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25 Best Places to Retire on a Budget

Daytona Beach, Florida

You don’t need to pay an arm and a leg to retire by the beach. Enjoy warm weather and low costs of living in Daytona Beach. Daytona Beach is famous for headquartering NASCAR and for its beachside motorsports. For those who aren’t as interested in sports, don’t worry. Art classes at the Art League of Daytona Beach are fairly affordable, and the Museum of Arts and Sciences is a network of museums and galleries in the city. There is no social security or pension tax in Florida.

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Pueblo, Colorado

Pueblo is a warm, relatively quiet town. The cost of living is nearly 14% below the national standard, and retirement income (social security and pension) up to $24,000 ($20,000 if you’re under 64) is tax-free. Residents of Pueblo are known for their longevity and nearly nonexistent stress levels. Who would be stressed living in this beautiful, affordable town? 

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Gainesville, Georgia

Gainsville is a peaceful southern town, but you won’t be short of things to do. This city of roughly 40,000 is home to 15 golf courses and a beautiful lake, perfect for boating. Gainsville residents are close to hiking trails in the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Chattahoochee and Oconee National Forests—but if you’re not the outdoorsy type, you can always drive 30 minutes to one of two nearby outlet malls. Georgia doesn't tax social security, but it does partially tax pensions. 

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Roanoke, Virginia

There’s always something going on in Roanoke, also known as the “city of festivals”. The Roanoke Festival in the Park, Strawberry Festival, and Virginia Championship Chili Cook-off (to name a few) are among the most popular celebrations in town. Downtown Roanoke boasts plenty of museums and a planetarium for you to enjoy. Food, transportation, and health care costs are below the country’s average. Virginia doesn't tax social security, but it does partially tax pensions. 

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh’s cost of living is 16% below the national average. You won’t be bored in this big city; between the Steelers and the symphony, there’s always something to do in Pittsburgh. You’ll be able to buy a home for cheap; compare the median Pittsburgh value of $152,600 to the U.S. median value of $226,700.  Pennsylvania doesn't tax social security or pensions. 

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Tulsa, Oklahoma

Affordable housing and city entertainment can be found in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This small city is rather cultured. Not only is Tulsa a common tour stop for musicians, The Tulsa International Film Festival was launched in 2011. Also, entrance to the Philbrook Museum of Art is a mere $7 for seniors. Tulsa is very bike and pedestrian-friendly, making an active lifestyle much easier. Oklahoma partially taxes pensions, but it doesn't tax social security. 

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Rochester, Minnesota

Access to health care professionals is not an issue in Rochester, home to the Mayo Clinic. You’ll also find a variety of historic landmarks in Rochester, such as the Chateau Theatre and the Avalon Music Hotel, an integral part of the local civil rights movement. This safe Midwestern city’s cost of living rating is 10.4% lower than America’s standard.  Minnesota partially taxes social security, and pensions are fully taxed. 

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Omaha, Nebraska

Although it may surprise you, the largest city in Nebraska has a lot to offer. Did you know Omaha is famous for its jazz? Check out some jazz clubs in the Old Market area to sample some famous “Omaha Sound”.  Housing opportunities are opening up in the Midtown Crossing area, which features stylish new apartments, boutiques and restaurants. Who knew you could enjoy city living at a fraction of the price? Nebraska partially taxes social security, and pensions are fully taxed. 

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San Antonio, Texas

Love the big city but hate big city prices? Consider San Antonio. It’s easy to get around and stay fit, thanks to the new $10 a day bike-share program.  The River Walk is a perfect spot to finish a day on the town—or you can spend your evening watching a Spurs basketball game. San Antonio is the largest city on our list in terms of population, yet it doesn’t feel as hectic as a city of one million should be. Welcome to the perfect mix of city living and relaxation. Texas doesn't tax pensions, social security, and other types of retirement income, although property taxes are quite high. 

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Spokane, Washington

If you enjoy the great outdoors, you’ll love living in Spokane. Go fishing in one of over 70 lakes and rivers, then ski in the Rockies the next day. Spokane has more to offer than its proximity to natural beauty; its charming neighborhoods and active downtown life make this Northwestern town a lovely place to retire to. Washington is another state that doesn't tax social security and pensions.

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Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Lancaster has a lot of Amish communities, meaning farmer’s markets will be full of fresh foods with good ingredients. That being said, Lancaster has plenty of stuff for seniors to do, like a vibrant arts scene. As the cherry on top, Lancaster also has tax breaks for retirees! Pennsylvania doesn't tax social security or pensions. 

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Orlando, Florida

Everyone knows that Florida is one of the top retiree states, and Orlando is one of the best ones. It’s a hot spot for tons of activities, and better yet, that doesn’t impact affordability. Florida also has tax breaks for retirees (no pension or social security tax), so what are you waiting for? Go have some fun in the sun. 

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Wentachee, Washington

Washington is a beautiful state, but it can be very expensive. Wentachee doesn’t break the mold with the median home value sitting just under $300,000. However, Wentachee is a small community that’s 150 miles from Seattle. It also has low crime rates, easy access to medical care, and no income tax. Washington is another state that doesn't tax social security and pensions.

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Huntsville, Alabama

Huntsville has plenty of cultural activities to keep retirees busy. Not to mention, it’s close to the University of Alabama, where seniors over 65 can take classes for free. Huntsville is also extremely affordable for lower-income retirees. There is no social security or pension tax in Alabama. 

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Fort Myers, Florida

Fort Myers, Florida is one of the top-rated places to retire in the United States. Why? It has fantastic, sunny weather. It also features charming shopping areas and history that other places can’t boast—Thomas Edison and Henry Ford had winter homes in Fort Myers. There is no social security or pension tax in Florida.

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Iowa City, Iowa

Iowa?! Yes, Iowa. The Midwest is a great place to retire because it’s incredibly rich in history. Iowa City has been named a UNESCO City of Literature, which is ideal for writers and book-lovers alike. The cost of living isn’t extremely low, but the state offers exempt social security benefits from state income tax. Iowa taxes pension plans, but anyone 55 and older is eligible for a deduction up to $6,000.

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Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Want a true winter? Sioux Falls is the choice for you—not to mention it ranks pretty high on most lists for retirees. No, Sioux Falls isn’t a hot spot of activity, but it does have amazing health care, which is pretty important to most retirees. South Dakota doesn't tax social security or pensions. 

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Phoenix, Arizona

If you want something to do at all times, Phoenix is the place to be. There are plenty of opportunities to do something, and the weather is almost always perfect. It can get a little hot, but without humidity, you don’t feel it. Phoenix is also one of the more affordable major cities on the list. While social security isn’t taxed, pension attacks are taxed raging from 2.59% to 4.54%.

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Asheville, North Carolina

Forbes picked Asheville, North Carolina as one of the best places to retire, and we agree. Housing is a little more expensive, but Asheville is all about location, location, location. It’s close to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and you don’t have to worry about the state taxing social security. North Carolina does tax pension accounts with an income tax rate of 5.499%

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Grand Rapids, Michigan

Grand Rapids usually flies under the radar, but it shouldn’t be forgotten. This city has a great arts and crafts scene, as well as a range of recreational activities. Our favorite thing about Grand Rapids is the craft breweries, which make some of the best brews in the U.S. It should be noted that Michigan does tax pension benefits, but it does not tax social security. 

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Fayetteville, Arkansas

You can’t mention Fayetteville without mentioning the farmer’s market. It gives retirees the chance to shop the freshest fruits, vegetables, and breads. It’s also home to a strong sports community (as long as you love football). Arkansas doesn’t tax social security, but there is a $6,000 deduction on employer-sponsored pension plans.

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La Crosse, Wisconsin

Wisconsin may not be the first place you think about retiring, but it’s worth considering. La Crosse is a larger town and is known for its festivals, Oktoberfest being one that most residents look forward to. It isn’t like retirees will be bored! There are numerous restaurants, shops, and opportunities for outdoor activities. Wisconsin doesn't tax social security, but it does tax pension plans at the fully taxable rates that range from 4% to 7.65%.

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Nashville, Tennessee

If you’re a country music fan, Nashville is where you need to be. That isn’t to say non-country music fans won’t have a place, because there's tons more the city has to offer. It’s home of the Grand Ole Opry and the birthplace of many famous musicians. There’s almost always something to do in the city, so you’ll never be bored. Tennessee doesn't tax social security or pensions. 

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Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado is one of the best places to live whether you’re a retiree or not. Not only is Denver utterly beautiful and offers tons of outdoor activities, but there’s also plenty of shopping and excellent healthcare. Unfortunately, Colorado is on the expensive side. Plus, social security and pension plans are partially taxed.  

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Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City is one of the best places you can retire. The city is known for having tons of outdoor activities, but it’s also a great place for shopping. Another thing to mention about Salt Lake is the amazing healthcare. In exchange, Utah does charge income tax on social security and pension benefits.

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