Friday, September 30, 2011

Cheap Places to Retire

Texas Has a Low Cost of Living,
But a Few Other Places Do, Too!
Are you looking for an affordable place to retire?  Where can you live cheaply and comfortably?  Kiplinger Magazine looked into this issue in their September 21, 2011 issue.  Although this was a few years ago, the places they recommended are still good choices.  Below are some of their findings, along with my personal experience with some of these places.

Texas is one of the cheapest places to live in the United States.   When Kiplinger listed five of the most affordable communities in the US, three of them were located in Texas.  If you are trying to figure out how in the world you are going to be able to survive on your Social Security alone, you may want to do additional research on the communities listed below to see if there is one which appeals to you.

My husband and I lived in Texas for over 25 years, and raised our family there.  I also sold real estate in Texas, and know a great deal about the large, beautiful homes you can purchase there for reasonable prices. We have visited several of the communities on this list, so I have included my own knowledge of these towns, in addition to what Ms. Browne had to say in Kiplinger.

It is important to expect that there will have been some inflation, with higher wages and prices than those listed below.  However, this does not change the fact that these locations offer good retirement opportunities for many people.

Here is the Kipplinger list, along with some basic facts:

Brownsville, Texas was the cheapest place to live on their list, according to Kiplinger.  The median household income was only about $30,000 in 201l and the average home price was $209,000.  Brownsville is right on the Texas border with Mexico, but it is also near the Gulf of Mexico and South Padre Island.  We took our daughters on a vacation there, and rented a condo in a gorgeous gated community.  There are numerous golf courses and sweeping beaches.  Because of the proximity to Padre Island, there are plenty of upscale restaurants and hotels.  However, rents in Brownsville averaged less than $700 a month in 2011 for typical apartments, according to the Kiplinger article.  There is one thing you should know: you need to be prepared for the fact that it gets VERY hot in the summer.  However, the winters are mild and pleasant.

Pueblo, Colorado was the second cheapest place to live on their list and is an ideal location if you want to be in the mountains.  The median household income was about $41,000 in 2011 and home prices averaged about $200,000.  This city of 153,800 people has a wide variety of activities, and yet is very affordable.  The winters can be tough, however, if you are not used to dealing with ice and snow.

Ft. Hood, Texas hasd a median household income of $46,200 in 2011 and an average home price of $220,000.  This town is about 60 miles north of Austin, and is on the edge of a major military base.  As a result, it has an unusually large population of young adults.  However, apartments rented for only about $650 a month.  The area around Austin is very popular in Texas.  Not very far away you will also find Sun City, Texas, which is located in the town of Georgetown.  Many Texans like to retire to the Texas Hill Country, as this region is known.  It is affordable, friendly and a spot where most people can live comfortably on either their military pay or their Social Security benefits.  (Below, you'll notice that Austin, Texas came in number 10 on Kiplinger's expanded list.)

Fort Smith, Arkansas is a charming town on the border of Arkansas and Oklahoma.  The median household income was $37,000 in 2011 and home prices averaged about $250,000.  The average apartment rent was just $500 a month!  This is a comfortable Midwestern town that doesn't get as cold as Pueblo, Colorado in the winter, nor as hot as Brownsville, Texas in the summer.

Sherman, Texas came in on the Kiplinger list at number five.  This town is about 60 miles north of Dallas, near Dennison, another popular retirement location.  Houses averaged about $220,000 in 2011 and apartment rents averaged around $650.  I have driven through this sleepy town many times.  Although it is not quite as metropolitan as some of the other communities in Texas, you can always drive to the large cities of Dallas, Fort Worth and Arlington if you seek entertainment ranging from Six Flags, baseball games, elegant restaurants, country western bars, and top-notch symphony orchestras!

Rounding out the Kiplinger list of top 10 cheapest places to live in the United States are:  Springfield, Illinois; Waco, Texas; Fayetteville, Arkansas; Austin, Texas; and Springfield, Missouri.  Of these, Austin, Texas is one of the most popular communities for retirees, as well as young adults.  With several colleges and universities in the city, as well as its location as the state capital of Texas, you will find innumerable activities to keep your mind stimulated and your body busy.  Sun City - Texas in Georgetown is only about 30 miles north of Austin and is an exceptional retirement community.

If you are interested in more retirement information including where to retire, medical concerns for retirees, financial planning, family relationships, Social Security, Medicare and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this article to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

You are reading from the blog:  http://www.baby-boomer-retirement.com

photo courtesy of morguefile.com

3 comments:

  1. This is a very helpful article. I lived in Texas for only one year but I also saw lower housing prices in many areas as well as cost of living.

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  3. Interesting post and thanks for sharing. Some things in here I have not thought about before. Thanks for making such a cool post which is really very well written. I will be referring a lot of friends about this.sunny isles real estate

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