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13 Retirement Cities You Can’t Afford and 5 Cities to Choose Instead

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Most people’s mental picture of retirement consists of leisurely days filled with family time and travel. The mind’s eye paints a rosy scene! Retired life is fun, stress-free, and rife with possibility.

Yet money plays a sizable role in turning those dreams into reality – especially considering that 30% of Americans aged 59 or older currently have no retirement savings. Some places are so expensive that life after work can become fraught with financial concerns.

As a result, retiring somewhere within your means is crucial.

To help, we’re revealing 13 of the most expensive retirement cities in the United States, followed by 5 of the most affordable. Let’s dive in!

1. New York City, New York

New York City
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Love the big city buzz and want to stay active in retirement? New York City would be hard to beat. However, you’d need millions saved up to live there comfortably. The Big Apple is one of the most expensive places in the country. For instance, the cost of living in Manhattan can be 122% higher than the national average.

2. San Francisco, California

San Francisco
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San Francisco has been voted the third best city to retire in America – but only for people who can afford it. The city’s dreamy climate, endless urban amenities, and rich cultural scene make it an appealing place. But with a current median home price of $1.2 million, it’ll be too expensive for all but the wealthiest retirees.

3. Miami, Florida

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Miami offers retirees world-class weather, beautiful beaches, a lively atmosphere, quality healthcare services, and a lack of income tax. However, the cost of living is no joke. According to Zillow, the average home value in Miami is almost $560,000, and the median list price for Miami property is approximately $730,000.

4. Honolulu, Hawaii

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Retiring in an idyllic place like Honolulu might sound like a dream come true. The Aloha State is picture-perfect, and the fact that it doesn’t tax income from public pensions or social security is a bonus. However, it isn’t cheap. According to some sources, you need at least $112,000 a year to live comfortably there.

5. Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara
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With its coastal location and beautiful weather, Santa Barbara is another sought-after retirement destination in California. Living in paradise comes at a price, though! Santa Barbara’s cost of living is 65% higher than the national average, and you’ll pay over $1.7 million for a typical home. Significant income tax rates add to the financial burden.  

6. Boston, Massachusetts

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Boston’s history, amenities, world-class healthcare, rich cultural scene, and easy access to natural beauty make it another fine choice for retirees who enjoy urban living. Yet the cost of living and housing can be prohibitive for people on a fixed income. The median listed home price on is currently $999,000.

7. Washington, D.C.

Washington DC
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The U.S. capital is steeped in history and has more national landmarks and museums than you can shake a stick at. Public transport is good, the city’s bike-friendly, and you’ll enjoy excellent dining opportunities to boot. Nevertheless, Washington’s cost of living is 47% higher than average, and housing is a whopping 140% more.

8. Seattle, Washington

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The long list of reasons to retire in Seattle includes its mild climate, art and cultural scene, excellent healthcare facilities, and first-rate retirement communities. Unfortunately, the Emerald City will be unaffordable for most Americans. Its cost of living is 58% higher than the U.S. average, and a standard home costs almost $850,000.

9. San Diego, California

San Diego
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Sun-seeking retirees would adore San Diego. Located on the glorious Californian coast and just a stone’s throw from Mexico, it gets 266 days of sunshine each year (61 more than the U.S. average). Alas, it also has above-average prices. The cost of living is 55% higher and a typical home will set you back around $833,500.

10. Boulder, Colorado

Boulder, Colorado
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Boulder has a reputation for being one of the happiest cities and best places to live in America. There are roughly 300 days of sunshine each year and, nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, it’s a nature-lover’s paradise. Unfortunately, Boulder’s lack of housing makes it expensive. The median home price is over $880,000 and some sources claim it’s in the top 8% of the world’s most expensive cities.

11. Naples, Florida

Naples, Florida
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Located in Collier County, Naples is one of Florida’s most sought-after retirement destinations. The weather is glorious, the beaches and restaurants are sublime, it’s notoriously safe, and there are plenty of luxurious things to do. Sunshine State cities don’t get much more expensive, though. The median home price here is over $823,000.

12. San Jose, California

san jose california
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San Jose is a tech hub in Silicon Valley. Fantastic weather, top restaurants, mountain views, and proximity to the coast are a few of its main draws for retirees. However, buying property and living comfortably here requires money – and lots of it. San Jose’s average home price is a monumental $1.4 million. 

13. Park City, Utah

Park City, Utah
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Located in the beautiful Wasatch Mountains, Park City is an affluent resort community renowned for its outdoor opportunities. If you love skiing, snowboarding, and hiking, it’ll be ideal – but only if you can afford it. The cost of living is 69% higher than the national average and you’ll pay over $1.4 million for a typical home.

5 Cities That Are Cheaper For Retirement

Columbus, Ohio
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Thankfully, not everywhere in the U.S. is so expensive. The following five suggestions highlight much more affordable cities to retire…

1. Youngstown, Ohio

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Youngstown has come a long way since the steel industry collapsed in the 1970s. It’s now a thriving city with 60,000 residents who share a strong work ethic and community spirit. Expect art, culture, restaurants, and outdoor opportunities aplenty. The city is also highly affordable. The average price of properties on Zillow is currently $51,872. 

2. South Bend, Indiana

South Bend, Indiana
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Situated on the southern curve of the scenic St. Joseph River, South Bend is an up-and-coming U.S. city with ample appeal. It’s home to the University of Notre Dame, has many excellent parks, and is a short drive from Lake Michigan’s beaches. Better still, living here is 21% cheaper than the national average, and a typical home costs just $161,900.

3. Raleigh, North Carolina

Raleigh, NC
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North Carolina’s capital city isn’t the cheapest retirement destination on this list. An average home is roughly $434,000, which, while competitive, is far more than the national average. Retirees may think it’s worth it, though. Paying extra for accommodation gives you access to first-rate amenities, a thriving foodie destination, a low crime rate, and a small-town vibe with lots of southern charm.

4. Winston-Salem, North Carolina

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Winston-Salem is another city worth considering for a budget-friendly retirement in North Carolina. With just over 250,000 residents, it’s much smaller than Raleigh. Still, it boasts notable historic sites, museums, a bustling downtown area, and quality healthcare facilities. According to Zillow, the average home costs just $245,200.

5. Fort Worth, Texas

Forth Worth, Texas
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Fort Worth is a popular, liveable, and relatively inexpensive place to retire in the Lone Star State. A typical home costs around $300,000 – considerably less than the U.S. average. Throw in its nice climate, countless recreational activities, quality healthcare facilities, and lack of state income tax, and it’s no wonder Fort Worth regularly ranks on lists of the best places to retire in America.

11 Amazing States to Live in If You Are Broke

Madison, Wisconsin
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Are you struggling to make ends meet? Are you dreaming of a fresh start, but your bank account is holding you back? We’ve got good news! The U.S.A., the land of infinite possibilities, has some hidden gems where the cost of living is surprisingly low. These places offer a high quality of life without burning a hole in your pocket. In this article, we’ll take you on a virtual tour of 11 amazing yet affordable places to live in the U.S.A.

11 Amazing States to Live in If You Are Broke

These 13 U.S. Cities Are So Perfect for Retirement, You’ll Never Want to Leave

Miami Beach
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Choosing the ideal place to retire is a momentous decision that influences one’s quality of life in later years. With countless options across the United States, this guide delves into the top 13 retirement destinations, each offering unique advantages. From serene coastal communities to vibrant urban centers, these locales cater to diverse preferences and lifestyles. Factors such as cost of living, healthcare access, recreational opportunities, and cultural amenities play pivotal roles in the selection process. 

These 13 U.S. Cities Are So Perfect for Retirement, You’ll Never Want to Leave

The 10 Best US Cities to Retire In 2023 Will Make You Feel Like You’ve Stepped into a Retirement Dream

Riley Waterfront Park
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Are you looking for the perfect place to retire? You’re not alone. Millions of Americans are planning their retirement, and many are looking for a city that offers an excellent quality of life, a low cost of living, and plenty of activities to keep them busy.

The 10 Best US Cities to Retire In 2023 Will Make You Feel Like You’ve Stepped into a Retirement Dream

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