Showing posts with label best cities for retirement. Show all posts
Showing posts with label best cities for retirement. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Livable Communities for Retirement

Since the vast majority of retirees make the decision to continue to live in their current home or, at the very least, their current neighborhood when they retire, many people wonder if this is the best choice for them.  Now, AARP has come up with a matrix to help senior citizens compare the livability of different neighborhoods around the United States and enable people to look up their own community, or another one that interests them, and see how different neighborhoods compare with each other and the national averages.  Comparing different neighborhoods has just become a whole lot easier!

What is a Livable Neighborhood?

Of course, livability means different things to different people.  As a result, AARP looked at sixty different factors including: availability of affordable housing (including apartments and condos), access to work and play, transportation, the environment, engagement, health, opportunity, access to jobs, and amenities.

The AARP List of Most Livable Neighborhoods

When they were done with their research, including surveying thousands of people over the age of 50, here was the AARP final list of the ten most livable neighborhoods in the United States.  They have narrowed it down, not just to cities, but specific neighborhoods within the cities:

Mifflin West, Madison, WI
Upper West Side, Manhattan, NY
Downtown Crossing, Boston
South of Market, San Francisco
Washburn, La Crosse, WI
Downtown Sioux Falls, S.D.
Southside, Virginia, Minnesota
Downtown Bismarck, N.D.
Downtown Seattle
Downtown Los Alamos, N.M.

Other Categories of Livable Places to Retire

Of course, relatively few people live in the communities mentioned above.  In addition, those neighborhoods might not be anywhere near where you currently live or where you would like to live.  As a result, AARP also came up with several other categories of livable places.  These were:

Most Livable Cities
Best Cities for Staying Healthy
Easiest Cities to Get Around
Best Cities for Date Night
Best Cities for Making New Friends

Furthermore, they broke those lists down into three sub-categories ... large, medium and small cities.

It interested me that there were several cities on more than one list.

How to Evaluate Your Community

Are you curious about how your community compares to others?  AARP allows anyone free access to their matrix.  Here is how to find out how your community ranks:

1.  Log into
2.  Enter your address or, if your prefer, just your zip code
3.  It will show your livability score in several categories, including housing, access to work and play, transportation, environment, health, engagement, opportunity.

You can click on the various categories to learn more about each one and how your community ranked in a number of areas.

When I did this with my own community of Laguna Woods Village, California, it was above the average in five categories and below average in two.  It ranked particularly high in health, partly because there are few smokers, few obese people and there is plenty of access to exercise and health care.

My community's overall score was about the same as that of Austin, Texas ... another popular retirement city.

AARP Featured Cities

At the bottom of the website mentioned above, you can click on Featured Cities and see the scores of most of the major cities in the United States.  By entering a zip code, as described above, you can find out the details of specific neighborhoods in those cities.

Enjoy this fabulous way to research the communities where you might want to retire.  It is a great way to evaluate every place in the United States you think you may want to live and will help you decide which livable communities are right for you!

If you are looking for more retirement information and ideas, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this article to find links to hundreds of additional articles about retirement.

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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Baby Boomers Moving Downtown and Uptown

When I sold real estate in Dallas, Texas in the 1990's, my last project was a gorgeous high-rise loft building on the edge of downtown, with a fabulous view of the city lights.  Several of the buyers were people who had decided to shuck their suburban homes, their lawns, and their yard work, and move to this classy loft building.

In the 1990's, these people were considered urban pioneers.  They were moving into an area that had very few support services such as grocery stores, pharmacies and dry cleaners.  However, what they lost in convenient shopping at suburban strip malls they replaced with easy access to the city's top restaurants, bars, theaters, museums and cultural events.  Most of these high-rise buyers felt it was a fair trade-off.

Recently, both Realtor Magazine and USA Today wrote articles indicating that this trend has become even more common among Baby Boomers over the past decade and a half.  Many empty-nesters who are no longer worried about schools and playgrounds are deciding that they want to live closer to adult amenities.

While high-rise condos and luxury apartments in the downtown area of most cities can be more expensive than life in the suburbs, some Boomers with grown children have discovered that they can now afford to indulge this lifestyle.  After all, they no longer need to have three-bedrooms and a large amount of square footage.  In addition, hopefully they are no longer supporting their kids!

The trend towards downtown living can be seen in cities across the United States.  Here are sixteen cities that were specifically mentioned in the Realtor Magazine and USA Today articles:

Dallas, TX
Phoenix, AZ
Austin, TX
Nashville, TN
Portland, OR
New York, NY
Boston, MA
Philadelphia, PA
Pittsburgh, PA
Denver, CO
Sarasota, FL
Washington, D.C.
Boulder, CO
St. Petersburg, FL
Seattle, WA
Baltimore, MD

There are a few disadvantages to high rise living.  First, you have to carry your groceries and other packages much further.  You no longer have a garage situated right next to the door into your kitchen. Second, highrise living usually involves significant downsizing at the time you move into a condo or apartment.  Third, living downtown means you are more likely to experience issues with traffic when you need to go places that are not within walking distance.

As a result, I have also noticed over the years that some Baby Boomers prefer not to move to a high rise in the downtown area of the city and, instead, choose to live in uptown townhouses, since they are still convenient to all the restaurants, bars and theaters that the downtown area had to offer.

If you are looking for an opportunity to experience a new type of lifestyle, ask your Realtor to show you some examples of downtown highrises, lofts and uptown townhouses in your city.  You might be surprised at how appealing these homes can be when you no longer need to be concerned about schools and other child oriented neighborhood amenities.


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Public domain photo of downtown Dallas is courtesy of

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Popular Retirement Cities That are Right for You

Horseback riding is an amenity I
wanted in a retirement community!
Have you decided what you are looking for in a retirement community?  Some people plan to live in over-55 communities.  Others do not want to live in an area where children are not allowed to reside.  Some people want to be near the ocean; others prefer the desert.  You may be looking for an artist's colony; or perhaps you want a great place to play golf the year around.

One choice is to move to a mid-sized city that offers a variety of activities and affordable prices.

U.S. News and World Report, in their article "The 10 Best Places to Retire in 2012," came up with their list of ten American cities that could appeal to retirees for a variety of reasons.  Below is a list of their favorites.  The home prices listed below were 2012 prices.

Popular Retirement Cities

Flagstaff, Arizona has good year-round weather.  It does get snow in the winter, but it rarely lasts long.

Boone, North Carolina is an affordable mountain town.  There are three ski resorts in the area, and it is much cheaper than Vail or Aspen.  In fact, the median home price is about $215,000.

Traverse City, Michigan is on Lake Michigan.  You can buy a house near the lake in the $155,000 price range.

Walnut Creek, California is much more expensive than the other areas, but it has pleasant weather, a lot of retirees, and is an easy drive into San Francisco.

Ithaca, New York is a charming college town, home to Cornell University and Ithaca College.  You can take classes at the colleges, and enjoy spending your time learning and having stimulating conversations.

Lincoln, Nebraska was listed as a great place to launch a second career.  There are good career opportunities for older workers who are interested in technology, government, higher education and healthcare.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has a good mix of amenities and affordability.  Homes can be purchased for under $100,000, yet this is a city with a ballet, symphony, highly ranked hospitals and, of course, the Pittsburgh Steelers!

Port Charlotte, Florida is a bargain for people who want to live on the water in affordable housing.  Homes can be purchased on the waterways for as little as about $60,000.

Pittsfield, Massachusetts is a spot you may want to consider if you are an older single.  52% of the people who are age 55 or older in Pittsfield are single.  However, there are nearly twice as many single women as men, so that does create an unbalanced dating scene.

Santa Fe, New Mexico is the place to consider if you are looking for art galleries and a historic cultural blend of Anglos, Hispanics and Native Americans.

More Things to Consider When Choosing a Retirement City

When we chose our retirement community, we wanted to live in a adult community near the ocean, with lots of amenities.  Since we owned horses for many years when our children were growing up, I was thrilled to discover a place where I could continue to horseback ride, without the responsibility of owning and caring for a horse of my own.  My husband wanted a place where he could play golf whenever he felt like it.  The town of Laguna Woods Village in Southern California met our needs perfectly.

However, this would not be a good choice for someone who wanted to live near a ski resort or who loves to walk in hardwood forests.  There is currently no football team in the Los Angeles area, although you could drive down to San Diego.  When you pick a place to live after retirement, there are many things you need to consider, including the types of activities you enjoy.

Even if you are still a few years away from being fully retired, it is not too soon to start giving some thought to the type of community where you would like to live.  You may want to travel to some of these places on your next vacation, and get a feel for what it would be like to live there.

If you are interested in more information about where to retire, financial planning, medical issues to consider, travel and changing family relationships, you will want to use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

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Photo credit:  Photo taken by author, Deborah-Diane; all rights reserved.