Active Retirement

By on Apr 20, 2016 in News

With its mild weather and low-cost housing, Florida has held the crown foshutterstock_289539605r top retirement destination for decades. However, what once intrigued and lured senior citizens to Gulf Coast condominiums and South Beach high rises no longer carries sway. A new era of retirees are changing the notion of “ideal retirement location.” The king has been deposed, and though Pompano Beach and West Palm Beach still maintains some allure, the top spots now include more than a few unlikely candidates.

A Different Kind of Retiree

SmartAsset recently set out to discover what U.S. cities were best for active retirement. What they found was a shift away from quiet, sedentary twilight years. Instead, today’s seniors want stronger community connections, friendly tax policies, and all the amenities associated with an active lifestyle.

With boomers poised to dominate all facets of senior living over the next several decades, the cliché of aimless retirees splitting time between golf and bingo has changed. As a reflection of this shift, SmartAsset chose to study the nation’s top cities based on this new set of metrics. What they found upends some of the most basic assumptions about what makes a perfect golden years retreat.

The Active Lifestyle

SmartAsset considered four metrics for their study: average effective tax rate, the number of doctors per 1000 residents, the number of retirement centers per 1000 inhabitants, and percentage of population made up by senior citizens.

When assessing a city’s active lifestyle compatibility, SmartAsset determined the area’s Walk Score, which measures pedestrian navigability, safety and convenience. They also took into account the number of golf courses per 100,000 residents (some standards still apply!). Another key data point measured the number of other fitness-related businesses, like gyms, recreations centers and sporting goods stores, in the area. Once the metrics were defined, 575 of the nation’s largest cities were rated and then ranked against a perfect score of 100.

Unexpected Winners

SmartAsset recently revealed its top 100 cities for retirees, and while the list includes many of the usual suspects, the top five spots include some surprises. The state of Delaware commands the top spot, for example, while Maryland was able to lay claim to the next two slots. Rounding out the list are California and Pennsylvania, the latter not traditionally considered a retirement destination. Overall, according to SmartAsset, the five cities ideal for an active retirement are Wilmington (DE), Bethesda (MD), Rockville (MD), Santa Barbara (CA) and Erie (PA).

Wilmington seized the number one spot due to its state’s lenient tax system, which includes no sales tax and full exemption from Social Security income taxation. Additionally, Delaware seniors qualify for a 401(k) and IRA income deduction of $15,000. Finally, Wilmington’s Walk Score of 72 puts it amongst the top 25% of the country in terms of walkability.

Meanwhile, in Maryland, golf courses and doctor’s offices dominate. Bethesda boasts the “18th-hightest concentration of golf courses of any city in the U.S.,” including the famous Congressional Country Club. Bethesda also provides a variety of outdoor activities, from fishing to hiking, with lakes and rivers spread out over the 1,800-acre Rock Creek Regional Park. In Rockville, residents can take advantage of the country’s ninth-highest concentration of doctor’s offices – almost six for every 1000 people.

Sun and Surf Prevail

The location of Yardi’s Senior Living Forum glides effortlessly into the number four spot on the list. Santa Barbara, California lies nestled between the dramatic backdrop of the Santa Ynez Mountains and the peaceful calm of the Pacific. With World-renowned beaches, miles of hiking and biking trails, and home to several top-notch universities, the city manages to combine opulence and nature, rewarding residents with the ample sunshine and temperate climate. For SmartAsset, the Santa Barbara’s surprisingly high ranking comes, in part, because it placed in the top 100 U.S. cities (out of 575) for five of the study’s seven metrics.

It’s the call of the great lakes and a phenomenal golf course-resident ratio that push Erie, Pennsylvania into the top five. Lake Erie’s beaches, forest, and 3,112-acre park provide endless opportunities to hike, kayak, ski and fish. Additionally, golfers will find their own little slice of heaven in Erie, with approximately 4.2 golf courses for every 100,000 residents a seemingly endless supply of putting greens and sand traps.

You can review the top 25 cities for active retirement here.

Don’t miss the chance to learn more about the Yardi Senior Living Software Suite. The Yardi Senior Living Forum takes place April 27-28 at the beautiful Fess Parker Doubletree resort. The forum will provide in-depth sessions designed to deliver targeted and intensive instruction on the entire Senior Living Software Suite, including Yardi EHR, Optimus EMR, Yardi Voyager Senior Living and more! There’s still time to register, so seize the opportunity to how one platform can streamline and simplify all aspects of your senior living business, while mingling with colleagues and Yardi experts at the center of the American Riviera.