Thursday, August 11

Arizona City Ranks Among Best Places for Retirement

The latest annual ranking of the best and worst cities for retirement, compiled by consumer financial services company Bankrate.com, puts Scottsdale, Arizona at the #5 best spot on the entire list.

The report analyzed cities across the country and ranked them in nine different categories, including cost of living, climate, healthcare cost and quality, taxes, crime, well-being, walkability, and cultural vitality.

“We found that smaller cities and suburbs fared the best,” Bankrate analyst Jill Cornfield wrote in a press release. “Most seniors prefer to live in these types of communities because they offer access to big-city amenities without as much hustle, bustle and crime.”

Beating out Scottsdale were cities like Sarasota, FL, in the #4 spot, West Des Moines, IA, Franklin, TN, and Arlington, VA as the number-one best city for retirement.

In contrast to the stereotypes of a tropical getaway for retirees, many of the cities are instead focused on community-mindedness and affordability. “It’s normal for people to think about the ‘wow’ factor,” Cornfield said. “The best places tend to have a constellation of things that make your life easier in retirement: the cost is affordable, the weather is pleasant, and there’s access to good health care.”

While dreaming up places to retire may be a favorite American pastime, the reality is that fewer aging adults actually plan on getting there at all. According to a 2014 Gallup Poll, 49% of Baby Boomers said they expect to continue working through age 66 or longer.

The 2015 Census data indicates that some 16.4% of Arizona’s population is now aged 65 or older, up from just 13.8% five years previously. More Boomers are pursuing work instead of full-time retirement, either because they can’t afford to live off of Social Security or savings alone, or because they simply enjoy the routine and meaning that work brings to them.

“The social appeal of work is the most attractive to retirees,” Andrew Meadows of Ubiquity Retirement and Savings recently told The Street. “Whatever age you are, you’re always complaining about not being able to meet people. By continuing to work, you’re also continuously forming relationships.”

Retired or “semi-retired,” Arizona is still the place to be.

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