Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!
Retire in Lanai City, Hawaii?
Overview: In the central highlands of the island of Lanai, charming Lanai City was built by pineapple king James Drummond Dole in the 1920s as a place to house his workers. With many of the original buildings still standing, it is an intact plantation town. It is also owned by billionaire Larry Ellison who is investing heavily to modernize Lanai City.
The commercial center of the island, Lanai City is unusual in that it is peppered with tall Cook Island pine trees. The pines were planted in the early-20th century as a way of capturing moisture from the fog (each tree captures 200 gallons of fresh water each day). Most businesses are located in and around the town square that surrounds grassy Dole Park and include a couple of markets, a bakery, a sports bar, a coffee shop or two and a few restaurants. The University of Hawaii Maui College has a small campus here with non-credit and continuing education classes, and tourists come to stay at the sumptuous Four Seasons Resort Lanai. A ferry carries locals to Maui for shopping and services. Three golf courses, each with stunning views, have a Lanai City address.
Population: 3,300 (city proper)
Percentage of Population Age 45 or Better: 36%
Cost of Living: 40% above the national average
Median Home Price: $470,000
Climate: Temperatures are in the 60s, 70s and 80s year round. On average, the area receives 28 inches of rain annually.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? Yes
At Least One Hospital Accredited by the Joint Commission? No. The nearest accredited hospital is Molokai General Hospital, 19 miles away in Kaunakakai.
Public Transit: No
Crime Rate: Slightly the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Very liberal
Is Hawaii Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Cons: The University of Hawaii estimates that Hawaii has a 9% chance of suffering a direct hit from a mega-tsunami in the next 50 years. Lanai City grew by 45% from 2000 to 2010 but has lost 3% of its population since 2010.
Notes: Mr. Ellison has updated the town water system, built a large public swimming pool, refurbished a movie theater and more. He also has a 30-year, $340 million plan to grow Lanai City by adding more housing, a university campus, film studios and a tennis academy, as well as expanding the airport. Some long time resident like this plan, while others do not. Except for the year round mild climate, Lanai City feels like a mainland mountain town. Overall, it is a very mellow place.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes, although the unaccredited hospital and population loss should be weighed.
The Aloha State is an isolated volcanic archipelago 2,397 miles east of San Francisco. Although it was annexed by the United States in 1900, Hawaii did not become a state until August 21, 1959. It is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands, and it is the northernmost island group in Polynesia.
Hawaii's islands are known for their lush foliage, rugged geography, as well as their gold, red, black, and green sand beaches. Its Kilauea volcano is one of the world's most active. NASA astronauts trained for moon voyages by walking on Mauna Loa's hardened lava fields.
Of the six major islands, Oahu has the only major city - Honolulu. Climate and rainfall can vary depending on altitude and location. Thanks to trade winds, the north and east side receive higher amounts of moisture than the south and west. The islands experience some tropical storms, but the incidence of a true hurricane is rare. The rainiest city, Hilo, in the United States is in Hawaii.
Tourism and defense are a large part of the Hawaii's economy. The state is the only one in the union to grow coffee. It also produces most of the nation's pineapple and sugar cane. Nearly eight million tourists come to visit each year.
Population - 1,428,557
Persons 65 years old and over - 17%
High school graduates, persons age 25+ - 91%
Bachelor's degree or higher, persons age 25+ - 31%
Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 10%
White persons, not Hispanic - 22%
Median household income - $69,515
Median home value - $515,300
Social Security taxed? No
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
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