Where to Live

2014 Best Places (Smaller Cities) to Retire List


Raleigh NC small town

Money Magazine is out with their best places to retire with a focus on smaller cities.

First on the list is Raleigh NC which has long been popular with retirees.  There has been an 96% increase in the number of persons 55 and older. Milder weather and four seasons were noted. A lot of the people moved to Florida, then missing the seasons moved half way back home to NC. Strong local economy and affordable senior housing.  NC State has a life-long learning program that is very popular with locals. Excellent health care too.  Low taxes and lots to do also make Raleigh NC a place to consider for retirement living.

Pittsburgh PA is on the list also.  Pittsburgh has a diversified economy and is an economic hub.  Affordable retirement housing. Sports and an excellent health care is part of the reasons to retire in Pittsburgh PA.

Retirees want culture and  health care but in an affordable smaller city but needs lots to do, not just the sleepy small town of the past.  Low taxes are a consideration too.

St. Petersburg Florida is on the list. It has beautiful beaches but it has a lot of culture and art as well. Retirement income is not taxed. Again affordable senior housing is a plus.

The full list of 2014 Best Places to Retire List will be in the new issue of Money Magizine due out this Friday.

For our best small cities to retire by state, use the state drop down box on our home page.
More smaller cities in NC to retire. Smaller cities in PA. Small cities in Florida.

By Robert Fowler, author. Circle me on Google +.


Where to Live

Retirement Villages in Western Australia

St Ivers GroupBaby boomers looking forward to retirement today are trying to decide what lifestyle most appeals to them. Many of today’s retirees are active adults with a desire to travel and pursue interests they simply did not have time to focus on during their working careers. Others may have spent decades living in urban settings, and want a quieter, more “small town” feel to relax and unwind. But why choose one or the other? Retirement villages in Western Australia, such as those developed and run by the St. Ives Group, provide beautiful suburban-like neighborhoods just minutes from WA’s capitol city of Perth, or coastal resort cities such as Mandurah. Retired seniors who emigrate to Western Australia can have the experience of living and traveling in an exotic locale, while enjoying all of the benefits of small-town living.

Retiring to an age-restricted community in a foreign land may sound exciting, but often the differences in language and culture make life too stressful, and seniors from the U.S. may find it difficult to navigate the legal, medical, and financial systems of these foreign countries. Unless you want to be extremely adventurous in your golden years and step completely outside of your comfort zone, it is a good idea to limit your foreign retirement options to countries in which English is the most commonly spoken language. Australia, with its cultural and historical connections with Great Britain, is the perfect “foreign” land for English-speaking retirees to consider.

Western Australia has long been known as one of the “Land Down Under’s” favorite retirement destinations, for both Australian citizens and those from the UK and United States. There are several retirement estates in the province, which offer a variety of high-quality housing options and healthy lifestyle choices for financially stable retirees. Similarly to life in a small town in the U.S., living in a 55+ community in the Australian countryside provides residents a real sense of community and social responsibility for neighbors. Each St. Ives Group retirement village in WA, for example, provides its residents with social clubs and rotary associations for those who wish to be very involved with others in their community. Residents don’t suffer the feelings of alienation or anonymity often experienced by seniors living in large urban areas.

The open spaces, gorgeous surrounding landscapes, and generous living areas found in WA retirement villages are also incredibly attractive to many retiring baby boomers. Some St. Ives Group retirement estates offer beautifully appointed, secure 2- or 3-bedroom villas with private courtyards, or spacious free-standing homes in contemporary designs, with large verandahs and landscaped yards to make the most of outdoor living in the near-Mediterranean climate. Depending on the location of the 55+ community, many housing options include single or double garages, visitor parking, and room for storage of boats and/or RVs.

Just as American retirement communities vary in features and costs, there are a myriad of 55+ communities scattered about Australia, with a wide variety of facilities and housing styles, priced from “budget” to several million dollars. Due to the immigration requirements for U.S. retirees (see retirement visa information here), most Americans financially capable of retiring to WA will likely be interested in luxury living options. The St. Ives Group retirement estate at Meadow Springs, for example, caters to the high expectations of affluent, sophisticated retirees, offering a resort-style setting and spacious, luxury homes. This particular retirement community features a large indoor pool, spa, tennis courts, clubhouse, three rink bowling green, gym, library, and business center with internet access, among many other amenities.

Western Australia is a popular destination for retiring baby boomers looking to get away from it all. The weather is lovely throughout the year, and retirees can discover many beautiful cities, beaches, parks, and vineyards to take advantage of. If possible, though, Americans moving to Australia for retirement should rent before investing in the purchase of a property. Moving to another country – even if they do speak English – is not the same as moving to a state farther south. The climate, seasons, popular activities, and mindsets of your neighbors may come as a surprise, and you don’t want to be stuck with a property if you decide the area is not for you. If at all possible, you should rent for a year to a year and a half in or near a St. Ives Group retirement village before making the decision to buy. You need to have a good idea of what the community and region is like throughout the year – not just during the holiday season.

Where to Live

Suburban Retirement

Baby Boomers are putting a lot of thought in to the question of where to retire.  Many people think about retiring to a small town and there are many advantages to living in a small town.  Some people even retire to city living and that is also becoming a popular idea.

But today I want to talk about retiring in the suburbs and the advantages of that from my personal observations. These many be enough reasons just to keep me in place, so let’s begin.

Definition of SUBURB

a : an outlying part of a city or town
b : a smaller community adjacent to or within commuting distance of a city

Advantages of Retiring in the Suburbs

1. Since many of us currently live in the suburbs, we can just age in place. Less stress in moving to a new area.  More comfortable with surroundings we know.

2. Closer to our friends, associates, organization we belong to and can maintain current relationships.

3. I have a Kroger, Publix and a Whole Foods within 3 miles of my house.  That is nice.

4. We have an Active Adult Center nearby.

5. I have Meetup groups I belong to in my community

6. I am a member of a fitness gym five minutes from my house.

7. We have some really top restaurants nearby (5 to 10 minutes).

8. We have two regional hospitals and all kinds of Doctors and medical groups nearby.  For the future home health services abound.

9. I can continue my part time consulting job if I don’t move away.  Starting a new retirement job in a new location may not be so easy.

10. Many other services are nearby like getting a massage, stopping by the bookstore, dry cleaners, all kinds of shopping, etc.

11. Entertainment is easily accessible.  In my community there are live music venues, concert halls, community theaters, Verizon Amphitheater, sports.  A trip in to the city can be made in 20 to 30 minutes for bigger venues.

12. Driving is not bad if I am not in rush hour times but things are so close that does not matter much.   If needed in the future, taxis, vans and other transportation are available.

So even compared to one of those wonderful Active Adult Communities in the exurbs, I have a better Fitness Center, better access to grocery shopping, better access to nice restaurants and better access to top medical services.

At first glance there is not as much opportunity to meet new friends; but it is also something to consider in keeping old friends.  Meetups, adult centers, volunteering, clubs, libraries and hobbies presents opportunities to meet friends.

As it turns out what I have been searching for may be right here at my doorstep.  What about you, are you going to move for retirement?

Where to Live

City Living Touted

Is city living better than living in the suburbs or rural and small town living?  According to two institutions, one in New York and one in Boston, city living beats small town living.  I recognize there are advantages to city living, in fact my site focuses on exactly that.  Let’s take a look at each urban expert’s points and take them under consideration.

This weekend I watched on Cspan’s BookTV a hour long lecture given at the Manhattan Institute in New York by the author of a new book titled “Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier”.

The author Edward Glaeser argues that the city is humanity’s greatest invention and our salvation for the future.  Glaeser says that the 2/3 of Americans who live in cities (which take up only 3% of the country’s land mass) are healthier, more prosperous, and more environmentally conscious than other Americans.  Edward Glaeser is a professor of economics at Harvard University and director of Harvard’s Taubman Center for State and Local Government.  Mr. Glaeser is also a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor at City Journal.  You may watch the video here.

Mr Glaeser says that it is a paradox that in this Internet age that you can operate from anywhere in the world, but that cities are more successful than ever.  He says cities have remarkable productivity levels and that if
productivity levels rose in the rest of the country to the  level of New York’s, then the country’s GDP would rise by 43%.  The relationship between urbanization and economic prosperity is strong.  Cities are the paths out of poverty to economic prosperity for so much of the world.  He continues that cities also are fun, they are green, they are healthy,  they are exciting places to be where the magic of human interaction makes a place so much more exciting.  They are great places to learn from the people around us.

Next comes Joseph F. Coughlin, Director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab. His research focuses on how the convergence of demographic change (specifically aging) and technology will drive innovation in business and government.

I watched Mr. Coughlin video of the lecture: The Future is Gray, Small & Female: Disruptive Demographics and Transportation Tomorrow and was delighted to find the Age Lab and all it’s resources.  The lecture covers a lot of ground and if you have interest in the subject of aging you might find it fascinating as I did.   But more to the point of this post, regarding aging and transportation, 70% of Americans over age 50 live in suburban and rural areas where transit is unavailable or a poor alternative. Mr. Coughlin points out that should we be so lucky we will at some point in time give up driving and when that occurs you better be near the people and services and you will  need.

He points out that as we age there is diminished physical capacity and the desire to navigate tough roads and highways and even transit systems.  This will limit where we go and how often.  By the way he figures the big box stores will soon be on the way out since they were made for a large family and they hard to navigate for shopping for only one or two peoples.  Anyway since we will be limited on our trips and it will be hard to get out, services will need to be come to us in our homes.  Also people need to work longer and will need to get to their jobs.

Bottom line is that urban areas will be better suited to have home services available nearby to come to your home to deliver the services you need if you are restricted in your mobility.  They also have better access to transportation. Mr. Coughlin warns about going out to live in retirement communities in the outer areas, which are attractive but transportation opportunities are few.  Instead look for a livable boomer ready community in an urban area.  There are not many around but they will be coming. So maybe think about cities as a place for retirement living too.

So there you have some compelling reasons to age in place in an urban area.  More advantages of city living are listed here.  To balance things out a bit, check out advantages of living in a small town.