Excerpt from USA TODAY article: Retirement Living: 5 Great (Unknown) Places to Retire
Picking a place to retire is a pretty big deal. Any good financial planner will advise you to start thinking about where you want to live well before you enter those retirement years.
If you don’t plan to retire in the home you’ve lived in for years, you may go to one of those “Best places to retire” lists.
We wanted to try something different. We have a list of great places to retire that many of you may not have thought about, all great communities, but not on the radar of the masses.
What made us choose these places? They have all the things retirees want when they start looking for a place to spend their golden years.
“Retirees want relatively low cost of living and housing, a favorable tax situation, a low crime rate, an active downtown, good medical facilities and, more than ever, a range of activities that can keep them fit and healthy,” says Annette Fuller, managing editor of Where to Retire magazine. “Big cities still attract, such as Austin and Santa Fe, but the little guys – such as Mountain Home, Ark.; Natchez, Miss.; and Port Townsend, Wash. – have many relocated retirees who proudly boast of their new home and delight in finding an off-the-beaten-path location.”
Here are five cities and towns for consideration.
1. Hendersonville, N.C. Most people know Asheville, N.C., in the western mountains of the state. But, according to Terri King, CEO of Coldwell Banker King in Asheville, people are discovering the outlying areas. Twenty-five minutes south of Asheville is Hendersonville (pop. 13,000) which has many of the qualities sought by Baby Boomers, King says.
She calls the city a “remarkably friendly yet sophisticated social experience.” Among the attributes, a 72-piece orchestra (the smallest town in the USA that has one, she says). It is also home to the official state theater, the Flat Rock Playhouse. And it’s 25 miles from Mission Hospital, which was ranked in the top 15 health care systems in 2013 by Thomson Reuters.
“It has easy walking, waterfalls and a national forest,” King says. “And you are two to three hours from cities like Atlanta and Greensboro.
“It’s very conducive to a retired individual,” she says. “For Baby Boomers, it has a mild, four-season climate. People retirement age are done with the extremes in life.”
Steve Wike, 64, publisher of BlueRidgeTravelGuide.com, and his wife, Mickie, moved to Hendersonville in 2010. “There is everything imaginable to do here,” he says. “I wouldn’t trade it. I love it here.”
“There are over 200 waterfalls in Western North Carolina,” Wike says, and you can hike to almost all of them.” And, of course, there’s golf.
“I don’t play golf, but for the guys around here who do, they say they can get on any private course. It’s like $35 for 18 holes,” says Wike, who grew up in Northern Virginia. “They love it. They say the views and courses are beautiful.” More