WENATCHEE – The not-so-hush-hush secret of Wenatchee as a retirement mecca was recently trumpeted nationwide.
Forbes Magazine – yep, the leading business publication with a readership of 6.7 million – touts Wenatchee as one of “25 Best Places to Retire in 2017.” The Apple Capital of the World squeezes onto the list with the likes of Boise, Idaho; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Lincoln, Nebraska; and Savannah, Georgia.
“Scenic, sunny Columbia River city of 33,000, 150 miles east of Seattle on the very dry side of the Cascade Mountain Range,” says Forbes about Wenatchee. In its favor, said the magazine, Wenatchee has a median home price of $225,000 (which is low in the world of Forbes), lots of good doctors per capita, minimal rain and a high ranking on a national list of the best cities for successful aging.
Not so good: A cost of living that’s 11 percent above the national average and a state-imposed estate/inheritance tax, not a favorite feature of senior citizens.
In an article accompanying the “best” list, Forbes said aging baby boomers will boost the number of U.S. retirees each year to over 4 million. They’re also a particular bunch, said the magazine, and willing to relocate to areas with lower living costs or ones that better suit their retirement plans for recreation, culture, education, family or even working part-time.
Forbes said it evaluated info on 550 communities in all 50 states. “We strove to find places that provide what we think is the best retirement value – meaning costs, including housing costs and taxes, play a big role in our choices,” said author William P. Barrett. “But we also look at access to medical care; quality of life indicators (including crime and air quality); and factors which can make for a healthy and fulfilling retirement, including opportunities for volunteering and exercise.”
Most of the 25 best places are in warm-weather states, noted Forbes, “but hardier climates have their advocates” especially when the cities also rank high in health care, transportation and community engagement.
That’s where Wenatchee comes in – hot in summer with lots of sunshine, cold in winter with lots of snow. Also: it has a fairly low unemployment rate (4 percent in June), a manageable cost of living, opportunities for outdoor activities (such as, walking the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail) and “an appealing outdoor environment,” according to Forbes.