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10 Best Places for Military Retirees

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A career in the military hones certain skill sets and talents, but where are the best places to take those talents once you're out of the military? To coin a phrase from real estate, it's all about location, location, location.

In that spirit, Military.com and USAA commissioned Sperling's BestPlaces to create a list of best places for military retirees to launch a second career, based on the best places in the nation for jobs that match military skills. Much like Lebron James "taking his talents to South Beach," here's the countdown of the best places for retirees to make use of their particular talents, from #10 to #1:

#10: Manchester, NH

Advantages for military retirees:

High number of defense contracts, low unemployment, no state tax on military retirement pay, low or no sales tax, affordable housing

Primary job sectors:
Engineering, defense, government

#9: Omaha, NE

Advantages for military retirees:
Many military contract, low unemployment, affordable cost of living, local base amenities, high number of veteran-owned businesses

Primary job sectors:
Government, defense, medical

#8: Raleigh, NC

Advantages for military retirees:
Temperate climate, affordable cost of living, many industries that utilize military skills, quality base amenities and VA healthcare close by

Primary job sectors:
Engineering, aviation, protective/emergency services

#7: Philadelphia, PA

Advantages for military retirees:
High federal employment, defense contract awards and military skill jobs (despite higher unemployment rate than other areas), local access to VA health care and base privileges, no tax on military retirement pay

Primary job sectors:
Government, defense, medical

#6: Madison, WI

Advantages for military retirees:
Low unemployment rate and overall affordability, low sales tax, no state tax on military retirement pay, lower housing costs, high number of federal jobs, local VA medical center

Primary job sectors:
Government, engineering, medical

#5: San Antonio, TX

Advantages for military retirees:
High number of defense contracts and jobs that require military skills, convenient base amenities, local VA hospital, affordable standard of living, no state tax on military retirement pay

Primary job sectors:
Defense, government, aviation

#4: Austin, TX

Advantages for military retirees:
High federal employment, large number of defense contracts and military skill-based jobs, affordable housing, no state tax on military retirement pay, comfortable climate

Primary job sectors:
Engineering, government, defense

#3: Richmond, VA

Advantages for military retirees:
Large number of defense contractors, federal employment opportunities and military skill-based jobs, access to VA and base facilities, low sales tax

Primary job sectors:
Government, defense, protective/emergency services

#2: Norfolk, VA

Advantages for military retirees:
Large number of federal jobs and opportunities in industries seeking military skills, large number of defense contract awards, access to base amenities and VA hospital, mild climate, affordable housing

Primary job sectors:
Defense, engineering, aviation

#1: Oklahoma City, OK

Advantages for military retirees:
High number of jobs that require military skills, low unemployment rate, large number of veteran-owned businesses and federal jobs, many defense contracts, four military bases in the area, local VA medical center, affordable cost of living and housing

Primary job sectors:
Government, medical, aviation

For more details, as well as rankings of smaller metro areas, see the article 2011 Best Places for Military Retirement.

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