Another half-baked and misleading list from another site desperate to attract readers.
U.S. News recently released a list of The 10 Worst Places to Retire. Wow, I thought, these places must be awful to be chosen as “the worst”. They must have deadly air and water pollution, rampant crime, unchecked disease, unsafe nursing homes, no public transit, and are probably bankrupt to boot.
Actually, the U.S. News analysis consisted of only one criteria, the metro’s cost of living. As the article explains their methodology, “Retiring in a city with an inordinately high cost of living means you will have to save more money and invest more successfully just to make ends meet.”
So here is the U.S. News list of the “10 Worst Places to Retire”.
- Bridgeport, CT
- Honolulu, HI
- Los Angeles, CA
- New York City, NY
- Oxnard, CA
- Poughkeepsie, NY
- San Diego, CA
- San Francisco, CA
- San Jose, CA
- Washington, DC
I don’t think I even know where to start with my criticism of this one-dimensional analysis. Even if one were to rank retirement desirability on just a single factor, a high cost of living is one of the worst indicators of poor living conditions.
Why? Because a high cost of living often means that a place is highly desired, and people are willing to pay top dollar to live and work there. I could argue that these most of these places are great for retirement, if you can afford it.
So why produce a simple-minded and misleading ranking like this? They might have at least titled it accurately, such as “The Most Expensive Places to Retire” but that wouldn’t be intriguing enough to capture readers’ attention.
About five years ago, U.S. News publisher Mort Zuckerman declared that rankings would be the new business model for his magazine. Now U.S. News is churning out the rankings in every possible area; Colleges, Grad Schools, High Schools, Online Schools, Hospitals, Children’s Hospitals, Doctors, Health Plans, Nursing Homes, Diets, Mutual Funds, Retirement Places, Cars & Trucks, Hotels, US and Foreign Vacations, Honeymoons, Law Firms and Law Schools, and more.
The quality of the lists don’t really matter. It’s all just a mechanism to produce revenue. Like so much content on the web these days, it’s produced to be easily found by search engines and generate discussion.
U.S. News hit gold with this list, when it was mentioned on the NBC Nightly News. Shame on U.S. News for a misleading, lazy, and mean-spirited list, and shame on NBC News for giving the ranking undeserved attention and credibility.