Well, our retirement plans just got completely upended!
The website WalletHub has released its rankings of the 150 most populous cities for retirement desirability, and the very last city in the rankings is Newark, NJ.
Now where are we going to go?
Seriously, was there anyone in the entire country who was planning to retire in Newark even before these rankings came out? I suppose if you already lived in Newark you might retire there, but only because you obviously lack the resources to move out of Newark, because, otherwise, you wouldn’t be living in Newark.
I mean, if you lived in Newark, wouldn’t you at least aspire to spend your last days in the relative comfort of the 149th-ranked location, Jersey City?
To give you an idea of how bad Newark must be as a retirement community, it was nine rankings lower than Detroit!
You might be wondering what the basis is for these rankings. WalletHub rated the cities for affordability, activities, health care and quality of life. Proximity to grandchildren was not one of the factors.
My wife Barbara and I don’t have any grandchildren, but Barb is planning on having some in the not too distant future, and, when she does, you can bet she’s going to want to be near them. That eliminates choices like the #3-ranked city, Boise, ID, unless our daughter Casey and her husband Alex suddenly become potato farmers.
Disappointingly, the place where Barbara and I currently live, Stamford, CT, is not on the rankings at all, but not for lack of trying. After all, our motto here is “The City That Works.*” I thought Stamford was a pretty decent-sized town, but apparently there aren’t enough people living here to quality for WalletHub’s list. In fact, there isn’t a city anywhere in Connecticut that qualifies. I hope the state is prepared for a mass exodus of old folks.
As you might expect, Florida is well represented on the list, as is California and Arizona. There is a surprisingly (to me) number of locations in Texas. I think retirees like it there because they’ve seen former Governor Rick Perry in a debate, and they know all the stories about school boards in Texas demanding their own versions of history and science books, so they figure they’ll fit right in as they start losing their mental faculties.
The #1 city for quality of life is Henderson, NV, which is about 16 miles from Las Vegas. I don’t think I’d want to live in any town whose website has a section called “Tips for Desert Living,” with a paragraph that begins, “When the temperature outside is 115 degrees…” and warnings about cans of soda exploding if left in vehicles.
Salt Lake City is #1 for activities, but for some reason I suspect that most of them involve oudoorsy stuff** and/or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Overland Park, KS is tops for health care but 103rd for affordability, whereas Memphis is first for affordability but 140th for healthcare. Apparently, you can have your money or your health, but not both.
Orlando is #2 for activities but #104 for quality of life, which I guess means there’s lots to do, but you wouldn’t want to do any of it. On the other hand, I suppose we wouldn’t have any trouble getting the grandkids to visit as long as we kept an eye out for alligators.
A few years ago, I reported on another website’s list of 10 best retirement cities. That was TheStreet.com, and, let me tell you, it does not see eye-to-eye with WalletHub. For example, Spokane, WA was #10 on the earlier list; WalletHub has it at #114. If we had listened to TheStreet.com, we’d now be getting ready to move out of its #1 choice, Traverse City, MI, not only because Traverse City isn’t even on WalletHub’s list, but because TheStreet.com neglected to mention that the average low temperature there in winter is 15∘.
What I want is the best of all worlds, a place that offers things to do, a nice quality of life and good health care. And yet it also needs to be a town we can afford to live in.
So I looked up and down the list for a city that ranked in the top 40 for all four categories. And there was only one.
So I want to take this opportunity to tell Casey and Alex that there’s more to life in Boise than potato farming. For instance, here is the photo from the city’s home page.
You can start working on your costumes now.
See you soon.
*We like living in Stamford, but, as I’ve previously discussed, its motto can use some work. **I hate the outdoors.