Cue the old joke: Oklahoma is a great place to live but you wouldn't want to visit there.
Seems as though some “temporary” residents like what they see and stay. Same goes for those who've never left. A lot of them will never leave.
A report last week on MarketWatch.com puts the state ahead of the curve as a desirable place for retirees. In the words of a retirement planner quoted in the report, almost all Oklahomans who lived in the state at the time they retired stay here, “even if they're not from here.”
Most of us know an “outlander” who came to the state for someplace else but never left because they like it here. They like the people. They love the low cost of living.
The lower cost of housing means retirees have more money for travel. The median home price is less than $100,000. The cost of living is 14 percent below the national average. Tax policy also helps, particularly the relatively low property tax. Also, retirees who still want to do some work are benefiting from the low unemployment rate.
The chief downsides cited in the report are the weather, particularly the rate of tornado touchdowns, and an unfavorable physician-to-patient ratio. Nothing can be done about twisters, but the state can keep its tax policy attractive and work at increasing the number of physicians.
MarketWatch focuses the report on four retirement destinations — Ardmore, Bartlesville, Stillwater and Tulsa — each with its own appeal. Oklahoma City's virtues are well known statewide; and the city and its suburbs are home to numerous military retirees.
We suspect that state policy per se is a minor factor in the appeal of the state to retirees. But keeping retirees happy should always be a factor when state policy changes are considered.