Best Places to Retire in the USA – Where to Retire Cheap

Is your retirement date coming up in the next couple of years? Is your target-date investment account about to mature? If so, and if you haven’t begun planning your retirement party already, it may be time for you to start looking for that perfect place to call home in your golden years. Where do you want to spend your time? What do you want to do on a daily basis? What kind of money do you have saved and/or are prepared to spend for a new place to live the rest of your life in? While all sorts of questions and configurations can figure into finding your perfect place to retire, thankfully there are many websites that do a lot of the research for you so that you don’t have to spend hours poring over maps and demographics of various towns across America. Two of the preeminent financial sites out there, CNNMoney and Smart Money have recently come out with their latest lists of best places to retire in the U.S., and I figured I would highlight some of their choices and reasons for picking them for those of you approaching retirement age. Let’s take a look…

CNNMoney chose Durham, North Carolina as their number one place to retire for 2010. With a population of 223,284, a median home price of $163,000, a state income tax rate of 7.75%, relatively mild year-round weather, along with a rather famous university medical center, Durham is a great southern city full of opportunities for retirees. I myself have been to Durham several times and have always found it a pretty cool town to hang out in, and obviously CNNMoney thinks so too. Towns finishing off the top five on their best places list include Hanover, New Hampshire, Lexington, Kentucky, Prescott, Arizona, and Bellingham, Washington.

Smart Money has a list which looks a little different than CNN’s, but still focuses on the single biggest concern of retirees — affordability. First on their list is Prescott, Arizona (4th on CNN’s list), with a median home price of $242,800, state income tax rates between 2.59% – 4.54%, and a property tax rate of 0.56%, Prescott beats out many other small towns offering beautiful scenery and temperate year-round weather. St. Augustine, Florida is second on their list, and I can certainly vouch for that town — I have spent a considerable amount of time there as I have an Aunt and Uncle who retired there and they absolutely love the area. With an average home price of $115,400 and absolutely no state income tax, it’s a popular haven for the retired population. Rounding off the top five on the list are Chattanooga, Tennessee, Bloomington, Indiana and Carson City, Nevada.

With baby boomers heading into their retirement years, layoffs in every job segment, social security benefits staying stagnant, and interest rates practically near 0%, affordability is the number one concern of retirees doing their research before moving from town to town to find their perfect location (like I do. kidding. kinda.) While those of us in the early stages of our career are still looking for the best companies to work for, retirees (or those soon to join the ranks) are looking for the best places to retire to, so lists like these can come in very handy.

Have you recently retired or planning on doing so soon? Where did you end up settling down? Where do you plan on going? Please share with us in the comments!

(photo credit: on1stsite)

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