SmartAsset lists Orange Park as country’s 8th-best places to retire

Report cites town’s low tax rate, burgeoning retirement populations

By Wesley LeBlanc wesley@opcfla.com
Posted 6/30/21

ORANGE PARK – A recent study revealed Orange Park as one of the Top 10 cities in the country for those looking for a place to retire and call home.

The news comes by way of a SmartAsset report …

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SmartAsset lists Orange Park as country’s 8th-best places to retire

Report cites town’s low tax rate, burgeoning retirement populations

Posted

ORANGE PARK – A recent study revealed Orange Park as one of the Top 10 cities in the country for those looking for a place to retire and call home.

The news comes by way of a SmartAsset report which ranked cities in America, based on their assets and amenities. Orange Park was ranked eighth, ahead of Grand Blanc and Grosse Pointe in Michigan.

Cumming, Georgia was ranked No. 1, followed by Naples, Beverly Hills (California), Gig Harbor (Washington), Farmington (Michigan), Media (Pennsylvania) and Westlake Village (California).

“To find the best places to retire, SmartAsset gathered data on three separate regional factors that affect the quality of life for retirees, including tax friendliness, medical care and social opportunities,” the study reads. “First, we looked at state and local tax rates, considering two types of taxes: income and sales.”

SmartAsset calculated effective rates based on a retiree earning $35,000 annually from sources like retirement savings, social security and part-time employment, and then subtracted income taxes paid from the gross income to determine disposable income. Sales taxes paid were calculated based on the disposable income being spent on taxable goods.

Orange Park’s tax burden was calculated to be 14.5% – second least among the other top 10 cities.

“Next, we determined the number of doctors’ offices, recreation centers and retirement centers per thousand residents in each location,” SmartAsset’s study reads. “Finally, we measured the number of seniors in each city as a percentage of the total population.”

It was determined that Orange Park has 17.2 doctor offices for every 1,000 people, 2.3 recreation centers for every 1,000 people and .9 retirement centers for every 1,000 people. The percentage of seniors to non-seniors was determined to be 22.3%.

“In our final analysis, we ranked each location on these three factors,” according to the study.

“Then, we calculated an average ranking for each area and weighted the three factors equally. The areas with the highest average ranking were determined to be the best places to retire.”

Orange Park’s final retirement index was 63.62. Cumming, a northern suburb of Atlanta, received a 100 while Naples, Florida, received a 98.4. The index numbers reduce down the list.

SmartAsset’s list of the top 10 cities to retire in America was released during the COVID-19 pandemic, but elsewhere, analysts are seeing just how much COVID-19 affected possible retirement plans for Americans. 

RetirementLiving reports that nearly half of their readers, which is made up of people already retired or people looking to retire shortly, said COVID-19 affected their retirement plans.

“While 50.2% said the pandemic didn’t affect their retirement, 49.8% said COVID put a dent in their plans or lives as a retiree,” RetirementLiving’s report reads.

“Retirement is often a time to visit new locations. However, retirees had to abandon travel plans for many months while river cruises and tourist attractions shut down and flights were canceled. Most retirees are in a high health risk category during a health emergency, and contracting COVID-19 could be lethal. Some still traveled by car, but not nearly as much as planned. Many chose to stay home even after flights became available while they waited for a vaccine.”

Forty-eight percent of the responses indicated that COVID-19 has caused them to change or re-evaluate their retirement plans while some were forced to retire early as a result of the pandemic. Fifteen percent of the responses indicated that the pandemic has them feeling no longer prepared for retirement.

Anyone in Orange Park probably knows it’s a wonderful place to live in Florida as a retiree, but it’s exciting to see the town recognized with other popular retirement cities. 

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