Have You Considered This? Best Cities for Successful Aging

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

August 14, 2012 — We’re as guilty as any other website – we just loving creating “Best of” lists about various aspects of retirement. And occasionally we like to poke fun at some of the “best” lists other groups come up with. But this past week saw a new list on the “Best Cities for Successful Aging” that is so fact based that it is hard to criticize. The Milken Institute, a West Coast think tank, has provided by far the most carefully researched and multi-dimensional study we have seen.

The Milken Institute came up with 2 different lists for its Best Cities for Successful Aging Index – Best Large Metros and Best Small Metros. There are 100 “best” metros on each. To develop the lists Milken sorted the Metros on 8 major criteria: general indicators, health care, wellness, living arrangements, transportation/convenience, financial well-being, employment/education, and community engagement. Each of the eight sub-components is comprised of multiple individual indicators — so there are 78 individual indicators in all! The Institute’s overall objective was to recognize and help seniors be safe, affordable, happy, healthy, financially secure, respected and fulfilled, and have access to the living arrangements, mobility, and transportation that suit their needs. They even go so far as to state that they want to promote competition so localities will to try to improve the social structures that serve aging Americans. In short, they want to shape the future and spread successful aging across America.

Observations
1. Some curious choices. Many of the “best” choices are towns in states that not that many people will look forward to living in, e.g.; Nebraska, Utah, Nebraska, Iowa, and Mississippi. These metros might be great on all these 78 indicators, but they flunk the weather and location test. Others are undoubtedly very nice, like New York and Honolulu, but are very expensive. That is not to say there aren’t many other wonderful choices that are not prohibitively expensive (like Pittsburgh, Ann Arbor, Chapel Hill, etc).

2. Data driven. We applaud the Milken Institute for their data-driven approach to finding a great place to retire and age. Some “best” lists are so subjective that we don’t find them very credible or useful.

3. Categories of aging. One of the very nice aspects of the Milken study is that it differentiates aging into categories – early aging (65-), and older (80+). We like that because our priorities change as we age, particularly when it comes to transportation, healthcare, and activities.

4. Each attribute is ranked by city. The best news here is that you can customize your own list – because the ranks and scores for each attribute are included. So if, in an extreme example, you are concerned about soda consumption under the “health care” attribute, you can weed out towns where sweet tooths are too acute.

5. Rank your own priorities. We recommend that every baby boomer do what the Milken Institute did in determining their best places to age lists – make a list of about what is important to you and then rank your choices accordingly. (see next point – Ranking Calculator).

6. A Ranking Calculator. The Institute has provided a ranking calculator that lets you customize your results. By changing the weighting for any or all of the 8 major indicators you can create a custom list of cities that fit your priorities.

The Milken Rankings
The Institute ranked the top 100 metros for both small and large cities. Here are the top 10 in each (overall).

Top 10 Large Metros:
Provo-Orem, UT
Madison, WI
Omaha, NE
NY, NY
Des Moine, IA
Salt Lake City, UT
Toledo, OH
Washington, DC
Pittsburgh, PA
San Francisco, CA

Top 10 small metros:
Sioux Falls, SD
Iowa City, IA
Bismark, ND
Columbia, MO
Rochester, MN
Gainesville, FL
Ann Arbor, MI
Missoula, MT
Durham-Chapel Hill, NC
Rapid City, SD

What do you think? Has the Milken Institute developed a list that works for you? Or are some our your top priorities neglected. Let us all know in the Comment section below.

Posted by Admin on August 14th, 2012

58 Comments »

  1. Lousy list. What about crime rate, social activities, impact of religious influence plus the weather and superior medical hospitals/doctors.

    by Mona — August 15, 2012

  2. Are you kidding me? Most of these places are snow belt cities! I was born and raised 50 miles from San Francisco…too much congestion, smog and sky high cost of living. They missed the mark on this list.

    by Jo — August 15, 2012

  3. From many places on this list, the key to “successfully” aging appears to be having money. Even in California, few people can afford to live in San Francisco. And unless you live in Georgetown in Washington, DC, which is very expensive, you would probably opt for the suburbs of Virginia. And if you want to live in the snow belt, you need many resources to get around easily.

    by Marie McLean — August 15, 2012

  4. Unless you happen to be in one of those places already, or have family there you want to have close by, this seems a strange list of, expensive, crowded, and cold places.

    by Susan Dee — August 15, 2012

  5. Washington DC? Whoever put this on the list does not drive or leave the house. Most congested city in the US. I am moving away as soon as i can.

    by John — August 15, 2012

  6. Have to agree with most. Live in NY and its a great city but for retirement I would think most would wish to enjoy the warm weather, less congestion and cost.

    by Michael — August 15, 2012

  7. Would be nice to see the remaining 80 places on the list. Very surprised to not find more Florida cities on the list of top ten in these two categories. Guess it all depends on who is doing the rating and how much exposure the raters have had to the places they are rating. Again, what is good for one retiring couple may not meet the needs and criteria of another couple. I like reading the comments of others looking at Top Retirements web!!!

    Editor’s note: Thanks David, always appreciate your comments! FYI, if you go to the source – http://successfulaging.milkeninstitute.org/bcsa.html – and click on Large Metros and/or Small Metros, then on Overall Ranking you can see the complete list of 100 each. Or, you can change the weighting and create your own list. Pretty nifty.

    by David M. Lane — August 15, 2012

  8. I live near Toledo Ohio and all I have to say is, youve GOT to be kidding! The only reason most of us have not left the area is that we can’t.

    by Gregg — August 15, 2012

  9. IMHO, some of the respondents should have used IMHO at the beginnings of their responses. Geez, folks, it’s only one group’s opinion … and a well-researched one. I like to see as many of these as possible … along with their scoring criteria and methodolgy. But, the respondents are always “enlightening.” 😉 BTW, our son (31) and his girlfriend (33) are divided over SF vs. DC. For their age group, these two are ideal. And, for SOME retirees, they could also be so. Both are superior for cultural, medical, educational, and other areas. For Mad Monk and his Misses, we just aren’t sure that ANY one place will be that Shangri-La, Utopia, Xanadu, Commune of Nirvana, etc. These might be achievable in the mind, but outside of that … probably not. Thus, we seek it in ourselves, our relationships (to each other and others). Such will certainly not make an unbearble place ideal, but could make a good place so much better.

    by Mad Monk — August 15, 2012

  10. There you go again…dissing the Midwest(“Many of the “best” choices are towns in states that not that many people will look forward to living in, e.g.; Nebraska, Utah, Nebraska, Iowa…”

    If you could just turn down the heat in the summer, warm it up a bit in the winter, add an ocean or mountain or two — anyone of those would be fabulous places to live. Have you ever been in Omaha, for example? Lovely place. Also, Kansas City (I know it’s in Missouri and Kansas) is a wonderfully vibrant location, even for seniors.

    by Patricia Kennedy — August 15, 2012

  11. This quote helps to put this study in perspective: “The question wasn’t ‘what’s the best place to retire,’ but what areas have the best amenities in the future,” said Ross DeVol, chief research officer at the Milken Institute and co-author of the study. (Quote is from the Chicago Tribune, 8/9/12.)

    Jan Cullinane
    AARP’s The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement
    The New Retirement: The Ultimate Guide to the Rest of Your Life

    by Jan Cullinane — August 15, 2012

  12. Are you serious. All too cold.

    by Victoria — August 15, 2012

  13. This study is really in depth and you need to look at the site to get at least a flavor of what it is measuring. If you look at the methodology they state that from a couple of surveys Health Care, Wellness and Financial Security are the top concerns of retirees. They weight these 3 areas 50%+ in the rankings.

    You then have to look at the subcategories that make these up to see what is going on. Some may really surprise folks. For example, tax burden is part of Financial Security but is only 15% of that category. The General category is 15% until age 80 and it contains weather as 30% of the category. Likewise housing costs are a small part of the Living Arrangements category which itself is only weighted 5% to 10%. Anyway it would take too long to go into all the detail but suffice it to say you really have to look at what they are trying to accomplish and what makes up the methodology and categories.

    The calculator is interesting but, unless I’m missing something, it only ‘re-ranks’ a metro area you choose by changing the weights. It doesn’t re-rank all the places.

    Well, I also think these are always interesting and helpful as points of comparison and even to get you to think about things or places you might not have thought about. If one or two criteria are of most interest to folks this probably isn’t the best analysis to use.

    Happy hunting!

    by Mejask — August 15, 2012

  14. I doubt that the city and state matters as much as the social connections people need. People who are members of churches easily and quickly reconstruct their social connections. Self-employed people have business connects through organizations. If we are moving to be near family, same positive outcome. But for the rest of us, it’s a crapshoot.

    And the comment about having money is absolutely true. Every relocation or retirement article I’ve read in newspapers or magazines assumes you have at least a million in savings, not counting real estate value AND continuing income.

    Just this weekend I talked to relatives that moved to a 55+ community and hate it – too many high-school-like cliques with strange rules.

    If I wasn’t paying high real estate taxes and absurd school taxes for Taj Mahal schools with professional sports stadiums and olympic pools and marble hallways, I’d stay put.

    I’m basing where I move to mainly on quality available of medical, dental and hospital services. Taxes are second and the rest is meh.

    by Ed Spyhill — August 15, 2012

  15. The list includes the place that we chose after many years of research: Pittsburgh, PA. We like 4 seasons, low taxes on retirement income, affordable housing, good quality health care, a convenient airport, and availability of cultural activities that a city can provide. Pittsburgh fit the bill for us. We will move there next year after our house is built, at a 55+ community about 30 minutes north of the city.

    by Pat Bretheim — August 15, 2012

  16. I’m one person, at least, who takes exception to the common assumption here that retirees simply can’t wait to move to a hot, humid climate like Florida’s (or most of the rest of the South)! Bah humbug. If one has allergies and/or asthma that just isn’t a good option. Not to mention that a four-season climate simply offers all kinds of good things that a mono-climate doesn’t/can’t (including wonderful gardening — and where I live, growing your own fruit as well.). I personally could not live happily without the kind of beautiful springs and falls that most of the country outside the South/Southwest have. And when you’re retired, snow is no big deal. Nor is cold. (It builds character.:smile: You rarely have to go out in winter if you don’t want to and you can sit by your crackling fireplace (ours is woodburning) and enjoy the lovely, quiet, gently falling snow; and the birds at the feeders. Yes, being near family is an issue for us, as for many people, understandably. We have family in Florida (Sarasota/Bradenton) and Sioux Falls, SD. Right now — for all the reasons I mentioned — we’re strongly leaning toward Sioux Falls, and are about to leave for a re-visit to help us get closer to a decision.

    by Marian Van Til — August 15, 2012

  17. Well I agree with everyone else. This list looks like where not to live. Snow, traffic, high costs, smog? None of these are even on our list of retirement options, nor will they be. Don’t get it.

    by Carl Bench — August 15, 2012

  18. No one in their right mind should move to Sioux Falls, SD. There is nothing to do and the airport only has a few flights.

    by leloughrey — August 15, 2012

  19. I will retire in a gated community in NE Pa to a lakehouse I bought in 2010 after I sell my NY home. Lots of lakes and dollar stores that will keep my wife happy. Ha.Ha. Lots of indoor and outdoor pools for the grandkids when they visit. Only 2.5 hrs from my NY home so I can still get to NYC when I want to. Taxes are low too. No big bugs or scorpions running around or those Florida Palmetto bugs that hiss and fly at you, therefore no nightmares either. Ha.

    by scott — August 15, 2012

  20. It’s easy to make lists when you are not in that demographic. I wouldn’t live in most of those places if they gave me a free house. Washington DC? A crowded, overly expensive, show-off place if there ever was one. Why would a retiree want to live there? San Francisco? Another absurdly expensive place which sits on top of a huge fault line. Only a matter of time before the big one hits and the weeping and wailing will begin.

    by DrJoel — August 15, 2012

  21. I just retired out of the Military and still need another career. But! this time not so extreme. I still have young kids and want something that has good schools, clean water and a light snow, but back up away from the hustle of the metro city. Kind of like the funny farm, with Chevy Chase! Mountains, Woods and Good People. Pro NRA and strongly believe in the U.S. Constitution.

    by Justin — August 15, 2012

  22. Pat Bretheim in Pittsburgh. I am originally from Erie and live in Texas now. Would like to consider Pittsburgh for retirement. What is the community you recommend there?
    Thanks.

    by Michele — August 15, 2012

  23. I live in smll town in duchesne utah , 4 mild seasons, low costs, no traffic, no congestion ,peaceful and only an hour or two drive to lots of bigger places , has good medical 30 mins away, library college close by, small town and peace! Low prop taxes. We have a great log cabin home here sellimg due to health crisis but great area no earthquakes, floods , fires and we have 2.5 acres 3500 sq ft home for 275 k with mt views,

    by Susan — August 15, 2012

  24. I moved to the Phoenix area from California about 2 years ago. What a difference. Great clean well maintained roads, still good prices for a home, nice people, soooo much to do. So much cheaper to live here, gasoline cheaper and My real estate taxes were less than half what I paid before. Yes, it is hot in the summer, but you can drive or fly to places like San Diego, or drive 2 hrs to the mountains in Flagstaff to escape. I was in San Diego for a month, easy drive. A big plus for me…no earthquakes!

    by Holly M — August 16, 2012

  25. Good comments from many. Any list that doesn’t take into account things like crime rate, entertainment and religion demographics isn’t just “lousy”, it’s ridiculous. My wife and I currently live in Central Oregon. Beautiful, but too cold for us about 2/3 of the year.

    On the flip side, Phoenix is too hot about that much of the time. Love the city, but not the heat! We prefer the Prescott AZ area, where we lived prior to moving to Oregon. Plan to move back there ASAP; haven’t seen anything on these lists to convince me otherwise yet.

    by Jerry — August 17, 2012

  26. @ Susan: Duchesne, Utah sounds great… and of course, it didn’t make this wonderful list of small metro areas at all – out of 100 towns! Will definitely consider. Love the CPSF on your home; that alone makes the place worth a look. Thx for the input; best to you.

    by Jerry — August 17, 2012

  27. I’ve traveled the world and the US as an airline employee. I’ve been in most of the cities mentioned on this web site.My dad was transferred a lot so I’ve lived in many as well. I am getting such a kick out of the huge variety of opinions! One person loves the 4 seasons and the laid back lifestyle; another finds it boring and hates the humidity and snakes. One likes the security of gated communities; another finds them restrictive and cliquish. One wants pro NRA; another wants a progressive & liberal community.What a hoot! Maybe we should form common grounds communities and if we build it, they will come! But how would we ever decide where to build it?? And then once ensconsed, if we all agreed on things, who would I argue and debate with?? Just goes to prove that it’s the journey and not the destination!:grin:

    by cherie — August 17, 2012

  28. I wouldn’t pick one of these places to retire to.

    by Dave — August 17, 2012

  29. Cherie: You summarized the entire human condition in 12 sentences. It’s called “variety and it’s the spice of life.” Kudos!

    by Roger — August 17, 2012

  30. Cherie, I agree with You and Roger. I believe people are nomadic and the native Americans lived this way of life. Staying in one place is comfortable and becomes boring. Yes, I too love the opinions and stories… Hmmmm, where to go next….

    by Larry P — August 18, 2012

  31. I LOVE this list because it’s based on data NOT opinion! Reading these comments, it seems a lot of people only looked at the list of cities, but didn’t click on the “General Indicators” tab and looking at the 78 different attributes that are important when moving to a new city/state.

    As for Washington, DC–no one really permanently lives in or retires to DC–we all live in the MD & VA suburbs of DC–30 miles away, but close enough to enjoy the city. My parents chose to stay in the area because they wanted to be close to their 4 children/10 grandchildren/friends/ex co-workers/doctors, etc. I personally plan to leave the area in about 10 years for a warmer & less expensive part of the country–told my Son I will pay for him to visit me!

    by Debbie from D.C. — August 18, 2012

  32. Basically ALL of the cities listed were not ones that I had or would consider living due to seasonal weather issues and high cost of living.
    One of the posts mentions crime rate and entertainment options, and these along with availability of quality/diverse medical treatment options is a significant factor as we age.

    by Denny — August 18, 2012

  33. The west coast is so forgotten. I live in So Cal and am planning a trip to southern Oregon to seek out a retirement spot. It will be very hard to beat Ventura County Ca. Don’t want to shovel any snow when I get old. Don’t want to be a shut in either. You all may want to take a trip west of the Mississippi someday.

    by Tom Z — August 18, 2012

  34. Tom, I agree that the west coast seems forgotten, but west of the Mississippi is extremely well represented.

    by eric — August 18, 2012

  35. Tom Z, some of us haven’t forgotten the west coast, it’s just that we can’t afford to live there. I’d move to Ventura in a heartbeat if I could afford it. Is that why you’re considering moving to Oregon?

    by Linda — August 19, 2012

  36. My brother lives in Portland (Since1976) and will retire in Lincoln City or Nehalem Oregon–he loves the sea coast of Oregon. The fault line runs through his property and while he is concerned about earthquakes and tsuanamis, he feels he cannot put his life on hold waiting or anticipating that may happen. He likes the moderate climate, inspite of the cloudy days and the rain and will never come east in the summer due to the high humidity.

    by Jennifer — August 19, 2012

  37. Another comment, my brother told me that for years people have been moving to Oregon for the cheaper real estate and healthier lifestyle…even a few movie stars/

    by Jennifer — August 19, 2012

  38. Regarding DC–I actually live in northwest DC and I am not in the suburbs. I bought into a co-op in the mid nineties when real estate was far cheaper here than it is now. If I wanted to retire in DC,it would have to be in the district itself, NOT the suburbs as we have regular bus service, a metro and can walk to many markets and even church all within a few blocks. At this time I would not be able to afford where I now live, so I am glad I bought when the real estate market was down. In the mid nineties you had to pay people to move here–in fact I got a one time tax credit. I have a large one bedroom apartment and many people buy here and stay for life–we have our own amenities like a market and dry cleaners on premises. This is what I would look for anywhere else. As we age, it is good not to have to depend on a car for transportation.

    by Jennifer — August 19, 2012

  39. I have been researching and reading comments on possible places to retire. With the huge economic change that is effecting so many of us and what was hoped for in “retirement,” I appreciate that this site is available for information on factual research and comments from all of you in the “search.” In reading the comments, it is amazing to see the range of ideas exchanged from so many different walks of life and individual outlooks. To me, sometimes it is so funny that someone may see where I live as a potential retirement location. Different needs. I am hoping within the next year to relocate looking at many of the factors in the Milken report along with comments about my target possibilities. For me, I am on my own, and am looking first of all for a place where I will have plenty of community, lots of transportation options–walking, accessing anything I will need as far as the basics–I would love to be able to walk small shops (please no Walmart) to get groceries, not deal with traffic, the rush, rush, of everything nowadays. I will be on my own. Children, of course, are finding their new lives and futures, and they are also looking to relocate out of New Mexico. I am truly trying to plan for a new home, possibly for the rest of my life, where an aging community is accepted, valued, and supported, and I have all the services I need at my fingertips. At the moment, I am so envious of the person from Washington D.C., who has the community, and the huge one-bedroom, and you can leave the car behind. I love art, music, meeting people from all over the world (I am an air force brat). I am very curious about Oregon (I want water–no more brown), Prescott AZ, and I hear North Carolina is a possibility?Want to hear more about Sioux Falls–and thank you, Jan Culinane, for the info on the AARP, the Single Woman’s guide.

    by Michela — August 19, 2012

  40. I agree with Tom Z regarding Ventura County Ca. Camarillo Ca. is as good as it gets. Any place in the southeast will have a hard time competing against Ventura County Ca.

    by Bob P — August 19, 2012

  41. Michela your comment reflects my thoughts well. As you narrow your search please continue to post your findings. For myself, I’m looking intensively at Asheville NC right now. But I think one needs a reality check as well–a visit there that is.

    by Mike A — August 20, 2012

  42. Some people are what I call “serial relocators.” They might relocate in their late 50s/early 60s, then relocate again when they need more services because of health-related or mobility issues. The Milken Institute is looking at places that offer help for those who are at this point. If you’re financially, physically, and mentally independent, this list may not be of use to you. But, it’s always good to look at the larger community when you relocate. Does it have the service you’ll need? One-stop shopping for aging services? Roads that accommodate walkers, bikers, and cars? Benches along the roads to rest? Walkability? Services that will assist people with transportation, medical services, and social support? The study really looks at our “needs” as we age, rather than our “wants.” Many of us can indulge our “wants” for 30 or more years, perhaps, but we should always keep an eye out for our “needs.” And, even if you are married/in a relationship now, I suggest you look at a place through the lens of a single person, especially if you plan to age in place in your new location. Will it fit your needs? As a woman, there’s an 80 – 90% chance we’ll be alone at some point. (Michela, thanks for the shout-out!)

    Jan Cullinane
    AARP’s The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement
    The New Retirement: The Ultimate Guide to the Rest of Your Life

    by Jan Cullinane — August 20, 2012

  43. To Jennifer – I lived in Portland OR for a number of years, and the real estate there is quite high – well above the national average. There is limited new construction with a higher demand for housing. Outside of Portland, the RE costs are better, as long as it is not a tourist area, such as Bend. Oregon has income taxes, and Portland also has county income taxes. It is a really lovely area with good transportation, great lifestyle and great moderate weather, but no way I could afford to live there. For those who are still working, wages are lower than the national average, as there is not a lot of diversity in the business climate. Job opportunities are often quite limited.

    by Linda B — August 20, 2012

  44. Hi Linda:

    Oregon is far cheaper for those who re-locate from Hollywood and Beverly Hills,CA. Affordability is relative. That is why those from California are moving there, maybe not always inPortland proper. My brother started his own business within five years of moving to Oregon and is self-employed so a job was not the issue for him. He has a large log cabin on a lake and 15 acres south of Portland, just outside the limits where buidlign has been restricted.

    by Jennifer — August 20, 2012

  45. Hi Jennifer, Sounds like your brother is doing well. Yes, affordability is definitely relative. My intent was to add comment to your statement that “for years people have been moving to Oregon for the cheaper real estate”. We have lived in quite a few states in the US, from coast to coast, north and south, and found Oregon RE to be higher than the national average to purchase. RE taxes were lower, but we found that offset by the high income taxes and higher cost of living overall. We love the area, just can’t afford to retire there. We also found that the job market has a direct impact on the culture of the area and our quality of life, whether we were in private business or as an employee. So many factors to consider regarding location. Happy hunting to all. Love the comments and sense of humor on this site!

    by Linda B — August 21, 2012

  46. Mike A
    Curious as to why you are looking intensively at Ashville, North Carolina? I know it is beautiful there, and have been told it is a great place to live, affordable, with many cultural opportunities and great medical facilities. Not sure about the climate and humidity though.

    by Rory — August 22, 2012

  47. Rory. You said a lot already. But it’s climate is indeed a question. Even if I just rented for a year might not get a fair idea with climate being unstable and all.

    by Mike A — August 23, 2012

  48. I am single. Turning 71. Retiring due to some health issues and I guess being tired of the stress. Looking for sun, warmth, good walking to the stores, no golf please. I want a nice walking area independent of cars. Sidewalks if possible not walking the highway so to speak. I don’t want humidity, cockroaches, hurricanes, snow/ice and so on. Have checked around Phoenix..pricey and many places seem to be roach infested. Checked TX around Dallas….humid and mosquitos. I am now checking Las Vegas. Need a nice place smoke free as possible, nice walking to nice stores like Whole Foods, Trader Joes, etc. Some entertainment…bus or van maybe available. Safe…as I am in Chicago now and the problems are huge. What are the suggestions?:razz:

    by Ann J — August 27, 2012

  49. Ann J-have ou considered Nashville?

    by LisaJ — August 28, 2012

  50. Ann, this s just the kind of discussion that I suggested the single women forum for. Many of us in this same boat and hoping others would be able to shed light on specific communities. Here is the link to the Forum topic http://www.topretirements.com/forum/t2531/Welcome_to_new_Forum_topic_for_Women_and_Retirement.html

    by Nancymochogan — August 28, 2012

  51. I found this study interesting. I know what I want now in mid 60′ is not what I will want when I am 90. But I figure it will mean another move. Not tied to any area because of family. I have moved for jobs so there really is “no home” city or state. But then I rarely fit the typical retired profile…so I have to mine data where I can. I like data driven studies.

    by Elaine — August 28, 2012

  52. Nancymochogan, what is the purpose of a forum where one cannot post, etc.???

    Editor’s note: Linda, not sure what you are referring to. Any registered user can post in our Forum. If you are not already registered, here is where you can do that:
    http://www.topretirements.com/Login.html

    by Linda — August 28, 2012

  53. I am clearly a registered user since I have posted here. I was unable to post in the referenced forum.

    by Linda — August 29, 2012

  54. I am from Ventura County, CA. I shopped at the Camarillo outlet mall, and enjoyed the amenities of the communitity…BUT…I have a big heads up for everyone. There is a crime issue for this area that is scarier than heck. It’s full of gangs. We had drive-by shootings, my neighborhood had all the car windows blown out by gunfire as an initiation ritual, there was a lot of road rage…well…you get it. The trade offs were NOT worth the community amenities. For icing on the cake, I am now a widow as my hubby was killed in a road rage assault. Fair warning, and good luck to you all.

    by Shari — September 18, 2012

  55. Shari: I am very sorry for your loss; how terrible! I lived in CA for twenty-five years and still have friends there who tell me the same thing about gangs from LA and crime there in Ventura. A lot of these retirement websites praise the area as terrific, and years ago it was, but no longer. Crime, crowds and costs have all gotten very bad there, according to them. I spent quite a bit of time in the area last winter and I can personally attest to the last two. I also found that many retired folks are living in apartments there because they cannot afford to but a home, even in the over 55 developments. We visited a few places there and found that the majority of folks we met were QUITE elderly (80s and older). We’re not there yet (in our early 60s) and just felt it was too old for us right now.

    by Kimbee Jeanq — September 19, 2012

  56. I’m looking toward one of the top-ten SMALL (actually TINY) towns in the US … Nashville (no, not THAT one), Indiana … pop. under 1000, close to a university (Bloomington, IN), temperate climate for the midwest, and great community spirit.

    http://www.nashville-indiana.com

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nashville,_Indiana

    by Susan O — September 27, 2012

  57. […] Although you might not like all of its choices (in fact the reader comments to our 2012 version of Best Cities generated more than a few “you’ve got to be kidding” remarks), it is so fact […]

    by » Best Cities for Successful Retirement Living: The 2014 Update - Topretirements — December 16, 2014

  58. When I was in my 20s, I lived in Ames, Iowa (on the the Milken Institute list for the oldest old), for four (4) long years. I’m a native of Wisconsin, and even I found Iowa to have a terrible climate. The winters are numbingly cold with the wind quite literally howling at one’s door, and the summers are beastly hot. And what in the world is there to do there unless one is affiliated with the university? I certainly wouldn’t move back there.

    by Charlotte — December 18, 2014

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