Oklahoma is retirement haven, MarketWatch.com says
BY LAURIE WINSLOW World Staff Writer
Saturday, September 29, 2012
9/29/12 at 4:35 AM
In Oklahoma, retirees benefit from a low cost of living that helps their savings stretch further. They also can enjoy the state's great outdoors, which boasts the most diverse terrain of any state in the nation, along with cultural events and the arts, according to a recent article on MarketWatch.com.
The online story touts the many advantages of Oklahoma for retirees while highlighting four areas: Tulsa, Bartlesville, Stillwater and Ardmore.
According to the article, the median home in Oklahoma costs less than $100,000, and the cost of living is 14 percent below the national average.
"Nursing home and assisted-living costs are significantly below average here. And thanks, in part, to the state's booming energy sector, the unemployment rate hovers around 6 percent, significantly below the national average - good news for retirees who want to work in retirement," the article states.
Oklahoma also has 10 distinct eco-regions and opportunities for outdoor recreation, such as boating, fishing, hunting, hiking, bird-watching and kayaking, according to the article.
Among its downsides, the state ranks in the top five for number of tornadoes. It also has 203 physicians per 100,000 residents compared with 261 for the nation, according to the article.
"Oklahoma is a great place to retire. We have everything anybody could want here except snow skiing and beaches," said Leslie Blair, spokeswoman with the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department.
Not only does the state have a large amount of lakes, but also it has an above-average number of days of sunshine and cities that have great museums, restaurants and opportunities for live music.
"There is just so much you can do in Oklahoma, and your dollar really does go further here," Blair said.
The article also highlights Tulsa's "cosmopolitan living" and its eclectic mix of art deco buildings downtown, quality shopping and cultural offerings.
It notes that Tulsa is home to Philbrook Museum of Art and Gilcrease Museum, 6,000 acres of parks, 16 public golf courses and sports teams including the Tulsa Drillers, Tulsa Oilers and Tulsa 66ers, and more.
"Some retirees are bothered by the higher-than-average crime rate in the city. ... Still, the cultural and outdoor perks, excellent health care options and low-cost of living (the median home costs less than $93,000, and the cost of living is 11.6 percent below average) balance that out for many," the article states.
Mark Butterworth, president of Butterworth Financial Advisory LLC in Tulsa, works with many retirees and, likewise, can name many things about Tulsa and the state that prompt people to want to live here.
When he travels around the country, people often ask him what is so special about Tulsa.
"I think you almost have to live here to understand. It's a nice community and a great place to raise a family," he said.
The city and state are centrally located, which makes it easier to travel to either coast. It's also fairly easy to get around within Tulsa without getting lost, which would be inviting to a retired person, he said.
"The biggest thing - it's the Oklahoma attitude. It's a giving attitude," Butterworth said.
"People will go out of their way to help, and that's probably inviting to a lot of people. We definitely have our problems and issues ... but at the end of the day it's a little more comfortable, a more easy-going lifestyle, and I think that is appealing to many people."
People who are new to Tulsa or visit always talk about how friendly and welcoming the community is, and many retirees identify with a strong sense of community, said LToya Knighten, vice president of communications for the Tulsa Metro Chamber. She noted that Tulsa is one of the top communities in the country for philanthropic giving, which makes it attractive to people who are no longer in the work force but are looking for purpose.
"The Tulsa region is going through a transformation, which is really something that excites a lot of people, both young and mature, both people who are already living here and people who visit," Knighten said.
"We have a strong music and arts scene ... a lot of different entertainment districts. ... We have all read studies that show retirees are nowadays living an active life, and some of them are even finding a second career, whether that be entrepreneurship or part time work."
And the Tulsa region with its low cost of living and short commute time is a great place for entrepreneurs, she said.
Original Print Headline: Oklahoma touted as a prime home for retirees
Laurie Winslow 918-581-8466