WalletHub released its 2015 list of the best and worst places to retire based on 23 metrics across the 150 largest cities in the USA. Texas is a mixed bag. Unsurprisingly, six of the top 10 are in Florida (4) and Arizona (2) – states with no income taxes and long-time targets of the retirement set (and so resources targeting seniors). The first Texas city in the rankings is Amarillo at #14 – we’ll talk about that later.
The main buckets of “affordability,” “activities,” “quality of life,” and “health care” are each sub-divided into smaller buckets. Some of these sub-buckets are subjective. For example, within “activities” there are the numbers per 100,000 residents of senior centers, fishing, hiking, golf, adult volunteer activities and another WalletHub comparison on “recreation” that includes parks and overall climate.
I don’t know about you, but fishing, hiking and golf are not high on my list now or in retirement. And besides, many cities in Texas are penalized by geography. For example, coastal cities in Florida and Hawaii are the winners in fishing while cities with hilly or mountainous geographies nab the top spots for hiking. In flat cities like Dallas, hiking is called walking.
When looking for a place to retire, first examine your own needs and desires – and in many cases the subjectivity of intangible measurements. For example, there’s the assumption that retirees want to live surrounded by other retirees. Like gravity, the more old folks there are, the more it will attract. While there is something to be said for living around people with shared life experiences and longevity, personally I’d want to live in a more vibrant area to expose myself to the world of new ideas and change rather than a seniors-centric bubble of early dinners, coupons and golf carts.
Some numbers are head-scratching. For example, Dallas is ranked #72 out of 100 for climate while Arlington nets #36 and Fort Worth #32. Winter-filled Boise, ID is ranked #26 while “driving with potholders for half the year” Scottsdale, AZ is #3, Phoenix is #17 and neighboring Chandler, AZ, is #14. How do weather and climate differ so dramatically in the space of 20 or 30 miles? They don’t. And if that’s not enough, aside from Dallas, all these cities, including Tulsa and Oklahoma City, rank higher in climate than #43, Honolulu. Really?
So how did the metroplex fare?