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The 5 best -- and worst -- cities for retirees


Are you ready to retire and, if so, where should you retire?

Those questions are being posed to a growing number of Americans, as the nation's population ages.

U.S. worker confidence in their ability to afford a comfortable retirement has climbed back up from the record lows seen during the depths of the Great Recession. But the latest annual survey from the Employee Benefit Research Institute says a "sizeable percentage of workers" have virtually no savings or investments to put towards their retirements; while many others are postponing retirement for financial reasons.

Of course, where you live can make a big difference in how your golden years unfold. And with that in mind the WalletHub personal finance website has released its 2015 list of the Best and Worst U.S. Cities, when it comes to retirement.

The site compared the retirement-friendliness of America's 150 largest cities by using a series of metrics to determine its score on four specific factors: Affordability, activities, quality of life and health care. It also ranked each of those factors from 1 (the best) to 150 (the worst).

Click ahead for a look at the top and bottom five cities.

No. 1: Tampa, Florida


Affordability rank: 11

Activities rank: 4

Quality of life rank: 21

Health care rank: 26

"Affordability is what really pushed Tampa to the No. 1 slot," Jill Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for WalletHub, told the Tampa Bay Times. The newspaper pointed out that Florida's lack of a personal income tax allows retirees to stretch their finances further. And while home prices in metro Tampa are rising along with everywhere else in the nation, that rise has been relatively modest.

No. 2: Scottsdale, Arizona


Affordability rank: 50

Activities rank: 5

Quality of life rank: 2

Health care rank: 33

Housing prices in Arizona have reportedly rebounded to pre-recession levels, which is a minus for any cost-conscious retiree. But Scottsdale is near the top of WalletHub's list when it comes to quality of life issues. And the city is well-acquainted with the needs of older residents; about 20 percent of Scottsdale's population is aged 65 or older, giving the city one of the highest percentages of seniors of any of the 150 communities on the WalletHub list.

No. 3: Boise, Idaho

Charles Knowles/iStockphoto

Affordability rank: 21

Activities rank: 27

Quality of life rank: 7

Health care rank: 39

WalletHub isn't the only publication to take notice of Boise's attractiveness as a retirement destination. Money magazine recently noted that Idaho's capital has a relatively low cost of living, affordable housing and easy access to a wide variety of cultural entertainments. One third of the city's population is aged 50 or older, as well.

No. 4: Cape Coral, Florida


Affordability rank: 83

Activities rank: 3

Quality of life rank: 3

Health care rank: 17

Living in a state with no personal income tax and a relatively low cost of living has its benefits, especially for retirees. And while Cape Coral was hard hit by the housing market collapse, its home prices remain well below their pre-recession highs. Public transportation in this Gulf Coast city is limited, but is inexpensive. Its population of older residents remains sizable -- with 17 percent of the Cape Coral community aged 65 or older, according to the latest U.S. Census data.

No. 5: Orlando, Florida


Affordability rank: 34

Activities rank: 2

Quality of life rank 104

Health care rank: 15

Given the city is home to a variety of tourist destinations and resorts, it's no surprise Orlando came out near the top of WalletHub's Activities ranking. Along with all the recreational choices, metro Orlando is also one of the fastest-growing regions in the U.S. It's also home to one of the largest retirement communities in the nation, and reportedly still has a large inventory of affordable housing.

No. 146: New York, New York


Affordability rank: 148

Activities rank: 130

Quality of life rank: 60

Health care rank: 147

With its notoriously high rents, a heavy personal tax burden and its skyrocketing cost of living, New York can be a difficult place for anyone to reside in, much less a retiree on a fixed budget. That lack of affordability, according to WalletHub, even cancels out the benefits the city's retiree-friendly walkablity and its access to low-cost recreation.

No. 147: Aurora, Illinois

Andy Dean/iStockphoto

Affordability rank: 143

Activities rank: 131

Quality of life rank: 87

Health care rank: 145

Illinois' second-largest city, to the west of Chicago, is dealing with an ongoing pension-funding crisis. According to a recent report, about half of retirement systems in the region are less than 60 percent funded -- which is putting a financial squeeze on public sector pension funds. Another WalletHub survey found Illinois to be one of the worst states, overall, for taxpayers. And along with all those issues are the region's bitter cold winters, which can keep older people stuck indoors for weeks at a time.

No. 148: Providence, Rhode Island


Affordability rank: 150

Activities rank: 85

Quality of life rank: 135

Health care rank: 146

High costs for living expenses and health care, an above-average crime rate, coupled with a relative lack of retiree-friendly recreation and services, have placed Rhode Island's capital near the bottom of the annual WalletHub list for several years now. And some locals seem to have come to a similar consensus about their city's lack of appeal for retirees.

"I think we can all agree that Providence isn't the ideal place to retire to," a blogger noted last year at "I guess the 6 month long winters and high risk of being mugged every night has something to do with that."

No. 149: Jersey City, New Jersey

Nicola Muraro/iStockphoto

Affordability rank: 141

Activities rank: 140

Quality of life rank: 108

Health care rank: 149

Just across the Hudson River from New York City, retirees in Jersey City have to cope with the same financial issues faced by their Big Apple neighbors -- in particular high taxes, a higher-than-average crime rate and soaring cost of living expenses.

"If it wasn't for the family, I wouldn't be here because the taxes are too high," 68-year-old Peggy Brocco, who lives south of Jersey City, told the Courier-Post. "I'm in a senior development, and I pay $8,200 in (property) taxes."

No. 150: Newark, New Jersey

Mihai Andritoiu/iStockphoto

Affordability rank: 138

Activities rank: 117

Quality of life rank: 150

Health care rank: 150

With one of the worst crime rates in the nation for a city of its size, a heavy tax burden and high cost of living, Newark comes in at the bottom of the WalletHub list for retirees. The city government is also in the grips of a major debt crisis, which has further eroded its municipal services for the elderly and others.