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