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170 of 172 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2005
I have owned two books on "places to live" -- this one on retirement and another on general living areas, thus I have a good basis for comparison. This book on retirement is mostly anecdotal and insufficient to make an adequate factual comparison among the various cities and towns. Why did the editor leave out the average cost of living for several of these cities, for example? My other book had numerical ratings for all sorts of critically important categories like weather, access to colleges and universities, health care and hospitals (public and private), public transportation, indoor and outdoor recreation, the arts, state sales taxes, state income taxes, property taxes, housing costs, general cost of living, etc. The editor of this book includes some of this information but it is not consistent and not in any type of graphical or rating form so it is impossible to compare the various cities, which is what we are inclined to do if we are choosing some place to retire. Another caveat: I think every book on retirement should have big bold letters printed on the cover, in red: WARNING!! NEVER COMMIT TO A NEW CITY UNLESS YOU RENT THERE FOR AT LEAST SIX MONTHS!! Based on just a few vacation visits to our chosen retirement town, plus information from this book, we spent two months renting, found and bought a house and have regretted it ever since. The glowing and gushing tales quoted about city and town life from every corner of the country in this book can be countered by equally dark tales of horror (we have more than a few about Whidbey Island, WA). So do you see why I think those human interest stories that fill the book are truly useless in helping you choose your final destination? I also lived for five years in Ojai, CA, one of the editor's favored towns, and I wouldn't want to be buried there, much less step foot there ever again. What is one woman's hell is another's paradise. A book of dull yet solid statistics would have been much more useful, in my humble opinion. Oh, wait, I have just the book you need, easily ordered from Amazon! Try "Cities Ranked & Rated" by Bert Sperling and Peter Sander, 2004. No meaningless subjective blather from gushing residents, just the facts, ma'am. Try it, you'll like it!
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72 of 86 people found the following review helpful
on October 4, 2003
The change of authors from the second to third editions coincided with the publisher's decision to eliminate crime rate statistics from the compendium of worthwhile data in the latest volume. These stats were held to be skewed because of population fluctuations in popular vacation destinations, and that omission is unfortunate. The good news is that the articles are interesting, and the interviews that form the basis for these descriptions do much to bring each spot to life. This remains one of several good books to have at one's disposal.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Some towns seem to have a permanent place on the sweetheart lists of books dedicated to relocation and retirement. It is unusual to see such books without Charlottesville, Virginia, Branson, Missouri or Grand Junction, Colorado and indeed these locales, along with 97 others, fill the pages of AMERICA'S 100 BEST PLACES TO RETIRE.

This is a helpful book, but not an indispensable one. A good half of the towns or counties listed here are also in the 203-item RETIREMENT PLACES RATED (2004), which uses statistics far more than AMERICA'S 100, and generates competitive rankings. AMERICA'S 100 does, though, look at its places in a great deal more detail. An info box in each chapter, alphabetized by town name, offers brief stats as to climate, hospital beds, major housing developments and the like, as well as contact lists for the various Chambers of Commerce or whatever other agency is responsible for promoting each place. This brings in some objective data into what otherwise is a subjective process.

But the bulk of each chapter is given up to a narrative description of each particular place's "vibe" and a series of interiews with residents who relocated there either in middle age or during retirement. These are almost always middle-class couples with enough money to spend on middle-rank (or above) housing, or the wherewithal to build their own. Those interviewed will be a mix of people from the same region and those from far away, who fell across their new communities through a combination of research, personal recommendations, and plain old serendipity--stumbling across it on vacation, say. Together with the info box, such narrative discussions average three pages per town, or the equivalent of a medium-sized magazine article (no photos, though). I did feel, though, that many of these (admittedly subjective) town descriptions were quite boosterish; if any of these places is saddled with a rotten economy or a soaring crime rate, you're not likely to hear about it here.

Perhaps the most useful--or at least most enjoyable--aspect of AMERICA'S 100 is its listing of ten "Top 10" towns from its ranking, using categories such as "Best Budget Towns," "Best Beach Towns," "Best College Towns," and so on.

One caveat--America teems with the retired and soon-to-be retired. Therefore the housing costs in this book, which are at least four years old, may be fairly on the mark in some instances but woefully understated in others. One solution is to contact the chamber of commerce listings, where your address will inevitably be passed on to local realtors, most of whom belong to the local C of C. AMERICA'S 100 doesn't overwhelm the reader with its number of locations or hard data, but it does its best to convey the real feeling, the experience of living in each place.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on February 16, 2006
This book could have done a little better job in giving information. If you were interested only in the best places to retire in order it is good. However, I would have liked more information than what was given.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2007
While interesting this book leaves a little to be desired. A Better choice would be the newest edition of PLACES RATED.
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on February 23, 2010
I taught a course called "Ready or Not" which was for pre-retirement employees. I used this as the textbook.

It will help you choose a retirement location in a totally scientific, objective way based on lifestyle, climate, crime rate, culture, education, and other factors. It gives you (and your spouse) a test to rank each factor, then presents all US retirement areas in rank order based on these same factors.

Very excellent method! We used it to purchase a retirement home near Asheville, NC!
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on May 20, 2011
As a subscriber to the "Where To Retire" magazine, this is a compilation of their retirement site articles but provides an one source stop for retirement information.
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on January 12, 2008
This is a book with an underlying assumption that may not be correct. Stay where you are and make the best of it. I did.
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3 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2006
Excellent referral information and explicit for cost, weather, local features, and amenities
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