When you've finally reached the golden years and are ready for a carefree life, will you stay where you are or move to some dream destination? Factors like retirement savings, social connections and health care might all come into play.
U.S. News & World Report just unveiled its 2020 Best Places to Retire in the United States list. To determine the top spots, the publication evaluated the country's 125 largest metropolitan areas — 25 more cities than last year. Six factors were considered, including housing affordability, happiness, desirability, retiree taxes, job market and health care quality. Data including state income tax analysis and U.S. News & World Report's best hospitals rankings were paired with the results from an online survey of those nearing retirement age (45-59) and those who are at retirement age (60 or older). The results created the final rankings.
So, which cities topped the list?
Fort Myers, Florida, took the No. 1 spot, up from No. 2 last year, thanks to its increase in desirability, health care quality, job market strength and happiness scores. Sarasota, Florida, managed to bump up from No. 3 to No. 2 even though it fell behind in the happiness and housing affordability categories.
In fact, four Florida metro areas made the top 10 — with Port St. Lucie in fifth and Jacksonville in sixth — along with two North Carolina metro areas (Asheville and Winston-Salem). Both Asheville and Port St. Lucie cracked the top five for the first time this year because of their high desirability and happiness scores, and Asheville is noteworthy for its affordable housing, while Port St. Lucie has a solid retiree tax policy.
Lancaster, Pennsylvania, which held the top spot last year, fell to No. 3 following decreases in happiness and housing affordability.
"Deciding where to retire is an important part of your life plan," Emily Brandon, senior editor for retirement at U.S. News, said in a statement. "When considering potential retirement spots, you should look for an affordable cost of living, proximity to health care services, and a strong economy, especially if you plan to work part-time."
As far as the 10 most populous metro areas in the country, including New York City, Los Angeles, Miami and Washington, D.C., only Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, made the top 10 as most scored low in housing affordability. Nashville, Tennessee (No. 8), and Grand Rapids, Michigan (No. 9), were the other two cities to round out the top 10.