Retirees in this ‘best city to retire’ don’t come for the weather

Eric Baradat | AFP | Getty Images
Bill Boback, 58, a retired train driver who was born and lived all is life in Pittsburgh is seen with the Downtown area of Pittsburgh, Pensylvania, in the background on June 2, 2017.

When it comes to retirement, there’s nothing more important than sand and sun, right? Wrong — especially if you’re looking for one of the “best” places to retire.

“It’s like that saying, ‘don’t go into a grocery store hungry,'” said analyst Taylor Tepper.

After working for decades, you may be tempted to find the most tropical, relaxing destination on the map. But it’s important to look beyond climate to lifestyle and financial factors like health-care costs, which can be one of the biggest expenses for retirees, Tepper said.

To find the best places to retire, assessed 50 U.S. metro areas, comparing things such as weather, health-care quality and affordability, cost of living, crime rate, taxes, senior well-being, friend factor (percentage of population ages 65-plus), cultural vitality and public transportation.

“Think about where you'll get the best health care, where your dollars will go the furthest, [and] really be rational. Don't think, 'I've been working for 35 years and I'm ready for the beach.'”
-Taylor Tepper,

You’ll find year-round sunny weather in only one of the site’s top five cities for retirement:

1. Pittsburgh
2. Boston
3. Los Angeles
4. Denver
5. Providence, Rhode Island

Although Pittsburgh scored poorly for weather, the metro area’s low crime rate, cost of living and high friend factor helped pull it to the top. The city also boasts top-notch health care at the University of Pittsburgh.

In fact, four of the top five metros scored high on health care. Los Angeles was the only one that didn’t.

“Cities that performed well on the health-care metric did really well on the overall ranking,” Tepper said. “When you think about retirement, you think about going to the beach, and that’s definitely an important thing to people. But one thing that’s less sexy is that you’re going to have a lot of health-care costs. You’re going to see your doctor a lot.”

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