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Top 10 U.S. Cities to Retire in Style

Hold the canasta and bingo cards – today’s seniors want a very different retirement experience than previous generations. Retirees don’t always flock to Arizona or Florida, either. A Fiscal Times report cites a study that reveals 60% of retirees don’t want to move from their state.

HomeownersInsurance.com examined medium-sized U.S. cities – population 200,000 to 800,000 – to find prime retirement destinations. We considered healthcare personnel per capita, housing costs, and cost of living index. Crime rate also was a factor.

So too were the number of pleasant days a city can expect in a year. We also took into account how many U.S. Golf Association courses were in a city, from community courses to exclusive clubs.

Lastly, we considered availability of palliative care – an all-encompassing approach focused on patients and their families – regardless of diagnosis. Doctors, nurses, and other specialists team up to concentrate on quality of life for patients diagnosed with serious illnesses.

All together, the data paint a west-leaning, mostly warm-weather trend for retirees, with a few surprises mixed in.

1. Fort Worth, TX: A Worthy Champion

Just west of Dallas, Fort Worth weighs in with a lower cost of living than the national average and ample access to palliative care. Mira Vista Country Club and Golden Tee Golf Club provide a rich array of leisure. The air-conditioned confines of Amon Carter Museum of American Art or Kimbell Art Museum offer some relief during Fort Worth’s often steamy summer.

2. Detroit: A haven for healthcare

Detroit Receiving Hospital leads the way as a pioneer of palliative care. Cost of living remains low in the Motor City’s recovery period. Detroit, the northernmost city in our top 10, has the fifth-best access to healthcare professionals in our study.

3. Irving, TX: Another Big D suburb

Irving sits even closer to Dallas than Fort Worth and delivers some of the same allure. Irving ranks top 5 in lowest crime rate and access to healthcare personnel. A lower cost of living will leave you with more funds for trips to places such as the Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas.

4. Miami: Where spicy snow birds go to roost

University of Miami School of Medicine’s presence is felt, in school-led research and the pipeline of doctors to the area, but so too is a rich golf tradition. Stay close at Killian Greens Golf Club or venture to Miami Beach to La Gorce Country Club for a day on the links. And then there are those mild Florida winters to consider, along with a rich culture of festivals and food from all over Latin America.

5. Charlotte, NC: Link up in the Queen City

Charlotte, second only to Orlando for golf options among our cities, runs the spectrum of experience and expense, from Leatherman Golf Learning Center to Quail Hollow Club, a PGA Tour stop. Carolinas Medical Center and Presbyterian Hospital blanket the Queen City in abundant medical care. Retirees can take visitors for a day at the Billy Graham Library or the NASCAR Hall of Fame while they’re in town.

6. Mesa, AZ: Build a nest out West

The list’s top southwestern destination is a suburb of Phoenix and home to Dreamland Villa Golf Course and Red Mountain Ranch Country Club. Although the area is growing at a fast pace, the cost of living in Mesa has lagged behind Phoenix. The Arizona Museum of Natural History and Mesa Arts Center give the city a nice cultural touch.

7. Las Vegas: Viva retirees

Casinos and shows on The Strip need no explanation. Retirement in Las Vegas will never be boring. Las Vegas also is a hotbed for medical care, with award-winning Kindred Hospital in town. Los Prados Golf and Country Club and TPC Las Vegas and TPC Summerlin provide welcome respites for tee time.

8. Aurora, CO: Rocky Mountain retirement


For the active senior, this Denver suburb is perfect. Aurora is home to Cherry Creek State Park and 12 Mile Stables, if horseback riding is in your plans. If you can brave a Colorado winter, Aurora has much to offer.

9. Plano, TX: Anything but plain

Dallas suburbs make up nearly a third of the top 10. One reason it stands out is because only Fremont, Calif., and Henderson, Nev., rate as safer cities among the ones we studied. Baylor Regional Medical Center influences the city’s healthcare scene. Grandkids would love a visit to Heritage Farmstead Museum.

10. Henderson, NV: Vegas, with an off switch

Las Vegas’ little sister offers incredible safety statistics and access to – but not immersion in – a whole world of entertainment. Like Vegas, Henderson comes with a ton of medical options, including two Dignity Health campuses, and plenty of places to play golf (The Revere Golf Club) and enjoy dinner, a movie, and the slots (Sunset Station).

retiree tableNEW


Rankings are based on:

  • Census data for educational services, healthcare and social assistance per capita
  • Housing cost on zillow.com
  • Cost of living data from areavibes.com
  • Crime rate from city-data.com
  • Palliative care facilities each city from getpalliativecare.org
  • Pleasant days – via http://www.kellegous.com/j/2014/02/03/pleasant-places/
  • Number of U.S. Golf Association member courses in each city according to usga.org/MemberClubLookup/