3 Georgia cities among best places to retire, according to WalletHub

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Retirement is the reward for spending decades working for a living.

According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s 2020 Retirement Confidence Survey, however, six in 10 workers reported feeling at least somewhat confident they will have enough money to retire comfortably, but only 24% said they were “very confident.”

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But retirement isn’t all about money.

“Retirees want to live in a place where they enjoy safety and access to good healthcare, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic taking its toll on the U.S.,” financial website WalletHub wrote. “The ideal city will also have lots of ways to spend leisure time, along with good weather.”

To help Americans find the best cities to spend their golden years, WalletHub compared 182 cities across four key dimensions: affordability, activities, quality of life and health care. It then evaluated those dimensions using 46 relevant metrics, each graded on a 100 point scale, with 100 being the best.

When the scores were tallied, four of the top five best cities for retirement were in Florida, with Orlando landing the top spot with a score of 61.02. It was followed by Tampa; Charleston, S.C.; Miami; and Fort Lauderdale, in that order.

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Georgia finished with three cities on the list: Atlanta, Augusta and Columbus.

Atlanta was ranked No. 22, with a score of 54.34. Although Georgia’s capital was No. 8 for activities, it was No. 168 for quality of life, which includes elder friendly job market, share of population over 65 living in poverty, caring community and strength of elder abuse protections. The city was No. 45 for 45 in affordability and No. 100 for health care.

Augusta made the top 100, finishing at No. 75 with a score of 49.32. Its strongest showing was in affordability, coming in at No. 13. However, the city was No. 172 for activities, 85 for quality of life and 160 for health care.

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Georgia’s third city on the list, Columbus, finished at No. 135 with a score of 45.41. The city was No. 22 for affordability, 164 for activities, 135 for quality of life and 179 for health care.

When planning for retirement, you should consider your longevity.

“Many have not considered how old they might live — on average if you make it to age 65 you are looking at roughly another 8,000 days — (about the same amount of time from the middle to old age),” Kathy Black, a professor of aging studies and social work at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee campus, told WalletHub.

You should also plan for how you intend to live, she said, including your living arrangement, your social life and maintaining your mental health.

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Jeanette C. Takamura, dean emerita and professor at the School of Social Work at Columbia University, offers tips for people living on a fixed income:

  • Work, even part time if possible
  • Look for community-sponsored, free activities in which to be engaged
  • Prioritize your health and be sure to engage in health promotion activities like walking that are free
  • Become familiar with online purchasing options and stores that offer discounts
  • Recognize that we have fewer needs in retirement for clothing and other things that are essential in the workplace
  • Think about how you can do less costly things — having coffee rather than going out to lunch or dinner
  • Join organizations like AARP that offer discounts
  • Stay current on products and services and always check to be sure that they are reliable
  • Avoid phone, email, and mail solicitations for information and for the purchase of products

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