20 Best Places to Retire in the US & Overseas in 2020

Best Places to Retire

There are many beautiful places both in the US and overseas, where you can enjoy your retirement. Once you set your retirement budget, you should look for the perfect retirement spot.

To help you find it and enjoy your golden years, we’ve researched the best places to retire, taking into account several key factors:

  • housing affordability
  • taxes
  • healthcare quality
  • cost of living

Plus, most of these places have a pleasant climate, picturesque sights to visit, and fun things to do. Of course, we’ll tell you about these as well. So, without further ado, let’s jump right into it!

The 10 Best States to Retire

10. Lakeland, Florida

Best Places to Retire - 10. Lakeland, Florida

Let’s start with Florida. Lakeland is one of the best places to retire in Florida, apart from Fort Myers and Sarasota. The cost of living index in Lakeland is 86.4, which is both below the average state’s index and the national average. This Florida city is also tax-friendly for its senior residents, so it’s one of the best states to retire taxes-wise.

It has no tax on retirement income, including Social Security benefits, 401(k), and IRA plans. Knowing this, it’s no wonder Florida is considered the best state to retire in. When it comes to Lakeland’s parks and places to explore, you won’t be disappointed. Only some of the many must-visit places in one of the top places to retire in the US are:

  • a recreational center at Mirror Lake
  • the Polk Theatre
  • Hollis Garden
  • the Polk Museum of Art
  • Lake Parker

On the other hand, being a car-dependent city, Lakeland doesn’t have many bike lanes, and the number of places that can be reached on foot is limited. On the plus side, not only is Lakeland the best place to retire in the US, but it is the home to several universities and colleges. And that makes this city ideal for retirees who want to continue their education.

9. Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas

Best Places to Retire - 9. Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas

One of the key reasons Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex was listed as one of the best places to retire in 2020 is that it is among the safest cities in Texas. Next, Texas has no income taxes, so we can say it is one of the best states to retire for taxes. Moreover, Walk Score rated this destination as very walkable, giving it a Walk Score of 87 out of 100. Plus, Fort Worth is dubbed “Biker’s Paradise” due to its excellent bike infrastructure.

As far as housing affordability goes, Fort Worth’s median home value is around $197,100, which is below the national average. Because of this, the city ranks among the cheapest places to retire in the United States. Another thing that makes living in Fort Worth slightly less expensive is free power between 9 pm and 6 am, which can significantly reduce electricity bills.

Lastly, there’re a lot of things to do in Fort Worth. Among many exciting attractions, you can visit:

  • the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
  • Kimbell
  • the Amon Carter Museum of American Art
  • the Bass Performance Hall opera house
  • Fort Worth Zoo

8. San Antonio, Texas

Best Places to Retire - 8. San Antonio, Texas

A warm climate and affordable housing are among the top reasons why San Antonio is one of the best places to retire in Texas. The cost of living in the River City is 3% lower than the national average, which is excellent news for retirees living on a tight budget.

Another amazing thing about San Antonio is that there are no state income taxes. If we add that the quality of air in San Antonio is quite good, this city might be the best place to retire in Texas. However, not everything is perfect about the River City.

For instance, if you decide to spend your golden years in one of the best places to retire in the US, you’ll need a car for most of your chores. Even though the city’s topography is primarily flat, San Antonio is a car-dependent city. Additionally, the crime rate is above the nation’s average. Still, there has been a decline in crime rates in recent years, and they will continue to drop.

7. Nashville, Tennessee

Best Places to Retire - 7. Nashville, Tennessee

Our next stop is Nashville, famous for country music and various nicknames, the most popular being “Music City.” In Nashville, music is everywhere. For this and many other reasons, Tennessee is one of the best states to retire in, and Nashville is one of the top retirement destinations in the country.

Here are some things you’ll love about Nashville:

  • The city is home to 30 higher learning institutions, making it a perfect place for continued education.
  • The healthcare industry in Nashville employs around 126,996 people.
  • The median home value is $298,000, making it the best place to retire in Tennessee.

And if you opt for renting a place in Nashville, the good news is that the average rent is around $1,415. In comparison, the US average rent rate is about $1,124.

6. Grand Rapids, Michigan

Best Places to Retire - 6. Grand Rapids, Michigan

Grand Rapids is one of the best, if not the best place to retire in the US, depending on your preferences. The US News and World Report magazine named the River City as both one of the best places to live and retire. Additionally, the Milken Institute placed Grand Rapids in the top 25 cities for successful aging.

Another reason why this place is one of the best places to retire in the US is that the cost of living in Grand Rapids currently sits at 87.8, 12% below the US average. For those who plan to relocate in retirement, West Michigan’s most prominent city offers homes at the median price of $234,133.

The drawback of retiring in Grand Rapids is that the city has an income tax of 4.25% on almost all retirement incomes. IRA plans are an exception to this rule, as they are generally not taxable. Additionally, the city has a minimal bike infrastructure, and only some chores can be done on foot. Still, the city has 1,200 acres of parks, perfect for a healthy, active lifestyle, and it’s definitely one of the best places to retire in the United States.

5. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Best Places to Retire - 5. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The latest retirement statistics reveals that 69% of retirees cite Social Security as one of their sources of income. Taking this into account, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s second-largest city, is one of the best places to retire on Social Security only due to low rent costs ($617) and monthly homeownership costs for retirees over 65.

The Steel City is overall one of the most affordable cities in the country. The cost of living in Pittsburgh is 13% below the national average. Next, if you plan on buying a house here, the median home value sits at around $165,000. Additionally, distributions from IRAs and 401(k) plans, Social Security benefits, and pensions are tax-free, making Pittsburgh one of the cheapest places to retire.

This city is home to 446 bridges. However, you might not be able to bridge some of the problems associated with living in Pittsburgh. This includes:

  • poor air quality
  • cold winters
  • an above-average national crime rate

4. Austin, Texas

Best Places to Retire - 4. Austin, Texas

As we’ve already mentioned, Texas lacks state income taxes, which is why many retirees consider moving to one of the country’s cities. Austin is among the most livable cities and one of the top ten places to retire in the US. There is plenty of stuff to do in the Capital of Texas, starting with art and music festivals. Austin is not called the “Live Music Capital of the World” for no reason.

Next, Austin has a warm climate, and with it come mild winters. There are also more than 250 parks and vast green spaces in the city. With that in mind, Austin residents can enjoy swimming, playing golf, hiking, and so on. On the other hand, the median home value in Austin, Texas, is around $318,000, which is above the US average. For this reason, we cannot describe it as one of the most affordable places to retire.

Most retirees look to stretch out their dollars by moving to another city and look for a smaller, more affordable place to live in. When it comes to Austin, the average house value isn’t one of the reasons retirees move here, as it is higher than in other cities. However, utilities, groceries, healthcare, and transportation costs in Austin are below the national average, which helps balance things out a bit.

3. Sarasota, Florida

Best Places to Retire - 3. Sarasota, Florida

Florida has held the title of the best state to retire in for so long due to its warm climate. Sarasota is also one of Florida’s cities that are attracting more and more tourists every year. However, for many, Sarasota is more than a tourist attraction. The U.S. News & World Report ranks Sarasota as the third best place for retirement—in part due to it being in one of the best states to retire taxwise. On top of that, the city ranks in the top 20 places to live as well.

So, what makes Sarasota a good place for retirees apart from a pleasant tax climate? Well, as mentioned earlier, Florida is renowned for its climate and one of the best places to retire on the east coast. With warm weather, the pool of possibilities for outdoor activities is nearly endless. People from all walks of life can enjoy biking, swimming, and playing golf or tennis, among other recreational activities, so it’s one of the best places to retire for outdoor activities, too.

Apart from warm weather, Sarasota is also the arts and culture hub of Florida. The city has ten theaters and more than 30 art galleries. That’s not all, though. Sarasota may not be one of the cheapest places to retire in Florida, but it is known for its beautiful beaches with fine sands and warm water. The most popular beaches in Sarasota include:

  • Turtle Beach
  • Crescent Beach
  • Siesta Beach

One last thing on the list of pros of retiring in Sarasota is that over 57% of Sarasota residents are 45 or older. On the other hand, if you plan to relocate to Sarasota, keep in mind that the median home value here is above the US average. The cost of living is higher as well, nine points above the national average.

2. Fort Myers, Florida

Best Places to Retire - 2. Fort Myers, Florida

Fort Myers is undoubtedly the best place to retire in Florida. Much like Sarasota, Fort Myers also doesn’t have state income taxes. There are also plenty of things to do and visit in Fort Myers. The Edison Festival of Light is one of the largest festivals in Florida, taking place in February.

When talking about Fort Myers and Florida in general, we can’t leave out beautiful beaches, which also contribute to Florida being one of the best states to retire in the US. Bunche Beach, Fort Myers Beach, Captiva Beach, and Cayo Costa are some of the many stunning beaches in Fort Myers. Here you can take long strolls, go for a swim, and enjoy the nice weather.

Beautiful beaches, a warm climate, and the absence of income taxes are the things that made Florida one of the best states to retire in 2019. Fort Myers, one of Florida’s most picturesque cities, could easily be one of the best places to enjoy your retirement, especially if you prefer warm weather.

1. Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Best Places to Retire - 1. Lancaster, Pennsylvania

We’ve saved the best for last. Pennsylvania’s Lancaster is one of the most desirable places for retirees. Let’s see what earned the Red Rose City the No. 1 spot on our list of the top 10 places to retire in the US. First of all, Lancaster is known for housing affordability. The median home value in the city is around 40% below the national average. Therefore, it’s one of the most affordable places to retire in the US.

Secondly, property crime rates in Pennsylvania are among the nation’s lowest. Furthermore, Pennsylvania ranks as one of the best places to retire on a lake. Next, Lancaster has an excellent walkability score according to Walk Score.

This score indicates that most places in the cities are within walking distance and can be reached on foot. The cost of living in Lancaster is 8% below the US average, and according to the U.S. News & World Report, the city has a superb healthcare system, also making it the best place to retire in the USA.

With Lancaster, we’ve concluded our list of the most desirable places for retiring in the country. But, let’s explore the top ten places to retire outside the US.

The 10 Best Places to Retire Overseas

Best Places to Retire - World

10. Spain

Best Places to Retire - 10. Spain

Retiring in Spain is a marvelous idea for several reasons. First of all, the cost of living in Spain is nearly 24% lower than in America. Moreover, Spain is famous for having the lowest cost of living index in all of Western Europe. And it is one of the best places to retire in the world on social security.

Secondly, who can resist the Spanish weather? The country has 3,000 hours of sunshine a year. The Mediterranean climate brings hot and dry summers, while winters are not too cold.

Additionally, Spain ranked seventh on the 2019 WHO’s list of countries with the best healthcare systems in the world. In contrast, the US was 37th on the list. So, apart from being one of the cheapest places to retire in the world, Spain also has high-quality healthcare.

The country is very walkable as well, helping retirees stay healthy and active through various outdoor recreational activities.

As we mentioned, Spain is one of the best affordable places to retire in the west of Europe, so if you want to retire there, you can do so with an annual retirement income between $20,000 and $25,000. According to International Living, some of the best places to retire in Spain are:

  • Alicante
  • Malaga
  • Madrid
  • Bilbao

9. Thailand

Best Places to Retire - 9. Thailand

Another popular country for enjoying retirement is Thailand. The Southeast Asian country is one of the best places to retire overseas for affordable and efficient health care. To qualify for a Thai visa, retirees should have an annual income of $22,000 or $25,000 in savings. The tax treaty between Thailand and the US helps avoid double taxation, so retirement income is exempt from Thai taxation.

Next, traveling in Thailand is quite affordable. This means that, without spending too much money, retirees can visit:

  • stunning white-sand beaches
  • islands
  • hidden waterfalls
  • mountains covered in lush and green trees
  • magnificent temples

As a matter of fact, Thailand is, in general, one of the best places to retire in 2021. Groceries are 34% cheaper in Thailand than in the US, so this place might be more affordable than the best retirement states to live in.

Eating out in a mid-range restaurant will save 1.3 times more on your bill if you decide to have it in Thailand and not in America. The situation is similar when it comes to monthly rent costs as well. In Thailand, a single-bedroom apartment in the city center is three times less expensive than renting out the same-sized apartment in the US. So, if you’re looking to stretch out your retirement nest egg, Thailand might be the best place to retire in the world or at least one of the top contenders.

8. Peru

Best Places to Retire - 8. Peru

Peru is no longer just a place millions of tourists visit to see Machu Picchu. This South American country has recently become one of the leading retirement destinations. The primary reason we see an increased number of US retirees moving to Peru is the quality of life.

Namely, the country offers a perfect balance of a high-quality lifestyle with an affordable cost of living. Peru could easily be the best place to retire in the world on a budget, as almost everything is cheaper in Peru than in the US, including:

  • groceries
  • clothing
  • basic utilities

Moreover, the typical home value in Peru is about $87,256 compared to the US national average of $295,300, which is another reason Peru is the best state to retire financially. Peru has a lot to offer when it comes to places to live—from picturesque beaches to mountain areas.

Plus, the climate is quite favorable, with 300 days of sunshine per year. In contrast to all the good things Peru has to offer, the country doesn’t have a tax treaty with the US, which is vital for avoiding double taxation. And even though it might be the cheapest place to live in the world, Englishspeaking residents are rare. So, if you want to pack your bags and enjoy your retirement years in Peru, better bring a Spanish dictionary with you, as you will surely need it.

7. Portugal

Best Places to Retire - 7. Portugal

The cost of living in the capital of Portugal stands at about $2,100 per month, whereas life in smaller cities is even more affordable. A couple could easily get by with $1,700 per month. On the other hand, even some of the best states for retirement are more expensive, as an average American spends double that amount during one month. These figures show that Portugal is an affordable place to live in, where you can make your dollar last longer and live comfortably at the same time.

Portugal became one of the best places to retire in Europe thanks not only to a low cost of living but also to its residents. They will warmly welcome anyone who’s not from Portugal in an effort to make foreigners’ stay, however long it may be, more pleasant. The weather in Portugal is another plus side of retiring in the country.

Another thing confirming this is one of the best places to retire is that there’s a tax treaty between the US and Portugal that prevents paying taxes to both countries. To get a temporary Portuguese visa, US retirees should have an annual income of $15,000. After five years, they can apply for permanent residence in Portugal. As permanent residents, US retirees have access to free healthcare. Lastly, it’s possible to qualify for the Non-habitual Residence (NHR) status, which exempts retirement incomes from Portuguese income taxes for ten years.

6. Colombia

Best Places to Retire - 6. Colombia

When talking about the best countries to retire, we can’t skip Colombia. The number one reason many retirees have moved to Columbia is the country’s high-quality healthcare. On the World Health Organization’s list of best healthcare systems, Colombia ranks 22nd. In comparison, the US is trailing 15 places behind.

Apart from an excellent healthcare system, Colombia has something for everyone, including breathtaking coastline regions and lush mountain areas. The cost of living in one of the most affordable places to retire, Colombia, is significantly lower than in the US too.

Groceries, for instance, are nearly 65% cheaper than in the US. The median home value in Colombia is $135,300, which reflects this country’s inexpensive real estate market. To get a retirement visa in Colombia, your monthly income only needs to be $765 or above.

5. Malaysia

Best Places to Retire - 5. Malaysia

Beaches, rainforests, and nearly 880 islands are what best describe Malaysia. The country is a perfect retirement destination for those who want to stay active in their golden years. What helps Malaysia rank as one of the top places to retire abroad is the low cost of living. Eating out, groceries, public transportation, and basic utilities are all significantly less expensive in Malaysia, so you probably can’t find that even in the good retirement states.

Home rental prices are reasonably low in Malaysia too. Renting out a three-bedroom apartment in the city center in Malaysia would cost you around $600/month, while in the US, you’d pay over $2,000. Retirees can also buy a property in Malaysia, which is not available in many countries.

All in all, Malaysia ranks well among the cheap places to retire overseas. It has an excellent healthcare system, and if you don’t speak Malay, don’t worry—English is the unofficial first language in this multinational hub.

4. Ecuador

Best Places to Retire - 4. Ecuador

One of the things that make Ecuador a dream retirement destination is the country’s weather. Depending on the area, the climate in Ecuador ranges from warm to mild. Next, Ecuador’s topography makes it possible for retirees to lead an active lifestyle. Owning a car isn’t necessary, thanks to affordable public transportation.

Among the things that make Ecuador one of the most affordable places to retire in the world is that foreigners can buy property and at incredibly low prices. Real estate in the country is relatively inexpensive, allowing retirees to buy a beach home for about $150,000.

When it comes to taxes, Ecuador doesn’t tax Social Security benefits, but the lack of a tax treaty with the US could lead to double taxation issues. Lastly, the healthcare system in Ecuador allows foreigners to join the country’s public healthcare system for as little as $100/month.

3. Mexico

Best Places to Retire - 3. Mexico

Mexico is the best place to retire abroad and still stay close to home. Returning home from Mexico takes three to four hours, depending on where you live in the US. Due to Mexico’s proximity to America, many retirees are choosing to keep their US medical insurance.

However, joining Mexico’s healthcare system is an excellent option, as well. As a matter of fact, many Mexican doctors trained in the US and vice versa. But medical care is much more affordable in Mexico than in the US. A vast difference in prices doesn’t only apply to medical care, but to almost all other aspects of living as well.

If you’re searching for the best places to retire in California but realized you can’t really afford to live in an expensive state, try looking beyond the US borders. The cost of living in Mexico is over 51% cheaper than in the US, excluding rent. Renting out a place in Mexico is roughly four times less expensive than in the US.

Additionally, there’s a tax treaty between Mexico and the US, which prevents double taxation. One thing is for sure—Mexico’s vibrant local culture is sure to win you over. Some of the best places to retire in Mexico are:

  • San Miguel de Allende
  • Playa del Carmen
  • Campeche
  • Cancun
  • Merida

2. Costa Rica

Best Places to Retire - 2. Costa Rica

According to the latest data, almost four out of ten Americans are morbidly obese, so staying active in retirement has become essential. Retirees looking to lead an active lifestyle during their golden years will love Costa Rica. Besides being one of the best places to retire, Costa Rica is also home to 300 stunning beaches perfect for surfing, swimming, or simply enjoying beautiful sunsets.

The most popular outdoor activities in the country include hiking and diving. Moreover, the best place to retire in Costa Rica is Montezuma. The cost of living in Costa Rica allows retirees to stretch out their dollars and make their nest egg last longer. Costa Rica’s tropical climate makes retiring in the country even more enjoyable, along with the lack of taxes on foreign income of retirees. To start enjoying your retirement in Costa Rica, you need to get a retirement visa, which requires you to have a monthly income of $1,000.

1. Panama

Best Places to Retire - 1. Panama

Panama is definitely the best place to retire overseas. Many see it as an alternative to Florida. The country has a warm climate, but it’s not as expensive as Florida. In addition to being inexpensive to live in, Panama offers additional discounts via its retirement program, i.e., the Pensionado Program.

Entering the retirement program is pretty straightforward, and it requires that you have a monthly income of $1,000. Considering all the good things about retiring in Panama, the country isn’t only one of the best places to retire in the world, but the best retirement location.

Best Place to Retire in the World for Americans During the Pandemic

Retire abroad in the middle of this pandemic? Even though it sounds unreasonable, according to International Living’s 2021 Global Retirement Index, some places are great for people to enjoy retirement nowadays. And the top 10 places to retire are:

  • Costa Rica
  • Panama
  • Mexico
  • Colombia
  • Portugal
  • Ecuador
  • Malaysia
  • France
  • Malta
  • Vietnam

International Living’s 2021 Global Retirement Index looked into several factors:

  • How many people per 1,000 residents died from the Coronavirus.
  • How stable the banking system is.
  • How many physicians per 1,000 residents each country has.
  • How quickly an expat can become a citizen.
  • How well the nation has dealt with COVID-19.

Wrapping Up

Best Places to Retire - Beach

If you want to retire in the US, here’s what you should keep in mind—the most popular retirement states are Florida, Texas, and Pennsylvania, while Lancaster is currently a favorite among retirees, based on multiple criteria.

Many countries support a modest lifestyle when it comes to retiring abroad, which has become one of the top priorities for retirees, since over 50% of Americans have less than $10,000 saved for retirement. As you can see, you have many excellent options that you might not have known about. We hope we’ve helped you choose the location that suits you best—be it in the US or abroad!

FAQs

What are the best states to retire in financially?

When talking about retirement, where you choose to do it makes all the difference. The state you live in will have a tremendous impact on your life quality, finances, and even the ability to stay active, so it’s crucial to choose one of the best states to retire. That said, some of them are:

  • Florida
  • Arkansas
  • South Carolina
  • Delaware
  • New Hampshire

One of people’s favorite retirement advantages is that you aren’t limited to your current location, as you are not tied to a job, so you can relocate and spend your senior years wherever you want. So, make sure you think well and make the best decision.

What are the worst states for retirement?

According to a survey, taking into consideration survey respondent’s comments and other data for taxes and living expenses affecting retirees, the ten worst states for retirement are:

  • Rhode Island
  • New Mexico
  • Illinois
  • North Dakota
  • Vermont
  • New York
  • Nebraska
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Oregon

What are the 10 best places to retire in the United States?

Forbes’ latest data from a recent study, based on 32 rating factors, advises retirees where to retire. That said, according to Forbes, the best states to retire are:

  • New Hampshire
  • North Dakota
  • Idaho
  • Maine
  • Montana

When deciding where to spend your golden years, make sure you consider these factors: proximity to family, preferred climate, state taxes, location of major airports, and the type of lifestyle you would like to lead.

Where is the best and cheapest place to retire?

There are many places which are great for spending your golden years. But are they cheap, too? These are not only some of the best countries for expats to retire, but they are cheap, too:

  • Mexico
  • Ecuador
  • Portugal
  • Panama
  • Costa Rica
  • Colombia
  • Malaysia
  • France
  • Spain

So consider these countries next time you think of where to enjoy your retirement.

What states do not tax your pension or Social Security?

There are 14 states which don’t tax pension income at all. So, these best retirement states are:

  • Florida
  • Tennessee
  • Alaska
  • New Hampshire
  • Alabama
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Nevada
  • Hawaii
  • Mississippi
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Dakota
  • Wyoming
  • Illinois

This is of great importance, as each of us wants our retirement savings to last as long as possible, and reducing our tax bills can be extremely helpful.

What states have the lowest taxes for retirees?

Out of the states which don’t tax retirement plan income, nine don’t have state income taxes at all. So, they can be considered the best places to retire, and they are Alaska, Florida, South Dakota, Nevada, Texas, Wyoming, New Hampshire, Tennessee, and Washington. And the other three—Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Illinois don’t tax distributions from 401(k) plans, pensions, or IRAs. Also, Hawaii and Alabama don’t tax pensions but tax distributions from IRAs and 401(k) plans.

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