Winston-Salem’s reputation as a retirement have got another boost Monday when Forbes magazine ranked the city among the country’s top 25 Best Places to Retire for 2013.
Forbes listed the 25 communities, which included Asheville and Charlotte, in alphabetical order.
In October, Winston-Salem was ranked sixth on CNNMoney.com’s 25 Best Places to Retire listing.
Forbes cited as “pros for Winston-Salem the city’s low cost of living, a median home price of $129,000, moderate climate, having several universities and colleges nearby, a high number of doctors per capita and being ranked on the Milken Institute’s list of Best Cities for Successful Aging.”
The only “con” attached to Winston-Salem was crime, as it was for many of the communities listed by Forbes. The magazine also ran a photo of downtown Greensboro with its Winston-Salem snapshot.
“This validates previous rankings for our community as a favorable place to retire,” Mayor Allen Joines said. “I believe the low cost of living and cultural amenities clearly make Winston Salem a good place to live.”
Forbes reviewed more than 400 cities, judging factors ranging from living costs, taxes, crime, availability of doctors and opportunities to stay active with outdoor exercise and volunteer work.
The magazine said the list does not take into account the strength of the communities’ economy or prospects for finding a new job. It has a separate top-25 list for people desiring a working retirement. None of the three North Carolina communities made that list, but Greenville, S.C., and Lynchburg, Va., did.
“A number of the Sunbelt locations on this list don’t make our working retirement picks because of their continuing high unemployment rates,” Forbes said.
Retirees are a desirable demographic: They still pay taxes, but generally don’t have schoolchildren. They have spare time, making them fertile ground for volunteer recruitment efforts.
Being known as a hot place to spend golden years didn’t exactly seem to mesh with an equally pivotal pursuit of young professionals to populate local business and residential communities.
But recently, local civic and economic officials have embraced its retirement recognition because the same life-style attributes attracting the elderly also are being sought by young professionals.
Those include lower cost of living and home prices, lower taxes, active arts and sports communities, higher-education stalwarts, downtown living and dining, and access to high-quality health care.
“We know retirees and young professionals like many of the same things, so instead of the recruiting effort having to be an ‘either-or’ situation, it’s becoming more of a ‘both-and’ situation,” said Sam Matthews, director of The Shepherd’s Center, a nonprofit that aids senior citizens.
In the CNNMoney.com list, Winston-Salem rose four spots from 2011. It was the only North Carolina city ranked, and it was one of only eight cities to repeat from the 2011 list.
The top rankings haven’t all been about retirement living.
In the past two years, Winston-Salem has been ranked by BusinessWeek.com as No. 46 in a ranking of the top 100 big cities in the United States. Bloomberg BusinessWeek ranked Winston-Salem as the 10th-most affordable and fun city. Those rankings typically are based on factors ranging from the number of parks, to crime rates, to housing prices, to median income.
Winston-Salem has made several lists as an outstanding place to retire.
Where to Retire magazine, in its September/October 2009 issue, profiled Winston-Salem as one of eight cities with low housing prices and varied lifestyle amenities.
In August 2007, the city was ranked as the 10th-best retirement community in North America by TopRetirements.com, a website aimed at baby boomers.
In January 2007, the city was listed as having the second-best retirement community by Warren Bland, a retirement analyst and the author of “Retire in Style: 60 Outstanding Places Across the USA and Canada.”
In addition to the other attributes listed about Winston-Salem, a central location on the East Coast, having four seasons and a proximity to mountains and beaches are big attractions, Matthews said.