Four Washington state cities rank in the bottom half of best and worst places to retire

Personal finance website WalletHub released its report on this year’s best and worst places to retire. Four Washington state cities made the list, but all were in the bottom half of the 182 cities ranked.

Seattle was Washington’s top-ranked city, coming in at No. 97. Tacoma (No. 170), Spokane (No. 172), and Vancouver (No. 176) followed the Emerald City.

WalletHub determined its rankings by comparing 46 key measures of affordability, quality of life, health care, and availability of recreation activities. Specific measures included cost of living, retired taxpayer-friendliness, and health infrastructure.

“After putting in decades of hard work, we naturally expect to have financial security in our golden years,” the WalletHub report stated. “But not all Americans can look forward to a relaxing retirement. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s 2022 Retirement Confidence Survey, 7 in 10 workers reported feeling at least somewhat confident that they will have enough money to retire comfortably, but fewer than 3 in 10 said they were ‘very confident.’”

WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez delved into some of the factors accounting for the lower-half placement of Washington cities on the list.

“Washington in general is not great for cost of living or taxation,” she told The Center Square via email. “So if you add living on a fixed income into that mix, it’s no surprise that Washington cities did not make it into the top half of these rankings.”

The cost of living in Washington is 13% higher than the national average, according to RentCafe, a nationwide internet listing service for renters seeking apartments and homes.

Housing is 22% higher than the national average, per RentCafe. Basic necessities such as food and clothing are around 12% higher than in the rest of the country.

Healthcare services such as doctor check-ups and dentistry cost 22% more in Washington compared to the national average, while non-necessary expenses such as entertainment and grooming services are 12% higher.

“Seattle, Tacoma and Vancouver actually tied for having the highest cost of adult day healthcare in the country, upwards of $31,000 yearly,” Gonzalez explained. “Spokane ranked especially low in its numbers of theaters, art and book clubs.”

It wasn’t all bad news, she pointed out.

“The results might not be news to residents – most of these cities have some of the smallest 65+ communities in the country,” Gonzalez noted. “All of that said, the fishing opportunities are great, which is a popular retirement pastime.”

Other Pacific Northwest cities made the list as well.

In Oregon, Portland ranked No. 69, and Salem came in at No. 168.

In Idaho, Boise scored an impressive No. 16 ranking, while Nampa came in at No. 120.

The 10 best cities to retire in, according to WalletHub, are:

1. Charleston, South Carolina

2. Orlando, Florida

3. Cincinnati, Ohio

4. Miami, Florida

5. Fort Lauderdale, Florida

6. San Francisco, California

7. Scottsdale, Arizona

8. Wilmington, Delaware

9. Tampa, Florida

10. Salt Lake City, Utah

The 10 worst cities to retire in, according to WalletHub, are:

182. Bridgeport, Connecticut

181. Newark, New Jersey

180. San Bernardino, California

179. Rancho Cucamonga, California

178. Stockton, California

177. Detroit, Michigan

176. Vancouver, Washington

175. Baltimore, Maryland

174. Wichita, Kansas

173. Lubbock, Texas

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