Monday, April 13, 2015

Retiring minds want to know

If and when I retire, it will probably be to downtown Boston.

Maybe I’ll move to a new-fangled building with things like insulation and elevators. Or maybe I’ll just stay put.

So what if there are winters when you can’t step toe out half the time?

I live in a place where pretty much everything I need – including doctors, dentist, a pretty darned good hospital (Mass General) and a wonderful independent drug store – is within walking distance.

So, as I segue into geezerhood, I hope to become one of those little old ladies who trucks over to the library every other week for another armload of books. (In fact, I’m already on my way.) One of those little old ladies who putters around the neighborhood indie hardware store, which is actually more general store than Home Depot. (Hey, I’m there already.) And one of those little old ladies out on the corner with her ice chopper, cleaning out the corner ice dams and clearing the storm drain so that little old ladies don’t half to step on a Little Eva ice floe when they go out for a winter’s walk. (Hey, that’s me in the blue parka and the black beret, chopping away.)

Anyway, as long as I can make an occasional escape to a place where you don’t need to wear snow pants and sleep in heavy wool socks, I’ll be good.

Nonetheless, I like reading about what might be someone else’s idea of the best and worst places to retire.

And, according to Bankrate, the besties are Nebraska, Montana, South Dakota , Iowa, Arizona, Virginia, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, and  Wyoming (the number one state, by the way).

All I can say is, it looks like weather doesn’t factor that heavily into their calculation if places like South Dakota and Iowa make it on there. Having anything to do must not be high on the list, either. There are only so many times that you can gaze at Mt. Rushmore.

As for Iowa, I’m sure my cousin Ellen, whose father-in-law is happily retired in the metropolis of Atlantic, Iowa, will be interested to see that Iowa is a great place to retire. (Aside to Ellen and Mike: just because you’re in Florida half the year now, there’s no reason not to retire to Iowa for the other half.  Atlantic awaits!)

Whether they have crappy weather or not, these states rise to the top of the retirement heap thanks to good health care, a low crime rate, something called ‘personal well being’, and a moderate cost of living.

Back on the weather front, Arizona, weirdly, is the only warm—weather state on the list. What up Florida? What up South Carolina?

Interesting that my brother Tom and his wife, after living for years in Flagstaff, Arizona, have chosen to retire to the Pacific Northwest. They’re in the area in Washington that’s considered Portland, Oregon’s version of Cape Cod, and are, in fact, looking to augment their beach home with a place in Portland so that they actually have access to things like, say, doctors and hospitals.

Interesting especially because Oregon is on the list of the ten worst states to retire to – largely because of costs. (Other than the hipsters and the rain, I would think it would be a great place to live. But, of course, I automatically gravitate toward the hippy-dippy while simultaneously ruling out open carry and creationism states.)

As for the ten worst states for us geezers, here’s the list, which I find exceedingly odd, mainly because I could actually see living in New York, Oregon, or even Hawaii, which make it on the sorry-arse bad state list because of costs (and, certainly in NY, weather).

Here’s the full ixnay for etireees-ray states: Arkansas, Missouri, Oregon, Kentucky, Hawaii, Louisiana, Alaska, New Jersey, West Virginia, New York.

New York? Okay, lets take New York.

Other than the cost and the weather – which, given that I live in Boston actually matters not – I would think New York, or at least the New York City part of it, would be an excellent place to retire.

It is, in fact, where my husband wanted to retire to. (I kept having to explain to him that people tended to retire to places that cost less, not more, than where they were currently living.)

But I had to give him that, as far as places for old geezers go, it’s hard to beat NYC.

No need for a car, excellent medical services, plenty of free stuff, plenty of interesting stuff, and a great walking town

So, other than the cost and weather, what’s not to like? Oh, yeah, the Yankees. Other than that…

As for the other states on the worst list, West Virginia, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Missouri would all be on my top ten must avoid states to live in, dead or alive.

But I can imagine there are plenty of folks who’d be perfectly happy to retire to, say, Branson, Missouri or the like.

Personally, I could live without being near the cast of the latter-day Lawrence Welk Show, but that’s not to say that others wouldn’t want to play out their golden years around the Lovely Lennon Sisters.

When it comes right down to it, it seems to me that the best place to retire is going to be the place where you feel comfortable, that you can afford, and where you have family and friends around.

One retiree’s Wyoming is another retiree’s Arkansas…




Frederick Wright said...

My spouse and I are in our late 40s, so quite a few years away from retirement. But we're obsessive planners. Barring any unexpected windfalls, it is likely we shall retire somewhere outside the United States. Leading candidates are Montevideo, or perhaps somewhere along the Konkan coast of India. As minimalists we have no need for material luxury - just to be surrounded by other creative and unconventional folk in an urban, car-free environment. Boston or NYC would be great, but far too expensive.

Maureen Rogers said...

You guys are braver than I am! My worry out of country would be access to medical care. I know that Montevideo is very modern, and that many places in India are "destination surgery" spots. Still, I'd be worried. (I'm also a lot older than you...)

Frederick Wright said...

Well I've lived abroad enough, and received critical care enough in other countries to have laid those concerns to rest. From a purely practical perspective, I'd like to see some of our abandoned 3rd tier city centers like Lawrence or Worcester incorporate massive amounts of senior housing. All of the infrastructure exists for aging in place, living well without a car, with the added bonus of not adding any burden to the school system.