October 16, 2019 – According to our surveys, the most popular places to retire in America are in the Southeast. In that research 48% of respondents said they would like to retire in the Southeast, twice as many as for the Southwest, the next highest choice. This is our 2019 list of the 20 most popular places to retire in the Southeast, the second in this year’s “Best Places” series. Here are links to other reports: “The Top 20 Places to Retire in the Southwest” and the 20 Most Popular Places to Retire in the West (California to Colorado and points north, which will come out in Nov.).
What States are in our Southeast compilation? The states we have included in this big region are: Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida (MS did not have any towns in the top 20). In general the region has a humid subtropical climate with hot summers. Areas in its west and north tend to be cooler as they generally have more elevation or are further north. Hurricanes can reach landfall in the summer and fall months along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. The region’s major geographical features include the Appalachian Mountains, Atlantic Ocean, and the Gulf of Mexico.
Changes this year – Ups and downs The 20 most popular towns in the Southeast are mostly familiar names. Asheville (NC), which has been top dog on our Top 100 list for the entire U.S. many times, was no surprise to take the #1 spot here. Its review was read by over 7,400 visitors in the first 9 months of 2019, more than three times as many as viewed the #20 selection, Jupiter, FL. One of the hottest towns on this list was St. Petersburg (FL), which rocketed from #18 on last year’s list to the #7 spot. Four very familiar retirement towns dropped off the list in 2019: New Bern (NC), Brevard (SC), Jacksonville (FL), and most surprising of all, Naples (FL). Of the four newcomers to this year’s list, three have been on the list in previous years (Ft. Myers (FL), Charlottesville (VA), and Fairhope (AL). Jupiter (FL), in the #20 spot, was the fourth new town on this year’s list.
October 2, 2019 – Many baby boomers might not know exactly where they want to retire, but they probably have an idea of what region or state they prefer. So if the Southwest is on your retirement radar, here is our 2019 list of the 20 most popular retirement towns in that region. In the coming months we will be providing similar lists for the West and Southeast.
The 20 most popular towns in the Southwest are almost all recognizable. This year Prescott, a former cowboy town that celebrates that image, is a close favorite for baby boomers looking for a relaxed southwestern lifestyle. It narrowly beat out last year’s winner, Green Valley (AZ).
August 21, 2019 — There seems to be a never ending supply of articles touting the best and worst states to retire in. People obviously enjoy reading them. The trouble is that many of the websites publishing them have no expertise in retirement, and a result the lists they come up often have no connection to where people actually want to retire.
A good example is the recent list from Bankrate.com, which must have been overjoyed to see their picks reprinted in the New York Times and many other big media outlets. For the record, Bankrate.com is a website that promotes credit cards and loans, very similar to what wallethub.com does (but which generally produces more credible lists). Other frequent list generators are GOBankingRates.com and Smartasset.com, the latter of which is a site promoting financial advisors. Search on Google for “best places to retire” and sites like these will have prominent rankings, because it is good for their financial businesses. See the top listing in this screen capture, Homesnacks.net – anyone see their connection to retirement? (see more list companies at end)
Here is the list of Best States to retire from Bankrate.com:
July 17, 2019 — Those of you who have been members for a few years might remember our two-part retirement exploration of Michigan’s eastern coast in 2017. Today we are happy to follow up with a report on our recent visit to the Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
The Upper Peninsula lies between Lake Michigan on the south and Lake Superior on the north. People have described it as looking like a fist with the thumb sticking out in the northwest portion. The area is sparsely populated and has a rugged climate. We visited two towns east of Marquette. Both would be interesting places to retire, although for most people only as a summertime residence.
July 8, 2019 — If you are looking for a place to retire where it is tranquil and beautiful with a cool temperature, you might want to consider Scotland. Topretirements just got back from an enchanting exploration of the country, which definitely lives up to the beauty you have seen if you are a fan of Outlander, Monty Python, the Davinci Code, or Game of Thrones , all of which had important scenes filmed here. A country that is part of Great Britain, Scotland is bigger than you might think, about the size of South Carolina, with 130 inhabited islands. It has a tremendous range of regions where you might want to retire. And even that holds no interest for you, Scotland still makes a wonderful retirement trip!
There are livable cities like historic Edinburgh or Glasgow. Charming market towns like Peebles or Moffat. University towns like St. Andrews. Or you could choose to live in a town like Portree on the stunning Isle of Skye. The areas around the many lochs (lakes) provide idyllic living choices. One of our friends would like to retire in Scotland because he likes its relaxed atmosphere and cool climate. It is also rainy much of the year, which is one reason why everything seems so green and there are flowers – both wild and cultivated – everywhere. But as beautiful and charming a place as Scotland is, there is one great problem – it is very difficult, but not impossible for an American to retire here. But more about that later.
June 22, 2019 – We have been posting on Facebook about some of the most likely places to retire as we continue our tour of Scotland and a little bit of Ireland. These posts will give you a little hint of what it might be like to retire there, mostly because of the photos.
Very soon we will have a summary feature that covers places to retire in Scotland, how possible it is for non-Brits, cost of living, and more. But in the meantime, follow us on Facebook where you will find posts not only about Scotland, but links to all of our newsletters and other interesting retirement news as well. See our Mini-Retirement Guide to Scotland as well.
May 21, 2019 — Possibly you are one of those baby boomers who can’t wait to retire and do all the things that your job wouldn’t let you do. If so, here is our list of 10 great places to retire where you can go, go, go from dawn to sunset, and maybe not even quit then!
By active we mean all kinds of things, not just sports. Your best retirement town might be in the mountains, where hiking and skiing is available in your backyard. It might be at the beach, where you can swim, sail, fish, or surf. Or maybe a vibrant community where you can catch a concert or play, get dealt into a bridge game, or find volunteer work – just about any day of the week. We gave extra points on this list for towns and cities that are walkable and have good biking, since we don’t consider riding around in our car active living. One thing is certain, it staying busy is your thing, there is a retirement town where you can be very happy.
Here is our 2019 list of the best places for an active retirement. We concentrated more on mid-sized towns and cities since just about every big city offers opportunities to stay active.
Madison, WI. The city boasts a 30-mile web of paved trails that are lit, snowplowed, and biked year-round. Beautiful lakes surround this walkable town. The University of Wisconsin and all its attractions. You can be busy all year round in Madison, a great place to retire.
April 9, 2019 — The Carolinas are extremely popular retirement states, with good reason. Their winters are warmer than in the midwest and northeast, taxes and the cost of living are agreeable, and there are many great retirement towns. Here are some of our favorite retirement towns in Carolina, based on how attractive they are. The competition for prettiest retirement town in the Carolinas is pretty stiff, in fact you probably have some of your own favorites. Please share your suggestions in the Comments section at the end.
Beaufort, SC. The Old South lives on in the quaint seaside charm of this town, pronounced b’yoofurt. Known as the “Queen of the Carolina Sea Islands”, the Spanish came here in 1514 and it was chartered by the British in 1711. It lies in the Sea Islands or “Low Country” area of South Carolina near Hilton Head.
April 3, 2019 — So many times we are asked, what are the best states for retirement? There are many ways to answer that question, and in fact over the years we have tried several. You could consider it from a tax viewpoint, as in which states retirees will experience the lowest taxes. Or you could compare on other economic factors like cost of living. Alternatives are best climate, natural hazards like hurricanes, geographic features like beaches and mountains, political climate, financial health of the state, medical care, etc.
Ultimately, identifying the best state for retirement is a very personal question. In the end it boils down to what is the best state for YOUR retirement. It is very possible that your best state is where you live now, if it meets your desires, since 80% or more retirees do not cross state lines after they retire.
In this year’s best states for retirement roundup we are going to attack the question in a very practical way. First we’ll look at where the most people are actually moving in retirement. Then we’ll add some states that folks seem to be very interested in retiring to, based on the ones they spend the most time reading about on this site.
Where people actually move First, let’s look at where people actually move for retirement, because that is the acid test of retiree preference. SmartAsset.com has done a great job extracting U.S. Census data to track the net migration of people ages 60 and over – that is, where more people that age move into a state than move out.
March 26, 2019 — Not everyone is looking for an active adult or 55+ community. Many prefer to stay where they live now, but there is another interesting group too – people looking to move to the city.
The attractions are many, particularly for people who are tired of the suburbs or small town living. The idea of walking to restaurants, coffee shops, the library, and cultural events can be very appealing. So is being able to take public transportation, and do without a car most of the time. For others the attraction is being around interesting people of all ages. Cities can be great places to retire – and they come in all sizes – from the huge (New York, Chicago, Miami) to midsize like Sarasota or Columbus (OH).
NPR did a very interesting radio program that you can listen to, see “Listen” in this NPR link. It describes several different baby boomers and why they decided to move to various cities, including Hartford, CT.