“People do still want to live in warmer areas, but they’re less concerned about it than in previous generations,” he said.
Instead, seniors today prefer to focus on activities, from golfing to seeing the world.
“They’re able to find their true hobbies [in retirement]— their passions they’ve put off for a while,” Scharen said. “Traveling is [also] becoming a much bigger desire to these people, whether domestic or international. It’s things they couldn’t do before.”
But take “best of” lists with a grain of salt.
“Everyone’s looking for something slightly different,” he said.
Compare cities in those lists against whatever is important to you, whether that’s activities, sandy beaches, health care or affordable housing.
“Read the fine print,” Scharen said. “See what the criteria are — those criteria can vary so much among these lists — and ask, ‘are these things the most important to me?’ If they’re not, it won’t provide much help.”
If the criteria do match, then those lists can be a nice inspiration for further research.