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America's Ideal Retirement Locations

Atlanta ranks as one of the best retirement locations in the country (green-real-estate.com).

A Resting Place or the Rest of Your Life: Finding the Right Retirement Locations

By Meta J. Mereday

We have often highlighted vacation spots, but the latest trend involves finding a retirement location that suits the “new retiree.” 

The criterion that is used by many of the new entrants to retirement has changed, thus the choices for retirement locations have changed as well.

Depending on whom you decide to ask or what you chose to read, more people are looking for retirement locations to do anything but retire. 

According to U.S. News Best Places to Retire, Flagstaff, Ariz. with its dry, pleasant climate year round and scenic views tops its list. This is the classic characteristic for a retirement location for the traditional retiree who is looking for a location where they can get an affordable yet attractive home, preferably on a golf course with great weather and recreational activities. 

This list continues with this relaxation and affordability theme. Boone, N.C. is ranked second for the affordable lifestyle and peaceful surroundings in this mountain town.

And in third place is Traverse City in Michigan. This retirement location provides ample recreational activities for those interested in living near the sea along with having their affordable lifestyle. 

For those retirees who have a focus on social responsibility the place to retire is Walnut Creek, Calif.  This city north of bustling Oakland, Calif. is known as the “greenest place to retire” because of its eco-friendly environment and green amenities for retirees on a mission.

Then, there are the more assertive retirees who are still looking for a “big city, yet small town” approach to a retirement location where they do not want as much hassle, but want to be close to the action as well as good hospitals, culture and entertainment. 

Forbes.com has its own top retirement locations that incorporate these more progressive characteristics for the non-traditional retiree who is often looking for a second career in a new location. 

The five we have selected from the Forbes.com list includes Albuquerque, N.M., which incorporates the great weather as a factor, but also great doctors and active lifestyle components that give retirees many options after the golf game or tennis match. 

Atlanta makes the list because it provides a retirement location with a good tax situation and opportunities for retirees to volunteer and remain active in a community service capacity with a favorable climate and low cost of living.

Resting in the center of the state of Louisiana is Alexandria, La. with its warm climate and good air quality. This hidden treasure boasts a solid economy and good tax situation for a retiree looking for something off the beaten path that is a good investment to protect their hard earned money. 

For the retiree that is looking for a spot that keeps them in the political mix, but not too much, the two capital cities on this list are Austin, Texas with its growing economy and no state income tax and Columbia, S.C., featuring its own favorable tax rate and good weather.

Also, both cities provide outdoor opportunities for retirees and access to educational institutions for continued education and second careers. 

Interestingly, both lists included Pittsburgh, Pa. as a prime retirement location, not because of its weather, but because of its versatility being an affordable location, extensive cultural and sporting events and many amenities for retirees.

Finding a place to retire is not as simple as it used to be.  The present day retiree is not merely looking for a final resting place, but an interesting place to live the rest of their lives. Many are looking for retirement locations where they can begin again – preferably with less stress and more fun.

Mereday is a contributing writer for Regal Magazine, a publication dedicated to the African American community.

This article was published on Friday 13 July, 2012.
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