Are you one of the thousands of Americans who are nearing retirement but are, well, not awfully affluent? Don’t despair. There are places you could retire to where you would have a very nice life but on an affordable budget. In fact, you could live in any of the following cities for just $30,000 a year and yet be comfortable.
1. Daytona/Deltona/Ormond Beach, Florida
This city of 514,450 people boasts a median home price of just $108,900. It has a median mortgage payment of just $416 and the median property tax is only $1161. There is no state tax on pensions nor on Social Security. Daytona/Deltona/Ormond Beach offers good weather and beaches. The atmosphere is relaxed and the city is extremely affordable. It offers easy access to the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic as well as to freshwater making it a fisherman’s paradise.
2. Pocatello Idaho
Pocatello’s population is 85,500. It has a median home price of $127,500 and a median mortgage payment of $487. There is no state tax in Idaho on Social Security but there is one on pensions with some exemptions. If you love to ski, Pocatello would be a great choice. It’s very close to the ski area, Pebble Creek and people age 66 and older can get an all-day lift ticket for just $26. Plus, Pocatello has some 1000 miles of hiking and biking trails as well as white-water rafting and kayaking.
3. Greenville, South Carolina
Property taxes in Greenville average $753 a year. Utilities and gasoline prices are also much cheaper than big cities. The population of Greenville is 60,709 and its median home price is $127,600. South Carolina has a state tax on Social Security but not on pensions. The median property tax in Greenville is $753. Greenville’s Metropolitan Arts Council and Upstate Visual Arts has numerous public events that focus on the visual arts. This includes First Friday Art Walk, West Greenville Arts Festival and Greenville Open Studios. It has some noteworthy art museums and its music scene includes live performances by local Jazz, Country and Rock bands.
4. Grand Rapids, Michigan
If you’re attracted by a sense of community, Grand Rapids has it in abundance. Its population is 782,100 and its median home price is $114,200. The median mortgage payment is $436. And the city’s median property tax is $1830. Michigan has no state tax on Social Security but does tax pensions with some exemptions. The international Art Prize competition brings world-class art to downtown Grand Rapids and during the summer you can get good, fresh produce at the Fulton Street Farmers market.
5. Bangor, Maine
Maine also does not tax Social Security but does tax pensions with some exemptions. Bangor’s population is 149,630 and the median home price is $110,400. Bangor’s median property tax is $1303. Bangor winters can be awful but one couple pays just $91 per month for heat on a budget plan. The area offers ample recreational and entertainment options. There is also a lively arts scene and much hiking, biking and paddling – thanks to the Penobscot River.
6. South Bend, Indiana
If you’re any kind of a college football fan you know about South Bend as it’s home to Notre Dame. It’s also the home of 316,000 people and its median home price is an amazing $82,500. While South Bend is known mostly for Notre Dame, which does have a major influence on the city, it also offers retirees a lot with low cost housing, minimal property taxes and abundant recreational opportunities. South Bend’s median property tax is just $846 and Indiana does not tax Social Security earnings. South Bend has been working to clean up its down-at-the heels image and has created a fledgling riverwalk along the St. Joseph River that includes the country’s first artificial whitewater for rafting.
7. Erie, Pennsylvania
This gateway to the Great Lakes has a population of 278,600, a median home price of $106,600 and a median mortgage payment of just $407. Yes, you read that write. Its median home mortgage is $407. Erie is located about 100 miles from Buffalo, NY and Cleveland, OH. It’s rich in history and its real treasure is Presque State Park. This park includes a seven mile peninsula of beautiful Lake Erie beaches. The city also offers numerous entertainment options.
8. Louisville, Kentucky
This is one of our most affordable large cities with a population of 1,250,000 and a median property tax of $1116. There is no Kentucky tax on Social Security but there is a tax on pensions with certain exceptions. Louisville is big on both arts and culture. It calls itself the “City of Parks” as it has 18 that were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. If you’re not familiar with Olmsted he is the landscape architect that designed New York City’s Central Park. Louisville is also home to the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs racetrack, the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, and the Urban Bourbon Trail. All told, Louisville is one of the most affordable big cities in America.
9. Sherman/Denison, Texas
If you love great barbecue, you will definitely like Sherman/Denison, Texas. The city’s population is 120,800 and its median home price is a very modest $79,400. Sherman/Dennison’s median mortgage payment is $303 and Texas levies no taxes on either Social Security or pensions. Sherman/Denison is the home of the Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge with its remarkable 338 species of birds, 60 species of reptiles, 36 species of mammals, and amphibians and 61 species of fish. It offers some of the cheapest housing costs in the US, along with the recreational appeal of nearby Lake Texoma.
10. Pueblo, Colorado
You’d probably never guess this but Pueblo with its population of 158,000 is one of the countries biggest steel producers. It has a median home price of $102,000 and a median mortgage payment of just $392. The median property tax in Pueblo is $765 and, unfortunately, Colorado does tax Social Security earnings. This desert community is considered to be a real bargain among Colorado’s sprawling cities. Skiers can be on world-class snow in less than two hours. Plus, Pueblo’s climate is blissfully temperate. And it has unexpected delights such as the Arkansas River Project, an impressive library, archaeological treasures and expanding healthcare options.
In the final analysis the “best” of anything basically comes down to a judgment call. As an example of this, here’s a video that showcases five other ”best” cities for a person’s golden years.