Why Wailea, Pelican Bay, And The Villages Are Ultimate Retirement Destinations Despite High Costs

According to a Schwab Retirement Plan Services poll, the average American expects to retire comfortably with almost $1.9 million. However, the Federal Reserve’s 2022 Survey of Consumer Finances reports that the average household savings for individuals aged 65 to 74 is only $609,230. This gap inevitably affects retirement plans, as retirees must align their savings with their desired lifestyle.

Personal finance website GoBankingRates notes that retirees in expensive states like Hawaii or New York will need over $1 million to cover living expenses for 15 years. In contrast, retirees in the Midwest or South, where living costs are lower, will find their money goes much further.

The cost of living significantly influences where retirees choose to move. A survey from financial media site MarketBeat.com, which interviewed 3,000 people who were retired or close to retiring, named several warm regions known for their affluent residents and luxurious lifestyles as the best places to retire. According to MarketBeat’s study, the top retirement locations include Hawaii, Florida, and California, with Wailea, Maui, and Hawaii ranking highest.

Wailea, Maui: The Best Place for Retirees

Wailea, located on Hawaii’s Maui island, is considered the best place for retirees. This city is favoured among wealthy seniors for its golf courses, beaches, and resorts. According to the Hawaiian government, roughly 20 per cent of Maui’s population is 65 or older, and more than a third of all households have at least one member aged 65 or older.

Maui offers a vibrant cultural and artistic environment, with numerous galleries and museums to explore. The island also features several age-friendly neighbourhoods and amenities, including senior centres and clubs. According to US News, Hawaii is the best state for medical and healthcare services in the US.

However, the high cost of living is a significant downside to residing in Hawaii. The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC) named Hawaii the most expensive state. MERIC data shows that Hawaii has the highest food, housing, utilities, and transportation costs. Financially, WalletHub ranks Hawaii as the state with the second-highest tax burden in the US, just behind New York City. Residents contribute 6.97% of their income to sales and excise taxes, the highest rate in the nation.

Top Neighbourhoods for Retirees in the US

Pelican Bay, Naples, Florida: This neighbourhood has exclusive beaches, luxury restaurants, and social clubs tailored for retirees. Pelican Bay offers a range of activities, including golf, tennis, and sailing, making it a haven for active retirees. The community also features a state-of-the-art fitness centre and wellness programmes to keep residents healthy and engaged.

Southeast Gables, Coral Gables, Florida: Known for its top-notch golf courses, amenities, Mediterranean architecture, and healthcare services, Southeast Gables is a picturesque and sophisticated neighbourhood. The area is renowned for its beautiful tree-lined streets and historic homes. Additionally, Coral Gables offers easy access to cultural attractions, such as the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and the Coral Gables Museum, enriching the retiree experience.

Carmel-by-the-Sea, California: Renowned for its closely-knit community, vibrant art culture, and panoramic coastal views, Carmel-by-the-Sea is an ideal retirement location for those who appreciate the arts and nature. The town is famous for its charming cottages, art galleries, and the annual Carmel Art Festival. Carmel offers numerous outdoor activities, including hiking in Point Lobos State Natural Reserve and exploring the scenic 17-mile Drive.

The Villages, Florida: A community offering a variety of leisure activities for socially and physically active pensioners, The Villages is often described as a “retiree’s playground.” The area boasts over 50 golf courses, numerous recreation centres, and 2,000 social clubs. The Villages also has a robust healthcare system with multiple medical facilities and specialists available to residents.

Understanding the Financial Landscape

The Schwab Retirement Plan Services poll highlights that while Americans anticipate needing $1.9 million for a comfortable retirement, the Federal Reserve’s data reveals a significant shortfall in actual savings. This discrepancy underscores the importance of planning and making informed decisions about retirement locations based on individual financial situations.

Choosing the right place to retire involves balancing the dream of an ideal lifestyle with the reality of financial resources. Expensive states like Hawaii offer unparalleled beauty and top-tier amenities but come with high costs. Meanwhile, more affordable regions in the Midwest or South provide a more economical retirement option. Regardless of the choice, understanding the financial implications and planning accordingly is crucial for a secure and fulfilling retirement.

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