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Retirement marks an exciting time of transition for many. For a growing number of retirees that have planned accordingly, a new opportunity is presented to them that was previously only reserved for the top 10% of retirees. Rather than ask, “what is the best senior living near me” they can ask, “what are the best cities to retire in?”
Now more than ever, choosing where you will spend the next phase is possible. To help, we’ve compiled a list of the five best cities for seniors to retire. Some of the entries may surprise you, and we hope it helps expand your ideas of what a happy retirement could look like.
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Historically rich and ideally located along the eastern seaboard, many consider Virginia Beach an ideal mix of all four seasons, social activity, and beach coastal living. With family-friendly attractions, it can be a fun option when trying to entice the extended family to come to visit over the holidays.
Home prices are well below the national average of $423,000. Miles of free beach access, cost-free activities, and a stable local economy make the standard of living very high.
Virginia Beach weather is the epitome of east coast living. You get all four seasons without the extremes. The average low is 35 degrees in winter. The summers will run an average of 87 degrees. Keep in mind that it can get muggy out there.
Taxes are a major factor when trying to answer the question, “how much do I need to retire?”. It has one of the lowest real estate and property tax rates in Virginia. As of 2022, you are looking at a rate of 5.75% for annual incomes over $17,000.
The median home price in Virginia Beach is $262,200, and the median monthly rent is $1,258 making this city well below the national average. With over 47 senior living communities, there is no limit to what is available.
With a happiness score of 58.90, this city ranks in the top 100 happiest cities in America. Residents cite a stable economy and outdoor coastal amenities as major factors.
This iconic city embodies the best parts of what Arizona is famous for. With its beautiful red rock buttes, pine forests, and 400 miles of trails, Sedona is an ideal destination for retirees with an appreciation for desert scenery and the great outdoors.
This beauty comes at a cost. While home prices are nearly double the national average, other expenses such as grocery, healthcare, taxes, and transportation are in line with the rest of the nation. Non-assisted senior living can be an affordable option.
Low humidity and soaring temperatures accompany the summer months. Winters will get a nice range of 36 degrees to 55 degrees at their peak.
With a 10.4% sales tax, living in Sedona can make daily purchases more costly. Social security income is not taxed. All other income is taxed at 5.9%
Housing in Sedona
The median home cost is $696,000, with rentals averaging $1,850. Regarding 55+ communities, several retirement communities rank top 10 in the nation.
Happiness in Sedona ranks pretty high amongst other cities in Arizona. Residents mention scenery, outdoor activities, and remote lifestyle as major factors.
More than just clever advertising, Orlando is the happiest place on earth for a growing number of retirees. Considered one of the best cities to retire, Orlando offers warm weather and non-stop activities. With one of the largest airports in Florida, professional sports teams, and amusement parks, Orlando will make your home an ideal holiday gathering place for your family.
With the cost of living on par with the national average, seniors looking for an exciting cost-effective option that includes palm trees will find it in Orlando. Paired with incentives for locals, high-ticket activities are also extremely affordable.
The weather is warm and extremely humid. Even in the winters, lows only average 52 degrees. Rain can happen at any time due to the humidity, so be prepared.
A zero-income tax state makes this a huge bonus. A 1.16% property tax makes a winning combination for many budget-conscious retirees.
Housing is 7% lower than the national average in Orlando. For those looking for senior living apartments, more are being built monthly.
With a happiness score of 54.40, Orlando consistently ranks in America’s top 100 happiest cities to retire in. Family, activities, and warm weather are major contributors.
Palm Springs, California
Touted for its desert modern aesthetic, Palm Springs is a popular destination for retirees seeking a unique landing spot. Two hours from LA and San Diego, it’s a perfect location for someone seeking a balance between seclusion and entertainment.
With expensive housing and living costs 22% above the national average, this is not for the budget-conscious.
Three hundred fifty days of sunshine a year make Palm Springs a great warm-weather landing spot. You won’t get a lot of rain to get in the way of taking advantage of all the outdoor activities such as golf, tennis, and outdoor dining.
One of the highest in the nation, 9.25% sales tax and an increased property tax rate make this desert location come at a premium.
A median housing price of $775,000 and low rental availability can limit options when moving here.
Especially for those in the LGBTQIA+ communities, happiness in Palm Springs ranks extremely high.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Few things compare to the beauty of the southwest United States. As the second oldest city in America, Santa Fe is the embodiment of rich cultural experiences.
While housing is on the high side, healthcare is over 20% lower than the national average. Apart from housing, living costs are well below other parts of America.
With nearly 320 days of sunshine each year and all four seasons, many retirees will enjoy one of the best warm climates.
A 4.9% income tax applies to all income, including social security. Sales taxes are on the low side at 8.44%
Median home prices of $599,000 make home buying a costly proposition. Thankfully, quite a few independent senior living communities make things more widely accessible.
Touted as one of the happiest small cities, New Mexico scores as one of the happiest places in New Mexico.