10 Small Towns for Retirees Eyeing Active Lifestyle, Affordability
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10 Small Towns for Retirees Eyeing Active Lifestyle, Affordability

Active-Retirement

“It isn’t just about affordability, of course. Everyone has their own wants and needs when it comes to retirement. Some are looking for the low maintenance lifestyle and camaraderie that comes with living in an active adult community.” - 55places.com

More retirees are looking for affordable cities in which they can enjoy retirement.

55places.com, a resource for active adult communities in the U.S., conducted a survey that found 62 percent of retirees want to spend less than $300,000 on their next home, and 30 percent want to spend less than $200,000. Such price ranges — and the desire to maintain an active lifestyle in many cases — are pushing many retirees to look at smaller towns around the United States.

“It isn’t just about affordability, of course,” 55place wrote. “Everyone has their own wants and needs when it comes to retirement. Some are looking for the low maintenance lifestyle and camaraderie that comes with living in an active adult community.”

To establish its ranking, 55places.com defined small towns as cities with a population under 55,000 people. And to rank the cities, 55places compiled data on the cost of living, median incomes, taxes, active adult communities, average home sale price, health care, and job growth. It also looked at other factors, such as quality of life ranking, health care options, local climate, public transit score, a walk score, and volunteering rates.

Here are the top 10 locales for retirees and a bit about the town as described by 55places.com.

  1. Logan, Utah — “It offers close proximity to stunning mountains, forests, and lakes where hiking, boating, fishing, and snowsports are just some of the activities to enjoy. There’s an extensive park system, solid golf scene, and plenty of historical artifacts and monuments to explore. There’s also a renowned performing art and museum scene.”
  2. Wausau, Wis. — “Surrounded by woods and lakes, this small Marathon County city offers all of the amenities you’d find in bigger cities but serves up a heaping helping of small-town charm.”
  3. Cedar Falls, Iowa — “Thanks to a low cost of living, solid income-to-home price ratio, and an extremely low unemployment rate, Cedar Falls in Iowa rated very high in our rankings. What put them up even higher was the quality of healthcare and a strong volunteerism ethos, both of which are extremely important to the retiree crowd.”
  4. Winchester, Va. — “Founded in 1744, this city is located in the northernmost tip of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley region, which puts you right along the Appalachian Trail. It’s also home to dozens of historical sites and monuments from the Revolutionary War and Civil War.”
  5. Dunedin, Fla. — “Pronounced ‘DONE-EE-DIN,’ this town just west of Tampa, which is one of the oldest on Florida’s Gulf Coast, is best known for three things: great beaches, the pine forest, and the ospreys you’ll find in Honeymoon Island State Park.”
  6. West Lafayette, Ind. — “Best known as the home of Purdue University, this Indiana city isn’t just a place for young people. The diverse economy, excellent health care, exciting social scene, and beautiful riverfront area also make it an ideal destination for retirees who want to have some fun without spending a ton.”
  7. Concord, N.H. — “Retirees looking for affordability in the Northeast shouldn’t overlook New Hampshire, where costs can often be 10 percent less than New York and 20 percent less than Massachusetts. Not to mention, there’s no sales tax and income tax doesn’t include salary and IRA distributions.”
  8. Coeur d’Alene, Idaho — “Coeur d’Alene may be the fastest-growing place in Idaho but it’s still just small enough to qualify for our list. Known traditionally as an outdoor paradise, it has recently become quite the trendy spot for those who want a Pacific Northwest lifestyle without paying Seattle and Portland prices.”
  9. Mankato, Minn. — “Some may scoff at the idea of retiring in Minnesota but so long as you don’t mind a little snow (okay, a lot of snow), there is so much to do here without setting yourself up to overspend. Mankato in Southern Minnesota makes our list thanks to a great cost of living, reasonable taxes, affordable real estate, and a strong quality of life.”
  10. Neenah, Wis. — “Tucked away in Winnebago County where Lake Winnebago meets Little Lake Butte des Morts, you’ll find Neenah, a charming small town where a Midwestern retirement can thrive without costing an arm and a leg. The real estate is very affordable, the cost of living is well below the national average, and if you don’t mind the weather you can get on great in this small town with lots going on.”