How we picked the Best Places to Retire
6 terrific towns
MONEY asked 2,908 baby boomers around the country where they want to retire; a whopping 49% of them told us that their dream is to retire somewhere by the water. (That desire was second only to moving closer to grandchildren.) So we busted out our atlas and made all those blotches of blue the starting point for this year's Best Places to Retire. Because man cannot live on water alone, we also screened for things that are most important to retirees, including good medical care, relatively low taxes and homes that you can actually afford. We then factored in other qualities that make a place great, such as well-rounded communities (no seniors-only enclaves here), an abundance of outdoor activities (what good is water if you only look at it?) and lots of stuff to do indoors too. The result: six places around the nation making waves right now.

25 best places for affordable homes
First, we looked at places where the 2007 median housing price/median family income ratio was lowest. Then we cut places where population or jobs were falling, and places where the median family income was below the state median.

Median home sale price is actual sales collected by Onboard Informatics from county and municipal assessor's offices for 2007. Only includes sales within the place boundaries. Collection and analysis of geographic data (geo-spatial aggregation) by Onboard Informatics.

Best places for a long life
First, we looked at counties where the life expectancy at birth was longest, according to consultant Bert Sperling of BestPlaces.net, based on numbers from the Centers for Disease Control's National Center for Health Statistics. Then we cut places where the median family income was more than 5% below the state median.

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Find your best places
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Region
Northeast South
Midwest West
Ranking
Top 100 winners only
Population
8.3M
19,457
Home Prices
2007 median sales prices
$1.63M
$50K
Video
MONEY asked 2,908 baby boomers around the country where they want to retire; a whopping 49% of them told us that their dream is to retire somewhere by the water…. More
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