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10 Best Places to Retire

Kayaking in downtown Austin, Texas
Recreation in Downtown Austin, Texas

If retirement is inching closer, you may begin thinking about where to go. Factors to consider when making your decision are affordability, climate, type of lifestyle, health care, and availability of social life. For this particular list, cities have to have been chosen on other top lists by Forbes, CNNMoney and others. In addition, this list also represents different types of living experiences — big city, college town, foreign country, and small town.

Austin, Texas

According to Forbes, Austin is a great place to retire. The city is relatively large with over 750,000 people; however, the atmosphere and design of the city makes it feel much smaller. Being the live music capital of the world means the cultural scene is vibrant, and the historical aspects are equally intriguing. You’ll never run out of things to do. You can go to various music clubs, festivals, or the Long Center for Performing Arts. You can also visit the LBJ museum or the state capitol for a change of pace. If you enjoy golf, there are many public golf courses to test your game. The city also boasts a number of parks, trails, and lakes to keep you busy.

The cost of living is also reasonable in Austin. The average home price is slightly under $200,000 and there is no state income tax. Although summers can be rather brutal, winters only last for a few weeks each year. Austin also has several excellent hospitals throughout the city so you have good health care options.

Tucson, Arizona

Kiplinger rates Tuscon as a top retirement option. It’s well known for its beautiful, warm, sunny weather and the memorable beauty of the Sonoran desert. Tucson has excellent shopping and restaurants, and many cultural activities. The city has a strong historical presence with old mining towns and missions to explore and several archaeological sites to visit. If you decide not to dig into the history, you can instead go to the symphony, art galleries, and theaters for entertainment. The University of Arizona keeps the city lively with a solid lifelong learning program. However, if you want to spend some time outdoors, the sun shines more than 300 days each year and the winters are very mild. Mountains are located around the town with skiing nearby if you are interested; the city is also home to numerous golf courses and tennis courts.

The tax burden in Tucson is fairly low compared to other states, and you can buy a home for less than $150,000. As for health care, there are world-class hospitals including the University Medical Center.

Medellin, Colombia

According to USNews, Medellin is a great place to go if you’re looking to relocate to another country. The weather is mild all year, and you may be able to survive without using central air conditioning or heating at all. This could make a big difference in your monthly budget. The city itself is another reason, as it is beautiful with a vast number of attractions to keep you entertained. There are many museums, movie theaters, and parks to visit and you have your choice of shopping experiences. There are also a number of large festivals like a jazz festival, a poetry festival, a book fair, and even a tango festival!

All of this can be accomplished for a lot less than you may think. Medellin is actually quite affordable which is another perk of this city; you and your partner can live for as little as $1400 a month. Rent can be as low as $250 a month. Medical care in the city is very good with hospitals that are ranked among the best in Latin America.

St. George, Utah

Golf course in St. George, Utah
Golf course in St. George, Utah

Utah is becoming a popular retirement spot and St. George is leading the charge; CNNMoney calls this a good choice if you like resort towns. This town is ideal for retirees who want to get outside and do things. There are 300 sunny days each year; you can take advantage of these days with golf, biking, hiking, or trips to the National and state parks. During the winter, you can take trips to go skiing. At any time, you can travel two hours to Vegas.

The tax burden in St. George is about average when compared to the tax burden of other states. Pensions and social security may be taxable but property taxes are low and there is no estate tax. The median price of a home is $180,000; there are also a number of retirement communities in the area. The regional hospital, Dixie Medical Center, is located in St. George and has a cancer center.

Savannah, Georgia

Elegant Antebellum Mansion, Savannah, Georgia
Elegant Antebellum Mansion, Savannah, Georgia

According to Forbes, Savannah is a good choice for retirement if you are looking for a small town with historic flair. There are a number of majestic old homes and historic landmarks. The town is also home to several organizations that focus on the elderly and offer them assistance.

Although it is small, there is plenty to do. As a port city, Savannah has influences from a number of countries. There is a growing music and restaurant scene with the Savannah Music Festival. Several theaters like the Savannah Community Theatre and the Historic Savannah Theatre offer a full complement of productions. If you decide that you want to continue your education, tuition for the elderly is free at local state colleges. The city also has a number of outdoor activities including boating and biking.

As a small town, the cost of living is low. The median home price in Savannah is around $165,000. The state of Georgia offers tax benefits to retirees over the age of 62. If you don’t want to buy a home, there are several retirement communities in the area. The city also is a regional hub for health care with top-rate healthcare facilities.

St. Augustine, Florida

Historic Flagler College St. Augustine Florida
St. Augustine, Florida

This is the oldest continuous European settlement in the United States. Although its warm climate has made it a resort city, it’s the city’s affordability that has turned it into a retirement destination, notes CNNMoney. The city has miles of beaches and a lot of golf courses but there is also a number of historic buildings and museums to visit. The town does have some nice restaurants and a small cultural scene. For a greater variety of cultural activities, you can take a quick trip to Jacksonville to expand your options.

SmartMoney has also named this as a good place to retire as the cost of living in this city is less than it is for other cities in Florida. St. Augustine has a median home price of $156,000. Florida does not have a state income tax which contributes to the lower cost of living in St. Augustine. There is good medical care in town (Flagler Hospital) but for more specific care, you have to drive to Jacksonville to a branch of the Mayo Clinic which is 45 minutes away. The international airport is a modest one hour drive away.

Bloomington, Indiana

If your dream destination is a Midwestern college town, Forbes suggests that Bloomington may be a good option for your retirement plans. The college town atmosphere can be fun, especially during football and basketball seasons. Besides the exciting college sports scene, Bloomington has a wonderful downtown area with restaurants, shops, coffeehouses, and galleries. Due to the varied population, there are many different types of cuisine to choose from. There are several festivals that happen throughout the year, like the Arts Week Everywhere or the Week of Chocolate. If you need to get away from the bustle of town, there are several lakes within 10 miles of the town.

The cost of living in Bloomington is below the national average and the average price of a home is around $150,000. Apartments are a bit harder to come by because of the number of college students in town; however, Bloomington does have several retirement communities with studios and apartments available for retirees. People do not have to pay taxes on Social Security income in Indiana, but they are not exempt from property taxes. There is a university-affiliated hospital system in Bloomington, so good health care is available; several programs that help provide for the elderly are also available. The only downside is that the winters can be pretty harsh in this town and during the spring and summer, there is a risk of tornadoes.

Huntsville, Alabama

Looking for a medium-sized college town with a steady economy for retirement? Consider Huntsville says CNNMoney. There are several universities in town. As a cultural hub for the northern part of Alabama, Huntsville is home to several theaters and performing arts centers. There are also several large annual festivals like Panopoly, Big Spring Jam, and the ConS+ellation sci-fi convention. The city also has many parks, botanical gardens, and trails for outside exploring. The number of restaurants has increased as the town as grown with a nice mix of ethnic fare. Huntsville also benefits from the presence of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and Redstone Arsenal, making the city a high-tech hub. These industries have helped Huntsville remain a thriving city even during economic downturns.

Forbes also notes that Huntsville has a low cost of living. The median home value is around $170,000 and the state tax and property taxes are among the lowest in the country. Huntsville is home to two large medical centers with specialty care. There are large international airports a few hours away to the east (Atlanta), the south (Birmingham), and the north (Nashville). The summers are hot and humid, but the winters are mild.

Aberdeen, South Dakota

If you want to retire in a small town, Aberdeen may be the choice for you, says CNNMoney. Located in northern South Dakota, this town has a population of less than 27,000. Aberdeen is a hub for that portion of the state, so there are many cultural activities that draw visitors from other towns. There are several theaters like The Granary or Aberdeen’s Historic Capitol Theater. Museums, cultural centers, and art festivals also give you other chances to enjoy the arts – including Native American artists. Aberdeen has over 60 restaurants and bars to choose from as well. If you want to enjoy the great outdoors, hunting and fishing are popular pastimes in the area; you can also go cross-country skiing.

The cost of living in Aberdeen is lower than the US average; the median home cost is just over $130,000 with no state taxes. While Aberdeen is a small town, there are good medical services available with 2 hospitals and a specialty orthopedics center. However, the weather can be very cold in the winter with over 35 inches of snow each year.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

If you are on a budget, Pittsburgh may be an ideal retirement location for you. According to the AARP, you can live well in this city for $100 a day. Pittsburgh has a low cost of living with the median cost of a home being around $106,000. There are also a number of retirement communities to choose from, and as a retiree, you may be able to take advantage of some tax breaks. Another benefit of this city is the health care system; Pittsburgh is home to a world-class university health care complex which is another reason to retire here. The winters can be cold but manageable.

Pittsburgh is at the convergence of three rivers – thus the old name of the baseball stadium. The city is a varied mix of ethnicities which contribute to many restaurants and festivals celebrating different cultures. If music is more your style, Pittsburgh houses one of the premier symphony orchestras in the world; there are also exciting music and art activities in town. The professional sports fan also has a choice between Steeler games or Pirate games. If your sport is basketball, the University of Pittsburgh historically has had a competitive college team.


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