Everybody has one. Which all circles back to the truism that the best place for you to retire is where you have friends, family, and a reason for being there. But still, there's no harm in making some suggestions, throwing out some ideas. Just because we're getting older doesn't mean we're still not restless Americans, ready for the next adventure.