El Paso, Texas
Texas is a large state with something for everyone. But when it comes to where you’ll want to put down roots, El Paso seems to be the best place for seniors to settle down.
Not only is West Texas known for its beautiful landscape, striking sunsets, awe-inspiring mountains, and moderate weather, but seniors can live on a budget with ease. The median amount for rent is under $800.
Housing costs are also relatively cheap, coming in at around $1,100 on average for seniors who prefer to purchase a home. Living in El Paso has its perks since there are benefits of big-city living, such as lots to do, but it has more of a small-town feel, which isn’t overwhelming for seniors.
Relaxed, laid-back, and free of high crime rates and big-city traffic, life moves a little slower in El Paso. It may feel a bit safer for seniors who are on their own or don’t have family nearby.
Seniors who live in El Paso that were surveyed seemed to be happy with their lives in this homey Texas town. El Paso has been frequently listed on many lists of best cities to retire, especially when it comes to affordability.
Another upside of moving to El Paso is that healthcare seems to be just a tad cheaper than other places; around 11% less on average, according to GOBankingRates.com.
One of the reasons that you’ll frequently see El Paso pop up on Top 10 lists of best places to retire is the simple reason that everything is accessible. For seniors who don’t drive frequently or don’t drive at all, El Paso has a thriving downtown area where everything is conveniently located.
US News ranks El Paso as the number five city to retire to. This is again a situation where affordability is mentioned, but it’s not just about that.
For seniors who are still active with time on their hands, there are numerous volunteer opportunities in El Paso. This is due to the large amount of nonprofits located in the city.
In El Paso, seniors can pass the time enjoying the weather on multiple golf courses, walking, hiking, and biking trails, pools, and baseball games- the El Paso Chihuahuas have a beautiful stadium.
For seniors who aren’t as into the outdoors, the city is host to live theatre, ballet, museums, live music, the symphony, movies, and lectures.
Enjoy the local libraries, and get state-of-the-art healthcare at multiple medical facilities. Seniors who enjoy food will love El Paso; it’s a perfect place for foodies and is known as the best city in Texas to enjoy authentic Mexican food, which is no surprise considering its location so close to the Mexican border.
El Paso has its own airport for seniors who like to travel, and many types of public transportation. Nicknamed the “Sun City,” believe it or not, El Paso is sunny roughly 300 days of the year!
Constant sunshine is certain to keep the blues at bay, and for seniors who tend to get Seasonal Affective Disorder, the weather is a huge bonus.
With lots to do for busy seniors, low housing costs, gorgeous weather, and amazing food, what’s not to love about El Paso?
When it comes to seniors who want to stay active, Portland, Oregon, is the perfect place to be. This lively city is full of things to do, and monthly rents run about $1,100 on average.
Portland is known for being an outdoor-friendly city, with plenty of walking trails and outside activities for seniors who like being outside and enjoying the numerous things the city has to offer, including beautiful gardens.
As far as best places to retire along the West Coast, Portland is often one of the top mentioned. Reasons for this include a low overall cost of living, excellent healthcare, and an arts scene that keeps seniors interested in culture busy.
It may not be the best place for seniors on a budget who don’t plan to be active in the community, since there are a lot of things for seniors to do in order to thrive in this city.
There’s also many opportunities for volunteering, which can boost seniors’ happiness index when they feel they are making positive contributions to others and to the community overall.
Another reason Portland is a hit is because the city is simply beautiful. In just this one city, you can enjoy everything from forests to mountains to lakes to the Pacific Ocean. Natural beauty is at its best in Portland.
If you’re kind of an artsy person who enjoys not only art but culture in general, such as live music, trendy food, wine, and crafts, you may love the cool vibe of this welcoming, friendly, peaceful city.
Portland is also popular for retirees because you can easily give up your vehicle without worrying about how you’ll get from place to place, especially if it’s becoming stressful or dangerous for you to drive as you age.
Many seniors enjoy riding bicycles in Portland, which is a popular way for people of all ages to get around. This is a low-impact form of exercise for seniors that can keep retirees healthy as well as keep them from getting behind the wheel.
Spend a day at the beach, go for a wine tasting at the 200-plus vineyards available, take a bike ride with a view of the mountains, or just take in the beauty of the everyday surroundings.
As far as Portland weather goes, for seniors who love experiencing all four seasons but hate extreme highs and super-low lows, Portland offers the best of everything.
There is rarely severe or bad weather in Portland, and though it’s not sunny all the time, it’s a nice mix of each season that isn’t overwhelming.
Crime is low in Portland; 27% lower than the national average for seniors who live alone or may be worried about retiring somewhere that’s safe.
Also known as a city that has the feeling of a smaller, more tight-knit community, Portland is friendly, safe, environmentally aware, and offers a wide variety of amenities for seniors with many interests, especially with a focus on the outdoors and staying active.
Though many people think immediately of country music when they think of Nashville, that’s not the only thing this lively city has to offer.
Nashville has become a popular place for seniors to retire, and there are several good reasons why. It’s affordable; you can rent an apartment for under $1,000.
There’s also no state income tax. As you probably imagined, there’s a lot for seniors to do here, even if you’re not the biggest country music fan.
The cultural scene is thriving, but when you’re not in the midst of it, Nashville is home to numerous quaint, quiet, and peaceful neighborhoods that are perfect for retirees.
There are places to play golf, go for a scenic walk, take in plays and other aspects of culture, and enjoy things like farmers’ markets and great restaurants.
Lots of small bars and live music are a large part of the city, and if you enjoy sitting back and listening to all types of music, you’ll love the nightlife in Nashville.
The overall cost of living is fairly low, and the hospitals are known for being top-notch. Thinking about furthering your education? Nashville is home to several universities.
The city is welcoming retirees with open arms, even building entire communities aimed at the over-50 set. Many of these homes will be accessible, making it easier for seniors to purchase houses without having to make additional modifications.
Seniors love the variety of recreational activities that seem to appeal to all tastes, and a moderate, comfortable climate definitely doesn’t hurt.
U.S. News says that it’s a great mix of old, historical culture and modern diversity that make the city an interesting place to live.
Local sports, museums, delicious Southern cooking, and even a full-scale replica of the Parthenon are just a few things that stand out about Nashville.
On the practical front, a low crime rate and access to some of the country’s best healthcare are also top reasons why seniors are headed to the home of country music to settle down.
Everyone talks about retiring in Florida, but nobody really tells you where the best places to retire are. One of those that frequently shows up on “best of” lists happens to be Sarasota.
Sarasota has a little bit of everything for seniors who enjoy different hobbies. There’s the beach, shopping, golf and outdoor activities, a hip nightlife, and plenty of culture.
What’s so great about Sarasota? Since nearly half of its population is seniors, the city kind of caters to its older residents, and seniors are known to have more bustling social lives than the city’s younger residents!
This is a great place for seniors who don’t plan to sit back and let life pass them by. The sunny weather is always beautiful but never too hot, the cost of living is affordable, and there are endless things to do.
Love seafood? Living near the coast doesn’t hurt. Florida offers up some delicious food for seniors who enjoy delicious meals.
The average rent payment per month runs around $1,100, and mortgage payments are typically around $1,400 if seniors decide to buy a home instead of rent.
You can’t beat the beauty of white, sandy beaches for seniors who enjoy the peace and relaxation of being by the ocean.
There’s also no state income tax, which may suit some seniors, depending on what their future plans entail.
When it comes to relaxation, whether you consider yourself an outdoorsy type or not, Sarasota really fits the bill. Life moves slowly in Florida, and seniors will enjoy the relaxed pace of the city.
There’s also a lot of diversity, different types of neighborhoods, multiple types of things to do in a thriving downtown scene, and interesting activities.
There’s literally something for just about every taste in this cultural, entertaining, and beautiful city that’s the perfect place to put up your feet and enjoy your golden years.
Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte, North Carolina, isn’t just a city with a thriving economy. In 2019, Forbes ranked it as the number 5 best city to retire. That’s a pretty big honor, so why is Charlotte such a prime destination for seniors?
The climate is great for seniors who aren’t used to freezing lows or toasty highs. In fact, you may not even need to buy a coat in the winter, but you’ll still get to experience the beauty of changing leaves in the fall and blooming buds in the springtime.
There’s access to plenty of first-rate healthcare in Charlotte, including a myriad of specialty physicians, so you don’t have to worry about finding just the right physician.
When it comes to activities, there’s plenty to do for everyone. If you love shopping, being outdoors, enjoying different types of cuisine, or heading to the ballet or theatre, Charlotte has you covered.
There’s a lively cultural scene that seniors can enjoy. You don’t have to be an outdoors type to love Charlotte, though you will love the weather and may like being outside!
For sports fans, Charlotte is a haven! The city boasts numerous teams including football, basketball, hockey, soccer, and baseball.
Crime is low, and Charlotte is considered one of the safest cities in which to retire, which always gives seniors peace of mind.
There’s a large volunteer community that allows seniors to be a part of the community, which helps prevent loneliness and depression. Seniors can easily make friends and benefit from being social.
Hunting, boating, fishing, alongside culture make this city charming. There’s a wide mix of a historic feeling combined with hip and up-and-coming trends that bring a wide demographic of seniors to Charlotte.
It’s definitely a city you may want to consider if you can’t decide where you’d like to retire and you’re looking for a city with a little of everything.
Should Seniors Retire Somewhere Else?
Where you retire could very well affect the quality of life when it comes to your golden years. You shouldn’t have to live with a lot of stress and anxiety, and you should be able to relax and enjoy yourself in a city you can fall in love with.
You can’t take this decision lightly, and even though there may be certain factors you’re likely to consider as you choose your retirement destination, your happiness must take top priority.
Studies have shown that seniors are happier when they factor in not only financial considerations but fun as well.
Although it’s been said for years that Florida is the ideal retirement place, it may be for some seniors, and it may not be. No city or state is one-size-fits-all.
Though some seniors aren’t retiring at all, or may be retiring at a later age, it’s never too early to start planning for your retirement, putting away money, and making long-term plans so you can make the most of these special years alone or with your spouse, family, and friends.
Let’s face it, you may have one or numerous reasons to retire, but whatever your reasons are, you’re not going to want to commit to multiple moves, for financial reasons and simply because moving is exhausting.
That’s why it’s important to really put long-term thought into considering where you’ll end up. There’s no reason not to maximize your happiness no matter what age you are!
You’ve worked hard your whole life, and you deserve to reap the benefits of that hard work. And, you don’t need a ton of money to live an enjoyable life as you age.
What to Consider When Choosing a Retirement Location
Cost of Living
This is typically many seniors’ number one consideration, and it is an important one. You’ll want to think about where you’ll live and how much your monthly bills will be along with state and local taxes.
Thinking about financial costs includes everything from healthcare costs to the cost of a bill of groceries or a movie ticket. You may enjoy a gym membership, season tickets to the ballet, or going to a live show now and then.
Consider all of these costs when you’re budgeting for what your retirement life will be, and keep in mind the quality of life you want to live. You don’t want to have to pinch every penny.
Access to Amenities
Are hospitals nearby? How far is it to restaurants, movies, and nightlife? Is there a local library, theatre, country club, golf course?
Look up the things you enjoy doing and see if everything is available. You don’t want to worry about driving or getting public transportation if you just want to go grab lunch and shop a bit or head out for a day at the beach.
Make sure you’ll be surrounded by not only people your own age, but likeminded people. If you love certain hobbies, make sure there are others you can share them with.
You should be able to feel a sense of community wherever you retire. These are the friends you’ll make that will last.
See if there’s a social aspect for seniors. Groups or clubs, volunteer organizations, things you can become a part of so you aren’t lonely.
Big or Small?
Are you a city person and don’t plan on changing? Do you love the hustle and bustle of a populated area?
Or, are you hoping to live a life in a quieter place that’s not as busy or fast-paced once you retire?
This is a big consideration. You may desire the feel of an urban or rural environment, so keep that in mind when you’re deciding where to retire.
You may have lived your whole life with bitter winters and never want to see snow again. Or, you may love the feel of all four seasons.
Whatever the case, climate can be a pretty big factor when you’re deciding where to land in your later years.
If you are an outdoors person, you’ll most likely enjoy a calmer climate, but if you like crispy, cool fall and chilly winters, then four seasons may be just the ticket for you.
Always check the crime rate before you move to a new city or town. There’s no reason for you to move to a place where you feel scared or unsafe.
Proximity to Friends and Family
You may decide you don’t want to be away from your kids and grandkids or your best friends. Or at least not be too far away than a car ride or short plane trip.
Keep travel in mind as you move. If you like to travel occasionally, you may want to be near a reputable airport you feel comfortable flying out of.
Hobbies and Interests
There’s no reason to move to the beach if you don’t like the ocean. However, if your dream is sitting on the sand with a cocktail, then retiring seaside makes sense.
Think about how you envision spending your days when you retire, and you’ll get a clearer picture of where you would like to be.
Are you more interested in antiquing, culture, wine tasting, and theatre? Or would you rather take scenic hikes and bike rides? Feel like shopping the days away or enjoying a quaint downtown area?
There are many ways to spend your life now that you’ll have the free time you desire, so make sure every day is a great one.
Where Should You Retire?
Want to spend your days whiling away the afternoons in the sunshine? Then head to Florida or El Paso and enjoy sunshine year-round.
Can’t wait to hear the ocean every day? Sarasota, Charlotte, and Portland could be good picks.
Love the outdoors and want to spend your days hiking, biking, walking, and boating? Head to Portland and soak up the scenery.
Looking for a charming city with a diverse feel that’s unique and welcoming? Charlotte fits the bill.
Enjoy music, quaint neighborhoods, and lots to do? Nashville is the place for you!
Most interested in living cheaply but soaking up culture, too? El Paso has it all!
Like the city but don’t want to feel congested? El Paso may be perfect.
Want to connect with other seniors? Nashville and Sarasota both enjoy their older residents with open arms!
Want to spend your days cheering on sports teams from your season-ticket seats? Charlotte offers just about every type of team you could want!
Love fall, spring, summer, and winter but don’t want to shovel snow? Portland and Charlotte give you the best of all four seasons.
Fret about safety? Nashville, El Paso, and Portland are senior-safe communities.
Frequently Asked Questions About Retirement Spots
How will I know how much the cost of living is?
If you’re seriously considering a major move, it may pay to have your spouse, a relative, or a friend take a weekend trip to visit your dream retirement destination.
This way, you could find out what it may cost to live there. Check out the things you’d do if you were there and track the costs.
Look at some apartments and housing options. Get a feel for how much dining and shopping would cost.
Talk to some locals. If you could afford to, you could even rent an airBnb and spend an extended period before uprooting your life and moving.
How will I know my health will be taken care of?
If you know you have some certain cities in mind to move and you see a specialist where you currently live, talk to your doctor about getting a recommendation.
You could interview potential new doctors over the phone or fly to visit them if you are worried about a serious health condition you need monitored. Most cities have very reputable specialists and great doctors in all fields!
There are also lists online of the best doctors in each city.
What if I want to be close to my kids but I don’t like where they live?
Split the difference. Live close enough to visit frequently, but choose a nearby place you love instead.
There’s no reason for you to spend your retirement years in a city or town you don’t enjoy, and if you select a city with an airport or great train system, you’ll be able to see your family often and still have a happy life.
What if I have no clue where I want to live?
The world is literally your oyster! Start with the things you’d like out of a city, and do some searching online.
It can be as simple as the top 10 lists of cities to retire, or zero in on more specific lists like the best cities in certain states you’re interested in, for example.
If you can afford to retire anywhere you like, you can literally create the life of your dreams. Take your time and weigh all of the factors carefully.
Should I live on my own or in a retirement community?
This is a question only you can answer. If you’re alone and you’re worried about living by yourself, a retirement community may be the perfect solution for you.
If you’re still independent, there are plenty of apartment complexes that cater to seniors. If you need a little help but don’t quite need a rest home, check out assisted living and the benefits it has to offer you.