Retirement is an exciting chapter in our lives, with many of us planning to relocate to a new location to suit our desire to change our pace of life. But which cities are the best for a happy retirement while still affordable?
From a seed list of the happiest cities in the UK and Europe, new research from Shepherds Friendly has revealed the best cities for retirement on the continent and at home.
Northern English cities dominate the ranking of best places to retire based on cost of living and quality of life in the UK
From a seed list of the happiest cities in the UK, the study reveals which are the best cities in the UK for retirement by analysing the amount of retirement savings needed, property prices, the monthly cost of living, happiness rates, life expectancy and the number of bus routes for local travel.
Surrounded by idyllic Lancashire countryside and within a close commute to the seaside, Preston comes in first place with a happiness score of 7.52 out of 10 (making it the 14th happiest city in the UK overall), 165 bus routes for local travel and an average needed retirement saving of £96,141.
While Oxford ranks in 17th place overall as the best city to retire in the UK, it ranks as the happiest city overall, with a happiness score of 7.71. With a life expectancy of 82.3, the research reveals you need an average retirement saving of £148,102 for a comfortable living.
Many northern cities in England benefit from a lower cost of living than the rest of the UK and are also home to some of the happiest residents. Doncaster is in second place, the ninth happiest city in the UK, whilst Bradford, coming in third place, is the seventeenth happiest city.
Canterbury is the most expensive UK city for retirees, where you’d need almost £179,000 saved up for a comfortable retirement
The 28th happiest city in the UK overall, Canterbury is beautiful; however, it is also one of the most expensive. With an average monthly living cost of £965 per month, you’d need around £178,624 saved for a comfortable retirement in this city.
Cambridge comes in second place as the most expensive city for retirement, where you would need £169,293 saved up on average. It is also home to the most expensive property prices in the UK ranking, costing £5,474 per square metre. York comes in third place as the most expensive city for retirement, as you’d need an average of £154,057 saved up to live here.
Madrid is the best city in Europe for retirees where you’d need an estimated £125,000 saved up for retirement here
From a seed list of the 30 happiest cities in Europe, the study also analyses metrics including the average amount of retirement savings needed, property prices, monthly cost of living, life expectancy, happiness rates and travel time back to the UK to reveal the best cities in the continent for retirement.
Madrid is crowned as the best city in Europe for retirees with an affordable monthly cost of living rate of £578 per person. With residents needing an average of £125,000 saved up for a comfortable retirement, Madrid is also the cheapest location in the top 10.
Cork follows Madrid in second place and Bergen in third place.
Derence Lee, Shepherds Friendly’s chief finance officer, says: “While retirement can seem like a long way off for some, it’s never too early to start planning ahead. Saving into a pension scheme is important; however, it’s also beneficial to consider how your savings outside of this can be used to achieve a comfortable retirement.
“Using your yearly ISA allowance is a great way to help you grow your savings for the future without having to pay tax on returns. For example, stocks and shares ISAs are especially useful for helping you to build your savings up over time through investment so that you can retire with an even healthier nest egg.”