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USAA & Military.com's "2010 Best Places for Military Retirement"
Old 12-13-2010, 11:37 AM   #1
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USAA & Military.com's "2010 Best Places for Military Retirement"

Late last week REWahoo pointed out this research report from USAA & Military.com on the "2010 Best Places for Military Retirement".

Right up front, I should note REWahoo's noble sacrifice in bringing it to my attention. He knew I'd publicize the report, but he still showed it to me even though they picked four Texas towns in the top 10 (and several others in the next 10). The blissfully-ignorant survivors researchers in USAA's San Antonio Galactic HQ clearly overlooked the important safety issues behind screening for such personnel dangers as scorpions, rattlesnakes, fire ants, [refer to the rest of REWahoo's list here]. Even more inexplicably, not a single town in either California or Colorado made the rankings. This will no doubt cause mass panic and lemming-like evacuations as those states' citizens abandon their dwellings to flee toward the Texas borders in search of a better life.

In short, USAA's well-intentioned report constitutes a severe blow to the hard work and clarion calls of REWahoo's Texas Defamation League's hazard-awareness campaign. Luckily many people will discount the report's credibility because one of its highly-recommended towns is also filled with Aggies.

Kidding aside, I should also point out that I think USAA and Military.com do a great job of educating their customers as well as taking care of them. Chris Michel's "Your Military Advantage" is one of the best benefits books I've ever read. Both companies do a lot of market research to figure out what servicemembers & veterans want, and then they give it to them.

This report starts off innocuously enough. They used a legitimate database (Sperling's BestPlaces rankings) and screened it for things they thought their customers would want from their military retirement. Then they ranked the results.

If you're a servicemember or a veteran then it's well worth your time to take a few minutes to peruse the report and its methodology. Perhaps you'll notice one or two factors that you find troubling, maybe annoying, or even downright wrong. You Navy veterans will no doubt immediately spot a huge flaw in the report's findings-- one that Army & Air Force veterans can be forgiven for not quickly noticing.

Then you can check your observations against mine over at "The Military Guide" blog post on the same topic. Feel free to add your comments there or here.

Military families & civilians will also appreciate how the implied expectations of the military culture embedded in this report make servicemembers feel worthless and weak. Now drop and give me 20.
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Old 12-13-2010, 11:47 AM   #2
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One that surprised me is the omission of northern Virginia. So many military installations, and so many defense-related jobs in the area. So many of the other criteria also met.

I know an awful lot of military types who retired in that area (Springfield, Fairfax, and closer in) and love it. Frankly, it would have made my top 10 easily, using the USAA criteria.
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Old 12-13-2010, 12:00 PM   #3
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Why not live in the Philippines like a king for $600 a month?
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Old 12-13-2010, 12:02 PM   #4
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Hooooiiie! Ma, hitch up the trailer, and load Granny and the kids into the car! We're moving to Waco!

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Old 12-13-2010, 01:00 PM   #5
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Nords, rumors of my altruism have been greatly exaggerated. I figure the potential increase in population as a result of anyone moving to Waco, Bryan/College Station or San Angelo after visiting those locations is far too small to show up in the next census.

Quote:
Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
I know an awful lot of military types who retired in that area (Springfield, Fairfax, and closer in) and love it. Frankly, it would have made my top 10 easily, using the USAA criteria.
I suspect this is why none of those places made the cut:
Quote:
Metro areas where the median housing cost was 40% above the national median were excluded from the list.
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Old 12-13-2010, 01:49 PM   #6
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Waco Texas is really #1

Austin - I can understand that one, but Waco
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Old 12-13-2010, 02:37 PM   #7
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Waco Texas is really #1

Austin - I can understand that one, but Waco

Austin would probably be number one if Bergstrom AFB was still there. I worked at Bergstrom for 15 years during the 80's & 90's, and it was a great place to be. I really hated to leave, but when the base closed, I had to transfer to keep my fed career going.
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Old 12-13-2010, 02:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
One that surprised me is the omission of northern Virginia. So many military installations, and so many defense-related jobs in the area. So many of the other criteria also met.

I know an awful lot of military types who retired in that area (Springfield, Fairfax, and closer in) and love it. Frankly, it would have made my top 10 easily, using the USAA criteria.

I've currently got a resume in for a job in Fairfax, and I know I've made it to the 2nd round, meaning I have been referred to the selecting official. I expect an interview, but not making any predictions past that point. I know that 118 people submitted resumes, so.....
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Old 12-13-2010, 04:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
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I've currently got a resume in for a job in Fairfax....
When you leave Lufkin for Fairfax, be sure to turn your watch ahead...50 years.
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Old 12-13-2010, 05:40 PM   #10
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I guess the over 100K Military Retirees in Brevard County are missing something...
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Old 12-13-2010, 07:32 PM   #11
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I guess the over 100K Military Retirees in Brevard County are missing something...
As are all the other locations profiled in the occasional Military Times graphics showing where retirees live.

Unlike Odysseus, if I spent an entire freakin' military career around saltwater then there'd better be some near my retirement location.
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Old 12-13-2010, 09:19 PM   #12
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Among their top picks, I was most surprised by the presence of Madison, WI. I guess the low unemployment there was a big factor. Driving 90+ miles to the nearest military base seems a little inconvenient.

Dayton was robbed! Just number 6 on the "military metro's" list! An outrage.

The fact that only 1 of their top "military metros" made their overall list indicates that the proximity of military facilities didn't carry as much weight in their scoring as I would have guessed. I was also surprised to see that housing appreciation over the last few years was a significant factor in their rankings--I guess they figure their retiree target audience will be doing more moving. Likewise, their emphasis on unemployment stats indicates their retirees are not really retired.

Thanks for the link--an interesting take on things.
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