The 10 cities where seniors are the most prepared for retirement's financial realities

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The 10 cities where seniors are the most prepared for retirement's financial realities

Senior couple celebrating move with champagne
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Online personal finance portal SmartAsset and its SmartAdvisor Match service surveyed and compiled a list of the U.S.cities where seniors are most prepared for retirement. The company noted that Northwestern Mutual has found more than a fifth of Americans, overall, have nothing saved for their retirement, and that government analyses show that those families that do have retirement savings accounts have only $1,100 saved up on average. "But in some locales," SmartAsset said, "retirees are bucking the trend and living a life full of the pleasures that come with careful retirement planning and financial security."

SmartAsset looked at seven criteria: percent of seniors with retirement income, retirement income levels, food stamp reliance, poverty rate, home-ownership rate, the housing cost–burdened rate for seniors, and housing costs as a percent of retirement income.

Among SmartAsset's findings: Arizona is home to three cities with seniors who are "financially well prepared for retirement." The state is also a favorite destination for out-of-state retirees looking to make a move, perhaps accounting for its high retirement-preparedness scores, according to the company.

Large U.S. cities, meanwhile, scored poorly. New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, where retirees may find housing costs and living expenses challenging, all landed in the bottom 10 of the SmartAsset ranking.

Here's a look at the 10 cities where seniors are best prepared for their retirement:

Source: SmartAsset (Note: SmartAsset's analysis also included percentage of senior-headed households with retirement income, housing costs as percentage of said income and percentage of said households using food stamps. These numbers do not appear here.)

  • 1. The Villages, Florida

    Average senior (age 65+) retirement income: $58,688
    Poverty rate among seniors: 4.7 percent
    Home-ownership rate among seniors: 96.8 percent
    Percent of "housing cost–burdened" seniors: 21.4 percent
    SmartAsset Index ranking (1-100): 100

    Residents in this upscale retirement community an hour northwest of Orlando are homeowners with high incomes. SmartAsset found that, across all metrics, The Villages ranked no worse than third out of all cities analyzed.

    536719423
    MichaelWarrenPix | Getty Images
  • 2. Huntsville, Alabama

    Average senior (age 65+) retirement income: $55,178
    Poverty rate among seniors: 8.1 percent
    Home-ownership rate among seniors: 77.7 percent
    Percent of "housing cost–burdened" seniors: 18.4 percent
    SmartAsset Index ranking (1-100): 88.66

    The average retiree calling this Alabama tech hub home boasts an average annual income of $55,178, which makes it No. 10 in the income ranking. Also positive for Huntsville-area retirees: Just shy of 19 percent of them are burdened with housing-cost worries.

    Huntsville
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  • 3. Surprise, Arizona

    Average senior (age 65+) retirement income: $55,336
    Poverty rate among seniors: 5.2 percent
    Home-ownership rate among seniors: 87.6 percent
    Percent of "housing cost–burdened" seniors: 23.7 percent
    SmartAsset Index ranking (1-100): 85.67

    SmartAsset found that senior citizens in Surprise, north of Phoenix, have the second-lowest use of food stamps (2.3 percent) and a low poverty rate (5.2 percent), placing the city in the Top 3. Nearly 88 percent of seniors in Surprise own their homes; that's the second-highest rate in the study.

    City Hall, Surprise, Arizona
    Venske | Wikipedia
  • 4. Sun City, Arizona

    Average senior (age 65+) retirement income: $42,181
    Poverty rate among seniors: 88.3 percent
    Home-ownership rate among seniors: 84.3 percent
    Percent of "housing cost–burdened" seniors: 23.4 percent
    SmartAsset Index ranking (1-100): 80.79

    Retiree incomes are lower in Sun City, just northwest of Phoenix, yet the community also enjoys the lowest ratio of housing costs to retirement income in the study. SmartAsset reports that "just 23 percent of seniors here spend 30 percent or more of their income on housing." Sun City also boasts a high rate of senior home ownership, at 84.3 percent.

    Sun City. Phoenix. Maricopa County. Arizona
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  • 5. Anchorage, Alaska

    Average senior (age 65+) retirement income: $58,016
    Poverty rate among seniors: 5 percent
    Home-ownership rate among seniors: 81.3 percent
    Percent of "housing cost–burdened" seniors: 22.5 percent
    SmartAsset Index ranking (1-100): 80.16

    Salaries, and expenses, tend to be high in Alaska's largest city, and the poverty rate is low. Anchorage ranks fourth in total retirement income, SmartAsset found, and more that 57 percent of area seniors have private retirement income. Only 22.5 percent of Anchorage seniors are housing cost–burdened despite the city's relatively high housing costs.

    Anchorage, Alaska skyline
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  • 6. Mesa, Arizona

    Average senior (age 65+) retirement income: $46,506
    Poverty rate among seniors: 8.6 percent
    Home-ownership rate among seniors: 82 percent
    Percent of "housing cost–burdened" seniors: 25.3 percent
    SmartAsset Index ranking (1-100): 76.38

    Only eight other cities beat Mesa's low food-stamp-use rate of just 4.5 percent. The senior home-ownership rate, on the other hand, is high — at 82 percent.

    Urban Mesa Arizona Aerial View of City Skyline
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  • 7. Lexington, Kentucky

    Average senior (age 65+) retirement income: $46,309
    Poverty rate among seniors: 8 percent
    Home-ownership rate among seniors: 76.6 percent
    Percent of "housing cost–burdened" seniors: 21.8 percent
    SmartAsset Index ranking (1-100): 75.43

    Sun Belt cities may boast location, location, location, but Lexington enjoys affordability, affordability, affordability. Less than 22 percent of local seniors spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing.

    Lexington, Kentucky
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  • 8. Fort Wayne, Indiana

    Average senior (age 65+) retirement income: $39,513
    Poverty rate among seniors: 7.3 percent
    Home-ownership rate among seniors: 78.1 percent
    Percent of "housing cost–burdened" seniors: 19.6 percent
    SmartAsset Index ranking (1-100): 74.8

    Fort Wayne is another unlikely retirement hot spot that can boast about its enviable affordability. Housing costs, on average, come to just 23 percent of income for retirees. Indiana's second-most-populous city ranked in the top 10 nationwide in terms of both manageable housing costs and a low level of housing-cost-burdened seniors.

    Fort Wayne, Indiana
    Deb Perry | Moment | Getty Images
  • 9. Virginia Beach, Virginia

    Average senior (age 65+) retirement income: $52,996
    Poverty rate among seniors: 5.4 percent
    Home-ownership rate among seniors: 81.9 percent
    Percent of "housing cost–burdened" seniors: 29.9 percent
    SmartAsset Index ranking (1-100): 71.5

    Despite sunny Virginia Beach being "one of the pricier places in this top 10," reported SmartAsset, just 5.4 percent of area seniors are living in poverty. That's the fourth-lowest rate in the entire study. Only 4.6 percent of seniors are on food stamps, too. Here, almost 59 percent of seniors have private retirement income, and 82 percent own homes.

    Locals enjoy the waterfront in Virginia Beach
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  • 10. Colorado Springs, Colorado

    Average senior (age 65+) retirement income: $51,138
    Poverty rate among seniors: 7.2 percent
    Home-ownership rate among seniors: 76.9 percent
    Percent of "housing cost–burdened" seniors: 27.6 percent
    SmartAsset Index ranking (1-100): 70.55

    Colorado Springs ranked in the top 30 in five out of seven metrics studied. The city boasts the eighth-highest rate of retirement savings and 11th-lowest senior poverty rate. Colorado Springs, however, "is a fairly expensive city" — with more than 27 percent of seniors burdened by housing costs.

    Cheyenne Mountain and Hot Air Balloons
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