Study: Tampa is the best city in the U.S. to retire

Published Aug. 24, 2015

Tampa is the best place in the United States to retire, according to a recent study by WalletHub, which found the city to be affordable for seniors while also offering a lot to do.

St. Petersburg came in at No. 11 in the study, which looked at 24 metrics across four categories: health care, affordability, recreational activities and quality of life. Tampa outranked 150 of the largest U.S. cities, the personal finance website found.

Other Florida cities in the Top 10 are Cape Coral, Orlando and Port St. Lucie. Scottsdale, Ariz., was No. 2 on the list.

Newark, N.J., was last.

Many workers are delaying their retirement because of tightened finances. In 2014, 23 percent of workers expected to retire at the age of 65, but only 11 percent had the ability to, according to a study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. As many still fight to grow their financial nest egg, choosing the right place to retire can make it easier.

Tampa Bay stood out in the study because it's a relatively cheap place to live — ranked at No. 11 in affordability.

Florida has no income tax, which is a boon for retirees living mostly off their savings or retirement accounts. Home prices in Tampa, while rising, are doing so modestly. The median price for a home in the bay area is about $193,000, up 13.7 percent from last year, according to the online real estate guide Trulia. That's significantly below the national median home price of $281,800, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

"Affordability is what really pushed Tampa to the No. 1 slot," said Jill Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for WalletHub.

Finances, however, aren't all that matter during retirement. Tampa also has a lot of things to do, ranking No. 4 for "recreational activities," WalletHub found.

Tampa also ranked No. 26 for health care and No. 21 for quality of life, which included metrics such as crime rates, weather and number of retirees, the study found.

St. Petersburg, while ranked as just as affordable as Tampa, was far lower on the list in terms of activities, quality of life and health care.