People may make a lot of mistakes when it comes to retirement planning, from not saving enough to making an unrealistic budget to guide savings. Planning for retirement involves a lot of guesswork as people estimate when and where they’ll retire.
All too often, people do not give enough thought as to where they’ll retire. This can be a big problem, especially considering the drastically different costs of living in cities and states across the country, not to mention the different policies on how retirement benefits are taxed. People who are willing to relocate for retirement may be able to make their nest egg stretch much longer and enjoy a more rewarding experience than those who limit themselves to their current city. Some of the most affordable cities for retirees in the United States include:
Grand Rapids, Michigan
People interested in retiring in a small, artistic community should check out Grand Rapids. Artistic communities are often quite expensive, but this one offers affordable living with a median mortgage of $1,221 and median rent of $826 per month. People who live in Grand Rapids have easy access to the Grand Rapids Art Museum and the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, two highly celebrated institutions. The city also has public art on display for free across many neighborhoods.
Asheville, North Carolina
Retirees who love the mountains will likely love Asheville. The city is located right next to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, as well as the highly scenic Blue Ridge Parkway. Throughout the entire area are great hiking trails and waterfalls, not to mention breathtaking views, especially when the foliage starts to turn in the fall. People who love exploring will also find great mountain-biking paths. Asheville is also a town full of writers, musicians, and artists with a great community spirit. Luckily, the city also remains an affordable destination, with a median monthly mortgage of $1,244 and $849 median monthly rent.
Many people dream of living on the water when they retire, but feel like this is an unrealistic goal. However, this goal is possible in Lakeland, an inland city with 38 lakes that offer miles of waterfront property. Residents of Lakeland can make it to Orlando or Tampa within an hour while enjoying a lower cost of living than in either city. Those from out of state should keep in mind that Florida may have mild winters, but the summers can become quite humid—air conditioning is a must. However, Florida does not have state income tax, which can be especially important for people who still maintain part-time jobs. The median mortgage here is $1,184 with a median rent of $913 per month.
While people may not think that major cities are within reach once they retire, Pittsburgh is a viable choice. The city provides a great quality of life for a relatively affordable cost. The median mortgage in the city is $1,274, while the median rent in the metro area is $776. One of the top attractions of the city is its excellent healthcare. US News Best Hospitals Honor Roll ranks UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside hospital among the best in the country. Another benefit of living in Pittsburgh is the fact that people 65 or older ride the bus and rail public transportation systems for free, so retirees may not even need a car.
El Paso, Texas
For those who want to retire in a city where they never have to worry about bad weather, El Paso should be top of the list. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) called the city one of the sunniest in the country. El Paso is located across the Rio Grande from Ciudad Juarez in Mexico. Home prices here remain very low for such a large city, with a median monthly mortgage of $1,172 and median rent of $789. El Paso boasts amenities like Franklin Mountains State Park, the largest urban park in the country at 26,627 acres. In addition, the city is home to a large military base called Fort Bliss.
Many people’s retirement dream is to live on beach. Those looking for a more affordable beach retirement destination should consider Pensacola, which is near the border with Alabama, right on Pensacola Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Retirees in Pensacola often fill their days with sailing, fishing, or just strolling along the beach to look for sea turtles and dolphins. The closest beaches include Perdido Key, the Gulf Islands National Seashore, and Pensacola Beach. The housing prices here are a little higher than other destinations on this list; the median mortgage is $1,247 and median rent is $952, but Florida’s tax laws can still make retirement here feasible.
Spokane may be an ideal retirement destination for people who want to be on the West Coast. This small city is in eastern Washington, close to the Idaho border. There’s plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation in the area, and the city hosts several festivals throughout the year, including the annual Lilac Festival and Lilac Bloomsday Run in the spring. (Spokane’s nickname is the Lilac City.) Other attractions include Spokane Falls, the Jundt Art Museum at Gonzaga University, free outdoor movies and concerts, and a riverfront sculpture walk. The median mortgage in Spokane is $1,337 and the median rent is $833.