September 15, 2015 — Lists of great places to retire are a commonplace these days – but it is novel to see one which includes places that haven’t been mentioned before. Money has done just that with their list of “Best Places to Retire for 2015“. Their complete list has 25 great towns; we are going to review the Top 10 on the list here. We like how they described the list: “These 25 towns offer a wealth of opportunities for enjoying your life after work—without cracking your nest egg”.
The Money list has different categories – Best places for the arts, best places for the outdoors, best places for golf. One of the main attributes of the list was that the towns should not be prohibitively expensive. None of them are that, although many feature a median cost of home that is at or near the national median ($229,400 according to the National Association of Realtors® in 2015’s 2nd Q). Some of these towns have been on various Topretirements.com lists before – many have not! Click on the name of the town to see the complete Topretirements city review.
The Top 10
1. St. George, Utah. Scenic St. George in southwestern Utah made the list as the winner of “The Great Outdoors”. No wonder about that, with the Grand Canyon, Zion, and many other natural wonders nearby. About a third of the population is over age 50, there are many active adult communities to choose from, and according to the article, there are 182 miles of biking trails. City-Data.com reported the median sales price of a home to be just under $250,000, a bit more than reported by Money.
2. Richland, Washington. This town in southeastern Washington was the runner up for “The Great Outdoors”. The folks who live here at the junction of the Yakima and Columbia rivers enjoy kayaking, fishing, mountain biking, hiking, etc. Richland has developed several waterfront parks, along with a scenic 23-mile bike trail along the rivers. Many enjoy visiting local wineries as well. City-Data.com reported the median sales price of a home was $190,000 in late 2014. Ed. note: This is the first time we have ever seen Richland mentioned as a place to retire – welcome!
3. Vail, Arizona. No, not that Vail – this one is in Arizona. Located about 22 miles east of Tucson in the Rincon Mountains, the altitude helps cool off Arizona’s summers a little bit. Median home price in 2014 was about $220,000; the population is just over 10,000. This was another “Great Outdoors” runnerup.
4. Fayetteville, Arkansas. A college town, it is home to the University of Arkansas. The downtown area is referred to as “The Square”. Fayetteville is also on the shores of a lake (Beaver Lake). Money cited a strong economy as a good reason to retire here (it is not far from Bentonville, home of Wal-Mart). The nearby Ozarks are another good reason to like living in Fayetteville. Median home price was $180,000 in 2014.
5. Mt. Juliet, Tennessee. This prosperous town and suburb just outside Nashville is situated on 2 lakes: Old Hickory and Percy Priest. Providence Marketplace is a new, large-scale commercial and residential development on the city’s southern side. Median home price was $165,000 (Money said it was over $200k) in this town of 14,000.
6. Boise, Idaho is the surprise winner in the Arts category, in part because there are 17 museums within 30 miles. One-third of the population is over 50, which means baby boomers should fit right in. A fairly large pedestrian zone on 8th street has street side cafes and restaurants, lending Boise a slightly European feel. A The great outdoors is also spectacular in the region. The NAR reported a median home price of $190,000 in 2015’s 2nd quarter.
7. Santa Fe, New Mexico is definitely a cultural hotbed, as it features over 300 galleries and a dozen museums, including one dedicated to local icon Georgia O’Keefe. Folks come here for the art, climate, and music. Homes are more expensive than most towns on the list, but considering the locale and the scene it is attractive. City-Data.com reported median home price of $350,000, while Money said it was more like $250,000.
8. Greenville, SC is a hot place to retire these days, and we are not just talking about the weather. A cultural center, Greenville hosts 10 music, food, and art festivals a year. Real estate taxes are lower than most people from other regions are used to. Median home price according to NAR was $179,500 in mid 2015. The economy is strong with many foreign companies like BMW setting up shop here.
9. Dover in tax-friendly Delaware is another of Money’s Arts Runnersup. Museums in this, Delaware’s second largest city, include The Schwartz Center for the Arts and Biggs Museum of American Art. There are 2 colleges and an Air Force base make this attractive to military retirees. Median home price is $190,800 according to the NAR.
10. Chattanooga, Tennessee is located on the Tennessee River and near the Appalachian Mountains. The city’s 21st Century Waterfront Plan is a $120 million redevelopment to transform the Chattanooga waterfront and downtown area. The Riverwalk is a 13 mile trail along the river. Home prices at $155,200 (NAR) are well below the national median.
The rest of the 25 towns on the Money list are worth learning more about – it is a good list. They include some unusual choices like Northfield (MN), Lexington (KY), Bellingham (WA), and Prattville (AL).
More articles about great places to retire on a budget:
Affordable Places to Retire on the Waterfront, Part 1
Affordable Places to Retire on the Waterfront, Part 2
10 Affordable and More Best Places to Retire
20 Great and Affordable Towns to Retire
8 More Affordable Places to Retire
Most Tax-Friendly Places to Retire
Sandy’s Adventures Part II: How Anyone Can Find an Affordable Place to Retire
More Affordable Places to Retire – A Reading List
Comments? Do you have experiences with any of these towns that you can share? How about other affordable towns you would recommend. Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below.