Portland best in the country for empty nesters, finance magazine says

Here’s the latest on how Portland ranks compared to other places in America: Kiplinger Personal Finance magazine has called Maine’s largest city the best one in the country for “your second act.” That means it’s a great place to live if you’ve retired and want to try something new, either career- or lifestyle-wise.

Portland at night. (Josh Noel/Chicago Tribune/McClatchy)

A lot of the same qualities were cited in the Kiplinger ranking as in recent Parenting Magazine lists of top cities for families and education, both of which found Portland at No. 3 in America. In all cases, the city earned points for low crime and a lively arts scene.

Other pluses for Portland, Kiplinger reported to its readers, include its hospitals, relatively low cost of living and food scene.

As was the case when the Parenting Magazine ranks came in, Mayor Michael Brennan released a statement about the Kiplinger list that basically says the attention comes as no surprise to him:

As the locals know, and it’s nice to see Kiplinger agrees, Portland offers the excitement of a big city with the quality of life of a small town, making it an ideal place for a second act in life. Whether it’s looking for a place to raise a family or a community that challenges and excites the empty nesters, it’s tough to beat Portland.

Here’s how the Kiplinger piece described Portland:

Portland’s lively arts scene, highly skilled workforce and inventive cuisine, along with a low crime rate and high-quality medical facilities, are drawing professionals who are making their home base here and telecommuting or flying to their jobs. The cost of living is slightly higher than the national average, but compared with big-city prices, housing is affordable. Newly built two-bedroom condos on the eastern side of downtown sell for $360,000.

Downtown Portland offers boutiques, art galleries and restaurants along cobblestone streets. The arts district includes a symphony, ballet, an opera company, a theater and the Portland Museum of Art. Portland’s renowned food scene offers everything from hardwood-cooked game to its famed steamed lobster.

Portland has its challenges. Homelessness is up (a task force is addressing the problem), and winters are long and cold. Locals either wait them out in warmer climates, head north to ski, or pop in to one of the many restaurants for a hot bowl of chowder.

Following Portland on the list is Santa Fe, N.M., and coming in at No. 3 is Austin, Tex. If you’re curious, here’s how Kiplinger describes its process in determining which cities are the tops for “second acts.”

To identify the Best Cities for Your Second Act, Kiplinger teamed up with Kevin Stolarick, research director at the Martin Prosperity Institute, a think tank that studies economic prosperity. All of the cities on our list have reasonable living costs, strong employment growth and a population that scores high on measures of education and tech-savviness. For second acts, we also factored in the number of golf courses as well as the number of artists and musicians.

Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.