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10 Best of the Best Places to Retire for 2020

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

February 18, 2020 — Every year we have fun rendering our opinion on the very “Best Places to Retire“. To start that process, late last year we featured the 20 Best Retirement Towns in three major U.S. retirement regions. In today’s installment we are going to winnow those lists down into our top 10 overall picks.

For 2020’s best places to retire our overriding criteria: how interesting it is to live there, recreation and culture, climate, taxes, economic situation, location, transportation, walkability, healthcare, and to a minor extent – cost of living. We also wanted to mix it up a little bit, offer diversity and some new faces.

Popularity on this site, as measured by online visits by our Members, is also very important. Here, in our opinion, are the best of the best places to retire in all of the U.S.

Downtown Asheville is cool

1. Asheville, NC Asheville is a prosperous small city of just over 92,000 in the Blue Ridge mountains of western North Carolina. The downtown is filled with cafes, restaurants, and art deco buildings. Because it is in the mountainous part of the state it tends to have 4 seasons. The surrounding area has other towns popular with retirees, along with a huge number of 55+ and active adult communities. The Zillow Home Value Index was $303,814 in early 2020.

Prescott’s cowboy heritage

2. Prescott, AZ. Located at an elevation of 5400 feet in the mountains of north central Arizona, the City of Prescott (population just under 40,000 in 2011), was the original territorial capital of the Arizona Territory. It still celebrates its cowboy heritage. Prescott consistently gets some of the highest online views at Topretirements. The Zillow Home Value Index was $383,805 in 2020.

Downtown Tucson

3. Tucson, AZ. The area is warm in winter, blessed with sunshine almost 300 days per year, and has beautiful surroundings. At 233 performing arts dates per year, it also has one of the nation’s highest numbers of arts performances. To see more than 70 reader comments and an inside look on Tucson retirement, see “Why I Retired to Tucson“. The NAR median home sale in late 2019 was $242,700.

4. Beaufort, SC. The Old South lives on in the quaint seaside charm of Beaufort, Known as the “Queen of the Carolina Sea Islands”. Horse-drawn carriages roll along streets in the town’s charming historic district that are overhung with Spanish moss. It is not far from the coast, Hilton Head, and Charleston. There are dozens and dozens of active and 55+ communities to choose from. The Zillow Home Value Index was $221,415 in early 2020.

Rehoboth Beach, DE

5. Rehoboth Beach, DE. Located in the southeastern part of the state on the ocean, the area attracts retirees and vacationers (many of whom go on to retire here). It is a beautiful town with great beaches and plenty to do. Delaware is considered relatively tax friendly. On the downside, according to Zillow the Home Value Index was $510,000 in 2020. Areas west of town will be less expensive.

Bend, Oregon area

6. Bend, OR. Many of the people who retire to Bend are interested in the outdoors and sports. The region offers great scenic beauty, skiing, mountains, golf, fishing, and more. Bend makes just about every list of “best retirement communities”.  The town is located in Deschutes County in the center of the state.  Bend’s economy is strong thanks to tourism and its popularity as a community for active adults. Bend is not an inexpensive place to retire, although there might be some more affordable options. The 2020 Zillow Home Value Index was $462,050.

The Holy City

7. Charleston, SC. “The Holy City” is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in the U.S. as well as being one of its top tourist attractions. Located on the coast of South Carolina, until the mid 1800’s it was one of the 10 largest cities in North America. The surrounding area, including Daniel Island and Kiawah Island, is very popular with tourists and retirees alike. The NAR median home sale was $291,700 in late 2019.

8. Chattanooga, TN . Chattanooga is a low-cost, interesting retirement city in a state considered very tax-friendly (earned income is not taxed). It was the site of the famous critical civil war Battle of Chattanooga due to its strategic location on the Tennessee River. Called the “Scenic City”, it is home to the University of Tennessee – Chattanooga. Zillow Home Value Index in 2020 is a relative bargain at $168,000.

Sandia Peak Tramway

9. Albuquerque, NM. Albuquerque, the largest city in New Mexico, is set in a unique place near the mountains, and is a vibrant college town, home to the University of New Mexico. Fans of the TV series “Breaking Bad” will recognize the scenery in this area. You can take a cable car to the top of a mountain from the city. The Zillow Home Value Index was $228,400 in early 2020.

Bozeman is a college town

10. Bozeman, Montana. For people who love the outdoors and a simple life this college town in the is hard to beat. The students of Montana State University liven things up in the interesting downtown. Located in the Gallatin Valley in west-central Montana, Yellowstone is a short drive away. Real estate has gotten pricey as folks discover how nice it is here: Zillow Home Value Index was $462,789 in early 2020.

Bottom line:

Picking the best 10 of anything is a very subjective exercise. There are many, many other fine places to retire, of course. But we do feel this is a great list where many people could experience a delightful retirement.

Comments? What cities or towns would you put on the top 10 for retirement? Where you live now, or where you hope to retire. There are so many contenders, it is hard to pick. We would love to hear your opinions in the Comments section below.

For further reading:

10 Best of the Best Places to Retire – 2019

20 Best Places to Retire in the Southeast

20 Best Places to Retire in the Southwest

20 Best Places to Retire in the West

Posted by Admin on February 18th, 2020


  1. I love lists like this it shows how different everyone is and what they want, I would never consider Western states to live in but it gives ideas of maybe where we should visit. A few of the Eastern cities mentioned I have been to and did consider them as retirement towns, but just not ready to make the final decision. This blog threw more into the mix, I like that.

    by Darla — February 18, 2020

  2. I enjoy reading about the cities that are popular each year and see how the lists change. Last year there were two cities n Florida, and on this year’s top 10 list there are none. I hope that those that live in the 10 cities listed above will comment and give their views on why they like them as retirement towns.

    by Jemmie — February 18, 2020

  3. I agree – the list seems to be getting more diverse and spread across more of the country. I still cannot understand why Asheville is always at the top. It is artsy crafty but in the mountains. Pretty to look at but a lot of those roads are steep! We owned a condo there for a while and needed a car to drive down to the mailboxes – impossible to walk, especially in bad weather. Chattanooga mystifies me too – we lived there for 10 years and once DH retired we headed to Maine. Inexpensive housing in TN but with mediocre medical, very high sales tax as well as NOTHING to do and no one to do it with. Maine – we LOVE. Caring, considerate, kind folks and we live mere minutes from everything we need! We’re in a small town right outside of Portland and there is TOO much to do. Just minutes from the coast, we love the amazing medical, cooler weather and our yard is full of flowers all summer. Snow gives us time to rest and re-charge and its beautiful. Good luck to all!

    by HEF — February 19, 2020

  4. It’s interesting that only one of these cities, Tucson, has a truly warm winter climate, although it can get a bit nippy there. Prescott is farther north in AZ, where the winters can get fairly cold and snowy at times. This list is great food for thought and these types of lists can be quite different based on the methodology used. What were the two towns in Florida that didn’t make this year’s list? I expect in sheer numbers of retirees, Florida always tops places to retire, except for remaining in your own home. That represents people voting with their feet. It’s wonderful if retirees find the place they can be happiest, and those places represent a huge variety of locations.

    by Clyde — February 19, 2020

  5. Last year the 2 Florida towns that made the list were Sarasota and St. Petersburg. They are still great places to retire, no question. It is definitely interesting that no Florida towns made the list in 2020, particularly considering that the Sunshine State is definitely a top place to retire.

    by Admin — February 19, 2020

  6. Once again, no New England locations make the list. I personally would not want to live anywhere else. To each their own, but New England is pretty perfect for me.

    by Maimi — February 20, 2020

  7. Miami I couldn’t agree with you more.
    I have lived and visited many wonderful places to retire in the US and CT is where I’ll stay. I have access to all the NE states and more and excellent health care. The quality of life is fabulous. Yes our taxes are higher but other then that the cost of living is not much different. It is a trade off. When I’ve had enough of the snow and cold I travel. With climate change that doesn’t seem to be a problem. As far as weather is concerned we seem to be safe from the many horrible events other places are struggling with.

    by Janet — February 20, 2020

  8. Not to insult people who love Florida or who have found it to be their perfect destination, but I thought this article was very funny & timely.

    by Kate — February 20, 2020

  9. Sorry about the link to the second article. It piggy-backed on my cut & paste of the first article about retiring in FL.

    by Kate — February 20, 2020

  10. My wife and I have visited 7/10 on the list (we haven’t been to Rehoboth Beach, Chattanooga, Bozeman), lived in 2 (Bend and Prescott) and spent considerable time in 1 (Tucson). We spent a lot of time making exploratory trips to the Southeast, and really like a lot of areas there due to the culture, lower taxes and cost of living, warmer climate and more conservative politics. We were living in Portland, OR for over 21 years for work, and moving all the way cross country just seemed like too long a haul for us, so we focused more on Arizona for a retirement locale. Here are some of my thoughts on the areas we spent the most time in.

    Portland: We knew we didn’t want to stay in Portland, and while HEF is right that there is good medical care and summers are lovely, the other 8 months are gray, dreary, wet and chilly. It is also expensive, heavy traffic that continues to get worse, high taxes (Oregon has the 3rd highest state income tax in the country at 9.9%), and is far left in its politics. The latter of course may be a good thing depending on your political proclivity; If you are very liberal, Portland is the place for you.

    Bend: We bought a cabin in Bend 14 years ago, and used it as as weekend/week-or-two-at-a-time getaway, and when we retired and sold our Portland house we moved there full time. The good things about Bend is that we found it to be sunnier and drier than Portland, lots of outdoor activities: great hiking and mountain biking in summer, skiing (both cross country and downhill) and snowshoeing in winter. Medical care is ok to good, and improving. When we first bought our cabin, it was considerably more conservative politically than Portland. We thought Bend would be our retirement home. But Bend has been discovered, and had huge growth over the last 15 years, with accompanying increases in cost of housing, cost of living, traffic and overall crowding. Much of the immigration has come from California and areas around Portland, so the political demographic has changed markedly. Last I checked voter registration (last fall), Democrats nearly equaled Republicans. Bend has voted for the Republican presidential candidate every election since at least 2000 (as far back as goes), but I suspect that will flip this year and certainly no later than 2024.

    Prescott: we have been visiting Prescott off and on over the last 30 years. We have good friends there and decided to move there last fall because we saw it as the “anti-Bend”. We’re renting to make sure if this is the place we want to settle in retirement. It is smaller (less than half the population of Bend), less crowded, less traffic. It is also beautiful and in the mountains similar to Bend, with hiking and mountain biking. No skiing here, but there is in Flagstaff about an hour and a half northeast. Cost of living is somewhat lower. State income taxes are much lower (4.5%) but they have a high sales tax (close to 10%) which Oregon did not have. They also do not have an estate tax, whereas Oregon does (10-16%) that kicks in at a much lower level ($1mil) than fed ($11.6 mil). While Arizona as a whole is now purple, Prescott and Yavapai county are solidly red. Prescott has seen a lot of growth recently, so housing prices are up considerably. Despite the growth, Prescott is still a small town, so relatively few good restaurants (some of which are closed 1 or 2 days every week), fewer shopping options (eg. you won’t find an REI or Apple store), and fewer options at the shops that are here. For example, I’ve had a hard time finding bike shops that have much in the way of demo options for mt bikes. The weather is definitely sunnier and warmer than Bend, but still much colder and snowier than we expected. We’ve had 5-6 snowfalls since we arrived, the most recent was 6” last week. The biggest negative to Prescott is medical care. We have had a terrible time finding a Primary Care Provider. I was finally able to get an appt with a cardiac electrophysiologist only after my PCP in Portland forwarded a referral. When I went in for the appt, the cardiologist’s PA said it was easier to get an appt with a subspecialist than a PCP in Prescott, which matched our experience. We asked the doctor for PCP recommendations and she was nice enough to give us a list. We started calling right away but it was late PM and no one was open…or at least not answering phone calls. We started again first thing the following am, and the first 5 we called were not accepting new pts.

    Tucson-we love Tucson. We have visited a few times over the years, but last year we opted to spend 2 full weeks there in March. When we pulled out of Bend it was 21 degrees and 3 feet of snow on the ground. When we pulled into Tucson two days later it was sunny and 85. We enjoyed it so much, we decided to come back this year and are in the middle of a 5 week stay now. We rented our place in Tucson well before we decided to move to Prescott, so after we had moved we weren’t sure we would want to spend over a month there. But we had put a good chunk of non-refundable money down and as I mentioned previously the winter in Prescott has been colder and snowier than we anticipated, so we decided to go to Tucson. Boy, are we glad we did. Sunny and low 70s almost every day. We have found several really good restaurants that we like…and they’re all open 7 days per week :). Tucson is really pretty, with picturesque mountains and cactus all around…altho I understand not everyone finds desert-scape attractive. GREAT biking town. There are mt bike trails and tons of paved bike baths. They recently completed a paved loop that goes around the city…it’s great. You can bike on a paved path to mountain bike trails! How great is that? As a larger city, they have the shopping that’s missing in Prescott. While we haven’t had to look for Drs in Tucson, as a city with several major medical centers as well as a medical school, I imagine health care is much more accessible. Politically, Tucson is solid blue. They have voted for the Democrat presidential candidate, overwhelmingly, in every election since at least 1996. This is due, along with Arizona as a whole becoming purple, to vast numbers of Californians fleeing their state. I have no idea why they would want to vote for the same politicians that turned Cali into the mess it is, but it continues a trend seen in the east with northeast liberals moving into the south. Traffic can get busy in Tucson, but nothing compared to Phoenix. Cost of living seems reasonable for a large city (population just shy of 1 mil). The big issue for us with Tucson is the summers. We haven’t been there in summer, and we don’t particularly want to be. With avg daily highs over 90 for May thru Sept, and near or over 100 for 3 of those months, that’s about half the year we wouldn’t want to be there. So we’re considering splitting time between Tucson and Prescott, but the issue we have found with that arrangement, which we did for many years with Portland and Bend, is putting down roots. It’s difficult to establish a sense of community when you are spending big chunks of time in two different places. We just lost the last of our parents last year, and spent a good chunk of our time over the last 12 years involved with elder care. Because of that experience, we realize as we get older ourselves, we will need community, and support infrastructure (no kids). That is harder to establish when you’re absent for long periods.

    I realize as I read back thru this that it has gotten rather lengthy…I just got on a roll. But perhaps the info will be if benefit to some, and if it’s too long, admin can ask me to edit it.

    by Partagas — February 20, 2020

  11. Ah, Partagas – I was talking about Portland MAINE. The original Portland and a fan favorite for the Northeast. Friend of mine has spent time in the Pacific Portland and likes it but would never move there – too much crime & drug traffic, she says.

    by HEF — February 20, 2020

  12. I can appreciate that (most) everyone is looking for someplace warm in the winter to get away from the cold. Cold isn’t so bad with proper clothing. Snow levels have been decreasing in Western New York for the past few years. People hear about all the bad weather in places like Buffalo, located at the western end of Lake Erie, but in truth most of the snow is south of the city, down near the Pennsylvania border, where the hills are for skiers.
    Buffalo has diverse culture, music, great food (not limited to chicken wings and beef sandwiches) theater, art museums ans so much more. Oh, and living here is relatively cheap. Condos, townhouses, old homes, apartments and many options.
    Check it out. You might be surprised and once you visit, may even love it.

    by Paul Fitzpatrick (PEF) — February 21, 2020

  13. Partagas – Thank you so much for your detailed response. Especially the reality for the difficulties finding new doctors which is so critical for retirees moving to new locations. We prefer the PNW and NE states – plus AZ because BIL lives there. However, these descriptive responses are very helpful from posters with personal experiences. Thank you for taking the time.

    by JoannL — February 21, 2020

  14. I’d like to know why California is a mess? We live in a 55+ 2 BR condo rental with a mountain and ocean view for $1500 in Northern San Diego and love it. Lived in Buffalo, Tampa Bay and Portland, Oregon and you can’t beat the weather here. We have great hospitals, traffic isn’t bad and great shopping. FYI… Oregon and CA takes much better care of their citizens if they need help in their retirement too.

    by Mary11 — February 21, 2020

  15. Hef, I agree with you about Portland, Maine. It is a lovely place yo retire and I have several friends who made that choice and are very happy there. I also love Portland, Oregon and actually spent a few summers there, thinking I would move there, but decided I could not tolerate the homelessness everywhere I went. Oth are great places depending on what you are looking for,

    by Maimi — February 22, 2020

  16. Mary11, on the few visits I’ve made to Southern California, I’ve really liked it. I found little I would describe as a “mess,” except traffic (at certain times and places) and housing costs. And the weather is, for the most part, better than almost anywhere in the country. You are very fortunate to have a 2-bedroom 55+ rental for $1500/mo. That doesn’t seem a typical price from what I’ve researched. Are those kinds of rental prices common in some areas around San Diego?

    by Clyde — February 22, 2020

  17. Yes, Mary 11 please share with us any tips you can about finding great housing at such reasonable prices. Southern CA is the only place other then CT
    we would consider.

    by Janet — February 23, 2020

  18. Janet:

    I hear that Connecticut can be very expensive for retirees. What is your take on this? California, also, has a similar reputation, but Mary11 has found a pocket of affordability.

    by Jennifer — February 23, 2020

  19. Oceanside CA is a military and retirement town. The community we live in is called Oceana. It’s a 55+ condo community with 2000 homes. They offer free cable with basic utilities and many clubs , activities and parties. Local grocers even deliver free food every weekend and they have consignment stores to help pay for the activities.

    by Mary11 — February 23, 2020

  20. You can also find 55+ apts from $900 and up if you are ok living about 1 hour inland from San Diego closer to the desert. In Hemet, CA there is 55+ mobile home community where you own the land. Home prices start at $75000 with free cable. hOA fees are $122 per month. We considered that but it is in the 100s in the summer months. So we decided to stay in Oceanside because you save on utilities and transportation costs. Hope this helps…..

    by Mary11 — February 23, 2020

  21. I moved to Beaufort, SC, #4 on this list, a few years ago. I chose it in no small part because it made many of these lists and I read extensively about it, primarily on this website. There are pluses and minuses, as with anywhere. It is quite beautiful, full of marshes and water and birds. The ocean and undeveloped barrier island are 1/2 hour away. But one thing I rarely see mentioned is the lack of entertainment. There is one small college that has a few theater and musical productions each year. There is a lovely film festival in February. There are festivals that are pretty much always the same: shrimp, oysters, BBQ. The only movie theater was torn down. The restaurants, other than the ubiquitous chains, are mostly the same seafood theme. It is a VERY small town. If you enjoy culture and a variety of music, restaurants and entertainment, I’d recommend you go elsewhere. (I’m hoping to move to Savannah.)

    by Judith Reese — February 23, 2020

  22. Mary11, I’d be happy to do a riff on what’s wrong with California, although Admin tends to frown on extensive posts that run places down. It’s great that you are happy there and have a reasonable cost for your apartment. By all means you should stay. No argument from me about the weather in SoCal, at least if you are close to the ocean. I was stationed in Cali with the Air Force (LA area in the late 80’s), and have returned on multiple occasions over the years for business and so I have some first hand experience with living in California. So as to avoid Admin’s ire by going on extensively about California’s negatives, let me just do a summary: highest state income tax in the country (13.3%); high sales tax and California is one of only 3 states that allow local sales taxes to be added onto state sales tax; high excise taxes including the second highest gas tax in the country; no break on long-term capital gains tax; highest cost of living and highest overall cost of housing in continental US (second only to Hawaii for all 50 states). Despite all of these taxes, California’s violent crime rate is higher than the US average; their schools are ranked 38/50; 12% of the nation’s population lives in California, but 34% of the nation’s welfare recipients are in California; highest rate of homelessness in the nation. California has the highest number of illegals in the country, nearly double the second highest state (Texas). Your experience with traffic being not bad is not the norm. The traffic in SoCal and Bay area is horrendous….and that was the case in the late 80’s when I lived there full time. In my subsequent trips there over the years, it has only gotten worse. A Forbes survey placed LA and San Francisco in the top 10 worst traffic cities in the country. TitleMax listed California as the state with the greatest traffic congestion in the country, and it was 40% higher than the second place state. I haven’t even touched on healthcare, business environment, earthquakes, politics, criminal justice, high speed rail and the incredible over-regulation. There are a lot of people in California who obviously aren’t crazy about these and other aspects of living in the state. According to a report compiled on US Census data, for the decade ending in 2016, there was a net loss of 1,000,000 residents. This loss is accelerating, as nearly 200,000 more residents left California than moved in just in 2018. According to a UC Berkeley survey, the #1 reason for this is the high cost of housing. For the first time in its history, California is expected to lose congressional representation after the 2020 census. So that is my abbreviated answer to the question of why California is a mess.

    by Partagas — February 23, 2020

  23. We lived in California since 1980 with the last 19 years in the Temecula /Murrieta area. The population of Murrieta was 50k when we moved there in 2002 and quickly jumped to 114k where it has stayed. It is centrally located with a 60 mile trip to the mountains, beaches or San Diego. Weather was great but hot in the summer as with any desert community. Great area to raise a family but as with many of the other comments California is expensive. Last year Murrieta passed. 1% sales tax which brings total sales taxes around the 9% range. Additionally the property taxes in our area were around 1.7% with no break for seniors. Since we needed to downsize after recently retiring, we decided to move out of state as costs were a considerable factor. Several of my neighbors will be following the same path due to the cost of living,crowds everywhere you go and excessive time in traffic.
    We are now enjoying life elsewhere. Driving is scenic and a pleasure. I can drive right up to the pump at Costco instead of waiting several minutes and pay about $1.30 per gallon less than on California.
    We might miss the weather a bit this time of year but every thing else is much more enjoyable and affordable.

    by Bill — February 24, 2020

  24. Hubs and I used earlier “best Places” lists from this site and other places to find places to check out while on vaca trips. We then rented around Myrtle Beach so we could continue the search for a place to retire in the southeast while having plenty of golf courses to play between trips. A trip to Amelia Island was cut short when a hurricane approached and we had to evacuate – hours of bumper to bumper traffic starting at 4AM crossed Florida off he list of states to consider; leaving wasn’t a problem then but not sure we’d want o deal with that when we were older. We learned a lot in that year and a half and made good friends while in SC but ended up buying in a lovely 55+ community in Bucks County Pa. For us it’s perfect! We are close to family and old friends in NJ but better tax situation than NJ (Pa doesn’t tax pensions, ira/401K withdrawals and low tax on other income), can walk to a great downtown (less than a mile), world class medical facilities nearby should the need to such occur, train to Philly and buses free for those 65 and over, NYC less that 2.5 hrs by car and only and hour or so by train, great library, etc. We will head south for a few weeks in the Winters but we realize that having lived our lives in the NY metro area we could not adjust to being in such a different area. Husband says the only negative he can find around here is that there are Phillies, Eagles, and Fliers fans all over the place 🙂

    by Jean — February 24, 2020

  25. Jennifer asked about the fact that she has heard Connecticut may be an expensive place to live. It is near the top of states in cost of living, but that is mainly because one of its counties skews that figure for the rest of the state. Fairfield County, CT, is a major suburban county of New York City. It’s the home of Greenwich and several other high-end towns and suburbs where home prices average around $1,000,000 or more. The county has many homes valued in the double digits of millions of dollars. Cost of living can be considerably less in the other counties of the state. In the Hartford area where I live part of the year, you can find a 1500 square foot home (with basement not included in the square footage) with 3 bedrooms, 2 full baths and an attached two-car garage for about $250,000. This is in an attractive suburb with high-quality public schools and excellent public services. Connecticut has made some very positive changes in state income tax for seniors in the last couple of years. Social Security is not taxed if your adjusted gross income is $100,000 or less (married couple) or $75,000 or less for a single filer. Income taxes on pensions and annuities are being reduced and phased out over the next five years and will be zero for citizens with AGI of $100,000 (married) or $75,000 (single). State and local taxes are reasonable at a bit over 6% in most towns. I find the cost of food in Connecticut grocery stores is less than the same food in Florida stores, where we spend the other part of the year.

    by Clyde — February 24, 2020

  26. All,
    California is a great state to live in! The option of mountains, ocean, city country or desert are amazing as well as the climate
    Sad to hear people with false information spewing racist comments and false data! Yes tax are higher but you get your moneys worth for what you pay

    Recall all that California was owned by Mexico and as such many local citizens are falsely accused of being illegals! California has the highest job growth in the nation! Great schools and universities! And miles and miles of ocean views!

    by Ron — February 24, 2020

  27. I’m glad that have seen these two posts about CA in case they are removed or edited. I hope, however, that they remain intact — they provide vital commentary on a state that many are interested in and mostly appear to be based on those individuals awareness of fact. At least it is consistent with other statements I have read.

    While that may seem like a lot of negatives, clearly to many it is not a deterant and CA continues to attract newcomers. We all choose what we can live with.

    by RichPB — February 24, 2020

  28. Jean, could you share the name of your 55+community/town in Bucks County? The $14k in NJ property taxes is becoming unmanageable for us! Thanks!

    by Linda — February 24, 2020

  29. Well….not everyone who retires to CA fall under the higher income bracket. So income tax, estate tax, capital gains, property tax do not impact us. Also, who really retires to LA or San Francisco? BTW, if you are 65 the state allows you to suspend your property tax until the home is sold. There are many cities in CA to choose from whatever income you fall under….

    by Mary11 — February 24, 2020

  30. I have lived most of my 70 years in the greater Los Angeles metro area. Without any doubt this is my home. 40 million people live in California. Many people consider this GOD’s COUNTRY. I agree the cost of living and just too many people are real negatives. The reality is that people all over the world want to live in California. I will not recommend living in California because honestly I don’t want anymore people coming here and adding to the congestion. What I do know is that almost every morning of the year I awake to beautiful sunshine and dry breezy warmth that turns me into a 70 year old SUPERMAN day after day.

    by Bubbajog — February 24, 2020

  31. Clyde

    Thank you for your explanation of the cost of living in Connecticut. I found a community that I am interested in there and I did not even want to consider it if state policies were working against seniors. I have seen several stories of seniors who want to leave Connecticut. Your narrative put me at ease. I have been fond of New England most of my life. We used to spend summers in Vermont. I like change of season although I hope to find a place with moderate changes.

    by Jennifer — February 25, 2020

  32. Clyde – thanks for the info on CT. I grew up there in a part of Fairfield County that wasn’t wealthy back in the 1950s-70s. When I was considering retirement I thought about going back to CT for a brief minute. Funny how the place you were a kid somehow is always “home”. I just assumed the cost of living, taxes and housing prices would probably be higher than I wanted for a retirement destination. Your posting proves that if people dig deeper, they might be pleasantly surprised.

    An amusing tip on traffic, which is obviously not just a NY or CA problem. I spent a few years in Charlotte, NC before I retired. It would take me 1-1/2 hr of sitting in traffic during rush hour, to get to my office about 20 miles from my residence. Once when my kids visited, they pointed out all of the broken glass on the ground at every intersection. I hadn’t noticed that before, but began to pay attention. It seemed to be present almost everywhere! Perhaps it’s an indicator of bad drivers, people trying to save a minute and run lights — or just lousy accident cleanup service. Either way, I’ve discovered it’s good evidence of areas with big traffic problems.

    by Kate — February 25, 2020

  33. Linda, We are in Lakeview Estates in Newtown. There are only about 58 houses in the development. There are also other nice 55+ places in nearby towns. Check for Pennsylvania – Philadelphia area – they list the communities in Bucks, Montgomery, and other counties in the Phila area. Also check the Allentown area, there are a couple of nice looking communities up near Bethlehem. One thing, property taxes here while a less than in NJ aren’t cheap like places down south (in the Myrtle Beach area they can be as low as $600.00 a year for a house !) In Bucks, they say New Hope has the Lowest property taxes. One thing we learned living in SC was that higher local taxes (not NJ high though) pay for better first responder services, better libraries, better roads, etc. Pa’s lower income tax makes the property taxes a wash.

    by Jean — February 25, 2020

  34. We were both born and raised in Southern California, and have watched it devolve over seventy years. However, we have bought and sold second homes in New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, Georgia, and Oregon over the years and still have returned to San Diego for our retirement. As you know, you cannot beat the weather. The traffic can be dealt with in retirement by avoiding going out during high-traffic times. We live in a community with our favorite stores near to us–all deliver if needed. We’ve had a fantasy over the years that small towns were nicer (they are in the Midwest) but human nature remains the same everywhere. I wish that California could return to its conservative roots, but the reality is that the whole country is moving to the left. Therefore, we will remain here after exploring everywhere else!

    by Chuck & Lindy Robbins — February 25, 2020

  35. Linda, I answered your Q above but just thought of a few other things. We rented a townhouse in Pa for a little over a year before buying. It was a good experience and once we decided that this is where we’d buy made house hunting a lot more convenient. Also, a relative recently sold their NJ house and rented a townhouse in NJ , they are now in the processing of purchasing in Easton, Pa.

    by Jean — February 25, 2020

  36. Lest anyone think there is a blanket property tax deferral for senior homeowners in California, it is actually pretty limited. I wish there were such a deferral, but sadly, that’s not the case.

    by Joannc — February 25, 2020

  37. I’m surprised and disappointed that The Villages, FL is not on the list. A community with over 700 golf holes (the most in the world), nearly 200 pickleball courts, almost 100 swimming pools, over 30 recreation centers, and over 3000 clubs and activities deserves to be recognized.

    Editor’s Comment: Good point Bart, The Villages is an amazing place. This list was meant to be about cities and towns, rather than communities (yes, TV is a bit of both!). It did make our Most Popular Communities in Florida list.

    by Bart — June 28, 2020

  38. Thank you all for taking the time to write about your experiences !

    I currently live on the East End of Long Island New York. (Expensive and crowded) Within two years I need to make a decision as to where my Retirement life will be. I was planning on one of the southern coast state due to warmer climate. After visiting a few states and reading a lot of experiences here, and other sites … I’m rethinking everything. I would like to work part time plus have decent medical , stores, ect. I have family in New Hampshire but I can’t handle the snow and cold. I’m torn lol
    I was wondering for any snowbirds out there how it works for them and the expenses

    by Bernadette — June 30, 2020

  39. Thank you all for taking the time to write about your experiences ! I currently live on the East End of Long Island New York. Within two years I need to make a decision as to where my Retirement life will be. I was planning on one of the southern coast state due to warmer climate. After visiting a few states and reading a lot of experiences here, and other sites … I’m rethinking everything. I would like to work part time plus have decent medical , stores, ect. Tax friendly we have pension, military and iras) I have family in New Hampshire but I can’t handle the snow and cold. I’m torn lol
    I was wondering for any snowbirds out there how it works for them and the expenses

    by Bernadette — June 30, 2020

  40. Regarding retiring to the southeast coast = I would not let some of the comments made on this site regarding southerns not believing in ‘science and medicine’ stop you from following your plan because frankly, they are absurd. We retired to the Charleston area and lived there for ten years. We found our medical care to be far superior compared to where we were living (not in the south). In addition, we found that people were especially welcoming towards the military (doesn’t occur in all places). As for weather, summers were hot and humid, but mild winters yet cold enough to make you believe in four seasons. The savings in taxes and home cost was enormous. My advice is to check things out for yourself and not rely on someone else’s opinion, especially if they have no actual experience living in the region they are commenting on.

    by Alice — July 1, 2020

  41. Bernadette, Wherever you decide consider renting in that area for at least a year. It will give you a chance to see what life is like in the area and also give you a chance to explore the area and find the neighborhood that’s right for you. States like Florida and Georgia are both tax-friendly for retirees are geographically diverse like NY is. We did a lot of exploring in the southern states and rented in SC for a little over a year but in the end decided on Buck County, Pa. where retirement income isn’t taxed although local taxes are relatively high. Our decision was partly to be closer to family and old friends (all in NJ) and partly because we were too uses to living in the NYC suburbs adjust to some aspects of southern living. We will head south in the winter for a month or so depending upon how mild the winter is up here.

    by Jean — July 1, 2020

  42. Question from Hyll:
    Is there a program that I can plug in what I am looking for to figure out where to retire?

    A: Thanks for your question. We do have the Retirement Ranger which asks you 10 questions and presents you with some options based on your responses. You can take it over and over again and refine your options. It is free.

    by Admin — July 15, 2020

  43. Hell Hyll,

    In addition to the retirement ranger, I have found some useful tools on the below website to help narrow down your selection process:

    Good luck, Danno

    by Danno — July 16, 2020

  44. For people who are seeking a warmer weather and a laid back lifestyle Texas is the ideal destination. Texas has the most affordable hosing, lower tax rates, and ample of leisure activities. Along, with that cities like Sugar Land offers both business as well as job opportunities for retirees looking to launch a second career. Along, with that the state also houses some of the best hospitals and doctors, which can help you manage your health condition and that too at an affordable rate.

    by Jenna — January 19, 2021

  45. 1: No one under age 60 should be writing about where to retire, and even those who are older should be well traveled around the US first. (Yes, that b-me :-)…
    2: If you are well off financially, you can stop reading any of this, b/c if you can afford it, there’s only one State to retire to/in: Yep, Hawaii. With money you just get on a plane and go anywhere you want from there, and/or you pay travel expenses to have family come there, staying in your nice place.
    3: If you have kids or grand-kids nearby you now, that you are close with (then count your richest of blessings); leaving that there, no matter where “there” is, could indicate you need a brain scan :-)…
    4: However, for the vast majority of retirees or those near to it; options cannot be made, based upon the people that live, wherever you’re thinking of moving to. People come and go; everywhere on Earth that humans congregate, there you will find the kind & caring, and also the jerks & haters. A few bad experiences does not define and entire city and over decades there.
    5: Then there are those who are active, versus those who are sedentary; those who are health conscious, versus those who just gets pills whenever they feel bad, which of course will be often if you do not take care of yourself! Capish?!
    Therefore, such a magical place has to be based, first, on the above criteria. But some common sense priorities should be considered upfront, no matter where one is pondering a move to.
    For the elderly especially, it should be clean outdoor air as a first and nonnegotiable priority. We as individuals cannot control daily outdoor air quality (we can filter indoor air & water), and if you are outdoors active (like me), or not, air quality impacts health in a host of differing ways; too many to mention herein. Web search with keywords: health impacts of air pollution! An hour of researching the medical & gov sites alone, will change your mind about it today.
    If you feel confident that you will still be around in 2040> then researching the impacts of climate change on a particular location should also be included or calculated in your choice options.
    Hospitals and doctors, and care homes and nurses are everywhere, and Medicare & Medicaid are nationwide programs.
    Logic therefore dictates that one moves where the things that an individual cannot control, are optimal; that is, outdoor air quality, cost of living (overall), and area crime rates.
    Weather? Way more people die from overheating than freezing. Cold weather activities are excellent for your health, especially in your ancestors trace back to Europe, where they thrived in snow for millennia. Resources: American Lung Association’s Cleanest Cities & the IQ Air app &/or website.

    by Paul Anderson — November 15, 2021

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