Showing posts with label the best places to retire. Show all posts
Showing posts with label the best places to retire. Show all posts

Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Forbes List of Top Retirement Cities

Forbes Magazine periodically comes out with their choices for the best cities for retirement.  In 2013, the criteria they used was based on finding cities that had a low cost of living, low taxes, and low crime.  They also looked for cities with easy access to medical facilities, a wide selection of outdoor activities and plenty of  volunteer opportunities.  In addition, they considered the climate of their different choices, although they took into account the fact that many people do not want to move to a new region of the country and not everyone considers the Sun Belt to be essential to a happy retirement.  Therefore, some of the cities on the list are in the northern United States, in locations that get harsh winter weather.

On this particular list, Forbes did not take into consideration the local economy, which could be an important factor for those Baby Boomers who hope to work after retirement.  Consequently, be aware that some of these location may have high unemployment rates.

Forbes looked at 400 cities before coming up with their list.  Here are their top retirement choices:

Forbes List of Top Cities for Retirement

Alexandria, Louisiana
Athens, Georgia
Austin, Texas
Bangor, Maine
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Billings, Montana
Columbia, Missouri
Fargo, North Dakota
Huntsville, Alabama
Mesa, Arizona
Orlando, Florida
Winston-Salem, North Carolina

If you want to read more details about the criteria used in coming up with this list, you can read the full article at:

More Commentary about the Forbes List of Top Retirement Cities

The median home price in these cities ranged from a low of $127,000 in Bangor, Maine to a high of $208,000 in Austin, Texas, which means that retirees in a variety of financial situations should be able to find an affordable city on the list.  In fact, some retirees who have a lot of equity in their current home may even be able to pay cash for a small home in some of these towns.

One city that comes up over and over again on a wide variety of lists of popular places to retire is Austin, Texas.  For someone who is planning to retire in Texas, the area around Austin is certainly worth considering.  Just north of Austin is the popular retirement community of Sun City - Texas, which I discussed in another blog post a few months ago.  Although the median home price in Austin is above average for the United States, and at the top of the Forbes list, this city is a fun place to live.  It has a thriving music industry and numerous recreational lakes in the area.  Austin is the state capital of Texas and is also home to the University of Texas.  In addition there are several other small colleges in the area, such as Southwestern University in nearby Georgetown, where Sun City - Texas is located.  It is also worth mentioning that Texas has no state income tax, although property taxes are higher than in many other states.  (When we moved from Texas to California, we discovered that our property taxes were only half as much per $100,000 in home value in California than they had been in Texas.  This offset the state income taxes we now pay in California.)

Another city I wanted to specifically mention is Columbia, Missouri.  I grew up in Missouri and attended the University of Missouri at Columbia.  It is a charming small city in a beautiful state with gorgeous hardwood forests and rolling hills.  Missouri is also centrally located for people who want to live in the Midwest region of the United States.  From Missouri it is an easy drive to a number of other states, including Oklahoma, Illinois, Kansas, Iowa, Kentucky, and Tennessee.  The downside to living in Missouri is the extreme weather.  Temperatures can climb to the upper 90's, with high humidity, in the summer.  Freezing temperatures and snow are not uncommon in the winter.  In addition, some of the other cities in Missouri are not as charming as Columbia.  For example, St. Louis has had one of the higher crime rates in the United States during the past few years.

Orlando, Florida is the ideal city for people who love theme parks.  Orlando is home to Disney World as well as many other amusement parks and recreational facilities.  You could never be bored in this active area.  Like Texas, Florida also has the advantage of no state income tax.  I have relatives who live in Orlando and they love it.  The cost of living and home prices are quite low, with a median home price of about $135,000.  Small retirement homes can be purchased for even less.  Winters are beautiful, although it can occasionally get down to near freezing.  On the other hand, summertime temperatures can be quite hot.  Most retirement communities in the area have swimming pools, golf courses and other amenities, so this can be a very desirable area to retire.

There are cities on this list in almost every region of the United States except the western states of California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Nevada.  The closest cities to the western region are Mesa, Arizona in the south and Billings, Montana in the north.  Hopefully, next year Forbes will add some desirable locations to live out west!

There is much more information you will want to consider before choosing a place to retire.  Consequently, you may want to check out the topics below.  Each of these links will connect you to a number of articles on these topics.  You may be especially interested in viewing "Great Places to Retire in the United States."

Gifts, Travel and Family Relationships

Great Places for Boomers to Retire Overseas

Great Places to Retire in the United States 

Health and Medical Topics for Baby Boomers

Money and Financial Planning for Retirement

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Photo of Austin City Park courtesy of