from – WalletHub.com – by Richie Bernardo
After decades in the workforce, it seems only natural for retirees to expect financial security in their Golden Years. But gone are the days when Americans looked forward to a worry-free retirement. Many are working longer years with an increasingly unreachable goal of securing financial freedom for the rest of their lives. In 1991, only 8 percent of Americans delayed retirement to age 65. Today, that figure has doubled, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s annual “Retirement Confidence Survey.”
And the reasons for extending their working lives are somewhat obvious: With a number of local economies still struggling to rebound from the Great Recession, a quarter of respondents to the EBRI’s survey said they can’t afford to retire when they want or plan to. Eighteen percent cited “inadequate finances” as the other primary hurdle to retiring on schedule. Fifty-eight percent of workers and 44 percent of retirees also disclosed having problematic debt levels, which some claim are higher than they were five years ago.
It’s no wonder a fifth of American workers approaching retirement age haven’t saved for it, the Federal Reservereported this past August. More than half of workers surveyed by the EBRI cited cost of living and daily expenses as impediments to saving — or saving more — for retirement. So if simply making ends meet prevents workers from growing a nest egg for the future, what options are left for investing in retirement? One solution is to relocate to an area where retirees can stretch their dollars and live out their lives as comfortably as possible.
To help Americans find the best places to retire, WalletHub analyzed the 150 largest cities in the United States across 25 key metrics. They range from cost of living to job prospects for workers aged 65 and older to the availability of recreational activities. The study also includes an examination of each city’s quality of life and health care conditions. By highlighting the most retirement- and wallet-friendly cities, WalletHub aims to ease the process of finding a new place to call home.
To help American retirees find the best places to call home for their Golden Years, WalletHub analyzed the retirement-friendliness of the 150 largest cities in the United States. We examined each city across five key dimensions, namely affordability, jobs, activities, quality of life and health care. All dimensions were weighted equally with the exception of “Jobs,” which received a smaller weight. We then identified 25 metrics that were relevant to those dimensions. They range from cost of living to job prospects for workers aged 65 and older to the availability of recreational activities.
For this study, we assessed the costs that retirees would face under the assumption that many of them will have fixed incomes. The lower their expenses, the better retirees will fare in a particular city. In addition, we chose each city based on the size of its population. Surrounding metro areas were excluded.
Affordability – Weight: 5
Adjusted Cost of Living: Full Weight
States with the Best & Worst Taxpayer ROI Ranking: Half Weight
Annual Cost of In-home Services: Half Weight
Jobs – Weight: 2
% of People Aged 65 and Older Working: Full Weight
Number of Part Time Employees for Every Full Time Employee for People Aged 65 and Older: Full Weight
Activities – Weight: 5
Recreation and Senior Centers per Capita: Full Weight
Fishing Facilities per Capita: Full Weight
Hiking Facilities per Capita: Half Weight
Public Golf Courses per Capita: Full Weight
Adult Volunteer Activities: Full Weight
Best & Worst Cities for Recreation Ranking: Half Weight
Quality of Life – Weight: 5
Percent of Population Aged 65 and Older: Full Weight
Weather Ranking (Mild Weather) – WalletHub Research: Double Weight
Violent Crime Rate: Full Weight
Property Crime Rate: Full Weight
Air Quality: Half Weight
Water Quality: Half Weight
Health Care – Weight: 5
Number of Physicians per Capita: Half Weight
Number of Dentists per Capita: Half Weight
Number of Nurses per Capita: Half Weight
Number of Health Care Facilities per Capita: Half Weight
Public Hospital Rankings: Full Weight
Emotional Health: Half Weight
Home Care Facilities per Capita: Half Weight
Death Rate for People Aged 65 and Older: Full Weight
Sources: Data used to create these rankings is courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Council for Community and Economic Research, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Genworth Financial, the American Lung Association – State of the Air, the Environmental Working Group, the Trust For Public Land, Medicare.gov, Charity Navigator, Gallup Healthways, Yelp.com, Golf.com and WalletHub Research.