10 Bargain Retirement Spots
There's nothing chintzy about these lower-cost locales
The median home price in San Francisco is $750,000, but by venturing south into the desert, you can find a typical home for $190,500 in Yucca Valley, Calif., just a 30-minute drive from Palm Springs. (All statistics on the bargain spots, except tax rates, are from BestPlaces.net.)
Moving can itself be an expensive process, so you'll want to be sure of your choice before packing your bags. Ideally, it may take up to 10 years to pick your dream retirement destination, Savageau says.
Housing costs and taxes are important, but there's much more to picking a retirement spot. For example, Savageau says, "some really handsome, beautiful rural spots don't have any healthcare." And don't forget about libraries, Internet access, outdoor activities, shopping, museums, sporting events, religious institutions, and cultural attractions. "There's no reason it can't be an adventure as well as being an affordable adventure," says Andrew Schiller, president and founder of the real-estate website NeighborhoodScout.com.
Proximity to children and grandchildren and of course weather should all factor into your decision. You certainly don't want to be shoveling snow if you have a bad back or sweltering way down south if you can't stand the heat. "We tried coming up here for all the different seasons before we actually bought a place," says Joe Ruhl, 57, who moved from Rancho Dominguez, Calif., to Sandpoint, Idaho.
It helps to stay within striking distance of a major metro area. "It's important to have an airport nearby so you can visit family and friends and they can visit you," says Bert Sperling, founder of BestPlaces.net. The mountain town of Salida, Colo., for example, is within a comfortable drive of both Denver and Colorado Springs. "You want to be near a major metro area for arts and culture in addition to healthcare," Sperling says.
Many retirees choose college towns like Boone, N.C., Dahlonega, Ga., Fredericksburg, Texas, and Natchitoches, La., because they offer cultural and educational opportunities despite being at some remove from big cities. Retirees can often audit classes free of charge or at a reduced rate. "After a lifetime of dealing with business," Sperling says, "they can go back and learn about Shakespeare."
Ready to ponder an affordable retirement? On the pages that follow are 10 bargain spots.
Spots on TV
Retirement Living TV will air segments on some of the bargain retirement spots profiled in this U.S. News guide. The reports will appear June 4 through 8 on RLTV's Living Live! The one-hour show airs weekdays at noon ET.
Emily Brandon of U.S. News will discuss her reporting June 4 on RLTV's The Prudent Advisor, a daily personal finance show. It airs at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. ET.
These video segments will be posted online at www.usnews.com/retirementliving after they air.
RLTV is carried nationally on DirecTV Channel 364 and on Comcast's CN8 in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic and Comcast CET Channel 5 in Colorado. More on Retirement Living TV is available at www.rl.tv.