Booming Forward: surprisingly popular places to retire

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For American Baby Boomers approaching retirement age, deciding where to settle down can be a tough decision. FOX 13's Dave Nemeth wanted to know what factors have the greatest bearing on where people choose to spend their golden years. Values he researched include climate, available recreational activities, access to decent medical care, taxes, and overall cost of living. He found five cities that continued to show up as popular retirement destinations, and the results may surprise you (in no particular order):

  1. Medford, Oregon -- In the Northwest, Medford is listed as one of the 'healthier' cities, with superior air quality and 'a high ratio of doctors per capita.'
  2. Bangor, Maine -- On the complete opposite end of the country, Maine boasts a diverse topographical landscape that provides opportunity for a plethora of outdoor activities.
  3. Austin, Texas -- Austin pleases adventurers of all sorts, from an unbeatable night life and music scene to golfing, hiking, and biking trails for the more outdoorsy folks.
  4. Ann Arbor, Michigan -- Up in the Great Lakes region, Ann Arbor is full of tax breaks. Certified Financial Planner Lon Jeffries said that the city imposes no state or local income tax on Social Security benefits, and that "some pension benefits are...exempt from state and local income tax."
  5. Athens, Georgia -- Finally, the high college student population in Athens, Georgia "creates a culturally enriched setting" that offers "a lot of entertainment options...art and history museums, university sporting events [and] frequent concerts and plays," Jeffries added.

What many of these places have in common is being a college town, which has a huge perk for lifelong learners: free or low-cost continuing education. Many retired people enjoy going back to school for the fun of it, whether to gain additional skills in something they enjoy or just to keep their minds active.

Salt Lake City made the cut under several categories as a healthy place to live, but overall, poor air quality didn't weigh in its favor.