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best places to retire in michigan

The Great Lakes, access to several great cities and a lot of great scenery are just a few of the perks waiting for you if you choose a retirement in Michigan. Where exactly in the Wolverine State should you settle down though? This list lays out the top 10 best places to retire in Michigan and walks you through what makes each of them a worthwhile spot to spend your golden years. If a Michigan retirement is of interest to you, consider finding a financial advisor to help you make it happen. Finding the right financial advisor is key to achieving your retirement goals, and you can do that with SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service.

How We Determined the Best Places to Retire

There are a number of factors that went into figuring out the best places to retire. First off, we considered the tax burden for retirees in each city, knowing that retirees care about how much of their hard-earned retirement savings will go to Uncle Sam. We also looked at the number of medical centers per 1,000 residents, because access to quality healthcare options gets even more important as people get older. To gauge the number of community and recreational options, we considered the number of retirement communities and recreation centers per 1,000 residents. Finally, to see if the town is already popular with retirees, we calculated the percentage of the population made up of seniors. Based on these metrics, here are the best places to retire in Michigan.

1. Farmington

Farmington isn’t just the best place to retire in Michigan — it’s also the sixth-best place to retire in the entire country, according to our rankings. It comes in second on this list with 21.79 medical centers per 1,000 residents, and in third for recreation centers per 1,000 residents, with 3.90. Every city on this list has the same tax burden of 17.00%, so that won’t be a differentiating factor in the cost of living. Notably, Farmington has the second-lowest percentage of seniors in its population at 15.00%, which could suit some and be a turnoff for others. Downtown Farmington is a popular shopping area and includes a Saturday farmers’ market.

2. Grosse Pointe

Grosse Pointe is a small town adjacent to Detroit and located right on the shores of Lake St. Clair. It is the ninth-best place to retire in the United States, according to our calculations. If you’re thinking about moving to Michigan, note that Grosse Pointe leads this list with 24.55 medical centers per 1,000 residents and 4.53 recreation centers per 1,000 residents. Like the other towns on this list, the tax burden in Grosse Pointe is 17.00%. It does not fare as well when it comes to retirement communities, though, with just 0.38 retirement communities per 1,000 residents. Grosse Point is very close to Detroit and all of the cultural options that the city has to offer, including professional sports games, art and music.

3. Traverse City

This is the town for you if being on the water is what you want for your Michigan retirement. Adjacent to both Grand Traverse Bay and Boardman Lake, Traverse City is a tourist mecca. It also ranks in the top 20 places to retire nationwide. On this list, it sits in second for retirement communities, with 1.12 retirement communities per 1,000 residents. Traverse City has 13.65 medical centers per 1,000 residents, only sixth on this list but still a very high number comparatively speaking. The town has an active arts scene and is home to an opera house that shows plays, musical performances and even movies. There is an annual Cherry Festival in the town as well, which is sure to attract lots of visitors.

4. Rochester

best places to retire in michigan

Rochester, located near the edge of the Detroit metro area, is in the 25 best places to retire in the nation. It ranks third on this list with 20.37 medical centers per 1,000 residents. However, it comes in last with just 0.31 retirement communities per 1,000 residents. It also ranks last in terms of its senior population percentage. Just 14.10% of the population is made up of seniors, so the town might make sense for you if you want your neighbors to be of a wide range of ages. The city is close to all that Detroit has to offer, and it has the annual Rochester Hometown Christmas Parade. Like other cities on this list, Rochester’s tax burden is 17.00%.

5. Brighton

A Detroit suburb on the shores of Brighton Lake, Brighton is in top 30 best places to retire in the nation. Its 12.31 medical centers per 1,000 residents places it seventh on this list. It also has 4.24 recreation centers per 1,000 residents, which puts it second on this list for that metric. Brighton is just 45 minutes west of Detroit, so while you won’t have to deal with the hustle and bustle of living in a big city, you’ll still be close enough to take advantage of the cultural options there. Brighton also has the third-highest percentage of seniors in its population on this list. Older people comprise 20.50% of the population.

6. Grand Blanc

Grand Blanc is located just outside of Flint, and it is also in the top 30 places to retire in the United States. It has 15.33 medical centers per 1,000 residents, the fourth-highest number on this list. The tax burden here, like every other city on this list, is 17.00%. Grand Blanc is second-from-the-bottom of this list in terms of recreation centers, with just 1.48 recreation centers per 1,000 residents. In nearby Flint, though, there are many minor league sports teams you can patronize, including the Flint Firebirds junior hockey team and even a roller derby squad.

7. Petoskey

This town is at the very top of the Michigan mitten, right on the shore of Little Traverse Bay, off of Lake Michigan. It has 14.85 medical centers per 1,000 residents, putting it sixth on this list in that metric. Petoskey has 3.67 recreation centers per 1,000 residents, tying it for the fourth-highest number of recreation centers. The tax burden, like in other Michigan cities, is 17.00%. Petoskey does fall last for retirement communities per 1,000 residents though, with just 0.17. On the plus side, Petoskey’s location right on the water makes it popular among tourists and offers plenty of options for water activities, especially if you have a boat.

8. Northville

best places to retire in michigan

Northville is another Detroit suburb. It has the third-fewest medical centers on this list with just 7.85 per 1,000 residents. Still, this is a pretty good number compared to what you’ll find in some other states. Northville ranks higher when it comes to recreation centers. It’s tied for fourth with 3.67 recreation centers per 1,000 residents. One popular area of Northville is the Mill Race Village, built on the site of a former mill. It includes replica buildings like a general store and a blacksmith shop. Northville’s senior population makes up 17.60% of the total population, ranking it eighth for this metric.

9. Flushing

Another suburb of Flint, Flushing leads this list with a senior population percentage of 22.30%. It comes in last, though, with just 2.93 medical centers per 1,000 residents and also brings up the rear for recreation centers, with 0.98 per 1,000 residents. Like other cities on this list, the tax burden in Flushing is 17.00%. The city comes in third on this list with 1.10 retirement communities per 1,000 residents. Flushing is close enough to Flint that you’ll have access to the cultural amenities in that city. This includes plenty of museums, including the Flint Children’s Museum and the Flint Institute of Arts.

10. Chelsea

A suburb of Ann Arbor, Chelsea is the final city on our list of the best places to retire in Michigan. It is second to last on this list with 6.44 medical centers per 1,000 residents. However, it’s second from the top with 22.20% of the population made up of senior citizens. There aren’t many retirement communities here, though. Chelsea has just 0.39 retirement communities per 1,000 residents, placing it second to last in this metric. Residents will want to make trips into Ann Arbor, which is just under half an hour away from Chelsea. Ann Arbor is home to the University of Michigan, so college sports, musical performances and art exhibitions are all easily accessible for Chelsea residents.

Retirement Tips

  • If you’re looking to retire in Michigan, you’ll want to start saving and planning now. A financial advisor can help you make those plans, but you’ll want to find the right financial advisor. SmartAsset makes it easier to do just that with our free financial advisor matching service. You’ll answer a few questions, and then we’ll match you with up to three financial advisors in your area. We make sure all of our advisors are free of disclosures and fully vet them. Each of the advisors you’re matched with will then reach out to you. You can then ask key questions to see if they are a good fit.
  • Do none of these cities catch your fancy? That’s okay, there are plenty of other places to retire. Check out our lists of the best places to retire in Maine, Michigan, New Mexico, New Hampshire and North Carolina.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/riderfoot, ©iStock.com/AlpamayoPhoto, ©iStock.com/duckycards

Ben Geier, CEPF® Ben Geier is an experienced financial writer currently serving as a retirement and investing expert at SmartAsset. His work has appeared on Fortune, Mic.com and CNNMoney. Ben is a graduate of Northwestern University and a part-time student at the City University of New York Graduate Center. He is a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing. When he isn’t helping people understand their finances, Ben likes watching hockey, listening to music and experimenting in the kitchen. Originally from Alexandria, VA, he now lives in Brooklyn with his wife.
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