Are you looking to retire anytime soon?

With fewer than 3 in 10 workers reporting that they are “very confident” they will have enough money for retirement, according to the new report 2022’s Best & Worst Places to Retire.

To help Americans plan for a comfortable retirement without breaking the bank, WalletHub compared more than 180 U.S. cities across 46 key measures of affordability, quality of life, health care, and availability of recreational activities. The data set ranges from the cost of living to retired taxpayer-friendliness to the state’s health infrastructure.

Best Cities to RetireWorst Cities to Retire
1. Charleston, SC173. Lubbock, TX
2. Orlando, FL174. Wichita, KS
3. Cincinnati, OH175. Baltimore, MD
4. Miami, FL176. Vancouver, WA
5. Fort Lauderdale, FL177. Detroit, MI
6. San Francisco, CA178. Stockton, CA
7. Scottsdale, AZ179. Rancho Cucamonga, CA
8. Wilmington, DE180. San Bernardino, CA
9. Tampa, FL181. Newark, NJ
10. Salt Lake City, UT182. Bridgeport, CT

Best vs. Worst

  • Pearl City, Hawaii, has the highest share of the population aged 65 and older, 25.30 percent, which is 3.2 times higher than Irving, Texas, the city with the lowest at 8.00 percent.
  • Brownsville, Texas, has the lowest adjusted cost-of-living index for retirees, 74.81, which is 2.6 times lower than San Francisco, California, the city with the highest at 194.51.
  • Plano, Texas, has the highest share of workers aged 65 and older, 26.94 percent, which is 2.3 times higher than Gulfport, Mississippi, the city with the lowest at 11.67 percent.
  • St. Louis has the most home health care facilities (per 100,000 residents), 77.78, which is 41.4 times more than Fontana, California, the city with the fewest at 1.88.

Expert Commentary

What financial factors should retirees take into consideration when deciding where to retire?

“The cost of living and taxes are two top financial considerations when choosing a place to live in retirement. However, these variables can change dramatically over the years depending on what happens to the local, regional, and national economies. For example, you may have your mortgage paid off, but gentrification in your area (or housing inflation with an influx of new residents) increases taxes and costs beyond what’s affordable with your retirement income. Recent retirees tend to choose where to live based on their lifestyle to enjoy their new freedom. Those over age 80 will often live close by or with family to have and/or provide extra support between the generations,” according to Tamara L. Wolske, MS, MPhil, CPG, CSA, program director and assistant professor in Aging Studies, University of Indianapolis; president, Indiana Geriatrics Society.

“Many retirees are choosing to work. If that is the case for you and you cannot work virtually, one factor might be how easy it is to find a job locally. The other factor that eventually becomes financial is transportation. How walkable is a place, or how close to public transportation? This could affect both your long-term health (good years) as well as a home care aide should you need one in your long-term care needs,” according to Jacquelyn Kung, DrPH, MBA,  CEO, senior care at Activated Insights; fellow, Health and Aging Policy Fellows Program, Columbia University Medical Center.

What are some tips for living on a fixed income during retirement?

“Prioritize your expenses and plan your lifestyle accordingly. If your fixed income is too small, part-time employment may be needed and some type of training or certification may be required to be hired as an older worker. The non-negotiable expenses should be tended to first each month, such as rent or mortgage, utilities, credit accounts, insurance, and taxes. Whatever funds you have left over can be used for controllable expenses such as groceries, gas, and leisure activities. Everything that can be auto-paid should be set up to draft automatically from your bank account. That way, in the event of a hospitalization or other life crisis, you can be sure there will be no late payments that incur penalties, increase your fees, or lessen your credit score. It will also be a tremendous help to have the payments streamlined if a family member or custodian needs to take over your financial affairs temporarily or long-term. They will be able to devote their attention to your care and well-being instead of trying to figure out how to keep your ‘financial ship’ afloat while you are out of commission,” Wolske said.

What is the biggest mistake that people make when planning their retirements?

“Not seeking out qualified financial expertise. We know there is a significant difference between subjective or casual judgments of financial preparedness and financial adequacy (how prepared people feel and how adequate they believe their income is for retirement) and objective judgments of preparedness and financial adequacy. A more objective estimate of how much money you’ll need can come from meeting with a qualified financial advisor,” Mary Anne Taylor, Ph.D., professor, Clemson University.

“The biggest mistake is waiting too late to plan and then not preparing for the possibility of a longer life that extends beyond their income and savings. The more years you live, the higher your living costs over time and you will likely incur more medical expenses. Many people plan for the good times after their job ends, but they do not take action steps across their life course to navigate the uncertainties of living as an older person in this country. Older adults are the greatest consumers of healthcare services. Most people do not realize that Medicare does not cover every health-related need and there are deductibles and copays. Also, residential nursing home care is not covered by Medicare, only short-term rehab stays are after hospitalization. There are over a half-million medical bankruptcies annually in America, but that is a systemic issue and not something an individual can avoid with personal planning (unless they have vast resources to draw from), ” Wolske said.

“In addition to all the ways we can save in all areas of life (i.e., buy generic, shop wisely around sales, etc.) we should also be mindful of other ways to ‘reduce living expenses’ such as sharing our house [or] renting out a room in one’s home…Some sites provide opportunities to find the right housemate.  It’s not for everyone, just part of the mosaic of housing opportunities for people- and as it turns out having a roommate can also boost your health, combat isolation, and provide tangible assistance (i.e., do grocery shopping or home maintenance, etc.),” according to Kathy Black, professor, University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee Campus.

Source: WalletHub