Freedom at last! You are quickly approaching the second half of your life and have finally saved up enough money to live in retirement. You no longer have to answer to an alarm clock and you now have endless time to travel, relax and spend with loved ones. Retirement is exciting but preparing and planning for it can be overwhelming. You have to be ready to do it the smart way so that you can live comfortably and still be able to spoil the grandkids or leave an inheritance for the family. That’s why we found the top 9 cheap places to retire.
If you are a part of the 40% of pending retirees who are looking to relocate for the second half of your life, this list will help you narrow down your options. According to US News Money, the difference between happy and unhappy retirees is the preparation and planning done in preretirement. The top factors to consider when researching where you want to retire are housing affordability, quality of health care, retiree taxes, and the overall economy of the place you plan to move to.
Best States To Retire
Washington State is an incredibly attractive state and cheap place to retire for several reasons.
One of the most well-known reasons is that Washington is one of the seven states in the US that does not have a state income tax. This means that social security, pensions, and other types of retirement income are not taxable at the state level.
Washington also has a Property Tax Exemption program for senior citizens 61 and older. This program is available to eligible seniors and reduces the amount of property taxes due each year based on income and property value. The average cost to rent in Washington is $2,130
Home to 7.5 million residents, Washington is continuously growing and is very welcoming to retirees.
Some of the most desirable cities to retire in Washington are Gig Harbor, Sequim, and Snohomish. They each have their perks including coastal beaches, hiking, wine trails, art galleries and more. The state also has some of the best health care facilities in the country.
It’s no secret that Florida is the top destination for retirees looking to live the rest of their lives under sunny skies and warm weather.
Florida is another tax-friendly state for retirees making it a desirable location to settle down in. Permanent residents can also be eligible for a homestead exemption of up to $50,000. This can drastically lower their real estate tax liabilities. Seniors may even qualify for an additional exemption under this program.
There are a lot of things to see and do in the state so, if you are looking to stay social and active in retirement, Florida is the go-to destination.
The population of Florida is 21.3 million, with more than 1,000 new residents relocating to the state each day. Among the most sought out cities are Punta Gorda, Tampa Bay, and Sarasota. These cities are very popular among retirees because they offer an accommodating lifestyle for just about every type of retiree.
Regardless of where you may end up retiring in Florida, most of their major cities offer a comfortable and affordable life.
The weather in Arizona makes it a very attractive place for retirees. The state is also a popular destination for retirees because of the large number of senior citizen communities. In Sun City West alone, approximately 82% of its residents are senior citizens.
Another popular city among retirees is Scottsdale. Scottsdale is a suburban city located fairly close to the state’s capital, Phoenix. The senior citizen community makes up nearly 30% of Scottsdale’s demographics.
Arizona has been consistently praised and awarded for its world-class medical care and facilities.
Many of the cities in Arizona are family-friendly so there is plenty to do when family and grandchildren come to visit.
Arizona is also another state that doesn’t tax social security income making this another very attractive location for retirees.
The average home price in Arizona is $483,500 and the cost to rent is $1,572.
Cheapest Cities To Retire In
Less than half of retirees say they’re financially secure in retirement. Having a cushy savings is a key to managing life after retirement, but living in a cheaper city can definitely help keep money in your pockets.
These are the best cities to retire in if your goal is to stretch your wallet further.
Median Home Price: $85,500
Median Rental Price: $812
In 2015, “Where to Retire Magazine” named Gulfport, Mississippi one of the top retirement destinations. Further, in 2016 the state of Mississippi ranked number one for the overall cost of living according to the Tax Foundation. Gulfport is the second-largest city in Mississippi after the state capital, Jackson
With 26 miles of sandy beaches to lay out on, the Gulf Coast has endless activities for retirees to enjoy. This city is home to beautiful beaches, Las Vegas-styled casinos, and plenty of water to fish in.
The average cost to buy a home is also much less than the national average in the USA. There are also some great retirement homes nearby for you to enjoy.
Average Home Price: $153,200
Average Rental Price: $821
Known as “The Heart of Dixie”, Alabama has a lot to offer new retirees looking to relocate. Huntsville is Alabama’s third-largest city home to many tourist attractions such as the Redstone Arsenal.
The cost of living here is less than the United States average, and you will enjoy some of the most reasonable tax rates in the nation. Income taxes are in the range of about 2% to 5% and social security dollars are tax exempt.
You can find plenty of places for affordable housing, whether you desire apartment living, senior communities, or anything else. You will find plenty of interesting places to explore and make some new friends, with the Space Marshall Flight Center nearby, tons of bass fishing opportunities, and great dining and shopping experiences.
Alabama’s 60 miles of beautiful shorelines are also home to coastal weather and plenty of beaches to enjoy. There are also plenty of beautiful golf courses and other great places to live a healthy and active retirement.
Bismarck, North Dakota
Average Home Price: $208,300
Average Rental Price: $773
Bismarck is the capital of North Dakota. This beautiful city boasts a strong and sustainable economy. In 2016, Bismarck was named number 7 out of the top 100 places to live. If you are looking to work part-time in retirement, Bismarck’s thriving job market has plenty of opportunities to do so.
There are plenty of great things to do in Bismarck with family and friends, including several great restaurants you will enjoy trying and the Dakota Zoo.
Income taxes are also reasonable at rates of 1.1% to 2.9%. Taxes are lower thanks to the oil industry picking up in recent years.
If the outdoors are your thing, North Dakota has you covered. The weather is warm during summer, and you can enjoy kayaking, cruises, and boating on the Missouri River. Located just 60 miles from the Canadian border snowfall is notorious during the winter months, with the average coming in at about 46 inches each year. If you are a fan of cold weather Bismarck could be the ideal city to set up your retirement.
Best States To Retire On A Fixed Income
Retiring on a fixed income brings its own set of challenges but it can be done! It is very possible to live out your retirement on just your Social Security benefits but the key is determining the right location. These cities offer financial advantages for retirees on a fixed income.
The “Lone Star State” is rich in culture and opportunities for retirees. The beautiful warm weather, welcoming southern atmosphere and affordable cost of living are just a few reasons that Texas is a common retiree destination.
The cost of living in Texas is lower than the national average, leaving residents with extra disposable income to spend however they choose.
The accessibility of health care is also a top factor that contributes to the popularity of Texas. San Antonio, El Paso, and Dallas are among the top cities senior citizens are concentrated in and for good reasons.
Outside of the more common major cities, Texas has several smaller towns that are promising for retirees as well. Fredericksburg, Wimberly, and Georgetown all have a smaller population than the major cities but offer plenty to do to keep retirees busy and engaged in their communities in retirement.
The average overall rent in Texas is $898 and the average cost of a home is a little under $200,000.
South Dakota is a great state for retirees to consider because their tax rates are incredibly low which is important for those living on a fixed income.
The state’s population is on the lower side with 870,000 residents. South Dakota isn’t necessarily a common state people think about when discussing retirement, but that may soon change.
Although the weather may not be ideal to some, South Dakota ranked number 1 for resident’s “Overall Well-Being” in The 2017 Gallup Sharecare Well-Being Index.
Overall lifestyle and happiness combined with a great economic outlook makes South Dakota a viable option for retirement.
Pennsylvania is another state that provides a tax-friendly climate for retirees. Retirement income is not taxed and neither is pension income, leaving more money in the pockets of retirees. If you are over the age of 65 you can also be eligible for a government rebate on housing costs.
Some of the best cities to choose from in “The Keystone State” are Media, Bridgeville, and Doylestown. These cities have been ranked as the top destination for retirees in the state based on financial factors and access to healthcare.
Whether you plan to retire in 5 years or 20 years, it is never too early or late to start mapping out your goals for retirement. The key to having a successful and comfortable retirement is proper planning and accounting for not only geographical factors but also financial factors. Whether you choose an expensive place to retire or a cheap place to retire, make sure you live out your golden years on your terms.