If You’re Ready to Retire, Consider These Cities

Storage Café has put together a ranking of the largest 100 metropolitan areas, according to which are best for retirement.

When you enter retirement, the first question is where will you live?

To help you answer it, Storage Café, an online storage-unit listing service, has put together a ranking of the largest 100 metropolitan areas, according to which are best for retirement.

It probably won’t surprise you that Florida is home to five of the top 20. But it might surprise you that 11 are in the Northeast and only two are west of the Mississippi River — in California and Texas.

The study ranked the cities by 15 metrics, including life expectancy, crime, retirement income, cost of living, number of healthcare workers, air quality, weather, taxes, home prices, rents, number of parks, number of golf courses.

Here are the top 10 cities on the list.

Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla.Cleveland-ElyriaNorth Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla.New York-Newark, N.J.-Jersey City, N.J.Dayton-Kettering, OhioAlbany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y.Milwaukee-WaukeshaTampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater. Fla.Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, Calif.Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Conn.

Looking at Florida, “every list of places for retirees should feature The Sunshine State,” the study says. The Cape Coral-Fort Myers and North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton metro areas both are “clearly set up superbly for older residents,” the study says.

Old folks “make up more of the populations there than in any other large metros — 53% and 63%, respectively,” the study says. “And they receive high average incomes in excess of $35,000.”

Cape Coral-Fort Myers has the best safety score out of all 100 metro areas ranked, and residents have a “very high” average life expectancy of 82.4 years there, the report says.

It includes general commentary about retirement from three experts.

“For many people, retirement may well be summarized in a few words: downsizing your home while upgrading your lifestyle,” says Doug Ressler, business intelligence manager at Yardi Matrix, a real estate information service.

“It’s often a chance to do more of the things you love in a place you like, not conditioned by job-related restrictions.”

Overseas Options

Some of you may be interested in foreign cities. But beware: “there are reports that the cost of retiring has been rising in popular areas,” says James Refalo, a finance professor at California State University, Los Angeles.

“Notably Costa Rica is no-longer the cheapest place to retire to in Central/South America. Likewise, the influx of expats has been driving housing prices up in countries like Portugal,” and it’s becoming more difficult to get a residence in Mexico.

For lower-income people, retirement isn’t easy, of course. “As one moves up the income ladder, the difference between living paycheck to paycheck and being able to save and afford wants and not just needs becomes evident,” says Steven Lee a lecturer in the finance department at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

“Retirement is the realization of that difference where many Americans subsist on Social Security benefits alone while others have pensions… [and other assets].” 

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