Deciding where to retire is just as important for military personnel as it is to decide when to retire. One factor influences the other and is dependent on a variety of variables — post-military career, cost of living and welfare of children, among others.
As for the best place for veterans to retire — there’s really only one choice, according to a recent survey.
Oklahoma City is one metropolis that has consistently been on veterans’ lists as a place for a post-military life. It certainly was on Thomas Tassinari’s, who retired from the Air Force in 2008.
“We had a choice to go to either coast,” Tassinari told NewsOK. “It took us a year to make a decision, but we chose to stay here. A big factor was the cost of living — it was a big influence. And with four kids, we already knew Oklahoma was a great place to raise a family.”
Since the average age of retirement from the military is 39, and the average retirement age for officers is 46, there’s often a decade or more that needs to be spent in in the workforce. Why not spend it in the best possible place?
One of the primary concerns for the Soldier, Sailor, Airmen, or Marine when he or she leaves the military is finding a post-military career. In this slow economy that often can be tough to achieve. But, in Oklahoma City things are looking up.
Oklahoma City boasted an unemployment rate of 4.5 percent in Nov. 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The national unemployment rate in Dec. 2012 was 7.8 percent and the veteran unemployment rate was 7 percent.
The primary areas of employment are government, medicine and aviation. Tinker AFB is the area’s largest employer with 16,000 civilian and military employees. The median family income was $57,582 in 2011.
Living in Oklahoma City is cheaper than in most cities around the nation — the cost of living is 8.9 percent less than the national average. Expenses such as gasoline, doctor visits, haircuts and foodstuffs typically cost less there.
For those interested in purchasing a house, the median home price was $170,000 in Dec. 2012.
Also, since Tinker Air Force Base is nearby, retirees can take advantage of the base hospital, commissary and Base Exchange.
Culture and Recreation
Oklahoma City can hold its own when it comes to cultural and recreational activities — there are plenty of things to do and see.
The Oklahoma City Zoo features more than 2,100 exotic species on 110 lushly-planted acres, including a children’s zoo, and state-of-the-art primate and lion exhibits. Also, the Oklahoma City Stockyards represents one of the largest cattle markets in the world.
For sports enthusiasts, Oklahoma City is home to three professional sports teams — a minor league baseball team, a hockey club and an arena football team. For the college football fan, the Oklahoma University Sooners are in nearby Norman and are consistently ranked at the top of the NCAA’s Division One.