Don't Believe the Experts That Make the Lists!

The best and worst places to retire may include states and cities that should not be on the list. These lists are often produced by people who have never visited the place or even interviewed residents.

For example, Tennessee has been listed on both the best and worst places for retirees. Best place to live, because it has no income tax making it more affordable. Worst place to live, because of the high percentage of retirees living below the poverty level.

The often quoted U.S. News & World Report articles base their lists mostly on the cost-of-living rates and taxation. Because of this one-dimensional analysis, Connecticut, Hawaii, California and New York City are listed among the worst places to live.

So, Where Is the Best Place to Retire?

That decision will be unique for you. List your priorities.

  • Financial - taxes (property & income), cost-of-living, housing costs
  • Climate - "not too hot", "not too cool", sunny days, mild winters
  • Scenery - rivers, mountains, beaches, lakes
  • Medical care - quality, accessibility, proximity, life expectancy rates
  • Safety - crime rate, gated community, violent crime
  • Recreational opportunities - golf, skiing, boating, hiking, parks
  • Transportation - subways, bus system, trains, a major airport
  • Big city amenities - cultural, theaters, museums
  • Natural disasters - tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods

Is There a Perfect Place to Retire?

No. If there was everyone would retire there. And the results of over-population would occur. There would be higher housing costs, more crime, traffic congestion, etc.

There is not even a perfect place for you. There will always be something that could be better. Perfect, therefore, should not be our goal. But, we can find the best place to retire if we identify our priorities and find a place that fits our most important needs.

I suggest making a list of your priorities. Assign each priority a value. Organize the list and start searching for a place that fits your most important desires. It may be where you are living now. It was for me.

I live in a state that has four distinct seasons. I don't mind the snow as long as I can spend a couple of winter months exploring different southern cities and states.

How to Avoid Making a Mistake When
Choosing a Retirement Location!

The goal is to minimize the chance of making a mistake. I have several suggestions.

  • Research the place that you are considering. Contact the Chamber of Commerce. Learn as much as you can about the city, town or neighborhood.
  • Talk to anyone that you know and trust. Ask them about their experiences. Perhaps there is a local group that has presentations or discussions about retirement areas.
  • Consider small towns near larger cities.
  • Travel to the area a couple of times to experience the weather extremes. Live there for several months before making a final decision. You will soon discover where in the city, town or state, you want to live.

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See Best CitiesBest States, and Best Retirement Communities for more selection information. 

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