Cheap Retirement Cities


Cheap Retirement Cities



“Oh, the places you will go.” Or rather, oh, the places you can go. Your retirement is a time when possibilities abound. One common choice that retirees make is where they want to call home.

Across the US, there are metro areas nestled in the mountains, close to sandy beaches and in the tranquility of the desert. The perfect place for you is out there, no matter your preference. And most importantly, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to live in these places.

We’ve found our top seven. These picks focus on population, living costs, local tax environments and median incomes (just in case you want a part-time gig for an additional income stream).

Take a run through our list of favorites thanks to Kiplinger. You may find a new place to call home.

  1. Greenville, SC – If you haven’t visited “the new” Greenville, you’re missing out. It’s become a bustling metropolis that’s nestled among rural neighbors, like Anderson and Mauldin. Downtown is full of restaurants, shops and museums for art lovers and history buffs alike. Imagine lush greenery, a river winding through downtown’s bustle and peaceful parks. If this sounds like the life for you, why not plan a visit? Be sure to taste some barbeque while you’re there – Carolina que can’t be beat.
Falls Park and the Reedy River located in downtown Greenville’s Historic West End. Greenville is a city in Greenville County in upstate South Carolina, United States. Nestled into the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountain Greenville is known for its fabulous restaurants, collection of museums and beautiful scenery

Total population: 872,463

Retired cost of living: 2.6% Below National Average

State’s retiree tax picture: Tax-Friendly

Median income: $59,527


  1. Des Moines, IA – Living in Des Moines is a perfect way to get a big-city experience for a small-town cost. The metro area has a robust economy and, as a bonus, plenty of health care facilities that specialize in aging-related services. In fact, the Milken Institute ranked Des Moines fifth out of 100 large US metro areas for successful aging. You’ll be active here, that’s for sure. Attractions include botanical gardens, museums, arts venues, an outdoor sculpture park and a zoo. Take a trip to nearby Altoona for, wait for it, annual camel, ostrich and zebra races. Don’t forget your cameras!
Des Moines skyline view with Downtown Des Moines, elevated view.

Total population: 623,113

Retired cost of living: 9.2% Below National Average

State’s retiree tax picture: Not Tax-Friendly

Median income: $80,898


  1. Albuquerque, NM – Let’s head west. How does 310 sunny days a year sound to you? I thought so. Welcome to Albuquerque. This is New Mexico’s largest city, perched in the high desert. In the city, you’ll find the contrast of the modern Downtown area and Old Town Albuquerque, dating to the city’s 1706 founding as a Spanish colony. The options for recreation here are limitless. Visit museums, galleries, shops and music venues, or ante up to the table at a local casino. You’ll be hard-pressed to run out of things to do here.
Sandia Mountains in New Mexico

Total population: 905,049

Retired cost of living: 2.4% Below National Average

State’s retiree tax picture: Least Tax-Friendly

Median income: $59,944


  1. Omaha, NE – Warren Buffet doesn’t call this city home for nothing. Not only is it incredibly affordable, but it’s a metro area that features a multitude of restaurants, shops, art galleries, concert halls and sporting events. For outdoor adventure, take advantage of the miles of walking and biking trails throughout the city, along with five area lakes and two rivers. Housing costs are notably low. A house in Omaha will set you back around $146,500, compared to the national median of $193,500.
City features park waterfront downtown city skyline Omaha Nebraska

Total population: 914,190

Retired cost of living: 3.8% Below National Average

State’s retiree tax picture: Least Tax-Friendly

Median income: $76,471


  1. Twin Falls, ID – Situated in the southern part of the state, Twin Falls is a testament to why the region is known as the Gem State. If you love nature and all its glory, you’ll feel right at home here. Twin Falls is known as the gateway to the Snake River Canyon, which takes sightseeing to a breathtaking new level. This is a perfect place for camping, hiking, bird watching and kayaking. It also happens to be cheap for retired residents, even compared to the rest of Idaho’s already low living costs.
Snake River Canyon, Twin Falls, Idaho, USA

Total population: 105,287

Retired cost of living: 9.3% Below National Average

State’s retiree tax picture: Mixed

Median income: $58,063


  1. Buffalo, NY – “Brrr!,” you say. I hear you. But for those that don’t mind the colder temperatures and beautiful (and abundant) snowfall, Buffalo can make for a dream retirement. The metro area, which includes Niagara Falls, provides retirees with a pocket of affordability in the mostly expensive Empire State. It offers plenty of recreation, with parks, museums, theatres and concerts. Plus, health care and housing costs are particularly low, clocking in at 12.7% and 9.5% below the national average. Honey, pack your parka.
Buffalo, New York, USA – May 24, 2010: Sheas Performing Arts Center and the Buffalo skyline

Total population: 1.1 million

Retired cost of living: 6.1% Below National Average

State’s retiree tax picture: Not Tax-Friendly

Median income: $67,558


  1. Tampa Bay, FL – Ok, ok. We all knew Florida would make the list. Retirees flock to the state for its warm temperatures and beaches. But have you considered Tampa Bay? This region is made up of three major cities: Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater. All have their individual appeal, but the Bay area shares one thing in common – affordability. And, the entire area offers all the things you’d look for in a Florida retirement: white sandy beaches, azure water, golf courses galore and generous tax breaks.
Young adults on a park bench over the bay at St. Petersburg.

Total population: 3.0 million

Retired cost of living: 9.3% Below National Average

State’s retiree tax picture: Most Tax-Friendly

Median income: $68,759


So, what do you think? Have you called your realtor yet?

This information is provided to you as a resource for informational purposes only and should not be viewed as investment advice or recommendations. Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal. There is no guarantee offered that investment return, yield, or performance will be achieved. There will be periods of performance fluctuations, including periods of negative returns. Past performance is not indicative of future results when considering any investment vehicle. This information is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance, or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors. This information is not intended to, and should not, form a primary basis for any investment decision that you may make. Always consult your own legal, tax, or investment advisor before making any investment/tax/estate/financial planning considerations or decisions.


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