Showing posts with label best places to retire. Show all posts
Showing posts with label best places to retire. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Best States for Retirement per Moneywise

Many Americans prefer to remain in their home state after they retire.  However, do you know how your state ranks compared to other states as a retirement destination?  Is it affordable and safe, with a comfortable climate and good healthcare?  Moneywise did the research for you and put together a list of the best states for retirement.  If your current state is on this list, you may be best off remaining where you are, or at least in a retirement community in your home state.  If your current state is not on this list, you may want to do a little research and decide if there is a nearby state where you may be able to live more affordably, comfortably, and safely.

Below is the list of states which Moneywise believes are the best places to retire, with the best states at the top of the list and the rating dropping from there.  All of these states are in the top twenty of those in the United States, according to the Moneywise research.

If your home state is not listed below, you may want to check the article "Worst States for Retirement" to see if it is listed there.  If it is not on either list, consider it a neutral state for retirement.  

Top Ten States for Retirement

New Hampshire - According to both Moneywise and U.S. News, this is the best state for retirement, although you will still have to deal with cold weather in the winter.  However, it has low taxes, including no sales tax or state income tax, beautiful scenery, and high quality healthcare.  In addition, housing prices are lower than that in other nearby states in the Northeastern U.S.   You should know that there is a 5 percent tax on dividends and interest.

South Dakota - If you are looking forward to spending time in the wild outdoors, hunting, fishing, camping and hiking, this could be the ideal state for you.  There is an abundance of affordable housing in both the small towns as well as the cities of Sioux Falls and Rapid City. The state does not tax Social Security or pensions, there is no inheritance tax, and the state sales tax is only 4 percent.

Colorado - Do you love the mountains?  Enjoy skiing or other winter sports? This state has a high quality of life, good healthcare, and high senior tax deductions.  Many of the small towns are quite affordable, although the major cities can be expensive.

Iowa - You may be starting to see a theme in this list of the best retirement states.  It seems that many of the states with plenty of outdoor activities are also great places to retire.  Housing in Iowa is affordable.  In fact, the cost-of-living in Iowa is approximately 12 percent below the national average.  Healthcare is also less expensive than in many other states.

Florida - Florida has long been considered a mecca for retirement, especially for people who lived along the East Coast during their working years.  On the Moneywise list, it is ranked as the 5th best state for retirement. There are miles of beaches and plenty of delicious seafood.  The photo of the sunset at the top of this article was taken in Florida.  Grandchildren will want to visit on their way to Disney World and the other theme parks in Orlando.  Homes are very affordable, whether you buy or lease.  There is no state income tax, estate tax or inheritance tax.  There is also no tax on Social Security or other retirement income. My parents retired to Florida and lived there for three decades until the last few years of their lives, when they returned to their home state to live with family.  They loved Florida and hated to leave.  Of course, if you retire there, you will need to deal with some of the less pleasant wildlife there, including mosquitoes and alligators!

Utah - This state has one of the fastest growing populations for people of all ages.  There are many reasons why people find this state appealing, including beautiful scenery, national parks, and other amenities.  The state is rated high for its healthcare system, Salt Lake City is affordable, and the city also has excellent public transportation.  Social Security and other types of income are taxable, but seniors get a tax credit of $450 per person and other taxes are low.

Virginia - This state has both mountains and beaches, with numerous small towns, yet parts of it are in close proximity to Washington, DC and other large cities.  Blacksburg, which is home to Virginia Tech University, was ranked by Forbes in 2014 as the best place in the nation to retire. My college roommate, who is now a retired English professor, lives there and loves it. Housing throughout most of the state, except for the area close to Washington DC, is quite affordable.  There are also special tax benefits for retirees.

Idaho - Another great state for those who love the outdoors is Idaho.  It is rated the 4th safest state in the nation and the overall cost-of-living is 5 percent lower than the average in the United States.  Social Security is not taxed and healthcare is also less expensive than in other states.

Arizona - This state has become popular for some people moving out of California but who want to stay close enough to easily visit friends and family in their home state.  There are a wide variety of activities in Arizona, including trips to the Grand Canyon.  Golf courses are plentiful and can be enjoyed the year around (although you will want to play early in the morning during the summer).  The state gets 250 days of sunshine every year.  You can choose from the desert areas around Phoenix or the mountain communities surrounding Flagstaff.  My sister-in-law and her husband moved from California to Flagstaff and love it there.  Housing is generally affordable and Social Security is not taxed.

Minnesota - Minnesota is well-named as the state of 10,000 lakes.  There are actually more lakes than that!  On the other hand, the winters can get extremely cold.  The state has a high quality of life, including its healthcare system.

Other States in the Top Twenty Best States for Retirement

The states listed below are also ranked in the top 20 for retirement.  You may want to explore a few of these, as well, before making your final decision about where to retire.

Washington State
North Carolina
North Dakota

If the state where you are currently living is one of those mentioned in this article, you may be best off staying right where you are.  If not, you may want to consider moving to one of the states on this list, especially if you are struggling financially or you do not feel safe or happy with the healthcare in your current location.  Do your research before making a major move, so you feel confident you will be happy with the change.

If your state is not on the list above, check out this article to see where it ranks on "The Worst Places for Retirement."

For more information on where to retire in the U.S. or overseas, financial planning, Social Security, Medicare, or common medical issues, use the tabs or pull-down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Best Cold Climate Areas for Retirement

Are you willing to live in a cold climate when you select your ideal retirement community?  While many people think of Florida or Arizona as the sunny, warm spots where they want to live, other people are more interested in issues such as affordable housing, low taxes, generous long-term care benefits from Medicaid and the possibility of working for at least some of the years after they turn 60.  In addition, they may want to live in senior-friendly small towns with less traffic and low crime.

In November, 2014, Money Magazine offered their list of the "Best Places to Retire," based on criteria that did not factor in the weather.  As a result, they came up with choices that are different from the typical list of retirement locations which we frequently see listed.  All of these places get snow and icy weather.  However, as a trade-off, they have other qualities that may be more important to many retirees. 

Money Magazine divided their choices into the three categories shown below:

Most Affordable Place to Retire

Bella Vista, Arkansas - With a median home price of about $100,000 and a median rent of $900, as well as low property taxes, this is the most affordable place to retire on their list.  In addition, for a low monthly fee of under $25 a month, homeowners can use seven golf courses, as well at the town's swimming pools, tennis courts, and fitness facilities.  There are lakes, streams, forests and walking trails.  One aspect of this town that is particularly appealing is the fact that 52% of the residents are over age 50.  In addition, there is a strong job market for people who want to continue to work.

Runner ups:  Sioux Falls, S.D. and Morgantown, W. VA.

You can read more about the selection of the above locations in these articles:

Best Place for a Second Career

Iowa City, Iowa - For people over 60 who want to remain engaged in the workforce, this town has an unemployment rate of only 3.1%.  The largest employer is the University of Iowa, which attracts people who have retired from other universities, as well as those who have worked in the corporate world.  Approximately 23% of the population is over the age of 50.  Median home prices are about $191,000.

Runners up:  Bozeman, Montana and Casper, Wyoming

You can read more about the selection of Iowa City and Bozeman below:

Best Place for a Well-Rounded Retirement 

Northfield, Minnesota - If you are looking for moderate home prices, good health care, job opportunities and a small town feel, this community may be your best choice.  About 29% of the population is over the age of 50.  It is located only 55 miles from the world-acclaimed Mayo Clinic.  The median home price is $200,000.  The town has two colleges, which gives retirees the opportunity for continuing education classes.  It is also possible to enjoy live theater, orchestra performances, choral groups, and more. 

Runners Up:  Bellingham, Washington and Manchester, New Hampshire

You can learn more about Northfield below: 

As mentioned earlier, these communities will not be at the top of the list for people who are looking for a warm, sunny place to retire.  However, for those who are looking for other amenities during their retirement years, such as affordable housing, low crime, low traffic, and interesting activities, the above list above may give them some great places to start their search for the perfect retirement community that meets their needs.

For links to dozens of additional articles about where to retire in the United States and overseas, use the tabs at the top of this article.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Resources for Retiring in the United States

Are you trying to decide where you want to retire in the United States after you retire?  It can be a difficult decision.  Should you live near your current home, near your adult children or in an entirely new location?  Do you like winter sports, or are some empty beach chairs calling your name?

Your first step will be doing your research.  Do you know what the cost of living is in the different locations you are considering?  What is the weather like there?  Will your Social Security be taxed?  What about your other retirement income?  How much are the property taxes?

In the states that you are considering, which towns are the most affordable?  What types of sporting events, museums, golf courses and other entertainment options are available in the area?

If you are in the process of making up your mind about where you would like to live, you will want to be sure to check out the book review I wrote for the online magazine Squidoo about "Where to Retire: America's Best and Most Affordable Places."

This article also has links to a couple of other excellent books that will be useful in helping you find the perfect place to retire.  It's far easier, and cheaper, to do your research from the comfort of your current home than it is to drive all over the place or, worse, to move and realize that your new community is not what you expected.

If you are planning your retirement, you will also want to use the tabs at the top of this page to check out more articles about retiring in the United States or other countries, medical issues, financial concerns, and more.

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Fifteen Most Popular Retirement Stories of 2013

Every year I compile a list of my most popular posts of the year.  This year's list includes topics ranging from statistics about Baby Boomers and information about long term care insurance, as well as a wide variety of different choices of appealing places to retire.  In fact, Boomers seem to be more interested in finding the right place to live than in any other topic.  Below is the list of the most popular retirement stories for 2013, beginning with my most popular post of all, "Lake Ashton, Florida Active Adult Community" (with nearly 9000 views in its first few months after publication).

In addition, look for more articles on similar topics in the coming year.  Already in the works for the first two months of the year is a list of important dates you will need to know in 2014, where to find stimulating second careers, an article about the best city for Americans who want to retire in Guatemala, as well as other retirement options for retirees, plus things to consider if you are planning to live in another country.

Meanwhile, make sure you have checked out these stories that attracted large audiences over the past year.  You can click on the individual titles that interest you if you wish to be linked directly to them.

Most Popular Retirement Stories of 2013

Lake Ashton Florida Active Adult Community

The Forbes List of Top Retirement Cities

Advantages and Disadvantages of Over 55 Retirement Communities

Ten Ways to Make Money After Retirement

Golf Cart Friendly Retirement Communities

Fascinating Statistics about Baby Boomers

Over 55 Retirement Communities by Del Webb

What If You Can't Afford to Retire?

Over 55 Retirement Communities by Four Seasons

Alternatives to Long Term Care Insurance

Age in Place Villages Provide Resources in Your Neighborhood

Senior Living in a Med Cottage or Granny Pod

Should You Move or Age in Place When You Retire?

More Places to Retire Overseas

Lennar, Pulte and Centerline Multigenerational Homes

If you are retired or planning to retire soon, you may also want to use the tabs at the top of this page to find links to hundreds of additional articles about places to retire in the United States or overseas, financial issues to consider, medical concerns, and changing family relationships.

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Over 55 Retirement Communities by Del Webb

If you are looking for a retirement community in the coming years, one over-55 community builder that should be on your list is Del Webb.  This company is one of the top developers of retirement communities in the United States with attractive homes and amenities that appeal to many retirees.  Before my husband and I chose our current retirement community, we looked at some very appealing Del Webb communities.  While we were just looking in the Southern California area, I was surprised to learn that Del Webb builds retirement homes across the United States.  Consequently, I thought my readers would like to know more about what these communities have to offer.

Locations Where You Can Find a Del Webb Retirement Community

Del Webb has retirement communities in Northern California, Southern California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Missouri, Illinois, Tennessee, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Massachusetts and Connecticut.  As you can see, they are not limited just to the Sun Belt.  They have communities in nearly every region of the United States.

Typical Community Amenities

A typical Del Webb retirement community has a large, beautiful clubhouse, swimming pools, tennis courts, clubs, classes, social events and volunteer opportunities.  Many of them also have golf courses.  These communities are designed to help residents lead an active lifestyle after retirement.

Examples of  Del Webb Retirement Communities

Below you will find information on two retirement communities that were built by Del Webb, with homes built by Pulte, the major home builder that owns Del Webb.  This will give you an idea of prices, sizes and community amenities.

Solera Diamond Valley in Hemet, California

Prices in this community range from about $225,000 to $350,000.  Homes range in size from 1511 to 2340 square feet and have two to three bedrooms and bathrooms.  Community amenities include a fitness center, indoor and outdoor pools, indoor walking track, courts for tennis, bocce ball and pickle ball, hobby rooms, clubs and classes.

Sun City Shadow Hills in Indio, California (near Palm Springs)

Prices in this community range from about $250,000 to $500,000.  The houses range in size from 1321 to 2955 square feet and have two to three bedrooms and bathrooms.  This community has an 18 hole golf course, an 18 hole par 3 golf course, an 18 hole putting course, indoor and outdoor pools, courts for tennis and bocce ball, a library, amphitheater, ballroom, hobby rooms, clubs and classes.
Where to Find More Information
If you believe that you might want to find a Del Webb retirement community in your area, you can get more details at:
If you are looking for more places to retire in the United States or abroad, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this article.  They contain links to hundreds of additional articles on where to retire, financial planning, health issues and more.

If you are trying to choose a retirement community that is right for you, you may also be interested in reading:

Over 55 Retirement Communities by Four Seasons
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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Eleven Important Retirement Stories from the Past

Before we begin to research the news stories that will affect the retirement plans of Baby Boomers in the future, I thought you would all be interested in seeing the eleven important retirement stories from the past, in case you missed any of them. 

Not surprisingly, most of these stories dealt with finding good places to retire, maintaining our health, inter-generational relationships, and our retirement finances.  One significant difference I noticed during the past year was that more of our readers seemed to be giving serious consideration to retiring abroad. 

Important Retirement Stories You May Have Missed

Best Places to Retire Outside the US 

This is one of the top ten most read articles since this blog has been in existence. It includes the AARP list of the best places to retire abroad, along with a small amount of information about each location.  You can also find more detailed articles on this blog about some of these locals.

Best Sunny Places to Retire 

This list brings us back to the United States to review the communities here that have at least 250 sunny days a year, a low crime rate, strong local economies and plenty of fun activities for retirees.  The surprising news in this article was that not all of these communities are in the south.  In fact, both Oregon and Utah are represented on the list!

Why Retire in Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands or Guam

Moving to one of the U.S. territories, such as Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, America Samoa or Guam, is a great choice for those who want the feeling of living abroad without actually living in a foreign country.  You do not need a passport, learn a new language, or obtain foreign health insurance.  If you are contemplating moving to another country, you may want to read this article first.

Do You Need a Million Dollars to Retire? 

Many people fear they will never be able to retire because they will never be able to save enough money.  However, you may not need as much money as you think.  Learn how you can stretch your Social Security benefits as much as possible so you will only have to supplement your income a little.  You may be closer to retirement than you think!

Healing Relationships with Your Adult Children 

This article was based on some sad facts I read in an AARP magazine about the increasing number of Baby Boomers who have become estranged from their adult children.  While there are many reasons why this may happen, with a little help this situation can sometimes be reversed.  If you are in a stressful relationship with any of your adult children, this article could help.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases After Age 50 

Our adult children may not want to think about it, but many divorced or widowed Baby Boomers are actively dating again.  While they no longer need to worry about birth control, unfortunately STD's are a serious problem.  In fact, one quarter of the people in the US who are living with HIV/AIDS are over the age of 50!  Learn how you can protect yourself. 

Retiring Former Hippies Spark a New Generation Gap 

This article was actually at the top of my list for several months.  Now that the Baby Boomer generation is reaching retirement age, we rarely think about the differences between our values and those of our still-living parents.  However, the generation gap that existed in the 1960's is making a comeback, as our generation becomes active in existing retirement communities where we once again find ourselves living with "the generation before us."

Finding Niche Retirement Communities 

What activities are important to you when you retire?  Several retirement community developers are building niche retirement communities that cater to the needs of special groups, including Asian-Americans, gays and lesbians, RVers, nudists and artists.  If you are interested in finding a niche retirement community, this article will give you resources to help with your search.

Retiring in Luxury to Hua Hin, Thailand 

This lovely, beachside town in Thailand is extremely affordable, with apartment rentals running from $400 to $1000 a month and a full-time housekeeper available for as little as $250 a month.  Consequently, some American ex-patriots are finding that a couple can live there comfortably on their Social Security benefits alone.

Americans Retiring in Panama 

Another country that has become popular with American retirees is Panama.  One advantage of moving to this Central American country is the fact that the U.S. dollar is the official currency of Panama.  Although the major cities in Panama have become expensive, many smaller communities are much more affordable.

Coping with Divorce after 50 

Because this issue is so important to many Baby Boomers, I expanded the list of articles from ten to eleven important stories to be sure to include this one.  While the divorce rate for other age groups has decreased in the United States during the past 20 years, it has actually doubled for people over the age of 50.  Getting divorced at this age can have serious consequences, so it could be helpful for those who find themselves in this situation to read this article if they missed it earlier this year.

If you are looking for additional retirement information, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of other helpful articles on where to retire, financial planning, health concerns, family relationships and more.

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Best Places to Retire on $40,000 a Year

With 10,000 Baby Boomers a day turning 65, there is a growing demand for affordable places to retire.  Many members of our generation will have very little retirement income other than their Social Security benefits.  However, this does not mean that Baby Boomers plan to spend their senior years living in poverty.  They do have options.

The good news is that many couples will have a total retirement income of around $40,000 a year, which is more than enough for a couple to live and enjoy life in any of the cities listed in this article.  In order to reach the goal of $40,000 a year, the primary breadwinner's Social Security benefits should amount to around $2200 a month, with their spouse receiving an additional $1100.

Single retirees who live together with a partner, friend or relative can also achieve a combined Social Security income of approximately $40,000 if each of them has a Social Security benefit of about $1670 a month.  This is not an unreasonable amount for people who have worked most of their lives, or widows who are receiving benefits based on the income of a deceased spouse.  At this income level, there are many affordable and pleasant places where retirees might choose to live.

Best Affordable Retirement Cities

According to U.S. News, here are the best places to retire if you have a retirement income of $40,000 or less.  I have spent time in several of these cities, and have added my own comments about those locations.

Albuquerque, New Mexico -- We used to take our family to the mountains around Albuquerque and vacation in the surrounding towns of Pueblo, Red River and Angel Fire.  Although the area can get chilly in the winter, it is pleasant, although sometimes quite hot, in the summer.  Daytime highs in December and January range from the mid 40's to the mid 50's.  Highs in the summer tend to be in the 90's, although night temperatures drop to the 60's and 70's, making the summer evenings and mornings quite pleasant. Home prices and rentals are very affordable.

Augusta, Georgia -- This is a beautiful, charming Southern city.  It generally has a mild climate, with numerous golf courses and other amenities in the area.  At the same time, it is surprisingly affordable.

Columbia, South Carolina -- Another Southern City with a mild climate.  However, South Carolina also gets hot in the summer.  On the other hand, many retirees who are finding Florida a bit too hot for their taste are discovering that both South and North Carolina have milder weather and, in many cases, are more convenient to other family members who live in the Northeast.

Jackson, Mississippi -- A very affordable city in the deep south.  Mississippi is another popular warm weather location with mild winters.  Mississippi is an exceptionally inexpensive place to retire. 

Knoxville, Tennessee -- This is a thriving, modern city.  It is similar to Lousiville, Kentucky (mentioned below), but it is further south and has a somewhat milder climate. Tennessee, Arkansas and Kentucky are all beautiful states with many charming small towns.  Anyone who is considering one of these cities should also explore the surrounding towns.

Little Rock, Arkansas -- Arkansas is a beautiful and extremely affordable state.  Like Tennessee, Kentucky and Mississippi, Arkansas has a large number of very affordable residential areas.  If you find a home near activities that interest you ... such as lakes or golf courses ... you can have a very pleasant retirement at an affordable price.

Louisville, Kentucky -- One of our daughters lived in this lovely city for several years.  The citywide celebration that takes place during the period of time leading up to the Kentucky Derby is delightful, including a massive fireworks display at the riverfront.  The city has colleges, a beautiful riverfront, museums, theaters and plenty of activities for the entire family.  Rents are quite low.   U.S. News estimated that the average senior citizen pays about $600 in monthly rent in Louisville.  Our daughter rented a lovely two-story, three bedroom townhouse in a very nice part of the city for under $1000 a month.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania -- Another one of our daughters lives in rural Pennsylvania.  It gets quite cold in the winter, with a lot of snow.  However, it is a very affordable place to live, and there are many fun amenities in Pittsburgh including live theater, sports teams and an abundance of restaurants and bars.

St. Louis, Missouri -- I grew up in a suburb of St. Louis, and still have relatives who live there.  It is a very affordable city with a thriving nightlife, including riverboat casinos, restaurants, bars, and sports venues.  The Mississippi riverfront attracts tourists as well as local residents.  It received a lot of bad press in the past view years because of rioting in Ferguson.  However, those events did not affect the majority of people who live in the St. Louis area.

San Antonio, Texas -- This is one of my personal favorite retirement cities, especially if you prefer a warmer climate.  The Riverwalk area of San Antonio is across the street from the world famous Alamo mission.  It is a lovely location to take a walk, stop in a sidewalk cafe, and watch small boats cruise by.  There are 11,000 acres of parks in the city, and over 50 golf courses.  Homes are very affordable, and rents for retirees average about $800 a month.  San Antonio is also a city that has come up several times on the the top retirement lists of other organizations.

Remember, whether I have personally been to these cities or not, all of them were listed by U.S. News as great places to retire on an income of $40,000 a year.  Since this income is within the means of many Americans, even those living on Social Security alone, these are certainly locations that many Baby Boomers will want to consider.  Your final decision may be based on many factors including climate and proximity to your adult children or other family members.

In addition to these cities, you may also want to explore some of the small towns in the same states.  Often, the small towns are even less expensive than the cities and can be quite charming.

If you are interested in learning about other places to retire or other retirement information, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this page to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

You may also be interested in reading:

The Best Sunny Places to Retire
Best Places to Retire Outside the US
Cheap Places to Retire
Finding the Best Places to Retire

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Green Valley Arizona Retirement Communities

Green Valley, Arizona has been a popular retirement area for nearly fifty years.  The first age restricted retirement community in the United States, Sun City, was built here in the 1960’s, and more have been developed in the area since that time.  

Why Green Valley Appeals to Retirees

Green Valley has a warm, sunny climate and a fairly low cost of living, which makes it an appealing location for many retirees.

Green Valley is located approximately twenty miles south of Tucson, Arizona, and 40 miles north of Nogales, Mexico.  Currently made up of about 59 Homeowners Associations, this charming area at the foot of the Santa Rita Mountains occupies 26.3 square miles and has a population of about 20,000 – 25,000 residents.  Most of the homeowner’s associations are restricted to individuals and couples with at least one person over the age of 55 in the household.  However, there are a few homeowners’ associations that are designed to allow families of all ages.

Green Valley, Arizona is one of the largest retirement communities in the world.  Median home prices in the area range from about $100,000 to $200,000, although luxury homes can sell for $600,000 or more.  Green Valley Recreation operates thirteen recreation centers in the community that include golf courses, fitness centers, swimming pools and similar facilities.  The winter months are quite temperate, with an occasional hard freeze at night; in the summer it can be extremely hot during the day.  After all, it is located in the Arizona desert!

Green Valley is a popular location for snow birds who choose to spend their winters in this high desert community.  Short term rentals are available, many of them in the $1,000 to $2,000 price range, although a few can be found both above and below that range.

Concerns about Green Valley

Retirees who are planning to move to Green Valley should confirm the current status of the water problems that have been a serious worry for the residents and businesses located in this area.

In a 2007 report, Pima County expressed concern about the water supply for Green Valley.  In fact, the report concluded that water supplies will be critical by 2017.  This is because of local mining operations, agriculture, golf courses and residential usage.  However, since 2007 steps have been taken to join with the US Bureau of Reclamation to transport and use Colorado River water and reduce the local reliance on excessive pumping from the aquifer.  It is hoped that these efforts will resolve the water crisis.

In addition, another concern is that the crime rate is considered somewhat high in Green Valley, particularly because of the drugs and illegal aliens that have infiltrated the area.  However, although the overall crime rate for the area is high, residents of many of the gated, age-restricted communities do not see crime as a serious local problem.

The final issue that could concern some retirees is that the nearest hospitals are in Tucson, about 24 miles away.

Bottom Line on Green Valley Retirement Communities

This has long been a popular area with retirees, and members of the local residential and business communities are working to resolve the ongoing water problems.  However, before buying a home in this area, you will want to do research on whether or not you should expect water rationing or other limitations on your water usage.  If you are concerned about crime, you may also want to live in one of the many gated communities in the area.

For more information on where to retire in the United States or abroad, common medical problems, financial planning and changing family relationships, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this page to find links to hundreds of additional useful articles.

If you are looking for a good place to retire, you may also want to read:

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Best Places to Retire in the United States on $100 a Day

Whenever I find a high quality list of good places to retire, I try to pass that information on for my readers to review.  In 2012, AARP Magazine and released their 2012 list of great places to live on $100 a day.  This amounts to $36,500 a year, which they estimate would result in an after tax income of $27,375 a year or $2281 a month. (Note:  Due to inflation, I suggest you add 3% to the home prices and cost of living for every year you read this after 2012.  In other words, if you are reading this in 2015, add 9% to the financial figures you see here.  The principle still remains, however, that these locations are affordable and could be good retirement locals for people who will be retiring on Social Security alone.)

This level of income is well within the reach of many retirees, especially couples.  If one spouse has Social Security benefits of $2000 a month and their spouse will receive $1000 a month, they could afford to retire in one of these communities. 

One of the requirements that AARP had in determining the best places to live on $100 a day was that they had to have "affordable luxuries".  They defined this as cities with cultural attractions like museums or symphony orchestras, sports teams, great places to eat, and homes that sell for about $192,000 or less.  In those instances in which I have spent time in a city, I have added my own comments to the AARP list.

2012 List of Best Places to Live on $100 a Day (Prices May be 5 to 10 Percent Higher, Now)

San Antonio, Texas:  San Antonio is a charming town that is sunny 263 days a year.  The median home price is $135,000.  There are plenty of libraries, museums, golf courses and other affordable luxuries in this city.  As a former resident of Texas, we have visited this city several times during the months of July and August and it is important to disclose that San Antonio gets HOT in the summer.  However, one delightful way to cool off is to take a stroll along the famous Riverwalk (pictured above) and perhaps have a cool beverage in one of the numerous sidewalk cafes.  It's right across the street from the Alamo.

Roanoke, Virginia: Roanoke is in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.  It is sunny 217 days a year and has a median home price of $151,500.  The city hosts half a dozen festivals every year, and the downtown area has a planetarium, theater and museums.  One of our daughters went to college in nearby Lexington, Virginia and you should know that this town is about a four hour drive from Washington, DC, in a very rural part of Virginia.  However, it is also in an absolutely gorgeous part of the United States, and is a lovely location for enjoying fall foliage.

Las Cruces, New Mexico:  Las Cruces is in the high desert of New Mexico, which means you can expect very hot summers.  We have stayed in this town while driving across the country and love the desert landscapes.  However, the scenery may not appeal to everyone.  There are 287 sunny days a year, and the median home price is $148,000.

I have not stayed in the remaining towns on the list, so I will only list the main statistics here.  To read more, you can see the full descriptions at Best Places 2012.  I just wanted to make sure that I brought these great cities to your attention, so you could add them to the locations you are considering for retirement.

Spokane, Washington:  Spokane has 176 sunny days a year, with a median home price of $145,000.  It's a great city for people who love outdoor sports, whether it is fishing or skiing.  As most people realize, Spokane is much rainier than many other popular retirement locations.  However, we have friends who retired in this area, and they love it!

Eau Claire, Wisconsin:  Eau Claire is another location that is popular with people who enjoy outdoor sports, especially in the winter.  It has 200 sunny days a year and a median home price of only $121,100.  It is also home to a branch of the University of Wisconsin which provides lots of cultural, entertainment and adult education possibilities.

Morgantown, West Virginia:  Morgantown is a small college town in the center of Appalachia.  It boasts an excellent healthcare system.  There are 185 sunny days a year, and a median home price of $168,900.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania:  Pittsburgh is no longer a city that is defined solely by the steel industry.  With a wonderful symphony orchestra and a beautiful waterfront, it has become popular with retirees.  The 194 sunny days and median home price of $106,500 is very appealing, too.

Omaha, Nebraska:  Omaha is a Midwestern city that has become popular with high-tech companies in recent years.  It has a symphony and the largest community theater in the United States.  Omaha has 193 sunny days a year, and a median home price of $123,500.

Grand Junction, Colorado:  Grand Junction is a lovely town only a few hours away from the gorgeous ski slopes of Vail and Aspen.  It also has 214 sunny days a year, and a median home price of $159,800.

Gainesville, Florida:  Gainesville is home to the University of Florida, as well as the Florida Museum of Natural History.  It has 205 sunny days a year, and a median home price of $125,000.  Florida has long been considered a retirement mecca because of low home prices and low taxes.  It does get very hot in the summer.

Here is information about other wonderful places you may want to put on your retirement list:

The Best Sunny Places to Retire
Cheap Places to Retire
Best Places to Retire Outside the US
Finding Niche Retirement Communities

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Bankrate List of WORST States for Retirement

In 2012, I ran across an interesting news story from Bankrate, Inc., entitled "10 Worst States to Live in During Retirement."  Their list included a large part of the southern United States.  Of course, this is in direct conflict with many of my other posts in this blog in which I published lists of wonderful places to retire that had been created by CNN Money, Kiplinger Magazine, and AARP.  All of their lists had promoted many of the southern states as affordable, sunny places to retire.

Is the South Really a Bad Region for Retirement?

The Bankrate article peaked my interest because, like most of you, I wanted to know their criteria.  Why were these states suddenly considered undesirable?  Bankrate based their information on statewide statistics for short life expectancies, high crime rates, and high poverty levels. As I thought about these statewide statistics, I realized that their criteria might not have much affect on many of the people who choose to retire in the South.  Here are my thoughts:

First, your personal life expectancy is determined by your health, your heredity and your lifestyle.  The statewide average life expectancy will not have much affect on you, especially after you have already reached the age of 60 or older. 

Second, no one wants to live in a state with a high crime rate.  However, not every town in these states has an abnormally high crime rate.  In addition, if you live in an over-55 community or an assisted living facility, your home or apartment is likely to have a very low crime rate.

Third, one reason many of these states are attractive to retirees is because they often have a low cost of living.  While a large number of retirees who live in these states may have incomes below the poverty line, the amount of Social Security you receive is not based on the state where you live.  You are likely to live on Social Security much more comfortably in an affordable state like Louisiana or Georgia than an expensive state like New York or California.  In fact, the low cost of living in these states may be the very reason why so many low income retirees have chosen to live in them, and the reason why there are so many retirees in these states with incomes below the poverty line!

Keeping these thoughts in mind, here is the Bankrate list:

Bankrate List of States With High Crime, High Poverty and Low Life Expectancy

(Life expectancies are listed after each state)

Louisiana - 75.4
Georgia - 77.1
New Mexico - 78.2
Texas - 78.3
Arkansas - 76.1
Tennessee - 76.2
South Carolina - 76.6
Mississippi - 74.8
Alabama - 75.2
Kentucky - 76.2

The crime rates in these states ranged from 2,794 (Kentucky) to 4,498 (South Carolina) per 100,000 residents.

The percent of retirees living in poverty in these states ranged from 9.7% (Tennessee) to 12% (New Mexico).

How Can Texas Be Considered a Bad State for Retirement?

In looking over the statistics for the various states, I particularly objected to Bankrate's inclusion of Texas on their list.  After all, the life expectancy in Texas was 78.3 (the highest on their list),  The state crime rate of 4,233 per 100,000 residents was high, but it is not that high everywhere in the state.  Many small Texas towns and suburbs have a low crime rate.  The poverty rate of  retirees at 10.7% might only reflect that many low income retirees find it a desirable place to live.  Texas has shown up over and over again on the lists of other organizations as a great place to retire.

These statistics show that we have to evaluate everything we read carefully.  Making decisions about retirement is confusing enough, without having to wade through conflicting opinions!

If you are interested in more ideas about where to retire in the U.S. and abroad, financial issues, medical concerns and changing family relationships, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of helpful articles.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Finding Niche Retirement Communities

Most large retirement communities are designed to appeal to a large number of people with diverse interests.  For example, Laguna Woods Village, the retirement community where I live, has horseback riding (as shown in this photo I took a few days ago from the back of horse).  It also has golf, tennis, parties and much more. 

However, what if you could choose a niche retirement community that is designed to attract a specific group of people ... people who are more like you and share your specific interests and hobbies?  Today, this is one of the exciting new trends in retirement communities.

What is a Niche or Affinity Retirement Community?

These new retirement communities are catered specifically to people who have common interests or traits.  For example, retirement communities that target intellectuals are being built near many universities.  There are communities for Asian Americans, and at least one for Baby Boomers who enjoy recreational vehicles.  There are communities specifically for the gay and lesbian community, as well as communities for people who are interested in art and music. Sometimes these niche communities are referred to as affinity communities.

How do you find these communities? 

How to Find a Niche Retirement Community

Here are a few companies that either currently meet these specialized needs or are planning new affinity communities in the coming years

Aegis Living:  for Asian-Americans

Oakmont Senior Living: for Gays and Lesbians, and Korean-Americans

RainbowVision community: Gays and Lesbians

Escapees CARE: assisted living for RVers

PANDAbare: building a nudist assisted living facility

Burbank Senior Artists Colony: for actors, artists, and writers

Holy Cross Village at Notre Dame: university-based retirement near one of our nation's premier Catholic universities.

Retirement with an Equestrian Facility: Laguna Woods Village in California is the only one I have run across.  The photo above shows one of its trail rides.  People have moved to this community from states like Montana and Colorado in order to retire someplace where they can bring their horses with them.

Should You Move into a Niche Retirement Community?

Niche retirement communities are not for everyone.  Sometimes people long for more diversity, and a broader range of activities.  In other cases, some of the niche retirement communities may be exceptionally expensive.  However, if you have a specific need, you may want to look for niche communities in the area where you want to retire. 

If you know of a niche retirement community that you believe might interest others, please feel free to mention it in the comments section below.  My readers will appreciate your thoughtful suggestions.

If you are looking for articles on more retirement communities, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this page to find links to hundreds of other articles on topics of interest to retirees.

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Best Sunny Places to Retire

Southern California is a fun and
sunny place to retire, as shown in
this mid-winter photo of Laguna Beach!
If you want to retire someplace that is sunny most of the year, there are plenty of locations available in the United States.  AARP, the American Association of Retired People, compiled a list of sunny places to retire. Since many retirees wish to live in a location where they can get outdoors the year around, this list will be a good place for them to start their search.

In order to make their list, the city had to have at least 250 sunny days a year, and have plenty of activities that are popular with retirees.  They also had to have a low crime rate, a strong local economy and a generally healthy lifestyle.  Since I have either visited or lived in several of these communities, I thought this would be a great opportunity to add some of my own comments about the cities they chose.  If you have additional thoughts about these communities, feel free to express them in the comments section.  The home prices listed here were the prices in about 2012.  You can assume that most of the prices are a bit higher today.

Sunny Cities in the United States

Asheville, North Carolina:  This community in the Blue Ridge Mountains is in an area where some of our friends live.  The community has museums, a live theatre, and frequent art fairs.  The average home sells for about $248,000, and the median income is $34,457 ... which puts in within the range of many retirees.  Surrounded by mountains and lots of outdoor space, this is a lovely area.  Although it may be sunny most of the year, it does get cold in the winter, so be prepared!

Grand Junction, Colorado:  This small city of 58,000 people is located in the high desert area of Colorado.  The average house costs $270,000, and the median income is $47,761.  For someone who wants sunshine, along with golf, hiking, ice fishing and skiing, this is the ideal location for you.  You get wide temperature swings in Grand Junction.  In the summer it can average 93 degrees; in the winter you can have snow and ice. 

Sarasota, Florida:  My husband grew up in this area along Florida's Gulf Coast.  Sarasota is a great town for people who have dreamed of retiring to the beach.  Sarasota has a population of 52,000.  The homes are quite expensive ... over $530,000 on average ... but the median household income is $36,742, so people are obviously finding affordable places to live.  If you go outside the town of Sarasota, you may find some better home prices a bit inland, and still be within easy driving distance of the beach.  The temperature gets quite hot in the summer, but is pleasant and mild in the winter. 

San Diego, California:  San Diego is actually a large city with a population of over 3 million people.  We have lived there, as has one of our daughters.  We currently live in Laguna Woods Village, a small retirement community about a one hour drive north of San Diego.  The photo above was taken by me from the cliffs along Laguna Beach, only 4 miles from our home in Laguna Woods Village.  All of Southern California actually has sunny weather and mild temperatures the year around.  If you are considering retiring to San Diego, you might cast a wider net and look at places to live from San Diego in the south to Santa Barbara in the north.  There are hundreds of wonderful, sunny small towns throughout Southern California, and most of them are within an easy drive to the beach as well as museums, theatres, and many fun activities.  Unless you are willing to live inland, home prices in Southern California are expensive.  For example, the average home price in San Diego is $646,000.  However, prices drop substantially as you move inland.  Some of the retirement communities are quite affordable, too.  While home prices in Laguna Beach average over $1,000,000, condominiums in nearby Laguna Woods Village have an average price of about $250,000.  Sunshine, beaches and outdoor activities like golf and tennis are plentiful throughout Southern California.

Las Cruces, New Mexico:  Las Cruces is almost always sunny.  In fact, it is sunny an average of 350 days a year!  AARP Magazine actually lists Las Cruces as a "retirement dream town."  Home prices average only $178,000 and the median household income is about $37,471 ... well within the means of many retirees.    There are plenty of recreational activities, too!  It is a lovely, charming community that is very appealing to people who want to live in the Sun Belt.  I have driven through Las Cruces during cross-country trips, and it does get quite hot in the summer!

San Luis Obispo, California:  San Luis Obispo is often nicknamed SLO ... and the nickname fits.  It is a very relaxed, slow-paced small city, and absolutely lovely.  My husband's sister has retired nearby in the small town of Avila Beach, one of several charming beach towns near SLO.  San Luis Obispo was actually named one of the happiest places in the world by writer Dan Buettner in his book "Thrive."  The average home in SLO sells for $695,000 and the median household income is $38,000.  There are affordable places to live there, although the cost of living is higher than other places on this list. 

St. George, Utah:  This small community is about 130 miles from Las Vegas, the nearest large city.  The average house sells for $311,000 and the median household income is $46,000.  This is a beautiful area, with golf courses and gorgeous vistas.  About 70% of the residents are Mormon, and there are only two state-owned liquor stores in the area; so, if you are a big drinker, this may not be the best community for you.  Another concern is the fact that the nearest major medical center is in Las Vegas.  However, most residents have long life expectancies, so this may not be a concern for you!

Santa Fe, New Mexico:  Santa Fe is a fascinating mixture of Spanish, Native American and modern American cultures.  It is an artists' colony, as well as a mecca for people who love music, including the symphony and opera.  The average home sells for $433,000 and the median household income is $52,000.  It is a small city, with a population of only 68,000.  In addition to modern medical facilities, this is also a popular location for alternative healing and holistic medicine.  It has been listed as one of the 10 healthiest places in the US to live!

Bend, Oregon:  Bend is the sunny inland area where many residents of Oregon travel to get out of the frequent coastal rain.  It is in the high desert, about two hours southeast of Portland.  The average home price is $427,000 and the median household income is $53,177.  One of the upsides of living in Oregon include paying no state taxes on your pension income. 

Fort Worth, Texas: My husband and I lived for 25 years in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of north central Texas, and we have a number of friends who have chosen to retire in that area. The summers get very hot ... often over 100 degrees.  The winters tend to be mild, although so-called "Blue Northerns" do occasionally bring frigid temperatures to this area of Texas.  However, people can golf,  play tennis, go boating and enjoy other outdoor sports almost the year around.  This area of Texas is surrounded by over 100 lakes, so you may want to expand your search outside the major cities to some of the lovely lakeside subdivisions in the area.  Within the city of Fort Worth, the average home sells for $148,000 and the median household income is $47,634.  Texas also has the advantage of no state income taxes at all, although property taxes are higher than in other states.

If you want to enjoy sunshine most of the year, any of these communities could be a good choice for you.  Remember to expand your house hunt outside the immediate area of the towns and cities mentioned.  There are a lot of wonderful communities in the U.S. sunbelt!  If you know of other communities that may interest readers, feel free to mention them in the comments sections.

If you are looking for more retirement ideas, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page for links to hundreds of other articles on a wide variety of topics of interest to retirees and Baby-Boomers.

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Home prices, household income and other data from

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Popular Retirement Cities That are Right for You

Horseback riding is an amenity I
wanted in a retirement community!
Have you decided what you are looking for in a retirement community?  Some people plan to live in over-55 communities.  Others do not want to live in an area where children are not allowed to reside.  Some people want to be near the ocean; others prefer the desert.  You may be looking for an artist's colony; or perhaps you want a great place to play golf the year around.

One choice is to move to a mid-sized city that offers a variety of activities and affordable prices.

U.S. News and World Report, in their article "The 10 Best Places to Retire in 2012," came up with their list of ten American cities that could appeal to retirees for a variety of reasons.  Below is a list of their favorites.  The home prices listed below were 2012 prices.

Popular Retirement Cities

Flagstaff, Arizona has good year-round weather.  It does get snow in the winter, but it rarely lasts long.

Boone, North Carolina is an affordable mountain town.  There are three ski resorts in the area, and it is much cheaper than Vail or Aspen.  In fact, the median home price is about $215,000.

Traverse City, Michigan is on Lake Michigan.  You can buy a house near the lake in the $155,000 price range.

Walnut Creek, California is much more expensive than the other areas, but it has pleasant weather, a lot of retirees, and is an easy drive into San Francisco.

Ithaca, New York is a charming college town, home to Cornell University and Ithaca College.  You can take classes at the colleges, and enjoy spending your time learning and having stimulating conversations.

Lincoln, Nebraska was listed as a great place to launch a second career.  There are good career opportunities for older workers who are interested in technology, government, higher education and healthcare.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has a good mix of amenities and affordability.  Homes can be purchased for under $100,000, yet this is a city with a ballet, symphony, highly ranked hospitals and, of course, the Pittsburgh Steelers!

Port Charlotte, Florida is a bargain for people who want to live on the water in affordable housing.  Homes can be purchased on the waterways for as little as about $60,000.

Pittsfield, Massachusetts is a spot you may want to consider if you are an older single.  52% of the people who are age 55 or older in Pittsfield are single.  However, there are nearly twice as many single women as men, so that does create an unbalanced dating scene.

Santa Fe, New Mexico is the place to consider if you are looking for art galleries and a historic cultural blend of Anglos, Hispanics and Native Americans.

More Things to Consider When Choosing a Retirement City

When we chose our retirement community, we wanted to live in a adult community near the ocean, with lots of amenities.  Since we owned horses for many years when our children were growing up, I was thrilled to discover a place where I could continue to horseback ride, without the responsibility of owning and caring for a horse of my own.  My husband wanted a place where he could play golf whenever he felt like it.  The town of Laguna Woods Village in Southern California met our needs perfectly.

However, this would not be a good choice for someone who wanted to live near a ski resort or who loves to walk in hardwood forests.  There is currently no football team in the Los Angeles area, although you could drive down to San Diego.  When you pick a place to live after retirement, there are many things you need to consider, including the types of activities you enjoy.

Even if you are still a few years away from being fully retired, it is not too soon to start giving some thought to the type of community where you would like to live.  You may want to travel to some of these places on your next vacation, and get a feel for what it would be like to live there.

If you are interested in more information about where to retire, financial planning, medical issues to consider, travel and changing family relationships, you will want to use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Top Places to Retire by U.S. News

Beautiful Arizona is
One of the Best Places to Retire
photo by
How much thought have you given to where you are going to retire?  It seems as if every few days another news source comes up with their own list of the best places to live cheaply, or the best retirement communities with a low crime rate.  Below is a summary of a list of wonderful retirement areas that was released by US News and World Report in an article written by Emily Brandon on October 17, 2011. Although this was a few years ago, these areas remain excellent choices for retirees who are looking at a variety of retirement options.

The criteria used by U.S. News when they compiled this list included cities that have good weather, affordable houses and other real estate, as well as plenty of activities to keep you busy and interested in life. 

Based on their list, here are the top places you may want to settle during the Golden Years of your life:

Flagstaff, Arizona
Boone, North Carolina
Traverse City, Michigan
Walnut Creek, California
Ithaca, New York
Lincoln, Nebraska
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Port Charlotte, Florida
Pittsfield, Massachusetts
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Of course, these are just suggestions.  What is particularly appealing about this list is that it includes a number of mid-sized towns from a variety of regions of the United States.

Baby Boomers will not want to limit their choices only to this list, however.  There are a number of other communities that also could be desirable, depending on your interests.

If you are looking for more places to retire, you will want to use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this article to find links to hundreds of other articles about great places to retire in the United States or overseas, health issues to consider, financial planning and more.

Your may also want to check out these blog posts for other areas that have been recommended by various groups:

Living on Social Security in the US

Cheap Places to Retire

Finding the Best Places to Retire

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Finding the Best Places to Retire

Have you decided where you would like to live after you retire?  Would you prefer to be near your grandkids, near the ocean, close to a lake, or in the mountains?  What about your proximity to hospitals, shopping and sports venues?  The decision of where to retire is not always easy.

We gave a lot of thought to our decision to retire in Laguna Woods Village, California. We chose our location partly because we have a number of relatives who live in California, and we wanted an affordable place to retire which would make it easy for us to visit our family and for them to visit us.

Finding affordable housing is not always easy in the Southern California real estate market, but Laguna Woods Village is one of the less expensive places. We also wanted palm trees, the ability to take walks on the beach, mild weather, and plenty of golf during our retirement years.

However, not everyone can or should retire to Laguna Woods Village. As a result, whenever I discover information about other possible retirement areas, I pass the information to my readers of this blog.

A few years ago, CNN came up with their list of places they think are good for retirement. They put emphasis on recommending places with a low cost of living, crime rates which tend to be below the national average, good medical groups, and where at least 30% of the population is older than 50 years old. Listed below is a little information about each of their top picks. 

Marquette, Michigan on Michigan's Upper Peninsula was number #1 on the CNN list. Marquette has a cost of living that is 95% of the national average. It is near Lake Superior, which can be fun in the summer. However, you should know that the town gets an average of 141 inches of snow a year.  While some people will enjoy this town, it would not be a good choice for everyone.

Cape Coral, Florida has low home prices and a cost of living which is 96% of the national average. The town has 400 miles of canals, and is located on the Gulf of Mexico. This is an ideal location for people who enjoy water sports, although you need to be prepared for an occasional hurricane, too.  While the winters are mild in Cape Coral, the summers can be very hot. 

Boise, Idaho is a small city with a very low crime rate. Violent crime is about half the national average. The cost of living is about 97% of the national average. The town is surrounded by mountains, but the climate within Boise is considered mild.

Danville, Kentucky is a small town with affordable homes and a cost of living that is only 93% of the national average. It's about a forty minute drive from Lexington, and about a 90 minute drive from Louisville. The town has a number of locations which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It gets a little snow in the winter, and you should expect thunderstorms and an occasional tornado alert in the summer.

Weatherford, Texas has a cost of living that is only 87% of the national average. It is a small town about 33 miles from Fort Worth. People who enjoy horses will especially enjoy this community. It gets very hot and dry in the summer, and you can also expect thunderstorms and tornado alerts.

Southaven, Mississippi is a small suburb of Memphis, Tennessee, but located on the Mississippi side of the city. The cost of living is only 88% of the national average. One of the advantages is that are located close to all the big city amenities which Memphis has to offer.

Clarksville, Tennessee is a small city near the Kentucky-Tennessee border. It has a cost of living that is about 88% of the national average. It can be chilly in the winter and hot in the summer, with occasional storms.

Broken Arrow, Oklahoma is a suburb of Tulsa. It has a cost of living which is about 88% of the national average. Like Tennessee, it can be chilly in the winter and hot in the summer, with occasional storms and tornadoes.

Lake Charles, Louisiana is about 30 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico, which makes it vulnerable to hurricanes and floods. However, it is a lovely location for people who enjoy freshwater fishing and similar water sports. It has a cost of living about 91% of the national average.

Winstom-Salem, North Carolina is a charming community with a cost of living which is about 91% of the national average. It has a symphony, arts district, and is home to the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.  This is an ideal location for someone who wants to enjoy affordable access to theater and music after retirement.

Even if you do not choose one of the towns on this list, they will give you a good idea of what to look for in a community ... access to interesting activities, weather which you find bearable, lower than average crime, affordability and access to medical care. 

As you can see, there are plenty of great retirement areas for you to investigate no matter what region of the country you want to live.

To read more about retirement communities, recreation in retirement, financial planning for retirement, the qualifications to move into a retirement community, working in retirement, and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this article to find links to hundreds of additional posts.

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