"The lies we want to believe tell us something about ourselves."
-- Eula Biss, Having and Being Had

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Top 10 Places to Retire 2030

     Yes, that's right. Not the best places in 2020, but the best places ten years from now.

     We all know that today the most popular place to retire is Florida. Warm weather. Low taxes. Lots of golf courses. Plenty of beaches. What's not to like? Florida is followed by Arizona, then Texas, then the Carolinas. Retirees are drawn by the low cost of living, the warm weather, the recreational activities.

     But things are changing. Florida and the Gulf Coast are pummeled by more and more hurricanes and tropical storms. Arizona has been roasting in 100 degree heat all summer, with Phoenix topping 110 on more than 50 days.

     Will retirees really want to move into an area where the flood waters rise, forcing them to evacuate as soon as they arrive? Will they want to bake in the hot sun of the Southwest . . . or, just in case anyone can afford to retire to California, risk the fires and rolling blackouts of the West Coast?

     According to most experts, the country is getting hotter. Climate journalist Abraham Lustgarten in an article for ProPublica and the New York Times, says that Buffalo, NY (believe it or not!), "may feel in a few decades like Tempe, Ariz., does today." Meanwhile, Tempe itself will be sweating away in the triple digits.  

Buffalo, NY, street scene
   He also says that extreme humidity in the Mississippi valley, from New Orleans north, will make living conditions unbearable. Fresh water will be in short supply throughout the West and also across Florida, Tennessee and Alabama. He sees California-type megafires threatening the South from Texas to Georgia.

     While some parts of the U. S. bake in the heat, rising sea levels will chew up shorelines along the East and Gulf coasts, swamping many coastal areas and infiltrating underground aquifers. One estimate projects that high water will force some 13 million Americans to move away from the coastline.

     Experts predict the recent migration of retirees toward the coasts, and toward warmer weather, will reverse. Now instead of retiring to Florida or Arizona, people will head north. They will seek cooler summers. They will avoid fire-prone regions and shy away from low-lying areas subject to flooding.  

     So where will people be retiring in 2030? Okay . . . nobody really knows. But here's a good guess.

     1. Minnesota. The land of 1000 lakes is already rated high on many retirement lists for its low crime rate and great medical care (think Mayo Clinic). Minnesota residents also enjoy the longest life expectancy of any people in the country. Jesse Keenan, Harvard climate-change professor, seriously suggests Duluth as a promising location. He says the city should brace for a coming real-estate boom as climate migrants move north.

     2. Colorado. The state is high and dry, with clear air and access to plenty of recreational activities. There are good medical facilities and a wide array of cultural offerings. According to the Business Insider website Colorado has already become the quarantine location of choice, mostly for people moving from Texas and the West coast.

     3. Northern Florida. In 2030 people will still like the sun and warm breezes. Southern Florida will be awash in brackish water, with cities like Miami and Ft. Lauderdale separated from a beachless waterfront by huge concrete walls. But northern Florida is protected from the hurricanes, has more access to drinking water, and has a slightly more temperate climate. Lustgarten thinks Orlando alone may receive more than a quarter million new residents as a result of sea-level displacement, and it's possible that the Atlantic coast north of Cape Canaveral may still be habitable.

     4. Coastal Oregon and Washington. According to Lustgarten the migration from California, particularly Southern California, to the Pacific Northwest will only increase as people look for a better economy and more temperate climate. The megalopolis of Seattle will essentially merge with Vancouver to its north.

     5. Idaho. Another refuge for West coasters looking for clearer air, cooler temperatures, lower crime rate . . . and its up-and-coming wine country is not threatened by constant fires.

     6. Michigan. Lustgarten suggests Michigan has a climate that will only get "more temperate, verdant and inviting." He predicts a renaissance for currently downtrodden Detroit.

     7. Wisconsin. Almost as good as Minnesota, with plenty of drinkable water, cooler temperatures and a healthy lifestyle. Madison is home to a top university, while Milwaukee on Lake Michigan offers an underused infrastructure that could be brought back to life.

     8. Pennsylvania. The state has the cultural and seasonal advantages of the Northeast, without the high taxes and high cost of living. New Yorkers are already fleeing the city to settle in eastern Pennsylvania . . . close enough to the ocean to visit, but far enough away to avoid the storms and floods. Like football? Penn State hosts Big Ten sports (as does Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota).

     9. Vermont. It has the Green mountains and a green lifestyle . . . and according to Lustgarten, will soon have a more temperate climate. 

     10. Upstate New York. Cities like Rochester and Buffalo could revitalize an already-existing infrastructure, and offer safe, secure neighborhoods overlooking Lake Erie and Lake Ontario -- all with, you guessed it, cooler summers and milder winters.  


Anonymous said...

I have a friend who built a great house in Idaho. I would caution anyone considering some of these locations to do their due diligence, because culturally they are VERY different from, for example, the east coast. I'm in southwestern PA, a pretty conservative place, and I was genuinely shocked at those differences. When I consider options about moving later in retirement, I always learn as much as I can about who lives there, and how they think. My friend and his wife are in Georgia now (and he is a conservative Republican, born in Johnstown, PA).

gigi-hawaii said...

I think this list is interesting. I would love to move to the northeast, where it is multi ethnic and has access to Broadway shows.

ApacheDug said...

Actually I’m from southwestern Pa too, but the cultural (& political) differences can be radically different in a short driving time. I currently live in Pittsburgh, which is fairly liberal—but I grew up 60 miles south of the city, which is ultra conservative. When I retired in 2015, I tried moving back home... but after 30+ years, the differences were too great and I moved back to the city. Either case, I love Pennsylvania and Tom is right about the taxes, it's a great state for your social security, 401K & IRA.

Florence said...

I was born and have lived most of my life in Texas. However, I am seriously considering moving to a state which has a law allowing Medical Aid in Dying.

Arkansas Patti said...

Goodness the old places are looking pretty bleak in 10 years. You make Vermont sound good to me though should I be alive in 10 years. I'm all for cooler.

Elle said...

I'm not sure where you got the news that Idaho does not have a constant threat of wildfires. We have them every year and have much devastation of our land.

Your source is most definitely wrong! A friend just lost her entire lively retirement home/acreage she just set up this spring.

Ann said...

Looked up and down the east coast when getting ready to retire...Florida was not for us, or the Carolinas. Leaned toward Delaware but then found my pension would be taxed in Delaware - which would make the low property taxes not so attractive. Finally decided on a retirement community in Lancaster, PA that is a continuous care community. Have a wonderful, large apartment with a screened patio, beautiful grounds, lots of restaurants and entertainment(before Covid), and a great downtown filled with culture/history/restaurants just three miles away. Love living in PA !

Fred said...

If global warming does play out as suggested Canada should be very worried. Their citizens will be surprised to learn one day that the USA was "invited" to come in and stabilize their country. Better start building that wall now. While this is meant to be humorous does anyone doubt what we would do if push comes to shove.

Kay said...

Well... I see Hawaii is not on that list. This is not a great place to retire just because of the high cost of living, hurricanes threatening more often, beach erosion, and isolation from the rest of the U.S. On the other hand, we do have a lot of aloha and caring which is wonderful.

Cindi said...

I retired in upstate New York and each day I can't believe my good luck. The governor spent billions fixing up the hiking trails, encampments, lakes, ponds, riverways and all the state parks. If you're a native New Yorker all of this is free. If you earn less than $86,000 a year (jointly) you get a home tax reduction. If you are over 65, you get an additional property/school tax reduction. You can buy a decent home with a massive spread (acres) for $200K. If you want assisted living, there are many, many to choose from.
No hurricanes. No tsunamis. No wild fires. Winters are def milder (but you may get a teeny tiny blizzard or two, but so perfect next to a warm fire!)Summers are comfortable. Universities aplenty. Culture. Art. Museums.Plenty of local farms and dairies, so no threat of food shortages (buy directly from the farmers). And one day, when they re-fix NYC again, a bus or train can take you in on a senior discount.
Have no idea why our governor doesn't tout upstate NY all the more. Hudson NY is the secret home to billionaires, according to Forbes. Who knew? Certainly not I.
Plus we have Niagara Falls (which gov fixed up) Saratoga (great horse racing in a great town), Lake Placid (home to 2 olympics). Rochester and Buffalo are also being rebuilt from the ground up (as big corps set up shop there....like Amazon). Homes are cheap there. But not for long.
Personally, I think upstate New York has been the best kept retirement secret. Their loss. My gain. The pandemic brought upstate NY to the forefront. So many people solely concentrated on Manhattan, they had no idea what they were missing. Thanks to the internet (Zoom) people can live anywhere now. And thankfully, they chose upstate NY.

Tom said...

I agree completely, do your due diligence. One person's paradise is another person's hell. And besides, this is a projection. We don't know what will really happen. But Lustgarten does give us some food for thought. Meanwhile, I'm not investing in Duluth real estate -- but not in Florida either. And Elle, so sorry about your friend.

Olga said...

They are saying home sales are through the roof here in VT lately -- houses are sold within hours of being listed. Right now there is a very low virus rate and that has attracted some interest. The town where I live was a small village surrounded by dairy farms when I was growing up. It is changing rapidly and much more densely populated.

Anyone who wants to move here should be prepared to live a green lifestyle. We like out hybrid cars and composting and recycling are mandatory. No plastic bags in the stores. If you don't bring your own shopping bags to any store, you will be buying paper bags or carrying out your items unbagged.

It may get warmer in the winter but it is still really dark. Once that is fixed I will consider it a perfect state.

Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com said...

Hi Tom! I so agree that this is on the minds of many of us at this stage. And we really ought to be paying attention. Of course, I think we also need to accept responsibility for helping to bring this problem to the forefront as well. As along as a significant number of us continue to deny climate change and only consider our own needs about the rising temps, we are creating a world for our children to deal with--and that is really sad. I don't even have kids but I seem far more concerned about future generations and where they will live, the food that they will be able to/or not grow and the displacement issues that will face so many of them. While it seems logical that most of us won't have to deal with the change in climate in the next 10/20 years....someone will. Will our kids thank us or curse us? Time will tell. ~Kathy

Tom said...

Kathy -- You are of course right about those who deny climate change. But there's another problem which in my opinion may be even bigger -- those of us who give lip service to climate change, but don't really change anything in our lives to do something about it. Recycle plastic bottles and newspapers? Sure, that's good, but it's not nearly enough.

Susan said...

This was an interesting article. We live in Minnesota and love it here.
I do need to set the record straight: It is called the "Land of 10,000
Lakes" and we actually have more than that. Our winters have become more temperate and are quite pleasant. We have decided to stay put, when my husband retires this school year.

Jono said...

Another Minnesotan here, but grew up in Delaware within walking distance of Pennsylvania. There was a time when I was looking in other places. I liked Colorado, the Adirondacks in upstate New York where I once lived and worked, and a few select places in Idaho. I live about 120 miles northeast of Duluth about 5 blocks uphill from Lake Superior, but am currently visiting the Twin Cities which is considerably warmer. My parents retired to Florida and while living was cheap it was a pretty cheesy place in general, i.e. a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there. Things are nice on the other side of the northern border, too, but I'll probably just stay in Minnesota.

joeh said...

If I wasn't so ensconced with family and can't bear the thought of packing and moving at my age, I would go south from Jersey and drop anchor in Delaware...beaches, low taxes nice new retirement type communities.

Jackie said...

I just left Central Upstate NY. Unfortunately I never saw a "tiny" blizzard, only big ones and forget about sunshine from late October to April...nada, zip. So if you're older think about how short days and very grey cold winters may affect you. I left for Florida...maybe not the best choice for all but at least there's sunshine all the time and you can be outside to enjoy it. Much better for your mental attitude. Prices are good upstate NY though. Property taxes...meh.

Anonymous said...

We lived in what you refer to as Upstate New York for 45+ years while we were working. The area should more accurately be referred to as either "the Finger Lakes Region", to include everything from Syracuse west to Rochester & from Lake Ontario to the Southern Tier, or "Western New York" to include the area from Rochester west to Buffalo & the Canadian border, and down to the PA line. "Upstate New York" was co-opted by downstaters years' ago to include anything north of Yonkers to Albany.
We absolutely reveled in the Finger Lakes. The winters are usually overrated - 18" of snow rarely keeps the schools closed for more than a day - and most of us would gladly trade our winters for the glorious summers & autumns.
The ultimate downside to living in NYS is the incredible tax burden, primarily real estate taxes, imposed by the state/local governments and local school districts to keep them in operation. Reduction of the SALT deduction to $10K (more easily reached than you might think!) was the final straw that caused us to leave and become residents of Florida.
We miss the Finger Lakes almost every day, but the financial burden imposed on retired residents is overwhelming and can't be appreciated until you no longer have it hanging over your head.

Anonymous said...

Washington & Oregon are seeing more droughts and more wildfires. The governor of Oregon stated that this has been the worst fire season in Oregon's history because of the many structures damaged or destroyed by wildfires.
This trend is unlikely to change, it's consistent with the types of climate change hypothesized since the 1980's. There may be a few winters that are more "normal", i.e., more precipitation during the winter, & spread out, not coming through a few deluges along w/normal snow pack. Where I live, on the OR coast, rainfall has been below average for the past 5 years. This area is considered just to be "dry" , much of the rest of the state is in drought (by NOAA's standards). WA is somewhat better off w/regards to precipitation.
The more people, the more water they consume.