When you decide to retire, there are a lot of factors to consider when deciding where to make your home. For some people, retirement is their only opportunity to enjoy their home town after years of long hours on the job. For others, their desire to explore new areas and try out new living situations is a major deciding factor in where they settle.
Regardless of where you end up living, it should be somewhere that can accommodate all your needs as you age. To help in this decision, we’re going to explore some of the best places where you can retire on a fixed income.
When you’re planning your retirement, there are many different living situations and housing options to choose from. Depending on your income and your health needs, you can either stay in your family home as long as possible or look for alternative housing.
Senior living communities, where residents either own or rent their own homes, are great for people who want a bit more support, but still value their privacy. If your health needs are greater, you may want to consider a retirement home or assisted living facility.
1. Athens, GA
In 2017, Athens, Georgia was named one of the top retirement destinations in the United States by Forbes.1 It ranked so highly because of its moderate climate and tax-friendly policies. In fact, the state exempts Social Security income from taxation and seniors qualify for many beneficial property tax deductions.
The downtown area is quite walkable and has retained many of its heritage Antebellum and Greek Revival buildings. Plus, there are plenty of golf courses, theaters, and cultural events around town.2
Considering the price for a three-bedroom apartment ranges from $1,175 to $1,375, rent is reasonable. Furthermore, the average night out for two adults’ costs less than $50.3
EDITOR’S NOTE: Athens is a quaint college town that is home of the Georgia Bulldogs, where I have lived with my wife and family since 1975. So, we take extreme pride in learning many publications report Athens as a terrific destination, for college, career and/or retirement. So, come on down!
2. Boise, ID
If you love both the outdoors and city life, Boise, Idaho is a great choice for retirement. It is large enough to offer plenty of retirement options, as well as affordable housing. In fact, the median home price is around $225,000.
Boise is only a 20-minute drive from the gorgeous Rocky Mountains and has plenty of green space spread through the city. The Parks and Recreation department runs plenty of programming for seniors, including computer classes and even tax assistance.
Even better, Social Security is not taxed, which will definitely help you maintain your income.4
3. Charlotte, NC
Right now, Charlotte, North Carolina is one of the top cities in the country for retirees.
Budget-conscious seniors are drawn to the city amenities that they can enjoy more freely afford without having to pay big-city housing prices. Plus, there are 20+ adult living communities around the city, which gives you options if you need more care.
Health care costs are five percent lower than in the rest of the country. Plus, there are plenty of magnet hospitals where you can be treated if any more serious health problems arise.5
Moreover, Charlotte is currently ranked 39th out of 377 cities for cost of living.6
4. Clearwater, FL
Clearwater has managed to snag the dual titles of best beach town in Florida and one of the best retirement cities in the United States. So, if you’re interested in living out your retirement on the beach, Clearwater is a great choice.
The city has plenty of gorgeous beaches, as well as a bustling, walkable downtown district. Plus, the annual Jazz Festival and year-round program at the Performing Arts Center offers tons of music and cultural events.7
If you need more of an incentive to settle in Clearwater, the cost of living is relatively low. For instance, a large city-center apartment renting for an average of $1,690 per month.8
5. Fargo, ND
Fargo, North Dakota is the largest town in one of America’s least populated states.
Many retirees are drawn here because of the slower pace of life and the low cost of living. As a matter of fact, the average home costs just $206,000 and property taxes range from $2,000 to $4,000 annually.
Fargo’s town center is easily accessed by car or bike. Along with being easily accessible, you can find theaters, restaurants, and even the celebrated Plains Art Museum downtown. Plus, there are a few different medical clinics, as well as a VA hospital.
If you want to get out of town, the Amtrak station or Hector International Airport can take you anywhere you want to go.9
6. Green Valley, AZ
If you want to live an active lifestyle among peers, Green Valley, Arizona offers the chance to move into one of the largest retirement communities in the United States.
Technically, Green Valley is not a town or a city. Actually, it’s an unincorporated place made up of 59 separate Homeowners Associations. Almost 100 percent of the residents are retirees, who have made an active life together.
The climate is moderate year-round, which enables each facility to offer its own unique amenities, like pools, golf courses, and exercise centers. Also, it’s a short drive to Tucson or the University of Arizona campus, where there are more restaurants and shops.
Moreover, house prices range between $100,000 and $200,000, which are significantly lower than average.10
7. The Algarve, Portugal
If you’re looking to retire outside of the United States, Portugal is a great option. It’s one of the most inexpensive countries in Europe, especially if you’re willing to live outside of a major city like Porto or Lisbon.
The Algarve is the southernmost region of the country. It’s also a major expat center. It’s been estimated that you can comfortably retire on less than $3,000 per month — which includes rent.
If you need more convincing, Portugal is very safe. Plus, the Algarve region is full of incredible beaches and delicious food.
8. Cancun, Mexico
Looking to make your retirement dollars stretch further by retiring outside of the United States? Cancun, Mexico is a short flight from the mainland United States. Furthermore, it offers a great combination of value and relaxed beach living.
Cancun has plenty of options for homes and you can live off less than $2,000 a month when you convert the dollar. Also, health care in Mexico is fantastic.
If you need to see family, you can easily get home or host them at your beachfront bungalow.
9. Panama City, Panama
It may surprise you, but Panama City has a huge expat population. Many American retirees are drawn here because of the minimal taxes and low cost of living. In fact, one person can easily live off less than $3,000 per month, including rent on a beautiful oceanfront condo.
All retirees in Panama have access to the Pensionado program, which gives an incredible discount on anything from health care to international flights. And don’t worry about your mediocre Spanish as many people in the cities here speak English.11
Many people look at retirement and see a fixed income at the end of all their options. Fortunately, it doesn’t need to be this way.
There are plenty of incredible locations around the United States and internationally that offer great value for money, as well enough health care, entertainment, and amenities to keep you comfortable well into old age. Explore your options and pick a place that works for all your needs.
1 Forbes, 25 Best Places to Retire in 2017 2 The Georgia Club, Why Was Athens, Georgia Named #1 Best Place to Retire? 3 Numbeo, Cost of Living in Athens 4 Great Retirement Spots, Short Review of Boise, Idaho 5 Charlotte Sights, Why People are Retiring in Charlotte 6 Numbeo, Cost of Living in Charlotte 7 Movoto, 23 Things You Need To Know About Clearwater Before You Move There 8 Numbeo, Cost of Living in Clearwater 9 TopRetirements.com, Fargo : North dakota 10 TopRetirements.com, Green Valley : Arizona 11 International Living, The World’s Best Places to Retire in 2019