Thursday, November 14, 2013

Best Cities for Military Retirement

If you are retiring from the military, your retirement needs are likely to be quite a bit different from those of civilian retirees.  The typical military retiree leaves their branch of service in their 40's with a pension that is approximately half of their military pay.  Since many of them still have children they are supporting, they often have to start a second career.  Even if they don't have children to support, they may want to continue working in a civilian job for other financial reasons after they retire from the military.  As a result, they have unique challenges that they need to consider when they decide where they want to retire.

U.S. News recently addressed some of these challenges when they put together their list of the best places for military retirees to live after they leave the service.  The research they used when they complied their list was conducted by USAA, an insurance company that covers military families, as well as by, a website geared towards active and retired military personnel.  They reviewed 380 metropolitan areas in the United States and looked at issues that are important to most military retirees such as low crime rates, good schools, nice climates, nearby military facilities, VA medical services, low unemployment (since many of them will be looking for jobs), local colleges (so they can get re-training), affordable housing, and tax policies that are favorable towards military pensions.  Shown below are the cities they chose.

Best Cities for Military Retirees

Waco, Texas
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Austin, Texas
College Station, Texas
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
San Angelo, Texas
Madison, Wisconsin
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
New Orleans, Louisiana
Syracuse, New York

More Considerations for Military Retirees

You'll notice that three of the ten cities are in Texas.  This may be because Texas is generally supportive of the military, has low unemployment, no state income tax and a low cost of living.  Therefore, if the three cities mentioned on the list don't appeal to you, or they are not near your family, you are likely to find many of the same advantages throughout the state.

This brings up the point that there are other factors that will affect your choice of the right city that may not have been considered by USAA and, such as job offers you might have received, where you grew up, and proximity to other members of your family.

You'll also notice that the above list does not include places that have traditionally been popular with retired military personnel, especially retired members of the Navy, such as San Diego and Honolulu.  Although these are wonderful cities with fabulous climates and nearby military bases, they also have the disadvantage that they are really expensive for people who are primarily dependent on a military pension.  While many members of the military have happily retired to those places over the years, it may be difficult for more recent retirees to find affordable housing in those cities.

The bottom line for military retirees is that the above list may give them some general ideas, but they also need to consider other issues that may be more important for them.  One thing you should consider is the fact that the government will pay for one final move when you retire from the military.  Therefore, you want to spend the last year of your service doing some careful research so you end up in the place where you really want to live.

If you have served in the military during war time, you may also want to read this article about VA long-term care insurance:

In addition, if you are planning to retire or you are already retired, use the tabs at the top of this article to find links to hundreds of other articles that contain ideas about where to retire in the United States or abroad, financial planning for retirement, medical issues, family relationships and more.


You can read their full list of criteria used at:

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Public domain photo of soldiers is courtesy of


  1. I wasn't aware of the points you made about Texas. Good information!

  2. This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free.
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