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  • Writer's pictureMark Fonville, CFP®

8 Most Affordable Places to Retire in the U.S.


8 Most Affordable Places to Retire in the U.S.

Are you dreaming of a retirement filled with relaxation and financial peace of mind? Well, you're not alone! Many people nearing retirement age are searching for affordable places to retire in the United States. 

 

Retirement is a time to kick back, enjoy life, and let go of the daily grind. However, the cost of living can vary significantly from one place to another. Choosing a retirement destination that won't drain your savings is crucial.


Regardless of where you relocate for retirement, be sure to download the same free retirement checklists we use to help our clients avoid mistakes and save big bucks in retirement.



Let's dive into our list of budget-friendly retirement havens.


Williamsburg, Virginia


Why Retire Here: Retiring in Williamsburg, Virginia, is like stepping into a page of American history with the added bonus of affordability—a rare combination indeed! This charming city, known for its rich colonial heritage, offers retirees a blend of historical intrigue and modern comforts at a cost that won't have them digging for buried treasure.


Cost of Living

First off, let's talk taxes, because let's face it, no one wants to see their retirement savings gobbled up by tax bills. Virginia is tax-friendly for retirees, with Social Security income exempt from state taxes and a moderate state income tax not exceeding 5.75%. This tax leniency extends a warm welcome to those looking to stretch their dollars further in their golden years.


Housing costs in Williamsburg are another highlight. While you might not find a colonial mansion for the price of a few hens and a goat, the real estate market here is surprisingly accessible. The median home cost in Williamsburg sits below the national average, offering retirees a range of options from quaint historic homes to comfortable, modern condos. This affordability in housing is a significant factor for many retirees, especially those conscious of maintaining a comfortable lifestyle on a fixed income.


Social and Culture

And let's not forget the social and cultural environment. Williamsburg isn't just a haven for history buffs; it's a vibrant community with a warm, small-town feel that's perfect for retirees looking to stay active and engaged. The city hosts numerous events, clubs, and activities tailored to a more mature crowd, fostering a sense of community and belonging.


The cherry on top? Virginia Beach is only an hours drive east of Williamsburg. And, if you're trying to stay out of the sun, you'll love the serene views, skiing, and hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains only two hours west of the city. Short travel times to vacation hotspots should save you big bucks.



Jacksonville, Florida


Why Retire Here: Jacksonville offers a delightful mix of beach life and city amenities. Enjoy a mild climate, beautiful beaches, and a thriving arts and culture scene.

 

When considering where to spend your golden years, Jacksonville, Florida, might not be the first place that comes to mind, but it should certainly be on your radar. This vibrant city on the northeast coast of Florida has a lot to offer retirees seeking an affordable and enjoyable retirement destination.


Cost of Living

One of the most attractive aspects of retiring in Jacksonville is its affordable cost of living. Compared to many other Florida cities, Jacksonville's cost of living is relatively low. Housing options are varied and budget-friendly, making it easier to find a home that suits your retirement needs. Additionally, Florida's lack of state income tax can help stretch your retirement savings further, because it’s a tax-friendly state.



Beaches and Outdoor Activities

Retiring in Jacksonville means you'll have access to miles of beautiful coastline. Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach, and Atlantic Beach are just a few of the sandy shores waiting for you to explore. The city's mild climate allows for year-round outdoor activities like swimming, fishing, and golfing.


Arts and Culture

If you enjoy the arts and cultural experiences, Jacksonville won't disappoint. The city boasts a thriving arts scene with numerous museums, galleries, and theaters. The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, Museum of Science and History (MOSH), and the Florida Theatre are just a few of the cultural institutions to explore.


Boone, North Carolina


Why Retire Here: If you're a nature enthusiast, Boone offers hiking, skiing, and a tranquil environment. The Appalachian Mountains provide a stunning backdrop for your retirement.

 

For those seeking a retirement that embraces the beauty of nature and a slower pace of life, Boone, North Carolina, is a hidden gem worth considering. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Boone offers an idyllic retreat for retirees who love the great outdoors.


Cost of Living

Boone's cost of living is surprisingly reasonable, especially for a picturesque mountain town. Housing costs are affordable, and there are various options to live affordably, from cozy cabins to modern homes. North Carolina has a flat state income tax rate of 5.25% which his slightly less than the national average of 5.37%.


Outdoor Activities

One of the main draws of retiring in Boone is the abundance of outdoor activities. The Appalachian Mountains offer opportunities for hiking, biking, and bird-watching. In the winter, you can hit the slopes for some skiing or snowboarding. The serene natural beauty of the area provides a peaceful and relaxing retirement backdrop.


Community and Culture

Boone is a tight-knit community with a strong cultural scene. You'll find local artisans, musicians, and a thriving arts community. The town hosts numerous events and festivals throughout the year, including art shows, concerts, and craft fairs, ensuring there's always something to do.


Las Vegas, Nevada

 

Why Retire Here: Las Vegas offers entertainment galore, world-class dining, and a dry, sunny climate. You can enjoy your retirement in style without breaking the bank.

 

When you think of retirement destinations, Las Vegas might not be the first place that comes to mind. However, this iconic city in the Nevada desert has more to offer retirees than meets the eye. With its unique blend of entertainment, dining, and affordability, Las Vegas is an unexpected but appealing choice for retirees.


Cost of Living

One of the most surprising aspects of retiring in Las Vegas is its affordability. While the city is known for its glitz and glamour, it's also a place where retirees can live comfortably without the burden of state income tax. Housing costs are reasonable, and there's a wide range of options, from upscale communities to more budget-friendly choices.


Entertainment and Dining

Las Vegas is famous for its world-class entertainment, and retirees can take full advantage of the city's offerings. From live shows and concerts to casinos and sporting events, there's always something happening in Vegas. Plus, the dining scene is top-notch, with restaurants run by celebrity chefs and a diverse array of international cuisines.


Climate

Las Vegas boasts a sunny, dry climate with over 300 days of sunshine per year. This means you can enjoy outdoor activities like golfing, hiking, and exploring the beautiful nearby Red Rock Canyon all year round.


Traverse City, Michigan


Why Retire Here: Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, Traverse City offers stunning natural beauty. Enjoy water sports, vineyards, and a charming downtown area.

 

Traverse City, Michigan, often referred to as the "Cherry Capital of the World," is a charming and affordable retirement destination that combines natural beauty with a thriving cultural scene. Nestled on the shores of Lake Michigan, this city has a lot to offer retirees seeking a peaceful and picturesque retirement.


Cost of Living

Traverse City's cost of living is below the national average, making it an attractive option for retirees. Housing costs are reasonable, and you can find a variety of housing options, from cozy cottages to waterfront homes. Additionally, Michigan's tax-friendly policies can help stretch your retirement income further.


Natural Beauty

One of the most compelling reasons to retire in Traverse City is its stunning natural surroundings. The city is located on the Grand Traverse Bay, providing access to beautiful beaches, water sports, and fishing opportunities. Inland, you'll find lush forests, rolling hills, and crystal-clear lakes perfect for outdoor adventures.


Culture and Wine

Traverse City has a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous art galleries, theaters, and music festivals. The city's downtown area is brimming with shops, restaurants, and cafes, making it an ideal place to explore. The region is also known for its wineries, and you can take leisurely tours of local vineyards and enjoy wine tastings.


Hot Springs, Arkansas


Why Retire Here: Hot Springs is famous for its thermal baths and outdoor activities. It's a peaceful place to enjoy your retirement years.

 

Hot Springs, Arkansas, is a historic and budget-friendly retirement destination nestled in the Ouachita Mountains. This charming city is renowned for its thermal springs, outdoor recreational opportunities, and affordable cost of living.


Cost of Living

If you’re watching your spending in retirement, one of the standout features of retiring in Hot Springs is its affordability. The cost of living in the area is well below the national average, and housing costs are particularly reasonable. Whether you prefer a cozy bungalow or a spacious retirement community, you'll find options that suit your budget.


Natural Springs and Outdoor Activities

Hot Springs is famous for its natural thermal springs, which have been a draw for visitors for centuries. Retirees can enjoy the therapeutic benefits of these springs while taking in the picturesque surroundings. The city also offers hiking trails, fishing, and boating on Lake Ouachita, ensuring plenty of opportunities for outdoor fun.


Historic Downtown

Hot Springs' historic downtown area is a charming place to explore. You'll find unique shops, art galleries, and restaurants housed in historic buildings. Bathhouse Row is a must-visit, featuring beautifully preserved bathhouses from the early 20th century.


Cañon City, Colorado


Why Retire Here: Nestled in the Rocky Mountains, Cañon City provides outdoor adventures, a mild climate, and a charming small-town atmosphere.

 

If you're seeking a retirement destination that combines the beauty of the Rocky Mountains with an affordable cost of living, look no further than Cañon City, Colorado. This picturesque town is nestled in a stunning natural landscape and offers a peaceful retirement setting.


Cost of Living

Cañon City provides an affordable retirement option, with a cost of living below the national average. Housing is reasonably priced, and you can choose from various housing styles, including ranch homes and mountain cabins. Additionally, Colorado's tax policies are retiree-friendly, with no inheritance or estate taxes.


Outdoor Adventures

The natural beauty of Cañon City is a major draw for retirees. The nearby Royal Gorge Bridge and Park offer breathtaking views of the Arkansas River Gorge, and you can explore miles of hiking and biking trails in the area. Fishing, rafting, and horseback riding are also popular activities for retirees.


Small-Town Charm

Cañon City has a charming small-town atmosphere that retirees find welcoming. The downtown area features historic architecture, local shops, and restaurants. The community is friendly and tight-knit, providing a sense of belonging for retirees.


Venice, Louisiana


Why Retire Here: Venice is a paradise for fishing enthusiasts. It's also a quiet, scenic spot to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

 

If you're a fishing enthusiast or simply crave a serene escape from city life, Venice, Louisiana, is a unique and affordable retirement destination. This remote community at the southern tip of the state offers a laid-back lifestyle and abundant opportunities for outdoor recreation.


Cost of Living

Louisiana is renowned for its low cost of living, and Venice is no exception. Housing costs are affordable, and you'll benefit from a lower overall tax burden. Retirees can find a range of housing options, from waterfront properties to cozy cottages.


Fishing Paradise

Venice is often referred to as the "Fishing Capital of the World." If you're an angler, this is a dream retirement spot. The Mississippi River Delta and nearby Gulf of Mexico offer world-class fishing opportunities for both saltwater and freshwater species.


Tranquil Setting

Retiring in Venice means embracing a tranquil and remote lifestyle. The absence of bustling city life is a big attraction for those seeking peace and solitude. The natural beauty of the bayous, wetlands, and wildlife provides a unique backdrop for retirement.


Wrap Up


Choosing an affordable place to retire can significantly impact your retirement lifestyle. These 8 destinations offer a mix of natural beauty, cultural attractions, and budget-friendly living. Whether you prefer the beaches of Florida, the mountains of North Carolina, or the excitement of Las Vegas, there's an affordable retirement spot for everyone.


So start planning your retirement today and make your dream of a stress-free, affordable retirement a reality!


 

Disclosure: Covenant Wealth Advisors is a registered investment advisor with offices in Richmond, Reston, and Williamsburg, VA. Registration of an investment advisor does not imply a certain level of skill or training. Past performance is no guarantee of future returns. Investing involves risk and possible loss of principal capital. The views and opinions expressed in this content are as of the date of the posting, are subject to change based on market and other conditions. This content contains certain statements that may be deemed forward-looking statements. Please note that any such statements are not guarantees of any future performance and actual results or developments may differ materially from those projected. Please note that nothing in this content should be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase an interest in any security or separate account. Nothing is intended to be, and you should not consider anything to be, investment, accounting, tax, or legal advice. If you would like accounting, tax, or legal advice, you should consult with your own accountants or attorneys regarding your individual circumstances and needs. No advice may be rendered by Covenant Wealth Advisors unless a client service agreement is in place. Hypothetical examples are fictitious and are only used to illustrate a specific point of view. Diversification does not guarantee against risk of loss. While this guide attempts to be as comprehensive as possible but no article can cover all aspects of retirement planning. Be sure to consult an advisor for comprehensive advice.

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