The Best Places To Retire in 2012

Forbes

Considering a change in locale for retirement? FORBES has identified 25 top cities for retirement in 18 states across the country. Affordability is a major factor, which is why locations in high-cost, high-tax states like New York, New Jersey and California didn’t make the cut. On the economic front we looked at average housing prices, cost of living and taxes, as well as the job prospects for those who want to work in retirement. For quality of life we rated weather, availability of doctors, serious crime rates and conditions that encourage an active retirement, including the availability of hiker/biker trails and volunteer opportunities. Our map is color-coded for our rating of a state’s overall tax climate, including special tax breaks for retirees. Green is for the lowest-tax states, yellow for those in the middle and orange for the highest. Ten of our picks are below. All 25 cities are shown on the map, and details on all of them, as well as our methods, can be found at www.forbes.com/best-retirement-places.

Albuquerque, N.M.

Fast Facts: World's largest hot-air balloon event staged each October

Pros: Good weather and air quality, low taxes, lots of M.D.s, below-average cost of living, average home price $163,000, active-lifestyle-friendly

Cons: Crime, high Unemployment

Asheville, N.C.

Fast Facts: Location of 250- room Biltmore House, U.S.’ largest privately owned home

Pros: Good climate, abundant doctors, moderate cost of living, average home price $198,000

Cons: High unemployment rate

Austin, Tex.

Fast Facts: Hosts annual music, film and tech happening, South by Southwest

Pros: Growing economy, no state income tax, below-average cost of living, average home price $188,000, good weather, exercise-friendly

Cons: Average air quality

Bloomington, Ind.

Fast Facts: Home of Indiana University

Pros: Good economic record, average cost of living, average home price $144,000, low crime rate

Cons: Cold winters

Boise, Idaho

Fast Facts: Home of Boise State University’s famous blue football field

Pros: Low crime rate, low cost of living, average home price $118,000, above-average air quality, attractive semiarid climate

Cons: Poor economy

Cape Coral, Fla.

Fast Facts: More miles of canals than anywhere in world

Pros: Good weather, no state income tax, low cost of living, average home price $108,000, good air quality

Cons: Bad economy

Fargo, N.D.

Fast Facts: Named for a Wells Fargo cofounder

Pros: Solid economy, low cost of living, average home price $154,000, activelifestyle encouragements, low crime rate

Cons: Cold winters

Lynchburg, Va.

Fast Facts: Self-styled City of Seven Hills

Pros: Good economy, cost of living 6% below nation’s, average home price $134,000, good air quality, low crime rate

Cons: So-so tax climate

Phoenix, Ariz.

Fast Facts: Original name was Pumpkinville

Pros: Good tax environment, low cost of living, average home price $119,000, good weather, high number of doctors per capita

Cons: Poor economy

Tulsa, Okla.

Fast Facts: Most-inland river port in the U.S.

Pros: Decent economy and tax climate, low cost of living, average home price $129,000, good metrics for active retirement

Cons: Crime

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