With life expectancies high and the option of quitting the 9 to 5 early a real possibility for some, finding a place that’s just right for your retirement has never been more important. Whether you dream of sunshine or want to put your savings to good use and find your dream house, here are four picks for places to retire in the U.S.
Let’s start with the obvious: the Sunshine State. Over a third of residents in Sarasota County, Florida are over 65, making this a top spot for retirees. The amenable climate is a huge draw; temperatures rarely drop below 60 degrees in winter and coastal breezes mitigate the impact of summer humidity. The area’s numerous visitor attractions make filling those hours of leisure time a cinch. Thirty five miles of flat, sandy beaches are perfect for early morning hikes and the warm water perfect for swimming. There are over a dozen theatres and twice that number of art galleries. Add to that the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, which also has a fascinating circus exhibit, and the Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy for culture vultures; the annual Film Festival has been a fixture on the calendar since 1998. Jungle Gardens and Marie Selby Botanical Gardens tick the boxes for those keen on wildlife and nature; if you prefer your green spaces to have flags and poles, there are over fifty golf courses in the area.
Palm Desert, California
While Florida has the highest percentage of over 65s, when it comes to raw totals, California’s in the top spot. Though many places in California are perceived as too expensive to be strong contenders for retirees, Palm Desert is bucking the trend. With a median age of 55.5 years and an increase of 7,292 people over 65 between 2000 and 2016, the stats don’t lie. So what’s the attraction? Again, a big role is played by climate – though summer temperatures are high, winters are mild and the lack of rainfall is a boon for those with ailments worsened by damp conditions. Active retirees are blessed with a plethora of opportunities for hiking, horse riding, tennis, golf and swimming. Dining out is a pleasure, with over 150 restaurants in the town, not to mention those in Palm Springs, just a short drive or bus ride away. If you’re more concerned with practical matters, the city scores well for safety and there are three big hospitals in the vicinity.
Though harsh winters might suggest otherwise, Maine scores highly when it comes to the percentage of senior citizens, ranking second after Florida. Those seeking a small town vibe are drawn to its coastal resorts and inland towns. Kennebunk’s most recent census statistics show that a third of residents are over 65. Some are snowbirds, of course, flocking south for the winter months while maintaining a summer residence in the area – the Bush compound is just down the road in Kennebunkport, for instance. While the cost of living doesn’t come cheap, there’s much to be said for seeing out your golden years in this corner of New England if you can afford it – low crime, a quiet life and good food, for starters. While you house hunt, check out the mansions in and around Main Street and on Summer Street – no harm in having aspirations, whatever stage of life you’re at.
The annual U.S. News & World Report list of the 2019 Best Places to Retire in the United States has just been published. This year, Lancaster snatched the top spot from Sarasota. Six factors are taken into account when calculating the rankings: housing affordability, desirability, retiree taxes, the happiness index, job market and health care quality. Lancaster scored especially well in terms of housing affordability and happiness. A little known fact: Lancaster was once the capital of the U.S. – but only for a day, September 27th, 1777. Things could have been so different, but these days its charming downtown and neighboring Amish farming communities make this a pleasant spot to move to when you’re ready for a change of pace. But just one thing: pronounce it Lan – kiss – ter, not Lan – cass –ter (are you listening Bradley Cooper?) and you’ll fit right in.