Top Areas to Retire in the United States that Won’t Break the Bank

Retiring is a very important and rewarding event in one’s life, so planning carefully is crucial. Although saving money is almost always at the top of the list, you should also consider where you will retire so that you can feel comfortable, both physically and financially. Here are some ideas of locations in the United States that are perfect for retiring.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh went through a rough patch for a while once the steel manufacturing industry went down, but these days, thanks to the city’s investments in medicine and education, it’s been completely revitalized. Accessible, high-quality healthcare and plenty of classes for seniors make Pittsburgh a great option for retirement. The cost of living here is 8.5% less than the national average, and thanks to low property prices, it’s possible to plan early and pay off your home long before you retire.

Indianapolis, Indiana

If you’re a fan of big-city living but you hate the idea of paying big-city prices for everything from a nice dinner to property, Indianapolis is the place for you. Although it’s the largest and most heavily-populated city in all of Indiana, it still has a reputation for being “sleepy”, which may suit retired individuals and couples quite well. The cost of living in Indianapolis is 12.8% below the national average.

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Although Tulsa may not seem like every retiree’s dream, there are a few perks on offer. First and foremost, this state doesn’t tax your Social Security income, which means that you can potentially save thousands of dollars over your lifetime. What’s more, assisted living costs are well below the national average. You’ll find everything from theaters and museums to high-quality shopping, and the cost of living in Tulsa is 11.6% less than the national average.

Tampa, Florida

Moving to Florida following your retirement may seem a bit cliché, but Tampa has a few perks that no other Florida city can offer. Believe it or not, the cost of living is actually 7.6% less than the national average, which means you won’t pay a fortune for your everyday needs, including groceries and utilities. It’s close to Disney World, which is a huge perk if you have grandkids, and places like Sarasota and St. Petersburg are just a short drive away.

Omaha, Nebraska

Omaha came in at number three in the Milken Institute’s “Best Cities for Successful Aging” report in 2014, and for good reason. The healthcare access is absolutely amazing thanks in part to the state’s relatively low population, and with some of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, it’s a great place for anyone who wants to continue working after retirement. It’s a bit chilly on average in Omaha with average high temperatures of only about 50 degrees, but the cost of living is 11.7% less than the national average and there is plenty to see and do.

Your retirement is supposed to be the start of the best time of your life, so it’s important to make sure that you retire in a place that won’t drain your entire savings. Any of the five cities above are great choices for your retirement since they are affordable, large enough to offer everything you could need, and still relatively safe.

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What Scares People the Most About Retirement

Many adults spend a good number of their working years anxiously awaiting retirement, only to find out that when they get there, the prospect is actually scary. Retirement frightens people for a number of reasons, many of which you may find very surprising.

Loss of Importance

Regardless of how much people like or dislike their jobs, the fact is that most workers do feel valued to some degree. This is especially true of people in occupations such as teachers who have the ability to influence others. Once these people leave the workforce, they often feel as though their ability to make a difference has dwindled. This may account for why a good number of retirees elect to work part time or volunteer for a non-profit agency.

Fear of not Having Money

Those who are making a comfortable living may actually dread the prospect of retirement because they are afraid they will not be able to make ends meet. Retirement often means living on a very fixed income, yet does not necessarily mean that expenses go down as income increases. In fact, many seniors notice an increase in health care costs or insurance premiums, and therefore struggle to pay their monthly bills. The fear of not having enough money is especially high among those with little or no savings to fall back on during hard times. Those who are in very good health may also worry about outliving their retirement savings and being unable to survive once that money is gone.

Loneliness and Depression

Seniors who are divorced or have already lost a spouse may look forward to spending time with co-workers each day. With their children gone, these people may simply not want to sit at home by themselves for extended periods. This is especially true among people who are not involved in church groups or other extra-curricular activities. Loneliness can lead to an increased risk of depression, and is thought to play a role in the fact that in the United States, more than 17 adults age 65 and older commit suicide each day.

Being Unable to Remain Independent

Going to work each day requires people to remain independent to some degree. As such, many retirees worry that they will no longer feel comfortable driving a car or performing certain other daily activities. They may worry about their health deteriorating because they are no longer as active as they once were. There is also the possibility of experiencing memory loss if thinking skills are not engaged on a regular basis. For those who are concerned about the detrimental effects of a sedentary lifestyle, the idea of continuing to work long past retirement age is often one of life and death.

People are frightened by the prospect of retiring for a number of reasons. If you are approaching retirement age, it is important for you to address these and other concerns if you are to face this life-changing event as seamlessly as possible.

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Where not to Live when you Retire if you Want to Stretch your Dollar

Everyone dreams of retiring and living comfortably for the rest of his or her life. That may be easier said than done when choosing certain cities, which are known for being especially expensive for retirees.

New York City

Rent in New York City is among the highest in the nation, making it difficult for retirees to make ends meet. In addition, laws concerning rent control and rent stabilization have fluctuated over the years, providing little relief to working-class families or retirees. Doctor’s visit are also more expensive, costing an average of $163 in Manhattan. The higher cost of utilities, rent, and healthcare cannot compensate for the fact that most New York City residents rely exclusively on public transportation and therefore do not need to own an automobile.

San Francisco

With an average home costing more than $800,000, buying property is out of reach financially for most San Francisco retirees. Renters are no better off, as the average cost of an apartment in San Francisco is more than $3,700 monthly. The cost of healthcare is also through the roof, with an average doctor visit costing around $125. Add to that the high cost of groceries and transportation, and it’s easy to see that retirees will have a difficult time making ends meet in the City by the Bay.

Honolulu, Hawaii

Although the idea of retiring to a tropical paradise such as Honolulu sounds appealing, it won’t be practical for most seniors. The average home price is more than $742,000, with monthly rent being around $2,700. While Hawaii does not have a sales tax, it does levy an excise tax on all goods and services. For most people, this cumulative tax winds up costing people far more money than what a sales tax would. Since nearly everything must be flown in, the average cost of goods is already higher than in the Continental U.S., so this additional excise tax only adds insult to injury.

San Jose, California

San Jose’s average home price is around $783,000, which is slightly less than San Francisco’s. However, the average energy cost in San Jose is higher, being $243 per month vs. $172 in San Francisco. The lack of affordable public transportation also means that retirees must own a car in order to get around, and will have to deal with gas prices that are well above the national average. The cost of food and health care in San Jose and San Francisco are relatively the same.

Stamford, Connecticut

Its location less than an hour from Manhattan means that Stamford attracts people who long for the big city, yet want a little less noise and confusion. This has resulted in an average home price of $575,000, which is far higher than the national average. Stamford is also known for high energy and food costs, and the state of Connecticut has the fourth-highest health insurance premium rates in the country according to a study performed by the Commonwealth Fund.

While these cities are expensive for retirees, they are not totally off limits. Those who plan carefully can still manage to retire in these cities, although they may have significantly less cash to splurge with each month by doing so.

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Why It’s Never Too Early to Start Thinking about Retirement

Oftentimes, individuals and couples who are in their mid-20s all the way up to their early 40s believe that they have many, many years left to worry about what they’ll do when they retire. However, the truth is that the earlier you start planning, the better off you’ll be when the time finally comes. Here are some ideas of what you should be doing at every single age to help you make the most of your golden years.

When You’re Still in Your 20s

At this age, you’ve recently graduated from college and you’ve only just started out in your career. Your starting salary combined with your student loans (and most people have them) doesn’t leave much left to save. Nonetheless, your 20s is the perfect time to start developing good savings habits and perhaps even the basis for your life savings. The idea is to get used to the idea of saving, so even if you can only afford to put back $20 a paycheck, do it. What’s more, make the most of your 401(k) plan if your employer offers one. It’s free money that you’ll appreciate 40 or 50 years down the road.  

In Your 30s and 40s

During these years, it might seem that keeping your head above water is a struggle, especially if you have kids, a mortgage, multiple car payments, health insurance, and college payments. At this point in your life, it is important to keep taking advantage of that 401(k) plan, and you might even want to start considering long-term retirement savings accounts that provide an outstanding interest rate. What’s more, look into a pre-tax health expense account to help you cover the costs of prescription medications and more. Speak to your bank or financial advisor for more information about these.

During Your 50s and 60s

Once the mortgage is paid off and the kids have moved on into their own adult lives, you might find that your 50s and 60s provide you with the best income of your life. These are the years when you should make even larger deposits into your savings accounts and consider investing in other sources like savings bonds, real estate, the stock market, and more. The more diverse your investments, the better the odds that they’ll eventually pay off. Remember to start considering your healthcare costs, and make sure that they’re factored into the amount you want to save for retirement.

When You Reach Retirement Age

Once you reach the age of 62, you can officially retire and collect your Social Security check, pensions (if you qualify), and other money that you’ve saved all of your life. Before you make it official, though, take a serious look at your expenses and make sure that the income stream you’ve planned will cover them all. In some cases, it may make sense to wait until age 70 to retire, and this is particularly true if you weren’t able to meet your retirement savings goals.

You should start thinking about retirement as soon as you earn your very first paycheck. Even if you have very, very little to save, you can start getting into the habit of budgeting your money and making your savings account a necessity.

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