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What's Your Ideal Place to Retire: 10 Best Places to Retire in the United States

10 best places to retire blog image

Retirement is a period of transition. For most Americans, it represents a shift from a career or entrepreneurship to more personal downtime. Apart from more time to do what they want, many people focus on other retirement lifestyle decisions, such as where to live. If you are thinking about relocation, you may want to look at communities with a number of features:

  • Lower costs-of-living
  • Enjoyable climate conditions
  • Personally-enriching cultural and educational opportunities
  • Ways to sustain physical wellness and be socially active


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Association of Realtors, and Forbes, top retirement locations for baby boomers tend to have sunnier weather. But this isn’t the only relocation concern affecting retired and soon-to-be-retired Americans. Other retirement hotspots could feature low unemployment, a healthy economy, favorable tax climate, efficient crime deterrence, and ease-of-access to healthcare.

If you are considering new living settings, here are ten, top-ranking destinations which might fit your lifestyle preferences.

Evaluation Criteria for Best Places to Retire

These communities were evaluated using a variety of criteria:

  • Cost-of-living, communicated in index terms, with 100 being the national average
  • Unemployment statistics, with no place being above 5.3%
  • Median home prices, as a measure of economic vibrancy and equity growth prospects
  • State tax conditions, including income tax favorability for pensions and Social Security payments, estate tax liability, and inheritance tax liability
  • Violent crime rates, expressed as incidents of crime per 100,000 residents, with a national average of 366 crimes per 100,000 people
  • Access to healthcare services, expressed as an index of doctor availability, with 100 being the national average


With that said, let’s get into some of the different locations retired Americans are making their home. You can also see the full list from Forbes here.

Some of the Top Best Places to Retire

With no particular community ranking in order of one to ten, here are 10 attractive locations for retired life. We have attempted to include communities throughout different regions of the United States in order to give you an idea of the versatility and communal diversity that is available. You can read up on and learn more about other top-ranked communities at Forbes’ Best Places to Retire column:

Abilene, Texas

abilene tx

Photo courtesty of Wikimedia.

Population: 120,000 residents
Cost-of-living index: 83
Median home price: $156,000
Doctors per capita index: 66
Serious crime incidence: 337 crimes/100,000 residents

Fargo, North Dakota

fargo nd

Creative commons photo source.

Population: 116,000 residents
Cost-of-living index: 98
Median home price: $192,000
Doctors per capita index: 82
Serious crime incidence: 354 crimes/100,000 residents

Athens, Georgia

athens georgia

Creative commons photo source.

Population: 120,000 residents
Cost-of-living index: 99
Median home price: $145,000
Doctors per capita index: 70
Serious crime incidence: 140 crimes/100,000 residents

Cape Coral, Florida

cape coral fl 

Creative commons photo source.

Population: 166,000 residents
Cost-of-living index: 96
Median home price: $210,000
Doctors per capita index: 66
Serious crime incidence: 143 crimes/100,000 residents

Corvallis, Oregon

 corvallis oregon

Creative commons photo source.

Population: 57,000 residents
Cost-of-living index: 121
Median home price: $280,000
Doctors per capita index: 102
Serious crime incidence: 130 crimes/100,000 residents

Meridian, Idaho

merdian idaho

Photo courtesy of Shelly Houston.

Population: 85,000 residents
Cost-of-living index: 106
Median home price: $203,000
Doctors per capita index: 84
Serious crime incidence: 81 crimes/100,000 residents

Lexington, Kentucky

lexington ky

Photo courtesty of Lexington-Lafayette Urban County HRC.

Population: 308,000 residents
Cost-of-living index: 95
Median home price: $152,000
Doctors per capita index: 74
Serious crime incidence: 334 crimes/100,000 residents

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

pittsburgh pa

Population: 306,000 residents
Cost-of-living index: 84
Median home price: $140,000
Doctors per capita index: 104
Serious crime incidence: 798 crimes/100,000 residents

Traverse City, Michigan

traverse city michigan

Population: 15,000 residents
Cost-of-living index: 98
Median home price: $166,000
Doctors per capita index: 104
Serious crime incidence: 304 crimes/100,000 residents

Colorado Springs, Colorado

colorado springs co

Population: 440,000 residents
Cost-of-living index: 101
Median home price: $243,000
Doctors per capita index: 89
Serious crime incidence: 458 crimes/100,000 residents

Planning for Relocation: Getting Your Personalized Income Strategy in Order

No matter where you live, an important part of how you pay for your retirement lifestyle is your income planning strategy. Not only do you need to have a set plan for covering monthly living expenses, but also your discretionary lifestyle spending – such as on vacations, hobbies, eating out, and other personal luxuries.

Many Americans have found financial confidence and peace of mind in securing the fixed-income portion of their expenses with permanent, lifelong income strategies. This means sitting down, developing a comprehensive plan for your retirement lifestyle, determining how you will pay for your preferred lifestyle on a monthly basis, and what income vehicles you will use to fund it.

Working with an independent retirement income strategist will go a long way toward the goal of financial security. We invite you to schedule a no-obligation, goal-setting appointment with a financial professional.

Use our Find a Licensed Advisor section to connect directly with an independent financial professional, and to request a personal strategy session to discuss your needs and goals. And should you have any questions or concerns, call 877.476.9723.

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