10 Affordable - And Highly Livable - Places to Retire

6-December-2015 – Key West, Florida – Finding an affordable place to live in retirement has become a real necessity for today’s retirees. That’s because about half of them say they are worried they won’t have enough money for a comfortable retirement. There are plenty of "best places to retire" sites that offer to help. But would you actually want to live somewhere just because it's cheap? Here is a list of 10 affordable place to retire - communities so nice you might actually want to retire there!

High in culture, low in cost of living… but not too cold?We used some fairly strict criteria to develop this list of 10 affordable, and nice, places to live. After all, many places to retire are affordable for a reason. The main criteria we used were: ?– A high or very high cultural environment?– Low or extremely low cost of living ?– Minimum average January temperature of 20 degrees (F.). Not exactly tropical, but we did exclude the coldest cities.

Using the Advanced Search at Topretirements.com, we found 58 towns/cities that met our criteria. That list provided our source for these 10 Most Affordable (and Livable) Towns. For a full list with active links go to 10 Affordable and More Places to Retire:

1. Gulfport, Florida. This cute little town is on the same peninsula as St. Petersburg. There is a small downtown, great community center, Casino (dance hall), and beautiful beaches and bays. It is decidedly low-key, but has the advantage of being just outside St. Pete and its many attractions. Zillow reported $143,200 in 2015. No Florida state income tax is another attraction.
“But would you actually want to live somewhere just because it's cheap? Here is a list of 10 affordable place to retire - communities so nice you might actually want to retire there!”
2. Grand Rapids MI. Located on the eastern side of Lake Michigan, Grand Rapids is doing better than much of Michigan. It has a fairly healthy economy and rich cultural environment. Locals are proud of their city and its many attractions. Median home sold for about $155,400 (NAR). On the downside, winters are chilly here and Michigan’s fiscal woes are real.
3. Greenville, NC. This all-American city is suitable for all ages as well as retirees. The population grew 47% between 2000 and 2013. A college town, East Carolina University has 26,000 students. The county has 20 parks, 4 lakes, and at least 6 golf courses. City-data reported the median home sold for about $150,000.
4. Hattiesburg, MS. This Certified Retirement Community has 2 colleges: The University of Southern Mississippi and William Carey. Residents are proud of the historic District. The Zillow Home Value Index was $132,400 in June, 2015.
5. Des Moines, Iowa. This Midwestern city in the center of Iowa is another college town, thanks to Drake University. It is also an important insurance center. The NAR reported the median home sale at $184,000 in late 2015. Thanks to the Iowa caucuses, politics are an interesting part of life every 4 years.
6. Pittsburgh, PA. The former Steel City is a frequent choice for best place to retire. People like its manageable size, friendly neighborhoods, and inexpensive lifestyle. PA is also friendly to retirees on taxes. The University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie-Mellon are just 2 of the colleges here. The median selling prices of a home was $170,000 in late 2014 according to City-Data.com.
7. Lincoln, Nebraska. It’s the capital of Nebraska with over 250,000 residents. Those who live here are happy to host the Cornhuskers (U of Nebr.) and over 100 parks. The median home sells for $157,900 according to the NAR.?Tulsa Oklahoma
8. Tulsa, OK. This wealthy city is the center of the Oklahoma energy industry and has had quite a recent resurgence. It is proud to have many amazing cultural institutions, including the Philbrook Museum and many others. The city has 135 parks. Crime rate is high overall, like many cities, but has many lovely neighborhoods too. The median home sold for $151,700 in late 2015 according to the NAR.
9. Knoxville, TN. Home of the Vols, the University of Tennesee, this college town is fun and relatively inexpensive. The median home price was $161,200 in 2015 (NAR).
10. Branson, MO. This popular resort town is growing rapidly – +82% from 2000 to 2013. Grandchildren will love to visit because of all the things to do, it bills itself as the “Family Friendly Las Vegas”. You will appreciate the median home price of about $150,000 (late 2014 according to City-Data.com).

Bottom Line? Our list of 10 is by no means exhaustive – there are many more livable and affordable places to retire. Make your own list using Advanced Search to define your own selection criteria, including regional, state, and climate preferences. Go to Topretirements.com to build your own list, or read the many helpful retirement articles in our blog.

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