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Chicago Makes 'Best Cities for Early Retirement' List

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014 8:42 a.m. CDT

By Sally Deneen

The latest list of the 10 best cities for early retirement includes some places you might expect – like Honolulu and Virginia Beach . But it also highlights a city that requires just a one-hour drive for Morris residents: Naperville. Yes, Naperville.

"While enjoying the safety of the suburbs – Naperville has the second-lowest crime rate on this list – you can still take advantage of all the urban offerings of nearby Chicago," stated Kiplinger.

It's kind of a strange list, as the Best Cities for Early Retirement report freely points out that "Honolulu is one of the most expensive U.S. cities to live in" and former president George W. Bush's childhood hometown of Midland, Texas, "isn't a traditional retirement destination." And no Florida cities make the cut. Yet one South Dakota community does.

Virginia Beach, Va., is recommended as "a small beach town at heart," Kiplinger notes, and it's a sunny summertime tourist destination that offers some tax advantages for resident retirees.

So how did Kiplinger come up with these 10 cities? Enlisting help from FindTheBest.com, a data aggregator, it sought out economically healthy places where early retirees ought to be able to work, if desired, among other factors.

No Illinois city made Kiplinger’s "10 Great Retirement Cities in the U.S." list.

Of course, enjoying a vibrant early retirement increasingly appears to be more of a dream than reality for many.

"A century-long trend toward earlier and earlier retirement by American men has come to a halt, and has subsequently reversed," states research by TIAA-CREF Institute, adding that women's experience is similar.

And the nonpartisan Urban Institute reports that while more than 50 percent of workers start getting Social Security checks before full retirement age, "many of those who do are in relatively poor health."

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