Top Cities for Cheap Retirement


Retiring comes with a whole host of challenging questions. Everything from when to where needs to be carefully decided. Given a tough economic climate, a major concern for newly retired people is choosing a location to spend their post-work days. To find a cheap place to retire a person must take into consideration the cost of an average home, the state taxes that can sap a fixed income and other comfort considerations such as climate and population of fellow retirees.

The American Southwest

Millions of retirees choose to venture to the southwestern U.S. to retire. The climate and overall quality of living makes places like New Mexico, Arizona and Southern California preferred destinations for those ready for the next chapter in life. Being popular can also mean expensive, but there are locations in the sunny southwest that are easy on your tight budget.

Tucson, Arizona, offers a variety of activities for retirees while remaining at a manageable level of cost. The average three-bedroom home in Tucson is $180,000. Arizona's state income tax rate in the highest bracket ($150,000 or more) is 4.54 percent.

Surprise, Arizona, is a less-known location that offers some of the same qualities as the Grand Canyon State's more popular cities. Just west of Scottsdale, Surprise is situated closely enough to larger city scenes while offering a small-town atmosphere. The average three-bedroom home costs just $150,000.


Florida is probably the most common answer to the question of where to retire. Like Arizona, there are favorite destinations for retirees that will test even the surest financial thresholds. Two locations offer a retirement setting that makes the golden years eventful and enjoyable while still affordable for those with more modest means.

Port Charlotte, Florida, is located on the Gulf Coast in southwest Florida. Retirees can enjoy the terrific (non-summer) weather, beach living and still stay on budget. There is no state personal income tax in Florida, and the average three-bedroom home in Port Charlotte costs a mere $170,000.

Miami may be a surprise choice in the category of cheap retirement destinations, but there are incredible opportunities in South Florida. The average three-bedroom home in Miami is only $200,000, and there is certainly plenty to do socially in the area.

Less Popular Choices

The southwest and southeast have always been popular destinations for retirees, but there are other locations that offer a terrific quality of life, significant retiree populations and affordable living.

Bella Vista, Arkansas, is located in the upper corner of Arkansas, near the Missouri and Oklahoma borders. For retirees looking for a more rural and slower-paced environment, Arkansas has much to offer. The state income tax is a competitive seven percent at the highest tax bracket and an average three-bedroom home costs just $170,000.

Roanoke, Virginia, is another less known location for retirement living. It offers low income taxes (5.75 percent at most), an average of $190,000 for a three-bedroom home and comfortable southern living. Located on the western handle of Virginia, Roanoke offers a slow pace and a substantial retiree population.

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