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Top Places to Retire in the US

By Edited Jul 16, 2015 1 6

How to Find the Best Retirement City for You

An amazing 10,000 Baby Boomers are reaching age 65 every day, according to estimates by the Wall Street Journal. As they reach retirement age, many of these Baby Boomers are beginning to contemplate where they want to live when they retire. This is not an easy decision. In fact, many Boomers feel overwhelmed. As a result, they often postpone the decision as long as they can. However, for those who are willing to put in a little time and effort exploring a variety of communities, they may discover that retirement is the perfect time to relocate. They no longer need to confine themselves to living within commuting distance of their job. They are free to live wherever they want. In fact, moving away from major employment areas is sometimes less expensive than staying within a short distance of a large city.  So what are some things they need to consider as they make their decision?

How to Find the Best Place for You to Retire?

Now that you are free to live wherever you want, you need to give some thought to what would be the best retirement location for you. Here are some questions you should ask yourself:

Would you like to be near your grown children, grandchildren, parents or other relatives?

How much can you afford to spend on housing after you retire? If you are like many Baby Boomers, your income could be significantly lower after you retire.

What activities do you hope to pursue? Is it important to you to be able to play golf the year around, go fishing whenever you want, spend time snow skiing, or go to museums and concerts? The answer to these questions will play an important role in helping you pick the best place for you to live.

Do you want to go back to school after retirement? In that case it would be ideal to find a town that contains a University, college or community college.

Would you like to live in an over 55 community? If so, do you prefer to live in a single family home, or would you prefer the convenience of a condo or apartment? Think about your personal finances and decide if you would be better off owning or renting.  As you age, there are advantages to both.

Do you plan to spend a lot of time around the house after you retire, or would you like to use your apartment simply as a home base while you spend most of your time traveling?

Once you have answered these questions, you will be better prepared to start your search for a community in which to live.

Use this link to find great Amazon books on the Best Places to Retire.

Top 6 Best Places to Retire

Once you have decided what you are looking for, you are ready to find the town or city where you should live. Of course, if the answer to your first question is that you need to live near your grandchildren or parents, then you will be limited somewhat by geography. However, nearly anywhere you decide to settle in the US you can still choose whether you want to live in a home, condo or apartment; you can still pursue a wide variety of hobbies and activities; and in most places you can still find housing in a wide range of price ranges. With those thoughts in mind, here are some of the retirement communities that have been mentioned in recent lists in the media. After reviewing a half dozen of these lists, I have selected a few places that seemed to me to have the most to offer. This list could be a great way for you to begin your search, too.


Fort Meyers Beach

Cape Coral, Florida

Cape Coral, near Fort Myers Beach (shown above), is known for low home prices. It is sometimes called a Waterfront Wonderland because it has over 400 miles of waterways. Currently, in fact, they have a number of homes for sale for under $120,000. The overall cost of living is low, too. According to the CNN list of great retirement towns, the cost of living in Cape Coral is only about 96% of the national average. As we all know, Florida is full of retirement communities of all types and styles. Cape Coral is crisscrossed with canals, which makes it idea for people who hope to spend their senior years fishing or boating. It also has golf courses and other recreational activities nearby.


Skyline of Winston-Salem

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Winston-Salem is also mentioned on the CNN list of top places to retire. The cost of living in Winston-Salem is only about 91% of the national average, and the community is attractive. It is also a nice location for people who are interested in living in an artsy area. Winston-Salem is home to the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and it also has an art district and a symphony. It is also home to Wake Forest University, as well as other colleges. The weather is not quite as mild as Florida weather. In fact, it can occasionally snow there. However, it is not as severe as the weather further north on the Atlantic coast.


Brownsville, Texas(83198)

Brownsville, Texas

Kiplinger Magazine also came out with a list of cheap places to retire, and they put Brownsville, Texas at the top of their list. The median income in Brownsville is around $30,000 and home prices average around $220,000. The average apartment rents for under $800 a month, which is ideal for someone living on Social Security alone. Brownsville is on the Texas side of the border with Mexico, and is also located near the popular tourist destination of South Padre Island. This area boasts a number of gorgeous golf courses, fun restaurants, hotels and all the other amenities that are appealing to both tourists and senior citizens.


Pueblo Colorado River Walk

Pueblo, Colorado

If you were hoping to spend your winters near the ski slopes, you may want to consider moving to the charming mountain town of Pueblo, Colorado. This town from the Kiplinger list has a median household income of about $41,000. The average home sells for under $220,000. There are lots of winter sports within a reasonable drive of the town. In fact, if you just want to go snow shoeing or cross country skiing, you may be able to do that from your own backyard in the winter!


Blacksburg Virginia

Blacksburg, Virginia

Blacksburg is on the U.S. News list of the most affordable places to live on Social Security in the United States. U.S. News took the statistic that the average retire receives about $1250 in Social Security benefits. Therefore a couple would receive about $2500 a month, or $30,000 a year. Then, they found appealing communities in the United States where the median household income was less than that. Blacksburg, Virginia has a median household income of about $29,000. It also is home to Virginia Tech University, which gives residents the opportunity to avail themselves of a variety of cultural activities. Combined with the beauty of the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains and the rural Virginia countryside, this is a very appealing town to many people.

Laguna Woods Clubhouse

Laguna Woods Village, California

If you want to live in Southern California near beaches, colleges and cultural activities, Laguna Woods Village may meet your needs. Located about 4 miles from famous Laguna Beach (pictured above) and halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, the 18,000 residents of this over 55 condo community enjoy a wide variety of activities, including golf, tennis, horseback riding, gyms, and clubs. There are several colleges and universities located nearby. The average condo or co-op sells for under $275,000, which is very reasonable for Southern California.  The photo at the top of this article shows one of the seven clubhouses located in the community.

Related articles:

One of the Best Places to Retire is Laguna Woods Village, California

Living on Social Security in the US

The Best Sunny Places to Retire

Here's An Excellent Book to Help with Your Decision

America's 100 Best Places to Retire
Amazon Price: Buy Now
(price as of Jul 16, 2015)
Learn more about some of the best communities in the United States for retirees.

I Love this Book! A Great Starting Place for Baby Boomers!

How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free: Retirement Wisdom That You Won't Get from Your Financial Advisor
Amazon Price: Buy Now
(price as of Jul 16, 2015)
This book will open your mind to more ideas to help you have a fabulous retirement!


Feb 10, 2012 10:33am
Never heard of Brownsville, Texas. It sounds great.
Feb 10, 2012 6:27pm
Thank you for your comment. Yes, if you are looking for an inexpensive place to retire, Brownsville is a good choice. It never snows or even gets cold there; you are near the Gulf of Mexico; there are lots of senior communities, golf courses, and more!
Feb 22, 2012 6:38pm
Super photos and inviting locals. Providing us with information on housing prices and average income is very helpful when trying to make a decision about relocating. I don't know if I'd relocate to be closer to children or grandkids though. I had a friend who did that and the families they hoped to be closer to were transferred to new jobs in another state!
Feb 23, 2012 10:00pm
Thank you for your comments. Yes, I have heard of other people who relocated to a new city, only to have their children transferred away. I think you have to relocate to a new area solely because you think it would be the best place for you ... whether your family is there or not!
Feb 27, 2012 3:07pm
Good information, I always liked Winston-Salem. North Carolina is a beautiful state. That would be for me.
Feb 29, 2012 12:22am
I've been to most of the places on this list. I, too, think Winston-Salem, North Carolina is a beautiful area. I thought this list came a nice range of choices that should please almost everyone!
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