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Want Your Retirement Money To Go Further? Check Out These Most Affordable Places To Retire in 2024

Retirement

by Matt Lyons Posted on November 28, 2023
When you’re busy nailing down your retirement plan details, there’s likely one major consideration at the forefront of a lot of your decisions: your impending fixed income. So it only makes sense that you would want to live out those golden years in a place where you can stretch your budget as far as possible. Hence, we’ve created this list of the most affordable places to retire
 
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You may already be familiar with some cities across the U.S. that are on the more affordable side, but you might also be surprised to learn about some of the larger and more popular cities that made this list. From vibrant coastal towns to smaller towns with a plethora of outdoor recreation, healthcare access, and senior living in 55+ communities, without further ado, here are some of our favorite — and affordable — places to retire around the country.

Most Affordable Places To Retire

View of the Gulf Coast waterfront in Biloxi, Mississippi, at sunset. The sun sets in the distance, casting yellow light across the coastal waters.

Biloxi, Mississippi

1. Biloxi, MS

The Mississippi Sound and Gulf of Mexico are both accessible through the town of Biloxi, with miles of gorgeous white sandy beaches, as well as major attractions, like the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino.

Biloxi’s not all about casinos, though, as there are plenty of other places for retirees to enjoy, such as Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville and the Beauvoir — the home of former Confederate president Jefferson Davis. The Frank Gehry-designed Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art is also located in the area.

The town of Biloxi is part of the Gulf Coast Retirement District, giving you easy access to retirement communities and healthcare. Veterans, in particular, have easy access to the

Biloxi VA Medical Center, and other residents can look to Merit Health Biloxi and the Memorial Health System. 

Retirees on a budget considering a move to Mississippi will be pleased to know that all forms of retirement income are exempt from taxation. This includes social security benefits, IRA income, and 401(k) income, along with any pension income. The overall low cost of living in Mississippi and the lack of taxes are two major reasons why Biloxi is one of the cheapest places to retire on this list!

2. Midland, MI

Midland is known for its numerous recreational facilities, as well as its professional baseball team, the Great Lakes Loons. The top-rated tennis center in the area is also regularly used for tournaments.

Likewise, Midland has a solid arts scene, with the local Center Stage Theatre and the Midland Symphony Orchestra presenting their brilliant performances at the Midland Center for the Arts. There is also the local Alden B. Dow Museum, which features hands-on exhibits that explore the world of science, art, and technology.

In addition to having a low cost of living, Midland also has a low crime rate of just 9 incidents per 1,000 residents. In fact, it’s an accredited Safe Community by the National Safety Council's Safe Communities America program, making it one of the safest places to retire on this list. 

The MidMichigan Medical Center, part of the University of Michigan Health System, is located in Midland. And there are a couple of great retirement communities, including the highly rated Primose. The community also offers a variety of great programming and social events, located right in the heart of the town. You can spend the day inside the community at the library, theater, or fitness center, or you can explore the area around the city for more of a shopping and dining experience.

And as far as taxes are concerned, there is no tax on social security benefits for retirees in the state of Michigan. What’s more, there are deductions available on other types of retirement income, including pension income. 

Q: Where is the cheapest and safest place to retire to?
A:
With no tax on retirement income, along with the number of crimes per square mile hitting almost half the national average, Mississippi is a safe and cheap state to consider retiring. As for a specific city, along with a low cost of living, the city of Midland in Michigan has the lowest crime rates on this list.

Aerial view of the beach in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on a summer day. The beach is lined with tall condos and hotels, and there’s a Ferris wheel to the side. Blue umbrellas dot the beach, and visitors explore the long pier that juts out into the surf.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

3. Myrtle Beach, SC

The city of Myrtle Beach can be found along the Grand Strand, which extends from Little River to the Winyah Bay. It’s a popular tourist destination that draws in millions of visitors each year, but it's also a great place for people who are looking to enjoy retirement.

The city of Myrtle Beach provides the perfect coastal location for retirees. It’s one of the most affordable places to retire near the water due to the low cost of living. But that doesn’t mean life there is boring, by any means! In fact, there is always a variety of fun activities to partake in. Golfing, in particular, is a favorite pastime of many residents, as there are championship golf courses all across the city.

The healthcare services that are available in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, are some of the best that are offered in the entire state. There are four prominent hospital systems in the region, including Conway Medical Center, Grand Strand Medical Center, Tidelands Health System, and McLeod Health System. The popular Brightwater Community is a full-service retirement community that also features various types of care services for older adults. Some of these include independent living, assisted living, and memory care.

And the best news for retirees living on a budget in South Carolina? Social security retirement benefits are not taxed. Seniors receiving any other type of retirement income are eligible for a $15,000 taxable income deduction, as well, and the property taxes are also very low overall!

4. Richmond, VA

Virginia's capital city of Richmond has the perfect mix of culture, history, and affordability. 

A city with a thriving food scene, Richmond has a wide variety of affordable eateries and restaurants. It also boasts numerous breweries and restaurants serving local ingredients that make it an ideal location for food lovers.

Residents enjoy a wide range of recreational pursuits, including fishing, hiking, and swimming. Swift Creek Lake and Pocahontas State Park are within minutes of one another.

Nearby is one of the most popular 55+ communities in the area: the Traditions of America, it features a resort-style clubhouse and various social activities. And the best part? It’s located near all of the city's best attractions!

When it comes to healthcare, residents of Richmond can enjoy a world-class facility that’s only minutes away. The Virginia Commonwealth University Health System has a wide range of services that can be utilized by all different types of patients.

And as far as taxes are concerned, there is no tax on social security benefits for retirees in Virginia. Seniors can also get a deductible of up to $12,000 for other retirement incomes like pension income and retirement account withdrawals.

The view down a tree lined lane in Savannah, Georgia’s, Forsyth Park. At the end of the lane is the elegant Forsyth Park Fountain.

Savannah, Georgia

5. Savannah, GA

The coastal city of Savannah, Georgia, is known for its rich cultural heritage and historic architecture. It’s been ranked 53 on Niche’s list for “Best Cities to Retire in America,” and along with Myrtle Beach, it’s one of the most affordable places to retire on the East Coast. 

The city's coastal location allows residents to partake in numerous outdoor recreation opportunities, like fishing, boating, beachcombing, and exploring nearby parks.
One of the best places for people who are looking to retire is The Marshes of Skidaway Island. This community features a variety of different living options and is situated on a small island. It offers a full range of services and amenities.

There are two major medical systems in Savannah, namely Memorial Health and St. Joseph's/Candler. Another facility with more specialized care is the Nancy N. and J.C. Lewis Cancer and Research Pavilion. These facilities are state-of the art and can help retirees, no matter what medical assistance they require.

Georgia is also considered a pretty tax-friendly state for retirees, as there is no tax on social security retirement benefits and an impressive deduction of up to $65,000 for anyone 65 or older. 

Did you know? The state of Delaware is one of the most tax-friendly states in the entire nation for retirees, as there is no state sales tax. Social security benefits are also exempt from taxes, and the first $12,500 of other annual retirement income for people over 60 (such as pensions) is not subject to taxation.

6. Smyrna, DE

When it comes to the most affordable places to retire in Delaware, Smyrna tops the list as an ideal place for retirees who prefer a small-town feel.

Situated near Lake Como and the Smyrna Municipal Park, this area has several attractions, such as the Blackbird State Forest, Garrison’s Lake, Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, and the Delaware Bay. It is also surrounded by several miles of bikeways and paths to bike or hike.

Some of the best senior living communities in reasonable proximity to Smyrna include The Enclave at Stonyridge and The Grande

Exterior view of the Public Archives and Welcome Center at First State Heritage Park in Dover, Delaware. A large metal bell from the U.S.S. Delaware decorates the entrance, and a plaque above the bell reads “Delaware.”

Dover, Delaware

7. Dover, DE

The city of Dover, Delaware, is known for its fun-loving culture and colonial architecture. It’s also a short drive away from the beach, which makes it an ideal location for people who love coastal living.

There are plenty of things for adults to do in Dover, and its downtown area is full of museums. It also hosts various festivals throughout the summer season, such as the Firefly Music Festival.

People who want to get outside should head to Silver Lake Park. It has paths that lead through woodland areas, and it also has a lake that can be used for fishing. Locals can often be spotted at one of the area's beaches, such as Cape Henlopen State Park or Lewes Beach.

The Bayhealth Hospital - Kent Campus is a well-equipped facility that serves the residents of Dover. It's rated as high performing in various medical fields, such as heart failure and kidney disease.

Did you know? Similar to Delaware, North Carolina is another state that exempts all social security retirement benefits from income taxes. However, other forms of retirement income, like pension income and withdrawals from retirement accounts, are fully taxed at a rate of 4.99 percent.

8. Hickory, NC

Only an hour away from Charlotte, the town of Hickory is situated in Catawba County. It has various restaurants, bars, and cafes, as well as plenty of live music and other entertainment. Some of its notable institutions include the Hickory Museum of Art, the Hickory Aviation Museum, Lenoir-Rhyne University, and the Western Piedmont Symphony

Like other quaint mountain communities in North Carolina, the town of Hickory has a beautiful setting that's ideal for people who love to admire the Blue Ridge Mountains. There are plenty of recreational activities that you can do in this area, such as skiing, hiking, and bird watching.

The local Coves Mountain River Club, in particular, is where many of the area's retirees have found their housing needs met with beautiful mountain homes. In addition to being surrounded by nature, The Coves residents also benefit from the vibrant community in Hickory.

As far as medical centers go, there are two nearby: The Frye Regional Medical Center and the Catawba Valley Medical Center.

Rooftop view of Downtown Asheboro, North Carolina, on a clear summer day. The downtown buildings are relatively short, and all appear to be made of red brick. Lush trees line the streets, and cars are parked along the sidewalks.

Asheboro, North Carolina
(Source: Downtown Asheboro Inc via Facebook)

9. Asheboro, NC

One of the most affordable places to retire in North Carolina, Asheboro is situated in a region that is known for its beautiful scenery, historical sites, and diverse cultural and natural assets.

In Asheboro, you're in a great location when it comes to experiencing all that North Carolina has to offer, as this town is only 2 hours away from the Blue Ridge Mountains and 3 hours away from the coast. Residents also easily take advantage of the various entertainment options and resources that the Piedmont Triad of Greensboro, High Point, and Winston-Salem has to offer.

In addition to a variety of recreation facilities, such as lakes and tennis courts, the City of Asheboro also has a variety of health and wellness options that include fitness centers, walking paths, and more. Randolph Health is the town’s major medical system, and it includes easy access to StayWell Senior Care.

Did you know?  Florida has no state income tax, which means all social security benefits, pension income, and income from an IRA/401(k) are all completely untaxed!

10. Jacksonville, FL

In Florida, retirees looking for the best combination of savings and sunshine can find it in Jacksonville. The area's warm climate, beautiful beaches, and inexpensive entertainment make it an ideal location for those looking for a laid-back lifestyle.

Compared to other Florida metros, Jacksonville has a low cost of living but still comes with plenty of things to do. This makes it an ideal choice for retirees looking to stretch their savings.

In addition to great weather and a low cost of living, Jacksonville also has a thriving culture. The area is known for hosting all kinds of cultural activities, such as the JCA Cultural Arts Festival and the Native American Arts Festival

Besides cultural activities, this area is known for its various golf courses, parks, recreation centers, and beachfront promenades. The local sports teams of the area, such as the Jacksonville Jaguars, are also popular.

Jacksonville's healthcare system stands out from the competition, due to its affordability, accessibility, and quality. Residents can feel at ease knowing that they have coverage for a full range of medical services.

There are also plenty of beautiful 55+ retirement communities that you can choose from, such as WaterSong at the RiverTown by Mattamy Homes.

View of a water fountain and surrounding greenery in Lakeland’s Hollis Garden, with the downtown buildings visible in the distance.

Lakeland, Florida

11. Lakeland, FL

Florida’s cost of living might be on the rise, but Lakeland has managed to remain one of the most affordable places to retire in Florida. 

Lakeland is a beautiful area that is situated near Interstate 4 and about an hour southwest of Orlando, which offers the perfect combination of old Florida charm and modern conveniences. You can travel conveniently between the Atlantic Coast and Gulf beaches. And as a bonus, that means it’s about an hour away from Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando, which will have your grandkids begging to visit you! 

The people of Lakeland enjoy a laid-back lifestyle that revolves around the outdoors. This is evidenced by the many outdoor activities that the area has to offer, such as the Circle B Bar Reserve and Lake Parker Park.

There are plenty of fabulous retirement communities local to Lakeland, including Bedrock Communities, comprising Colonial Village, Lake Bonny, and Citrus Center. Features of these communities include beautiful lakeside locations, close proximity to bigger cities and entertainment, as well as affordable prices. Retirees also get top-notch healthcare access at providers like Lakeland Regional Health.

And in Florida, it’s no surprise that fresh seafood is a vital part of the restaurant scene. Some of the most popular places in Lakewood that serve seafood include Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grille and Fish City Grill

Q: Where is the cheapest place to live when you retire?
A:
Of the cities on this list, Asheboro, North Carolina, is the cheapest place to retire. Being centrally located between the mountains and the beach isn’t a bad deal either! If you’d rather spend your days lazing in the sun, though, Myrtle Beach is another solid option to consider. Both offer a great bang for your buck, considering everything you have to gain once you move.

A PODS driver is standing in a residential driveway beside a PODS portable moving and storage container. A mature couple is standing nearby as the driver opens the container door and shows the couple the inside of the container.

PODS Can Help You Move, No Matter Where You Retire 

If you’re planning on retiring and downsizing to one of the most affordable places in the U.S., PODS can help. With several container sizes to choose from, you’ll be able to mix and match your own containers to use them as little or as much as you need. And the added benefit of built-in storage also allows you to store your things a bit longer if needed!

Editor’s note: For ease of reading, monthly rental prices were rounded to the nearest $25 and home values were rounded to the nearest $100.

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