There was a real swirl of reality in the news for older Americans this week. I have now looked at several different maps regarding opinions on better places to retire, places to avoid premature death and which cities allow a thrifty retirement. If I had the real data and significant number crunching skills maybe I could combine the three maps.  That should reveal the locations with the happiest, healthiest retirees who are not economically challenged. And yes by the way, life expectancy for those younger than our age cohort has dropped a bit. 

Sorting it out takes some more critical thinking. I have been reading about best/worst state and cities to retire for a while.  The state we choose to retire was Maryland.  At the time, it was #13 on the worst to retire list.  Why?  Maryland has high home prices, state taxes on pension and something about higher co pays on plan D Medicare drug plans?  We were fortunate to cash out a more expensive house, we do not have any sizable pensions to be subject to state tax and the co pays do not seem any different. We managed to do the 25% cut in expenses by downsizing/moving-go figure.  Not every city can gain an official age friendly stamp of approval. It has to earn your own stamp of approval as a personal oasis.

Now I also learn that my new adopted state with its friendly people, more careful approach to the environment and land use, low traffic congestion is also in the fourth quadrant of where people are said to be happiest. That’s like being in the next to last quadrant on a standardized test.  This article in the Washington Post got some real push back in terms of lively comments.  Read here:

Yes, living in Hawaii (#1) sounds interesting with its public option health care and its lack of political strife, but forgo close family unless they move with you. I noted going down the best list, that the most common percentage of seniors in these high ranked states was only 8%. That is a little over half of what many others states already have.  Does having a higher percentage of older residents make state or county government mobilize services or just be overwhelmed?  If we dealt ourselves out like cards to even out the  percentage of older folks across state populations, would that make the situation better or worse?

I very much dislike the term silver tsunami. It strongly implies having too many seniors is an inevitable disaster. Dr Bill Thomas uses instead, the expression ‘silver reservoir’ as in look at all the talent and skills that resides in these old heads. The combined energy of younger seniors becoming proactive whereever they decide to stay in place and weather their last challenges can make a difference. Yes, I said energy to keep fighting for our right to age in peace, no matter where you are on the map.

Other maps to ponder: Where to retire on less than $1000 a month:

Does your address indicate premature death rate?