3.6 million baby boomers will turn 65 in 2023, the prime retirement age in the U.S. This begs the question, where are the best spots for these retirees to put down roots?
StorageCafe’s new report looked at the 100 largest metro areas to locate these areas, evaluating them for their age-friendliness across criteria ranging from cost of living and access to healthcare to the local tax burden, safety and the availability of recreational activities.
The report found that Florida remains a highly desirable state for retirees, with the Cape Coral-Fort Myers metro area topping all other places in the national list. However, the report also found that not all retirees automatically gravitate to the Sun Belt these days, as half of the top 20 retirement destinations are in the Northeast.
- The Cape Coral-Fort Myers and North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton metro areas scored first and third places in the ranking. Both are clearly set up superbly for older residents, as they make up more of the populations there than in any other large metros—53.0% and 62.7%, respectively, compared to the numbers of younger adults—and they receive high average incomes in excess of $35K.
- In addition, Cape Coral-Fort Myers has the best safety score and residents have a very high average life expectancy at 82.4 years, with the Sarasota metro not far behind at 81.4. Seniors in Florida also benefit from a pleasant tax climate, with their incomes, benefits and inheritances untaxed.
- The second-place metro for retirees is Cleveland-Elyria, which has good levels of safety, cost of living and provision of healthcare workers and social assistance. The ratio of people over 65 years old to other adults is more than 30% here.
- Dayton-Kettering, in fifth place overall, brings to the table much of what Cleveland offers but has even better costs of living. House prices here approach $192K, while in Cleveland they are $220K, and the median rent is also slightly less at $861.
- New York City scores a fourth-place ranking, with a high provision of healthcare workers, a good number of parks and golf courses, plus an average income of over $32K.
- Going upstate, Albany-Schenectady-Troy gets sixth place overall, scoring well for safety. While retirement incomes are almost at the same high level as in the New York City metro, house prices are around half the amount, the median home value being about $280K, and monthly rents average less than $1,100.
- Wisconsin’s Milwaukee-Waukesha scores a very creditable seventh place overall on account of its high provision of healthcare workers and social assistance plus reasonable housing prices and cost of living.
- Connecticut’s coastal Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk metro area scores 10th place. They have a long average life expectancy of 82.1 years and a high level of safety. In addition, they receive a generous average income of more than $36K, which offsets the somewhat higher-than-average cost of living here.
“Retirement can certainly be a wonderful prospect, especially if it involves moving somewhere new. And whether it features strolling on a beach, fishing at local lakes or simply relaxing in a safe and friendly community, a range of great destinations beckons across the US,” said Francis Chantree, writer for StorageCafe and author of the report. “Where budgeting is key, states such as Ohio, Wisconsin and even New York can provide great-value housing and healthcare—and to further economize, downsizing is now easier with the increased availability of self storage to provide extra space. Following the retirees with the highest incomes and life expectancies might lead to Florida or California, or perhaps to the safety-conscious metropolitan areas of Connecticut. Anyone approaching retirement may be looking afresh at their plans, so a wide range of options is very welcome, especially new potential destinations that have known advantages for seniors and can make a fixed-income dollar stretch further.”
Doug Ressler, Business Intelligence Manager for Yardi Matrix, commented that “For many people, retirement may well be summarized in a few words: downsizing your home while upgrading your lifestyle. It’s often a chance to do more of the things you love in a place you like, not conditioned by job-related restrictions. If you’re switching to less square footage, chances are you’ll be paying less for utilities and will have some extra cash from the sale to put towards enjoying your golden years. The “fitting all your things in a smaller house” part can be easily dealt with as self storage has developed so much that you’ll have no trouble finding a storage facility close to your new home. And the service is rather inexpensive, now at a national average of around $128/month for a regular 10’x10′ storage unit.”
For the full report, click here.