Best Places To Retire: What Makes A Great Retirement Spot?

You know you should start thinking about a place where you’ll spend your retirement well before you enter those retirement years. If you’re not planning to retire in the place you are living and working now, you are confronted with a difficult decision: how to choose the best place for you to retire?

It seems like every day there’s a new “top place to retire” – according to one or another newspaper, a website, or a TV show. It’s interesting how their “top lists” of best places to retire never agree with one another, whether those are – supposedly great – retirement spots in the USA, or abroad.

For instance, “Money magazine” in their “America’s Best Places to Retire” lists Raleigh, NC, because of its temperate weather and a strong economy for encore careers, Pittsburgh, PA, because of its good transportation, sports and excellent health care, Lexington, KY, because of its great access to continuing education and affordable downtown housing, St. Petersburg, FL, because the beaches are beautiful, the weather is warm and taxes are low, and Boise, ID, which earned its place on the list with its good healthcare and the outdoors.

“Milken Institute”, a non-profit from California, came up with a list of “Best cities for successful aging”, for those who want to keep healthy, and to keep working and learning when they retire. In this study, Provo-Orem, UT, tops the list of large metros, and Sioux Falls, SD, tops the list of small metros.

According to Wall Street Journal’s “Marketwatch”, the best places to retire abroad are: the beach town of Coronado, Panama, MedellĂ­n in Colombia, and (no surprise here!) the South of France. Those places were deemed the cheapest and safest, with the best weather and infrastructure, most tax-advantaged, and foreign-resident friendly.

And there are many more lists like this to mull over. However, the problem with these – though undeniably fun to go through – lists is that they don’t take into account what is the most important to you!

Those kind of lists are made by taking into account many different factors, such as: living and housing costs, climate, infrastructure, healthcare, transportation, crime rates etc. – which are, without a doubt, very important – but may not be the most important for you. You may be looking for a place, for instance, where you’ll pay the lowest taxes possible: in that case, Sioux Falls in South Dakota is the best place for you to retire!

There are many other factors that just can’t be captured by statistics. What if you’ll be taking care of your aging parents? You would want to retire as near the family as possible. What if you just want to get away from all the hassles of urban living when you retire, and spend your golden years in a small town? Maybe you don’t really mind higher cost of living and paying high taxes in return for being part of an affluent community when you retire? What amenities your retirement spot must have, and what amenities you could easily live without?

It is well worth your time to think over where you’ll live in retirement, so be sure to make your own list of the best places to retire, where you – and only you – can decide what’s an important factor to look for in an ideal retirement spot, and what you can safely wave aside.