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Things to Know About America’s Worst Retirement Spots

We’ve gone over some of the best places to retire, both within the US and overseas, but what about the places that you should avoid? (In case you’ve forgotten some of the best places to retire in the US, check them out here.)

The list may surprise you.

You see, where you retire is an important aspect to how you retire. This is obvious: where you live directly impacts your quality of life, and if you are living somewhere expensive, you may run out of retirement funds more quickly than you think.

Taking into consideration health care, cost of living and access to resources we have compiled a list of some cities you may want to avoid if you are considering making a move during your retirement.

Worst Retirement Spots:

Cleveland, Ohio

A large aspect to retired living is accessibility; as you age, getting to the grocery store, doctor’s office and to other necessary places should be easier. So it may be a surprise that Cleveland, ranked the 26th most walkable city in the United States (by makes our list as a place retirees should avoid.

Don’t get us wrong; Cleveland has a lot to offer. Theaters, sports, museums and an excellent public transit system top the list of reasons why Cleveland is an excellent city. But for retirees, Cleveland probably isn’t the best place.

For one thing, Cleveland’s violent crime rate is high – four times the national average, in fact, according to FBI statistics from 2013. The rate of property crimes in Cleveland is also high, coming in at roughly more than twice the national average.

Additionally, the winters in Cleveland are fairly harsh and freezing, which could have detrimental impacts on the health and wellbeing of aging retirees. And, speaking of well being, according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, seniors in Cleveland have a below average level of well-being. This was suggested by their responses to questions regarding community pride, satisfaction and general happiness.

Little Rock, Arkansas

Are you surprised that Little Rock made the list? So were we. After all, Little Rock is one of the more affordable cities in the United States, with rent prices 15{bc669dfb3651bb8509a96034cbe7494d3a811fc0eedf0ddccb239fb9cb737439} less than the national average.  

However, affordability should not be the only thing you consider when searching for places to retire. The health care in Arkansas was ranked the sixth worst in the United States by the Federal Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality. Namely, the amount of recorded avoidable hospital admissions such as asthma, angina and hypertension.

In addition to high medical costs, Little rock also experiences high crime rates. The rate of property and violent crimes in Little Rock nearly triple the national average. High crime combined with a poor health care system negatively impact Little Rock’s residents; a Healthway survey of the senior population in Little Rock scored the city second-to-last in well being.

Indianapolis, Indiana

Indianapolis makes our list for a few reasons. Despite being an affordable place to live (according to the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness), Indianapolis has a low walk rate and limited public transit, making it difficult to get around.

The city’s crime is also problematic – more than three times the national average in 2013. While lack of mobility and high crime were factors, perhaps the biggest downfall of Indianapolis is it’s health care resources: according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Indianapolis ranks 39th out of 50 states for quality healthcare.

Albany, New York

Albany’s beautiful scenery, plethora of activities year-round and good transit system are unfortunately overshadowed by its harsh and snowy winters. The average annual snowfall in Albany clocks in at nearly 4 feet with temperatures in the 20s – a problematic season for older individuals.

Additionally, according to the Tax Foundation, the state of New York has the highest state-local tax burden in the United States. For budget-conscious retirees, this tax burden could potentially have a detrimental impact on retirement funds.

Newark, New Jersey

Newark’s major downfall for retirees is that it is an expensive city. According to the Tax Foundation, New Jersey has the second highest tax-burden in the United States. Additionally, the rent is nearly two-thirds higher than the national average and the home prices are over 60{bc669dfb3651bb8509a96034cbe7494d3a811fc0eedf0ddccb239fb9cb737439} higher than the national average.

The cost of living and tax burden in Newark is unfortunate for retirees, as it boasts a decent healthcare system, is the seventh most walkable city in the US and is chock-full of entertainment, art and culture.  

Buffalo, New York

If you haven’t guessed by now: New York and its surrounding areas are difficult to live in if you are a retiree. Buffalo, like Albany and Newark, offers many cultural and entertainment options. Also, like both cities, Buffalo has a decent walk rate and good public transit.

However, New York’s tax burden also comes into play in Buffalo and places it on our list of places retirees should avoid. Aside from the tax burden the state carries, Buffalo’s crime rate solidifies its spot on our list. According to the FBI, violent crimes are nearly three times the national average and property crimes are also high in the area.

As with Albany the winters in Buffalo are difficult for older individuals. The average snowfall is nearly 6 feet and temperatures drop to below freezing from December through February. This means more than the inconvenience of shoveling snow: energy costs in the city are almost 7{bc669dfb3651bb8509a96034cbe7494d3a811fc0eedf0ddccb239fb9cb737439} higher than the national average.

New York City, New York

In terms of accessibility, New York is the United States’ most walkable city, with excellent public transit systems. Getting around to museums, restaurants, grocery stores, doctor’s offices and other places is relatively easy in New York City.

However, as you may have already gathered, New York is a tough place to live. High state tax burden (a whopping 12.6{bc669dfb3651bb8509a96034cbe7494d3a811fc0eedf0ddccb239fb9cb737439}) and a higher cost of living makes New York City one of the least desirable places to retire.

The average rent in Manhattan – for a one bedroom apartment – is $3,400. This is more than four times the national average! Planning on buying a home in the Big Apple? The average home price is roughly $1.36 million (nearly five times the national average). Chances are, your nest egg won’t cover these costs.