BALLSTON SPA - If you can retire to anywhere in the United States, SmartAsset.com suggests the entire states of Oregon, Montana, New Hampshire or South Dakota are good choices -- and for some reason, a tract of north-central Maine where it's a safe bet beavers outnumber people.
In general, New York -- with its high taxes and cost of living and crowded roads -- is pretty low on the national list of states to retire in, using SmartAsset's methodology.
But if it's going to be New York, the asset-oriented website says that Ballston Spa -- yes, Ballston Spa -- is the No. 5 location in New York as the best for retirees; it's the only location in the Capital Region to make the list. Only one other in the Top 10, the Rochester suburb of Fairport, is upstate.
"No doubt Ballston Spa is a great place to live, for everyone including seniors. Glad to hear others are recognizing that fact," said village Mayor Larry Woolbright, a -- you guessed it -- retired biology professor.
Saratoga County in general rates well, since the considerations weighed by SmartAsset include tax levels, and access to doctors, recreation facilities and senior citizen community centers. Saratoga County officials need little prompting to brag about the county's low property taxes, and medical facilities seem to love the county's well-to-do suburbs.
Ballston Spa, as defined by the study, includes not just the historic village that is the county government seat with all its antique shops, but the expanding suburban lands surrounding it served by the Ballston Spa post office -- an expanse so vast it needs two postal buildings (one in the village, the other in the town of Malta.)
In recent decades senior citizen apartment complexes have proliferated in the towns of Ballston and Milton, and more senior housing continues to be built. The SmartAsset website says 20.3 percent of the community's population are senior citizens.
Milton has a very active senior citizen center on Northline Road, with group activities six days a week.
SmartAsset has been doing its best-places to retire list for the last five years, and Ballston Spa has been on the list consistently -- achieving a distinction that neighboring Saratoga Springs has been unable to match. The Spa City made the list in 2015 and 2016, but not since.
Here's how SmartAsset explained its methodology: "First, we looked at state and local tax rates, considering two types of taxes: income and sales. We calculated effective rates based on a typical retiree earning $35,000 annually (from retirement savings, Social Security or part-time employment) and spending their disposable income on taxable goods.
"Next, we determined the number of doctors’ offices, recreation centers and retirement centers per thousand residents in each area. Finally, we found the number of seniors in each area as a percentage of the total population."