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Best Places to Retire for Livability

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

July 20, 2010. You’ve heard of the most affordable places to retire. The most tax-friendly places. The best retirement towns for the arts, or for bicycling, golf, libraries, bookstores… etc. In fact, Topretirements has reported on all of those elsewhere on this site. But there is another sub-category of best places to retire that you might never considered – livability.

Livability means many things to different people. We just read an article at New York Magazine, “The Most Livable Neighborhoods in New York”, where the author devised his personal livability formula. In it he identified the factors that were important to him for livability, and then took it one step further – weighting each factor by how important it was for him. The result was his personal livability equation. It seems like such a good idea that we suggest everyone looking for their best place to retire do something similar to help prioritize their choices.

Here are some of the common criteria for livability, although you might have others. The question for you is, how important is each factor in your selection criteria? Are there some that are absolutely critical, or others that are merely a plus. Spend some time creating your own weighting system – it will help you make a better retirement choice:

Housing costs. Can you afford to live here, do you get good value, do you like what is available
Transportation. Is there good public transportation that is convenient and reliable
Walkability. Can you walk to the store, recreation, the movies, parks, etc.? Or do you need to drive everywhere
Restaurants. Is there a good selection nearby – a variety of places where the food is good
Libraries and museums. Are there places to go for cheap entertainment or social interaction
Culture. Theaters, performing arts, music, or history
Weather and climate. The right mix of winter and summer temperatures and humidity – not to mention sunshine and precipitation
Scenery. Is it a pretty town or is the nearby scenery special
Recreation. Are there accessible parks, tennis courts, golf courses, bridge games, recreation centers, bike or walking trails
Healthcare. Is there a good hospital? How about medical specialists that you might need
Good neighbors. Are the locals friendly and a good fit politically and religiously for you. Are there a lot of other transplants, who probably are interested in making new friends. Is there the right blend of diversity
Safety. Would you feel safe out at night in your new neighborhood
Shopping. Is there a variety of interesting stores where you can get the necessities of life. How about a farmers market
Potpourri. What else is on your list that must be in your best place to retire? Please use the Comments section below to share your ideas on what makes for livability.

How do you find the best places for livability?
One way is to spend time at Topretirements or other websites reading the reviews of likely retirement towns. Keep notes on which ones best match your livability criteria and weighting formula. A good place to start is with these lists:
100 Best Places to Retire
Best College Towns
Most Under-Rated Places to Retire
Best Small Towns for Retirement
Best Cities for Retirement
Making Cities Friendlier Places for Retirement

Posted by Admin on July 20th, 2010


  1. The livability list is excellent…I would have listed the very same factors. Please consider making a list of the most “livable” places to retire and/or place a livability factor in your review of each town/city you review. You mentioned that we should make and weigh our own system, but it is difficult to administer this system if one doesn’t personally visit the area or have the means by which to gather all the pertinent information . Thanks for listening and for all he information you provide; I look forward to each email/report you send me.

    by A. P. Stanz — July 21, 2010

  2. The livabilty list is definitely a step in the right direction to help a retired person when considering a move to a new town. No one has the time or money to travel and check out all the areas that you list as the “BEST” retirement place. If you added these liveable factors along with your Best Places to retire, It would save a lot of time, etc. if you also listed only 10 to 15 of these places with more details, adding the healthcare programs available and also the crime rate as some of us retired folk are alone and are hoping for a safe, affordable and friendly place to spend our GOLDEN YEARS. I too would appreciate any information you send me.

    by Shelagh DeVoe — July 25, 2010

  3. I really don’t know why people just don’t stay put. for two reasons , after all if you have lived all your life in a certain area and put up with it , how bad can it be and the other it costs a lot of money to move – selling and buying and integrating yourself into a new community, and the grass might not always be greener…

    by Jehnavi — July 26, 2010

  4. Agree that your “livability” list is an asset and would encourage you to incorporate these into your location reviews. I just spent over $3,000 driving 4,415 miles, cutting through 9 states as I ventured on a personal touring of coastal towns in our southeast. As previously noted — it is costly and difficult for most to visit each town to measure these factors. ALSO, upon return I had difficulties opening this site and the articles therein. Now not receiving anything. This was an older mailing. Problems corrected??? Don’t want to miss out.

    by Barbara — August 20, 2010

  5. Barbara, thanks for your concern. For the past few weeks we were having capacity issues that took a while to figure out. The upshot is that we now have a much faster, higher capacity server that should reduce the outages and reliability issues we were having. The newsletter and new articles will resume next week (8/25) now that the transition has been completed. You haven’t missed anything! PS – your trip sounds fun. Please tell us more about it!

    by Admin — August 20, 2010

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