Thinking of Retiring? Los Gatos Is Calling

Downtown Los Gatos (Wikipedia photo)

Thinking of retiring?  Well, if you live in West Hollywood, maybe you’d better think about Los Gatos.

In its 2020 “Best Places to Retire in California” report, Wallet Hub, the financial services website,  lists that town 337 miles to the north as No. 1 (although you might want to wait until the fires die down.)

West Hollywood is ranked 195 among the 260 cities included in the survey.  And it comes in last, with a ranking of 260, when it comes to one factor in Wallet Hub’s ranking — the quality of life.

“For many Americans, the prospect of retiring in the Golden State is nothing more than a pipe dream,” Wallet Hub says in an announcement of the report. “California boasts beautiful nature, bustling cities and a rich history, but it’s also one of the most expensive places to live in the U.S. With the fourth highest cost of living and the thirteenth highest tax burden in the nation, the state appropriately ranked No. 38 in affordability on WalletHub’s ‘Best & Worst States to Retire’ study.”

Source: WalletHub

But, Wallet Hub notes, “It’s not all about the money … Seniors in California will want to live somewhere that’s safe and provides good quality healthcare, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, where California is one of the states hit hardest. The best locations will also have fulfilling activities to do during retirement.”


In its ranking, Wallet Hub looks at three factors: 1) Quality of Life, which includes cost of living, housing issues, air quality, crime, and friendliness of the labor market to seniors and use of public transit; 2) Health Care, including number of medical facilities, doctors and nurses, mortality rate and COVID-19 infections and 3) Activities, which include the number of museums, art galleries, gyms, music venues and senior centers.  The complete list of 29 metrics is published below.

West Hollywood’s total score was 48.49. Los Gatos had a total score of 73.9. The good news is that West Hollywood ranks high — ninth among the 260 cities studied — when it comes to cities with the most activities.  It ranks No. 23 in the health care category.  But then there’s that exceptionally low ranking (No. 260) in terms of quality of life. 

While Wallet Hub hasn’t provided a detailed breakdown of West Hollywood’s ranking in all elements of the Quality of Life category, it is likely that the cost of living in WeHo is a major factor. The crime rate may also be a contributor

Our next-door neighbor, Beverly Hills, has us beat, with an overall rank of 64.  But it also has a low quality of life ranking (No. 222).  It ranks No. 13 in the health care category and No. 2 in the activities category, no doubt because of its art galleries and theatres.

Culver City ranks No. 171 overall.  The elements of that and their ranking are quality of life (248) health care (59) and activities (6).

Other nearby cities and their rankings are:

—Burbank. Overall rank of 68, with quality of life at 52, health care at 542, and activities at 19;

—Pasadena. Overall rank 65, with quality of life at 160, health care at 55, and activites at 3;

Palm Springs, known as the gay retirement destination, ranks 198 overall, with qualitty of life at 247, health care at 100, and activities at 16.

Los Gatos? The No. 1 retirement city in California has a quality of life ranking of 8, a health care ranking of 2, and an activities ranking of 42.  That means you might be spending more of your time at home watching Netflix than crawling the bars and visiting the theatre when the pandemic is over.

Wallet Hub Ranking Categories and Criteria

Quality of Life: Total Points: 40.00

  • Adjusted Cost of Living: Full Weight (~2.78 Points)
  • Share of Population Aged 65 & Older: Full Weight (~2.78 Points)
  • Share of Households with Severe Housing Problems: Full Weight (~2.78 Points)

(Note: This composite metric measures the share of households with at least one or more of the following housing problems: Housing unit lacks complete kitchen facilities; Housing unit lacks complete plumbing facilities; and/or Household is severely overcrowded.)

  • Discount Stores per Capita*: Full Weight (~2.78 Points)
  • Elderly-Friendliness of Labor Market: Full Weight (~2.78 Points)

(Note: This composite metric measures the following: Share of workers aged 65 and older; Ratio of part-time to full-time workers aged 65 & older)

  • Share of Commuters Who Use Public Transit: Full Weight (~2.78 Points)
  • Violent-Crime Rate: Quadruple Weight (~11.11 Points)
  • Property-Crime Rate: Quadruple Weight (~11.11 Points)
  • Air Quality: Double Weight (~5.56 Points)
  • Drinking-Water Violations: Double Weight (~5.56 Points)

Health Care – Total Points: 40.00

  • COVID-19 Cases in the Last Seven Days per 100,000 Residents: Double Weight (~8.89 Points)
  • Health-Care Facilities per Capita: Full Weight (~4.44 Points)
  • Home-Care Facilities per Capita: Full Weight (~4.44 Points)
  • Family Medicine Physicians per 10,000 Residents: Full Weight (~4.44 Points)
  • Dentists per 10,000 Residents: Full Weight (~4.44 Points)
  • Nurses per 1,000 Residents: Full Weight (~4.44 Points)
  • Life Expectancy: Full Weight (~4.44 Points)
  • Death Rate for Population Aged 65 & Older: Full Weight (~4.44 Points)

Activities – Total Points: 10.00

  • Number of Attractions: Full Weight (~0.91 Points) (Note: “Attractions” include, for instance, zoos, museums and theaters.)
  • Senior Centers per Capita: Full Weight (~0.91 Points)
  • Fitness & Recreational Sports Centers per Capita*: Full Weight (~0.91 Points)
  • Golf Courses & Country Clubs per Capita*: Full Weight (~0.91 Points)
  • Fishing Facilities per Capita*: Full Weight (~0.91 Points)
  • Museums per Capita*: Full Weight (~0.91 Points)
  • Theaters per Capita*: Full Weight (~0.91 Points)
  • Art Galleries per Capita*: Full Weight (~0.91 Points)
  • Music Venues per Capita*: Full Weight (~0.91 Points)
  • Availability of Adult Volunteer Activities: Full Weight (~0.91 Points)
  • Ideal Weather: Full Weight (~0.91 Points)

Data used to create this ranking were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Federal Bureau of Investigations, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, United States Environmental Protection Agency, California Care Planning Council, County Health Rankings, The New York Times Company, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Charity Navigator, AreaVibes and WalletHub research.

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3 years ago

These rankings always miss many nuances that are difficult to realize in analytics. But the most interesting and disturbing detail is cost of living n California. The political hacks in Sacramento, and their local co-conspirators just keep making things worse.

3 years ago

Those rankings leave out the fact that on summer weekends beach traffic grinds the town to a halt. In addition the downtown is dying 3 national retailers (in a downtown with very few national retailers) are leaving at the end of the year.

I like living here, but I would do a little more homework than these metrics allow.

3 years ago

Los Gatos would be the perfect place if you are into fishing,hunting and horseback riding,along with a lot of TV watching,but if you are into culture and meeting new people,you need to look elsewhere.

You need to be prepared for the pace and somewhat backward thinking in rural areas,otherwise you will be lost.Moving from West Hollywood to rural zones can be a shock.

3 years ago
Reply to  hifi5000

fishing,hunting and horseback riding,along with a lot of TV watching”

I may be wrong here, but isn’t that what most retired people like to do? Enjoy a simpler less hectic life? I don’t think they out partying like in Weho lol.

3 years ago

“Recreation – golf, fishing, …”
Sounds very hetero.
Oh … OH … Burbank – BURBANK – has a Quality of Life score of 52. 52!!! Beautiful Downtown Burbank, for the love of G-d!

WeHo, at least, has Vaseline Alley and the comments section of WEHOville. Oh, and thanks to John and Lindsey, a sh*tload of unaffordable housing.

Last edited 3 years ago by WeHoMikey
Cy Husain
3 years ago

Giving up West Hollywood for Los Gatos❓ Oh now that’s a good one❗🤣

3 years ago
Reply to  Cy Husain

Have you even been to Los Gatos? I have been to West Hollywood several times, and to me LG takes top honors for retirement.

Last edited 3 years ago by mb64
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