Retiring on $100 a Day

senior citizens riding bikes together

Can you really retire in America and only spend $100 a day?  Turns out it’s a lot more possible than you might think.

When I started this recent study with AARP, I’d expected only about 20 or 30 U.S. cities would be this affordable.  But I was surprised to discover that most U.S. metro areas have a low enough combination of housing prices and property taxes to meet this criteria.

So what are the best cities for a $100/day retirement?

Based on things like arts and culture, rich community and great restaurants, here’s the Top 10:

City State Population
1 Spokane WA 471,221
2 Las Cruces NM 209,233
3 Eau Claire WI 161,151
4 Roanoke VA 308,707
5 Morgantown WV 129,709
6 Pittsburgh PA 2,356,285
7 San Antonio TX 2,142,508
8 Omaha-Council Bluffs NE-IA 865,350
9 Grand Junction CO 146,723
10 Gainesville FL 264,275

I’m assuming a 25% tax rate, which will reduce your yearly income of $36,500 to $27,375 spendable income.  That’s $2,281 per month.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics uses a percentage of 31.5% for the housing component of the Consumer Price Index.  That means that we have $719 per month for mortgage payments and property taxes.

I’m assuming a 20% down payment, which means that with current low interest rates, we can afford a house priced at $192,000.  Of course, putting up the nearly $40,000 (20% of $192,000) for the down payment may be challenging.

Continue reading “Retiring on $100 a Day”

2012 Manliest Cities

ernest hemingway with a manly beard and sweater

Time flies!  It’s time again for one of our most popular studies, our fourth annual list of America’s Manliest Cities.

It elicits a chuckle from some folks – but not only is Manliness important, it turns out it’s also quite quantifiable.

We look at things like number of major-league sports teams, nearby NASCAR events, steakhouses and BBQ joints. Prevalence of activities like woodworking, fishing, bowling, and home improvement also translated into higher rankings. On the flip side, “unmanly” things like minivans, sushi restaurants and home decor stores hurt cities’ “Manly” score.

Once again the South and the Midwest dominated the top spots. Here’s the full list, along with how each city changed its ranking from last year:

1. Oklahoma City, OK (▲ 2 spots) 26. Salt Lake City, UT (▼ 7 spots)
2. Columbia, SC (▲3 spots) 27. Columbus, OH (▼9 spots)
3. Memphis, TN (▲ 1 spot) 28. Orlando, FL (▲ 2 spots)
4. Nashville, TN (▼ 3 spots) 29. Philadelphia, PA (▼ 9 spots)
5. Birmingham, AL (▲ 2 spots) 30. Grand Rapids, MI (▼ 1 spot)
6. Houston, TX (▲ 3 spots) 31. Detroit, MI (▼ 6 spots)
7. St. Louis, MO (▲ 3 spots) 32. Portland, OR (▲ 5 spots)
8. Toledo, OH (▲ 4 spots) 33. Buffalo, NY (▲ 1 spot)
9. Cleveland, OH (▼ 3 spots) 34. Denver, CO (▼ 3 spots)
10. Charlotte, NC (▼ 8 spots) 35. Baltimore, MD (▼ 7 spots)
11. Louisville, KY (▲ 2 spots) 36. Miami, FL (▲ 8 spots)
12. Cincinnati, OH (▲ 2 spots) 37. Chicago, IL (▼ 13 spots)
13. Indianapolis, IN (▼ 2 spots) 38. Las Vegas, NV (No change)
14. New Orleans, LA (▲ 3 spots) 39. New York, NY (▼ 4 spots)
15. Dallas, TX (▲ 6 spots) 40. Minneapolis, MN (▼ 4 spots)
16. Pittsburgh, PA (No change) 41. Seattle, WA (No change)
17. Atlanta, GA (▲ 6 spots) 42. Harrisburg, PA (▼ 2 spots)
18. Dayton, OH (▲ 8 spots) 43. Washington, DC (▼ 1 spot)
19. Milwaukee, WI (▼ 11 spots) 44. Sacramento, CA (▼ 1 spot)
20. Kansas City, MO (▼ 5 spots) 45. Rochester, NY (▲ 1 spot)
21. Jacksonville, FL (▲ 12 spots) 46. Los Angeles, CA (▲ 4 spots)
22. Richmond, VA (No change) 47. Boston, MA (▼ 2 spots)
23. Tampa, FL (▲ 16 spots) 48. Oakland, CA  (▼ 1 spot)
24. Providence, RI (▲ 3 spots) 49. San Francisco, CA (▼ 1 spot)
25. Phoenix, AZ (▲ 7 spots) 50. San Diego, CA (▼ 1 spot)

Continue reading “2012 Manliest Cities”

Sexual Health

a trojan brand condom

This year marks the 6th annual Trojan Sexual Health Report Card study that we do, and it’s one of the ongoing projects I’m most proud of.  Each year it garners more attention and continues to gain momentum as a source of positive change.

It’s emerged as the only independent evaluation and comparison of on-campus sexual health info and resources for U.S. universities, covering over 30% of all enrolled undergrads nationwide.

We look at the hours of operation for student health centers, the availability and cost of contraceptives for both sexes, peer groups, STD testing, and how sexual assaults are handled.

One of the greatest strengths of the study is that there’s no endorsement of any particular lifestyle, rather the advocacy and promotion of informing students.  It’s about education, which is fitting at our country’s places of higher learning.

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Most Stressful Cities

a stressed-out woman with a headache

Stress is all around us these days – flip on the news and sometimes the problems seem nonstop. There’s so much political infighting and inaction, unemployment, etc…

© Royalty-Free/Corbis

But are some cities more afflicted than others?  It sure looks that way.

We just completed an in-depth study on the nation’s Most Stressful Cities, and Tampa Bay, Florida came out at the top of the list.  Las Vegas was number two, then Miami and Jacksonville.

Notice a pattern?  Florida, with all it’s sunshine, occupies half of the top ten spots.  I was pretty taken aback.

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Most popular cities for the holidays

Just in time for the holidays – which cities have the biggest holiday crush of travelers?

Here are the 100 U.S. cities which show the largest increase in air traveler over the two winter holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year (aka the Winter Holidays).

Now, we didn’t just look at raw numbers.  The obvious list would just be the cities with the largest populations.  Rather, these are the airline destinations ranked by the percent of their air travelers which list the city as their destination which occur during the holidays, as compared to their total annual incoming flights.

Click here for the full list of over 300 cities.

holiday travel  rank
Destination city Thanksgiving rank Christmas / New Year rank
1 Fort Myers, FL 4 1
2 Cincinnati, OH 1 3
3 Miami, FL 2 5
4 Hartford, CT 3 7
5 Fort Lauderdale, FL 7 6
6 West Palm Beach/Palm Beach, FL 10 4
7 Jacksonville, FL 9 8
8 Milwaukee, WI 6 14
9 Greensboro/High Point, NC 5 16
10 Palm Springs, CA 8 22
11 Columbus, OH 12 20
12 Richmond, VA 16 11
13 Charlotte, NC 15 17
14 Tampa, FL 19 12
15 Orlando, FL 17 19
16 New Orleans, LA 11 29
17 Pittsburgh, PA 13 24
18 Kahului, HI 20 15
19 St. Louis, MO 14 31
20 San Juan, PR 94 2

Continue reading “Most popular cities for the holidays”

Laird Hamilton, Actor

Our family went to the movies the other night and saw “The Descendants,” which has been getting a lot of critical acclaim.  It’s been described as “surprising, moving and frequently very funny” (New York Times review).

Laird Hamilton and Bert in the TV studio

But what a surprise it was to see to my buddy, Laird Hamilton, in a small role as the accidental accomplice in the death of one of the main characters.  Laird is a native of Hawaii, and widely recognized as the greatest big-wave surfer in the world.  And we’re talking BIG waves; 70-80 feet tall.

A few years ago, Laird and I worked on a campaign for Zest Bodywash, which celebrated my study of the Best Cities for Adventures.  During our joint television appearances, Laird spoke about how we can all bring adventure to our own lives, every day.  He said you don’t have to risk your life to feel more alive.  His suggestions included doing things that were out of our ordinary routine, such as taking a walk barefoot or playing tennis with your other hand.

But what terrifies a man who has faced death hundreds of times? Continue reading “Laird Hamilton, Actor”

Military Retirement – Second Careers

Coinciding with Veteran’s Day, we just completed an interesting study about the best places in the U.S. for military retirees to start a second career.  Since most veterans retire from service in their 30’s or 40’s, they have plenty of time to start a new professional chapter in their lives.


So what are the best places to enter the civilian job sector?  To help us find out, we partnered with USAA (a financial services provider) and (the largest military and veteran membership organization).  We looked at factors such as affordability, unemployment rate, prevalence of military skill related jobs, and number of veteran-owned businesses.  But we didn’t stop there.

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Sleepless Cities

The results of our newest study were released today on the CBS show, Sunday Morning.  Louisville, KY earned the top spot of Most Sleepless City, and Honolulu residents got the best rest in our study of insomnia.
(see the video clip on CBS)

Our new study ranks the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the United States, home to fully half of the U.S. population.  The Sperling study analyzes over 400,000 responses from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (the world’s largest telephone survey, conducted annually by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), and also considers factors contributing to poor sleep,
such as joblessness, divorce, and lengthy commuting.

Continue reading “Sleepless Cities”

Best Cities for Seniors

I just completed a really in-depth study on the best metro areas for seniors to live in.  Minneapolis came in first, with Boston and Pittsburgh rounding out the top three.  There’s an overview of the study here, with the top 25 cities:

2011 Best Cities for Seniors

We considered nine broad categories, each consisting of several specific measures:  Healthcare, Economy, Health & Longevity, Social Life, Environment, Spiritual Life, Housing, Transportation, and Crime.

Here you can download a PDF of the entire study, with all 50 cities ranked, as well as full methodology and detailed city writeups:

Best Cities for Seniors Full Study

In the PDF, we’ve even broken how cities scored in each of the individual categories.  For example, the #1 city for Environment was San Francisco, whereas the #1 city for Housing was Oklahoma City.