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retirement

How We Pick Great Places to Retire

Our list provides a fascinating travelogue of cities that are worth a visit.

This marks the fifth consecutive year Kiplinger’s is publishing an August cover story naming great places to retire. Such lists raise a couple of questions: How can there be a new batch of “best” cities every year? And do we really expect you to pull up stakes and move?

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Let me answer the second question first: No, we don’t (although I know of at least one pre-retirement couple who have taken a road trip to scope out some of our top choices). But compiling such lists is an enlightening exercise, both for us and for our readers. They can pique your interest and get you thinking about how, as well as where, you’d like to spend your retirement. In addition, they provide a fascinating travelogue of places that are worth a visit even if you wouldn’t want to move there permanently.

And that’s the answer to the first question. In this vast country (and abroad), we acknowledge that there are far more than a dozen or so great places to retire. So each year we select a theme that lets us narrow down the universe. This year we chose retiree-friendly destinations within an hour or two of major metropolitan areas that might attract your millennial children and your grandchildren.

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The results were both surprising and inspiring. “One thing that stood out is that many of these places have undergone revival and renewal,” says senior associate editor Sandy Block, who wrote the story along with associate editor Pat Esswein and staff writer Kaitlin Pitsker. A case in point: Sandy’s nomination of Springfield, Mass., was greeted with skepticism by some staff members, who pictured it as a gritty manufacturing town. Not so, says Sandy. The factories have been converted into condos, and one new attraction is a museum dedicated to the life and work of Springfield native Theodor Geisel—better known as Dr. Seuss. Plus, Sandy says, the city is home to reasonably priced Victorian rowhouses that would cost a fortune in Boston. “It’s an island of affordability in the Northeast.”

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