Top 10 places to retire in 2021


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Not everyone can retire like the Golden Girls, moving in with a group of cynical and rude buddies in a warm climate. For some, staying close to family and friends is the most comfortable and affordable option.

But if relocation is an option, there are pros and cons for seniors in every American city.

A recent analysis by personal finance site WalletHub compared the “friendliness of retirees” in more than 180 US cities based on 48 metrics, then gave each city an overall score of 100.

The analysis examined factors affecting affordability, quality of life, and healthcare – which even included the percentage of the population that had been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

To no one’s surprise, Florida’s cities scored high—but one of the country’s most legendary cold-weather cities took fifth, and another popular snowy region landed at number six. Here’s a look at the top-rated cities.

10. Atlanta

Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, Georgia
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total point: 58.04 out of 100 points

Georgia’s capital ranked 10th on the 2021 list, and this hyper-ambiguous city has a lot to look forward to for retirees. If you want an active retirement and have a lot to do, put Atlanta on your list to consider. WalletHub ranked it sixth for activities, taking into account items such as golf courses, museums, theaters, and even bingo halls.

9. Miami

Miami, Florida
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total point: 58.05 out of 100 points

If Miami is good enough for the Golden Girls to retire, that might work for you, too.

Beaches and sunshine? I got it. Major sports leagues? Miami is home to the NFL’s Dolphins, the NBA’s Heat, and the MLB’s Marlins. activities? The popular seaside town is ranked 12th in terms of activities to do, from fishing to art galleries.

8. Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida
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total point: 58.37 out of 100 points

Fort Lauderdale is a regular in WalletHub’s annual rankings of the best places to retire, and it’s easy to see why. You probably know about ocean beaches and enviable winter weather. The city is also bustling with activity, ranking 26th in that category, and it scores highly for healthcare, ranking 35th in that category.

Fort Lauderdale is only one of four cities in Florida that made it into the Top 10 – more than any other state. It helps that Florida, like Wyoming, is among the few states that do not tax state income.

7. Cincinnati

Smale Riverfront Park in Cincinnati, Ohio
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total point: 58.7 out of 100 points

Dynamic Cincinnati is new to WalletHub’s Top 10 this year. Ohio may not have the warm weather and beaches of Florida, but it scores other scores, including the lively atmosphere of a city with many top sports teams, including the Bengals football team and the Reds baseball. No wonder the city took third place in the WalletHub Activity Ranking.

6. Denver

Denver, Colorado
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total point: 59.45 out of 100 points

Colorado’s ski-sanctuary capital may not be the first that springs to mind when you think of retirees, but Denver easily beats warmer places like Tempe, Arizona (#14) and Las Vegas (#38) to fall into the sixth-place trap—going from 10th in the 2020 WalletHub Poll.

Active retirees will find plenty to do in Mile High City, which scored big when WalletHub looked at entertainment offerings, such as golf courses, fishing facilities, music venues, and museums. The city ranked seventh when ranking activities.

5. Minneapolis

Minneapolis, Minnesota
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total point: 59.98 out of 100 points

There’s no denying that Minneapolis doesn’t offer the 12 months of sunshine found in the Sunbelt cities on this list. So for a winter wonderland to score this high, you know the City of Lakes has to make up for it in major ways. And here’s what happens: Only Washington, D.C. beats it in the activities, snow days, and everything category.

Minneapolis also lands 11th in healthcare. The world-renowned Mayo Clinic, recently named the best hospital in the country, is located in nearby Rochester.

4. Tampa, Florida

Tampa, Florida
Elijah Photos / Shutterstock.com

total point: 60.38 out of 100 points

Sunny Tampa, Florida, is a regular at WalletHub’s annual analysis. Her No. 8 rating in the activity category helped her stay in place. And if your retirement dreams involve a rod and a reel, and lazy days are waiting to be bitten, this is your new home. To no one’s surprise, Tampa tied with many other cities, including Miami, for the top spot as far as the cities that boast the most fishing facilities per capita.

3. Scottsdale, Arizona

Scottsdale, Arizona
Ray Redstone / Shutterstock.com

total point: 60.58 out of 100 points

If you’re OK with triple-digit temperatures all summer long, Scottsdale, Arizona could be a retirement hotspot. The city jumped from sixth place on WalletHub’s list of 2020 to third place in 2021, and there are plenty of reasons to consider retiring here.

This is far from the only national recognition in Scottsdale. The city also ranked 12th on an unrelated list of America’s Most Relaxed Cities in 2021, winning praise for its leisure options and the physical and financial health of its residents.

2. Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina
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total point: 61.97 out of 100 points

Don’t overlook charming and historic Charleston, South Carolina, when doing retirement community math. The city was ranked second on WalletHub’s 2021 list, boosted by 15th in the Activities category and 30th in the Affordability category.

1. Orlando, Florida

Orlando Florida
Songquan-deng / Shutterstock.com

total point: 61.14 out of 100 points

Mickey Mouse owns a small place in Orlando, and maybe this city will make a place for mice for you, too. Just as in 2020, Orlando, home of Walt Disney World, once again topped WalletHub’s list of the best US cities for retirees.

Its affordability certainly helped, with Orlando coming in at number 13 when factors such as cost of living, taxpayer convenience, and the cost of daily home and adult health care were considered.

Of course, it ranked highest, No. 9, for its wealth of activities.

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