Retire in Style

Warren R. Bland, Ph.D. Retire in Style: 50 Affordable Places Across America . (Next Decade, Inc., Chester, N.J., 2002)

Price: $22.95.

Relocation and retirement often go hand in hand: Moving to a new area can provide an exciting new beginning to a new phase of life. If you are one of the 76 million Baby Boomers marching toward retirement and are considering relocating after you punch the clock for the last time, this book is an excellent place to start your search for a new community.

Author Warren Bland is a professor of geography who draws on his professional research over the past 20 years to identify 50 towns or cities that hold particular appeal for the generation nearing retirement. Gone are the days when upscale retirement meant a country club or a beach resort. Bland understands that today's retirees are living longer and want a more active and rounded lifestyle.

Retire in Style rates the 50 retirement spots according to 12 criteria that Bland has found to be most important to retirees, including: landscape, climate, cost of living, transportation, health care, community services, cultural activities, and crime. The book describes each locale's ratings in detail and features quick-reference maps and climate and rating charts. Judging from his descriptions of several cities that this reviewer is familiar with, Bland writes from the inside, as if he had lived there for years himself.

Some of Bland's selections are well known, such as Santa Fe, New Mexico, or Portland, Oregon, while others are more obscure, such as Kerrville, Texas; Lexington, Virginia; and St. George, Utah. Topping the list of attractive retirement towns is Boulder, Colorado, which Bland gives 52 out of a possible 60 points. But Bland stresses that he has weighted all the criteria equally. Others may want to assign different values.

Taking a more scientific approach to the study of retirement places than the typical retirement guide, Retire in Style identifies a number of compelling and sometimes offbeat choices that offer a stimulating lifestyle and a high quality of life for a new generation of retirees.