Southwest Cities Shine as Top Places to Retire

For seniors who plan to relocate during retirement, the American southwest is the place to be, according to new research from Bankrate.com.

Out of 172 cities analyzed by Bankrate.com, southwestern metros accounted for more than half of the top-10 best places for retirement.

Leading the way was Arizona, which had three metro areas make the list including top-ranked Phoenix (which included Mesa and Scottsdale), Prescott and Tucson, which ranked at the number three and four spots, respectively.

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Other southwestern metros such as Denver (#6); Austin, Texas (#7) and Colorado Springs (#8) also ranked highly as top retirement destinations.

The Best Places to Retire        
1. Phoenix 6. Denver
2. Arlington/Alexandria, Va. 7. Austin, Texas
3. Prescott, Ariz. 8. Cape Coral, Fla.
4. Tucson, Ariz. 9. Colorado Springs, Colo.
5. Des Moines, Iowa 10. Franklin, Tenn.

“Deciding where to retire is a very personal choice,” said Bankrate.com Research and Statistics Analyst Chris Kahn in a statement. “We ranked the cities on factors that matter most to seniors, but recognize that every city has its pros and cons that will be shaped by each individual’s personal experiences.”

Bankrate.com looked at several factors in its analysis, including local weather, cost of living, crime rate, health care quality, tax burden, walkability and senior well-being, as measured from the Gallop-Healthways Well-Being Index—a metric that quantifies how satisfied residents age 65 and older are with their surroundings.

Taking these factors into account, the analysis revealed New York City as the worst place for retirement. While NYC ranked first overall for walkability and for its wealth of cultural activities for retirees, the city’s high cost of living and tax burden can make it a difficult place to live for people on a fixed income, Bankrate.com noted. 

The Worst Places to Retire      
172. New York 167. Albany, N.Y.
171. Little Rock, Ark. 166. Hartford, Conn.
170. New Haven, Conn. 165. Oakland, Calif.
169. Buffalo, N.Y. 164. Indianapolis
168. Newark, N.J. 163. Cleveland

“Just because a city ranks at the bottom doesn’t mean it’s a bad place to spend your golden years,” said Kahn. “Soon-to-be retirees should focus on what facts are most important to them and then consult rankings like this to see what cities might best fit their criteria.”

Despite New York’s and New Jersey’s presence on Bankrate’s worst places to retire rankings, the region was one of the few that bucked the trend of declining reverse mortgage volume in May, according to recent analysis from Reverse Market Insight. 

During the month, the N.Y./N.J. region experienced a growth rate in Home Equity Conversion Mortgage endorsement volume of about 2%. The region was second only to the Midwest, which saw volume grow 4.6% from April to May. 

Meanwhile, the Southwest saw HECM volume drop more than 17% during the month, while the Rocky Mountain region saw volume decline 18.4%.

View the full Bankrate.com rankings.

Written by Jason Oliva

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