What matters to you when choosing a retirement destination? The common perception is that retirement is all about beaches and warm weather, but there are other factors that are an important part of the decision process.
With that in mind, Bankrate recently published the results of its "Best and Worst Cities for Retirement" report for 2017, ranking major metropolitan areas based on healthcare, taxes, crime rates, well-being, cost of living, things to do, the concentration of senior citizens, access to public transportation, and yes -- weather.
Surprisingly, the top five cities to retire don't include any of the most tax-friendly states in the nation, and all but one is quite cold most of the year. Here's a rundown of the top five and why they made the list.
5. Providence, Rhode Island
The Providence metropolitan area may not be what immediately comes to mind when you hear of a "retirement destination." After all, Providence's weather isn't exactly tropical and its taxes are high. (Sidenote: All but one of the top five metropolitan areas on the list scored in the bottom half for weather.)
However, Providence has one of the best healthcare ratings in the nation, a low crime rate, and there's a relatively high concentration of senior citizens in the area -- all things that are important to retirees.
4. Denver, Colorado
Denver is another cold-weather destination. In addition, there aren't very many senior citizens there, with the 65-plus age group making up just over 11% of the population.
However, Denver is the most tax-friendly city in the top five and has a better-than-average cost of living. The real reason Denver is ranked so high is for the well-being of its senior population, where it took the number one spot overall.
3. Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles is probably the most typical "retirement destination" on this list, at least in terms of the weather.
To be clear, there are some significant downsides to retiring in the Los Angeles/Long Beach/Anaheim area. The healthcare system isn't great, cost of living is high, and there isn't a great concentration of retirees. California is also notorious for its high taxes.
In addition to the weather, Los Angeles made the top five for its cultural scene. As far as Bankrate's "things to do" data category, no other U.S. metropolitan area comes close.
2. Boston, Massachusetts
Another cold-weather destination in the top five -- and an expensive one at that. Boston ranked toward the bottom of the pack for weather and cost of living.
However, Boston has the best senior health rating in the U.S. When combined with a low crime rate, and excellent senior citizen well-being, it was enough to earn Boston the number two spot.
1. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Although it may come as a surprise, especially since many perceptions of the ideal retirement destination include a beach and some tropical beverages, Pittsburgh took the top spot in Bankrate's rankings this year.
It shouldn't surprise anyone that weather was not a strong point for Pittsburgh. In fact, on a 0-to-10 scale, Pittsburgh's weather scored a 1.1. However, Pittsburgh scored toward the top in cost of living, healthcare, and crime rate, and has a greater concentration of senior citizens than all but one of the other cities on the list.
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