Gone are the days of people hitting retirement age, packing up and heading to Florida, and sitting outside their retirement home sipping tea and driving to bingo in their golf carts. Baby boomers reaching retirement age are looking for communities that offer plenty of culture and and active lifestyle. They are not ready to pack it in and move into “over 55” apartment complexes. Deciding where to spend ones retirement can be tremendously exciting. Without the restraints of a job, the opportunities are limitless.
Choosing which communities are best for retirement is very subjective. Scanning top 10 and top 100 lists will show you plenty of cities, none better then the other, each offering some similar benefits and unique qualities. It’s probably better for you to make your own list of what you are looking for in a retirement community, then look through these top 10 lists online to see if any of the cities mentioned meet your criteria.
One thing you will definitely find in common on these lists are cities in the South or Southwest. While boomers may not be flocking to Florida, it appears that heading to warmer climates is still very appealing. Arizona, Texas, California, and North Carolina boast some of the most popular cities for retirement.
What to Consider
Something that the most popular retirement communities have in common is access. They have access to airports, to a University, to cultural activities such as museums and theater, and to fine dining establishments. This seems to be in line with the trend that boomers want to be able to stay active and get to things easily. When choosing a retirement community, consider whether these types of things are important to you, and if you want a city that supports an active lifestyle.
In a survey by Met Life, boomers considered “old” to be age 79 and certainly do not consider themselves “seniors”. Since baby boomers are considered those born between 1946 and 1964, the oldest of boomers are just turning 65. However, with older age, can come the issue of health problems. The top cities boast excellent health care systems, and that may be something worth looking into, especially if you plan to stay in the retirement community you choose for any length of time.
A final thing to consider is the climate of the city, not in terms of weather, but in terms of real estate market, crime, and cost of living. Look into the availability of homes in various price ranges, and a cost of living that is in line with how much you have in retirement savings.
Some retirees still like to hold a part-time job both for extra income and for something interesting to do. Finding a city that has jobs that interest you could be a consideration.
Also, if you have close or extended family, you might consider how often you will want to see them. Perhaps if you have grandchildren, you want to choose a city that will allow for frequent and affordable visits.