Forbes ranks Tulsa in top 25 of best cities to retire
BY LAURIE WINSLOW World Staff Writer
Friday, June 15, 2012
6/15/12 at 5:05 AM
Tulsa's tax climate and low cost of living helped garner it a spot among Forbes' annual list of the Best Places to Retire.
This year, Forbes expanded its list from 16 cities to 25, located in 18 states. The list will appear in the June 25 print issue of Forbes Magazine. Forbes does not numerically rank the cities on its top-25 list.
For the list, the publication reviewed data for hundreds of cities in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia. In addition to financial factors, Forbes looked at weather, availability of doctors, serious crime rates and encouragement for an active retirement. The magazine considered evaluations by Bicycling Magazine and volunteeringinamerica.org.
Because more retirees are working, Forbes also considered unemployment rates and rankings of job and economic growth compiled by the Milken Institute, according to the publication.
Many of the best places tend to lean toward warmer climates in states such as Florida, New Mexico and Arizona. Only about a half-dozen best places are located in chilly parts of the country, according to Forbes.
Joining Tulsa on the list are places such as Asheville, N.C.; Albuquerque, N.M.; Austin, Texas; Bloomington, Ind.; Columbia, Mo.; Knoxville, Tenn; and Cape Coral, Fla.; to name a few.
Among Tulsa's pros are its "decent economy" and an average home price of $129,000, according to the publication.
Unemployment in metro Tulsa dipped to 4.9 percent in April - its lowest since December 2008 when the rate was 4.6 percent.
From a tax perspective, Oklahoma was listed along with 16 other states for being one of the best states for retirees, according to Forbes.
"There are a lot of people who are retiring and starting a second career and going into business for themselves. We have a great economy for entrepreneurs," said Denise Reid, director of talent strategies and recruitment for the Tulsa Metro Chamber.
In addition to its low cost of living, Tulsa also has a low cost of doing business, which benefits those who want to start a second career, she noted.
Retirees bring great skill sets and have an incredible impact on a community as volunteers, mentors and as consumers, Reid said. Tulsa has a big philanthropic and volunteer community, which makes it easy for people to get connected very quickly into the community.
Many of the things that young professionals look for in a city are similar to what middle-aged people and seniors also might want, Reid said.
Tulsa has all four seasons and offers access to nearby lakes, bike trails, outdoor activities, along with an active music scene and opportunities to engage in the arts, Reid said.
"You can have every aspect of a metropolitan, cosmopolitan lifestyle in Tulsa at a much more affordable rate," Reid said.
Of course, not everything is perfect in Tulsa. Forbes lists crime as a negative factor for Tulsa.
Major crimes were up in Tulsa by nearly 1 percent from 2010 to 2011, while crimes nationwide were down by as much as 4 percent, according to the most recent data from the FBI's preliminary uniform crime report and data from Tulsa police.
For 2012, overall crime is up by 0.1 percent compared to 2011, said Officer Leland Ashley.
"We don't feel Tulsa is a dangerous place to live," Ashley said. "We work every day to reduce crime in the city. We feel Tulsa is a safe place to live, work and play."
The FBI data comes from more than 14,000 law enforcement agencies across the country.
In Tulsa, homicides decreased by 15 percent from 2010 to 2011. For 2012, homicides are on pace with last year, when 50 total homicides were reported.
World Staff Writer Jerry Wofford contributed to this report.
Tulsa in the rankings
Tulsa stands out in many other rankings as noted in these recent examples provided by the Tulsa Metro Chamber:
Original Print Headline: Tulsa a good place to retire
- No. 3 in national home value growth (Zillow.com 2012)
- No. 4 city for 10 Best Places to Find a Job (The Fiscal Times 2011)
- No. 5 city for out-of-state house hunters (Trulia.com 2012)
- Top 10 city in which to retire (AARP 2011)
- Top 10 city for best music scene (Livability.com 2012)
- No. 15 affordable city (Forbes 2011)
- No. 2 among top 10 cities for young people to find a job (The Fiscal Times 2012)
Laurie Winslow 918-581-8466
TOM GILBERT/Tulsa World