4 places to retire that are better than Florida – and much cheaper

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LaylaBird/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Florida has long been considered one of the most ideal places to retire.

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It ranks second only to Maine in terms of states with the highest percentage of residents 65 and older, according to the Population Reference Bureau. And it’s the top state in terms of retiree movement, based on analysis by United Van Lines.

However, what is popular is not always what is best. Figuring out the ideal place to retire is subjective, but it’s important to consider how factors such as rising costs in Florida, especially cities like Miami, can make the Sunshine State less attractive to some retirees.

There are many aspects to consider when determining where to retire, such as climate, lifestyle, cost of living, family and taxes, said Amy Hamasaki, owner and principal planner at Mountain Wealth Planning.

While Florida has traditionally been a beacon for retirees for its abundant sunshine and statelessness [income] taxes, the cost of living has increased significantly, especially home owners insurance premiums.

With that in mind, consider the following list of places recommended by Hamasakis that may provide a better place to spend your golden years.

Eifel Kreutz/Getty Images/iStockphotoEifel Kreutz/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Eifel Kreutz/Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Carolinas

Living in North Carolina or South Carolina requires less income than Florida to enjoy a comfortable retirement lifestyle, according to a recent GOBankingRates analysis.

Plus, you get to enjoy a little more seasonality and less extreme summers. According to Hamasaki, the Carolinas offer both an affordable price and a pleasant climate.

Something that stands out about North Carolina is that it has 17 Certified Retirement Communities.

These communities [provide] amenities, services and opportunities retirees need to enjoy active and productive lives, determined through rigorous assessment against measurable criteria, explains Retire NC, part of the North Carolina Economic Development Partnership.

South Carolina is full of options for retirees, too, from resort-like living in Hilton Head or Myrtle Beach (the best city in the country for retirees to move to, United Van Lines finds), to charming towns like Charleston and Greenville that have lively food scenes.

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Checubus / Shutterstock.com


Minnesota may not immediately scream retirement destination, but the state is more affordable than Florida for retirees, according to GOBankingRates analysis.

While winters certainly get cold in Minnesota, the Land of 10,000 Lakes is great for nature lovers who dream of a retirement full of outdoor recreation. In fact, 99% of seniors in Minneapolis live within a 10-minute walk of a park, according to the Trust for Public Land.

But perhaps what really makes Minnesota a draw are its health care offerings. In addition to being home to the top-ranked Mayo Clinic hospital, Minnesota earns high marks for health care cost, quality and availability for seniors.

For example, the state ranks #1 in MedicareGuide.com’s ranking of top states for health care for seniors.

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Jim Lambert/Shutterstock.com


Hamasakis’ home state, Colorado, also makes the list of some of the best places to retire.

To be fair, Colorado is generally not considered cheaper than Florida GOBankingRates found that you need just over $2,000 more per year in retirement income in Colorado than in Florida.

However, it’s worth noting that affordability varies depending on your situation. For example, if you have a significant amount of retirement assets in a Roth account, then Florida’s lack of individual income taxes may not be as attractive.

Conversely, Colorado’s low property tax rate can save you money if you plan to own a home. The state’s effective property tax rate is 0.55%, which ranks third best in the nation, while Florida is about the middle of the pack at 0.91%, according to a Tax Foundation analysis.

Plus, Colorado has a lot going for it in terms of quality of life. For example, Colorado tends to rank at or near the top of most rankings for the most physically fit states.




If you want to potentially save money while enjoying a great quality of life, you might also consider retiring outside the US

Looking abroad, Costa Rica, Portugal and Malta are some of the countries that are considered wallet-friendly, relatively safe, [have good] access to health care and the provision of retirement visa programs, Hamasaki said.

According to data from My Life Elsewhere, for example, Florida is nearly 50% more expensive than Costa Rica.

Overall, there are many great places to consider retirement besides Florida. Some people may still find that Florida fits their desired retirement style and budget, but don’t think your options are limited.

There are many other cities, states and even countries that offer opportunities to enjoy an affordable and fun retirement.

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 4 Places to Retire That Are Better Than Florida and Much Cheaper

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