I’ve been looking at some recent lists of the best places to retire. They aren’t bad options. However, I think retirement locations really depend on the individual. No matter how cost-friendly it is, a place isn’t the right place if you don’t love it. After all, you’ve worked your whole life to reach retirement; you should definitely love where you live in those later years! Luckily, the lists do tend to reflect a variety of options for people with different lifestyles.
Retiring on the West Coast Requires Money
Forbes recently came out with their 2019 annual list of the 25 best places to retire. They specifically note that you’re not going to find many options in the Northeast or anywhere on the West Coast. That’s because affordability is one of the main factors that they take into consideration when ranking this list. Yes, the West Coast can be very expensive. If you want to retire in a place like the San Francisco Bay Area then you need to have a decent amount of money in the bank.
That said, I love San Francisco. I love living here. In fact, I really don’t want to live anywhere else. Will I be able to retire in San Francisco? I don’t know. I’m working towards it. But even if I can’t, chances are that I’ll want to stay somewhere on the West Coast. It’s the way of life that I prefer, even if I have to sacrifice financially in other ways to make it happens. Therefore, these lists of the best places to retire often exclude the very places I want to live.
Variety in Options of Best Places to Retire
Although the list excludes much of the West Coast, it does offer a lot of variety in other ways. The 25 cities they claim are the best places to retire range in population from 8000 (Brevard, North Carolina) to 1.5 million (San Antonio, Texas). While that excludes the largest cities in the US, it does offer a decent range for people to choose from. There’s also a range in median home price from $135,000 (Savannah, Georgia) to $297,000 (Wenatchee, Washington). That’s not a huge range but it reflects the opportunity to choose from different living styles. Whereas most cities listed are in warm locations, there are a few cities for those who think the best places to retire have many months of snow.
US News offers even more variety in their report. They include 100 best places to retire. These are generally larger cities than those on the Forbes list. Population ranges from 500,000 in Santa Rosa, CA (a West Coast option!) to the many millions of New York City (which actually ranks #16 on this list of best places to retire.) The difference between these two lists really highlights that people seek many different things when it comes to retirement and therefore it’s not easy to rank cities this way at all.
You Don’t Have to Retire in the US
Of course, these lists all offer options in the United States. However, you don’t have to retire in the US at all. If you’re adventurous, have family elsewhere, or just want to spend your later years somewhere new, then you might consider retiring abroad. US News has listed the ten best places to retire in Latin America, and many of the cities on that list hold broad appeal. So, if you’re looking towards retirement, don’t just rely on lists or what others have to say. Really think about who you are, what you want, and what’s realistic for you in your later years.
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Kathryn Vercillo is a professional writer with more than a decade of experience writing about healthy living and personal finance. She lives in San Francisco, where she has learned to maximize frugal living tips in order to thrive as a freelancer in one of the nation’s most expensive cities. When she’s not writing, she’s exploring the city on foot with her rescue dog. Learn more about her at www.kathrynvercillo.com.
Kathryn also writes about saving money with coupons over at GroceryCouponGuide.com