Cheapest Place in Ohio to Retire

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Ohio offers big cities, lake-shore communities and open farmland.

The financial site Money Rates ranks Ohio among the 10 worst retirement states, citing its high tax rates. Yet many retirees select affordable Buckeye-state towns for their golden years. While the cost of living in any town depends upon habits and lifestyle, the Midwest offers housing costs and crime rates below the national average. Depending upon personal preferences, the ideal low-cost retirement community in Ohio might be a large city, a college town or a military community.

  1. Retirement Costs

    • Selecting a low-cost retirement city necessarily involves keeping one eye on expenses, but the factors to evaluate include more than just state taxes. The cost of housing, food and leisure opportunities all contribute to calculating annual out-of-pocket expenses. Those retirees who cannot live without theaters and museums may find living less expensive in big cities despite the increased housing cost, given the expense that traveling would incur. Seniors who intend to return to college spend less by living near a university. Clarifying your own retirement needs helps you to focus on the Ohio towns that might be cheapest for you in the long run.

    Big City

    • Money Magazine lists Columbus, Ohio, as one of the most affordable big cities for retirement. With median home costs 30 percent under the national average of $180,000, life in Ohio's largest city can be very affordable. The city sits on the banks of the lovely Scioto River and serves as home to both the Ohio State University and its Buckeyes team. The cost of living index in Columbus is 88, compared to the national index of 100, and seniors are offered many freebies, such as free admission to noncredit classes at the university.

    College Town

    • Top Retirements.com calls Oxford, Ohio, "one of the undiscovered college town treasures in the United States." With its pastoral, forest setting and a population of around 23,000 -- plus some 16,000 college students -- Oxford has a lower than average cost of living and ranks high on the culture index. Many cultural activities center around Miami University, but the historic Uptown district offers weekly music concerts during the summer, movie theaters and restaurants. Retirees choosing Oxford can save on book buying; the town's Lane Public Library is exceptional. Active retirees will appreciate the affordable outdoor recreational opportunities offered just outside of town in Hueston Woods State Park, including fishing, sailing, and hiking as well as fossil hunting.

    Military Communities

    • Many former army couples select Fairborn, Ohio, a friendly community of around 30,000, for retirement. Although the cost of living index for this quiet community is slightly above average, its proximity to Wright Patterson Air Force Base, the home of the Air Force Material Command, compensates. Fairborn attracts military retirees from all over the country, who can access Wright Patt's affordable services and facilities. Crime is low in Fairborn, and house prices average between $100,000 and $200,000.

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