10 Best Places to Retire in 2012

It is important for physicians to think about the future after they stop practicing medicine. The biggest thing to consider is where to live — location, location, location. Living in the wrong city can make you unhappy (and maybe even rude).

Every year, U.S. News & World Report releases a list of the best places to retire, and this year’s includes some cities that many people will be surprised to see, and might not have heard of before.

Flagstaff, AZ – Pleasant year-round weather
Also known as the “City of Seven Wonders,” due to its proximity to the Grand Canyon, Meteor Crater, and Walnut Canyon, Flagstaff is an excellent choice for retirees. Although it snows in the winter, any accumulation is melted quickly thanks to its average temperature of 78◦F.

Boone, NC – Affordable mountain town
For avid snow skiers, Boone might work out due to its close proximity to three ski resorts; Appalachian Ski Mountain (4 miles); Beech Mountain Resort (23 miles); and Sugar Mountain Ski Area (16 miles). In 2010, there was a median home sale price of $215,250.

Traverse City, MI – Water views on a budget
With average home sale prices of $155,715 along the 180+ miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, in addition to another 149 large lakes in the area, anyone wishing to live on or near a lake will find Traverse City to be an ideal location. Between freshwater beaches at The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and boat rides on the twin Grand Traverse Bays, residents can’t get enough of the various water activities.

Walnut Creek, CA – Greenest place to retire
Only a 45 minute drive from Napa Valley, Walnut Creek offers its residents access to the wilderness with 22 city parks and 2,704 acres of open space. High-end shopping, fine dining, and organic eateries also provide enjoyment. In 2010, the median home price was $411,000.

Ithaca, NY – A college town for retirees
Although Ithaca consists of students and professors from Cornell University and Ithaca College, world-class scientists, speakers, performers, and athletes visit the area. Retirees who want to remain active will find the waterfalls and gorges in the Finger Lakes region to be ideal opportunities for hiking.

Lincoln, NE – Place to launch a second career
Do you want to start a second career after having just retired from the first? If so, Lincoln is a great place as its unemployment rate was 3.5% in 2010; one of the lowest in the country. Having added 15,000 jobs since 2000 in fields known to hire older workers, including government and health care, if you need to keep your mind active, Lincoln might just be your best bet.

Pittsburgh, PA – Best mix of affordability and amenities
Known as “American’s Most Livable City” due to its consistent high ranking in livability surveys, Pittsburgh offers retirees a great place to live at reasonable costs; median home sale price in 2010 was $97,099. So long as senior citizens 65 years or older have a state senior citizen identification or Medicare card they are allowed to ride Port Authority buses and trains free.

Port Charlotte, FL – Best place for affordable housing
Having been hit hard by the drop in the housing market, median home prices in 2010 were $59,950; a steal since many of the homes are located along canals and waterways with easy access to the Gulf of Mexico. Another great thing about Port Charlotte — Florida has no state income tax.

Pittsfield, MA – Best place for single retirees
Census Bureau data found that a majority of the population 55 years and older (52%) in Pittsfield is single. For birdwatchers and avid hikers, Pittsfield’s Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary is an ideal spot to both activities.

Santa Fe, NM – Best place for recreation and culture
Art enthusiasts will find Santa Fe to be an excellent place to live thanks to its 300 galleries and art dealers. Having emerged as a leading center for arts and culture in southwest U.S., Santa Fe is the nation’s third-largest art market. In 2008, the average home price was $342,125.

Read the full U.S. News & World Report article.

Further Reading

Thoughts on Retirement.
Keeping Busy in Retirement.