We’re 69 and 68, respectively, and are presently retired in Las Vegas. Our net worth is about $5 million, so money is not an overriding issue.
We moved to Vegas to be near family, and for the vibrancy we didn’t have in Cleveland. Seven years later, the family is gone, and we’ve had some health issues. Las Vegas is fun and a great place to vacation, but as you get older the availability and competence of a medical system means much more than shows and casinos.
My wife likes the weather, but, that said, summers here are hellish. California is out for political reasons and its tax situation. Phoenix seems to have the big-city feel and the amenities that come with that, but not only do you get oppressive heat; you get sandstorms.
I know no place is perfect, but any suggestions you make would genuinely be appreciated.
Thanks for your consideration,
Good health care and weather — and more reasonable taxes — are three of the most common requests I get from readers of this column. Plus, it sounds like you’d like a large or midsize city with lots to do in a more politically moderate state than California to spend your golden years.
It’s a challenging checklist, but I think I’ve got some options for you. (Admittedly, it’s hard to beat California’s weather, so you might have to endure some humidity, but I won’t place you in a spot with cold winters.)
Here’s what I’d suggest …
View of the beach at sunset in Honolulu.
Great beaches, friendly locals, and plenty of museums (don’t miss the Honolulu Museum of Art) and restaurants are just some of the perks of living in Honolulu. Another bonus: Though the city is cosmopolitan, it has a slower pace of life than many large cities in America.
The weather and the health care will likely be big pluses for you, too. Honolulu boasts two five-star-rated hospitals, and landed on the Street’s list of best cities for health care in retirement. And the weather tends to stay between about 50° and 90° (though winters can be a bit rainy), and there’s a low risk of hurricanes here.
While it’s certainly not cheap to live in Honolulu (a median home will set you back more than $650,000), with your nest egg, you can likely swing it. Added bonuses for you: It’s in a more tax-friendly state for retirees than California, though it’s still not as low-tax as, for example, Florida. One potential downside for you is that it might be a bit far from friends and family.
OK, admittedly, summers are humid (with that $5 million nest egg, you can get out of town during August, though), and there is a hurricane risk, but hear us out on Sarasota: It consistently lands on best-places-to-retire lists for good reason. It’s got tons of cultural offerings, including a ballet and opera and plenty of further performing-arts options, as well as art museums. It also has great beaches and a plethora of restaurants.
And it checks a lot of boxes on your list, too: There’s a five-star hospital in town, and the Street named it as one of the best places to retire for health care, writing that “five hospitals in Sarasota and another in Bradenton provides the kind of security that even competing Florida retirement communities are hard-pressed to match.” Plus, the tax situation in Florida might be an attraction, as the state does not have income tax.
While it’s not exactly cheap to live here, it’s more reasonable than Honolulu.
Dallas skyline vista.
The Big D, as Dallas is known, has good health care, with two five-star hospitals, the North Central Surgical Center and the Baylor Scott and White Heart and Vascular Hospital. And the weather checks a lot of boxes, too, with mild temperatures for most of the year (even if summers are hot and humid, as, with your sizable nest egg, you can travel during the worst of it if you’d like).
U.S. News & World Report recently ranked Dallas–Fort Worth one of the 10 best places to retire, noting that it offers “both big-city excitement and quiet, suburban living” as well as “an interesting mix of Texas pride and cosmopolitan offerings.” You’ll find thousands of restaurants (barbecue and Tex-Mex are particularly well represented), tons of shopping (it’s the birthplace of Neiman Marcus) and a bustling arts and culture scene, which includes the renowned Dallas Museum of Art and the Nasher Sculpture Center.
Though money isn’t a huge hurdle for you, the cost of living in Dallas is only a bit above average, and the tax situation is much more reasonable than that of California (Texas has no state income tax).