Traverse City Record-Eagle

November 10, 2012

TC a top spot for retirees

Magazine cites homes, health care, affordability

From staff reports

---- — Money magazine has named Traverse City one of the top places in the U.S. to retire.

The city ranked eighth out of 25 communities selected for offering reasonably priced homes, low crime and tax rates, quality health care and more.

Of Traverse City, the magazine said its biggest draws are sandy beaches, year-round cultural events and affordable waterfront homes:

"Retiring to the water doesn't have to mean giving up four seasons or downsizing to a tiny condo. In Traverse City, residents enjoy miles of sandy beaches and all of the spoils of Lake Michigan and nearby inland lakes — where waterfront homes can be found for less than $200,000."

Also working in Traverse City's behalf are amenities like Munson Medical Center and nearby Interlochen Center for the Arts.

Laura Oblinger, chief operating officer at the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce, said the region seems to be a regular recipient of such designations these days. And it's all good, she said, if only for the impact on tourism.

"If someone is intrigued by the fact that we're one of the top places to retire, they're probably going to start with a vacation here," she said. "We know on average that on a four-day vacation, someone can easily invest $1,000 between hotel, food and entertainment. That's all a boost to our economy."

And retirees are a good group to be attracting, she added.

"Retiree doesn't mean done," she said. "A retiree still is someone who is very talented and contributes experience.

"They are also quiet investors — they are investors that could be people who still have capital and want to engage, if you will, in business practices and sometimes you find them as angel investors, investors in developments in the region — and in other philanthropic ways, they contribute."

Traverse City's ranking comes behind Albuquerque, N.M., at number one, followed by Portland, Ore., Louisville, Ky., Tucson, Ariz., Austin, Texas, Winston-Salem, N.C. and St. George, Utah. The city ranked higher than St. Augustine, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz.