The best place to retire isn’t Florida

If you’re about to retire, these are the 10 best cities to do it in, according to Bankrate.com.
Sorry, New York, you’re on the worst list this time.

Americans on the brink of retirement should head for rockier terrain.

Phoenix, Denver and Colorado Springs are among the top 10 best cities to retire, according to a Bankrate.com survey out today.

The full list includes:

1. Phoenix metro area, including Mesa and Scottsdale
2. Arlington/Alexandria, Va.
3. Prescott, Ariz.
4. Tucson
5. Des Moines
6. Denver
7. Austin
8. Cape Coral, Fla.
9. Colorado Springs
10. Franklin, Tenn.

Arizona cities showed up three times in the top 10 due to unparalleled weather and low property taxes, says Chris Kahn, research and statistics analyst at Bankrate.

“It’s just a great place for a low-maintenance, outdoor type of lifestyle,” he says. Plus, “your dollar is going to stretch further in Arizona.”

Bankrate ranked the cities based on cost of living, weather, crime rate, health care quality, tax rates, walkability and a measure of well-being based on surveys of seniors already in the areas. Retirees, in particular, need to prioritize cost of living because they’re relying on a fixed income, Kahn says.

However, proximity to family may often trump all other factors when it comes to deciding where to live in retirement, says Tom Warschauer, a finance professor and director of the personal financial planning program at San Diego State University.

“If the financial factors were the dominant factors, you would find everybody moving to the least costly alternative,” he says. “And that’s not happening.”

He recommends retirees also take into account whether they want to live in a community with people their own age or be in a neighborhood with a range of age groups.

While people might expect Florida cities along the coast to be some of the more desirable locations for seniors, Kahn says the major ones don’t make the top 10 because of how much it rains, the humidity and how expensive it can be to live in cities such as Miami. Northeast cities also fare poorly due to cost of living and cold.

Arlington and Alexandria, suburbs of Washington, D.C., are more expensive, but seniors benefit from Virginia’s superior health care system, the ability to get around on foot and a low crime rate. Denver also has a higher cost of living but received good marks for similar reasons as Arlington and Alexandria: low taxes, good health care and the ability to walk.

Des Moines made the list for being affordable and receiving high praise from seniors who already live there, plus, “Iowa has one of the highest-ranking health care systems in the country,” Kahn says. In Austin, retirees will have no state income tax, same in Cape Coral.

Bankrate found in a survey out in December that 60% of people who aren’t yet retired would consider moving in retirement.

This is the first time Bankrate analyzed specific metro areas as desirable retirement locations; it puts out a survey on the best states to retire each year, but “it’s not the most satisfying ranking,” Kahn says. “We’re basically combining the retirement experience (of) someone living in Manhattan with someone living in the Finger Lakes region. They’re two totally different things.”

The worst cities to retire include New York City, Little Rock, Ark., New Haven, Conn., and Buffalo.

Source: USA Today