10 Best Place to Retire in 2021?

When you’re thinking about retirement, there are numerical and quality of life factors you will consider. Quality of life issues include where you live, what you do and who you do things with. Speaking of where you might live in retirement, according to U.S. News and World Report, the 10 best places to retire in 2021 are:

  1. Sarasota, Florida.
  2. Naples, Florida.
  3. Daytona Beach, Florida.
  4. Melbourne, Florida.
  5. Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
  6. Tampa, Florida.
  7. Fort Myers, Florida.
  8. Port St. Lucie, Florida.
  9. Ann Arbor, Michigan.
  10. Pensacola, Florida.

However, earlier this year Forbes listed these cities as the best places to retire in the U.S. for 2021:

  1. Asheville, North Carolina
  2. Augusta, Georgia
  3. Beaufort, South Carolina
  4. Charlotte, North Carolina
  5. Clearwater, Florida
  6. College Station, Texas
  7. Columbia, Missouri
  8. Fargo, North Dakota
  9. Green Valley, Arizona
  10. Iowa City, Iowa

To be accurate, the Forbes list has twenty-five names on it; I just listed the first ten for brevity.

What do notice when you compare these two lists?

First, none of the locations are the same! Why is that? It’s because both organizations use different rating criteria. For example, the Forbes list leans heavily on conditions such as housing costs, taxes, healthcare, air quality, climate change and natural hazard risk. The U.S. News and World Report best places to retire list uses housing affordability, happiness, desirability, retiree taxes, the job market and access to quality healthcare as selection factors. These issues are weighted based on surveys of people age forty-five and older.

Second, I wonder about the Forbes list. I’m sure Fargo, North Dakota is lovely, but would you want to retire there? What kind of rating system would list Fargo as one of the best places to retire? The average temperature in Fargo is between -1 and +16 in January; it’s between +5 and 23 in February. Now that’s cold. Has anyone at Forbes even been to Fargo in the winter?

Not to be outdone for weird rankings, in the U.S. News and World Report list, eight of the top ten best places to retire are in Florida. You’ve got to be kidding me. The people doing the ranking must own real estate there.

Here’s the learning point on lists like this: what’s important to you is different than what anyone else thinks is important. Keep this in mind as you consider where you might want to retire. Create your own list of key factors and then explore and experience a variety of places based on your list. Let me know if Fargo, North Dakota makes your list. I may go there some day for a visit. A short one and not in the winter.