Tampa, Florida Ranks As No. 1 City for Retirement

Affordability, jobs, activities, quality of life and health care were the five key dimensions used to determine that Tampa, Fla. is the overall No. 1 best place to retire among the nations 150 largest cities, according to a recent study by WalletHub.

Cities in warm climates comprise the overall top best retirement spots with Grand Prairie, Texas ranking second; Orlando, Fla. ranking third; St. Petersburg, Fla., ranking fourth and Scottsdale, Ariz. ranking fifth.

In fact, the Sunshine State comprises half of the top 10 overall places to retire.

But with many older Americans working longer years, and many local economics struggling to rebound from the Great Recession, its more than warmth that makes a state ideal for retirement, data show.

Two California cities rank in the top 10 worst cities to retire, with Fresno, Calif. in 143rd place and Stockton, Calif. in 145th place.

“The most significant factors retirees should consider when to retire is obviously wealth, can they support themselves in retirement without the compensation they have earned while working,” Marc A. LeFebvre, instructor with the Heider College of Business at Creighton University, tells WalletHub. “Health considerations are also a significant factor, if you’re in poor health the insurance coverage you receive from your employer might entice you to hold off retiring.”

East coast cities populate the majority of the overall worst cities for retirement, with New York, N.Y. in 147th place; Philadelphia, Pa. in 148th place; Newark, N.J. in 149th place and Providence R.I. ranking as the worst retirement location.

Chicago, Ill. round out the top worst cities to live in 146th place.

Nashville, Tenn. ranks as having the lowest adjusted cost of living, followed by Memphis, Tenn.; Birmingham, Ala.; Augusta, Ga. and Tulsa, Okla., respectively.

Alternately, cities with the highest adjusted cost of living include New York, N.Y.; Honolulu, Hawaii; San Francisco, Calif.; Yonkers, N.Y. and Jersey City, N.J.

While living factors are important, retirees should also consider socialization opportunities and comfort level, says John Grable, professor of the College of Family and Consumer Sciences at University of Georgia.

“It is more important to find a community in which one shares values, cultural identity, and social networks than it is to find the least expensive place to live,” Grable says. “For some people, this may mean living in a large city where costs are high. For others this may mean moving to a small southern town where costs are low.”

Cities included in the study were chosen based on population size, and costs were assessed under the assumption that many retirees would have fixed incomes.

Data used to create these rankings is courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Council for Community and Economic Research and other outlets.

See the full results of the study here.

Written by Cassandra Dowell


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