- 2019 Best Cities to Retire
- 10. Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
- 9. Grand Rapids, Michigan
- 8. Nashville, Tennessee
- 7. Winston-Salem, North Carolina
- 6. Jacksonville, Florida
- 5. Port St. Lucie, Florida
- 4. Asheville, North Carolina
- 3. Lancaster, Pennsylvania
- 2. Sarasota, Florida
- 1. Fort Myers, Florida
- How to Choose Your Best City to Retire
- Ready for the Retirement of Your Dreams?
- 10 best places for retiring overseas
- 4. Central Valley, Costa Rica
- 5. Chiang Mai, Thailand
- 6. George Town, Malaysia
- 7. Algarve, Portugal
2019 Best Cities to Retire
Retirement is a time for you to enjoy what you love—whether that’s traveling, spending time with family, or serving your community. If you want to live your retirement dream, you need a plan. And knowing the best cities to retire can help you make your hard-earned dollars go farther when you’re ready to put your plan into action.
So, what makes for a good retirement city? Two of the most common factors include the cost of living and quality of life. Some others include:
- Tax rates
- Housing costs
- Quality of health care
- Overall happiness of residents
With those factors in mind, check out some of the best cities to retire.1 For each one, we've included a brief description, a short list of stats and a special feature that distinguishes each city from the rest.
Let’s take a look!
10. Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
Okay, folks. Let’s start the countdown for best cities to retire with Dallas-Fort Worth.
So why did it make the best cities to retire list? Well, of course, there are several draws for sports lovers—Dallas is home to the Cowboys of the NFL, Mavericks of the NBA and Texas Rangers of the MLB.
There’s also extra incentive for grandkids to visit with attractions Six Flags Over Texas and the Great Wolf Lodge indoor water park. And if you dream about the cowboy life, you’ll be happy to hear there are plenty of opportunities to attend rodeos and country-style two-step dance events.2
- Taxes: No state income tax3
- Median Home Price: $248,375
- Median Monthly Rent: $1,022
- Average Temps: 77° / 56°
- Average Annual Rainfall: 36″
- Special Feature: Nicknamed “Cowtown” after cattle drives saved the economy
9. Grand Rapids, Michigan
Along the Grand River—Michigan’s longest waterway—you’ll find the hidden gem of Grand Rapids. With the weather being quite cool during much of the year, getting outside and enjoying nature is a great option.
Plus, the city is known for its breweries—in part because there are tons of them! Grand Rapids has an affordable cost of living, which means things groceries and health care are cheaper than in other cities. There’s also affordable housing for retired folks and a growing health care industry.
4 Sure, health care facilities aren’t the most exciting things to consider when you think about where to retire, but they’re nice to have around when age catches up with you.
- Taxes: No tax on income from Social Security5
- Median Home Price: $181,533
- Median Monthly Rent: $826
- Average Temps: 58° / 40°
- Average Annual Rainfall: 38″
- Special Feature: Craft brewery scene with over 80 breweries6
8. Nashville, Tennessee
We have to admit, we’re excited to announce this one. Want to know why? It’s our hometown! Ramsey Solutions headquarters is just outside of music city. Seriously, though, Nashville is full of life. Day or night, the Broadway strip features live music performed by some of the best aspiring musicians in the world.
Also, you never know when you might bump into some of the music industry’s brightest stars Taylor Swift, Luke Bryan, Carrie Underwood or Keith Urban. If music isn’t your thing, don’t worry: You can join sports fans to cheer on the Predators of the NHL and the Tennessee Titans of the NFL.
7 Want a break from all the noise? Take a short trip to nearby Franklin for a quieter, more historic atmosphere (and stop by our headquarters while you’re there!)
- Taxes: No state income tax8
- Median Home Price: $248,883
- Median Monthly Rent: $951
- Average Temps: 70° / 49°
- Average Annual Rainfall: 47″
- Special Feature: Full-scale replica of the Greek Parthenon
7. Winston-Salem, North Carolina
If you food and festivals (who doesn’t?), Winston-Salem could be to a great place for you to retire. The city combines its friendly southern roots with a wide range of diversity, influenced by its many international citizens.
You can find typical southern BBQ, Greek pastries and Indian curries at all the different food scenes throughout the city.
If you’re a fan of performing arts, you can catch a community performance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts—the school Jada Pinkett Smith attended before pursuing her career in acting.
There are also plenty of places to explore the Reynolda House Museum of American Art, Old Salem Museums and Gardens, Black Mountain Chocolate Factory and Historic Bethabara Park. In Winston-Salem, you get the same offerings of a big city with a small city vibe.9
- Taxes: No tax on income from Social Security10
- Median Home Price: $145,725
- Median Monthly Rent: $732
- Average Temps: 70° / 49°
- Average Annual Rainfall: 47″
- Special Feature: Birthplace of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts in 193711
6. Jacksonville, Florida
Just south of the Georgia state line on the northeastern corner of Florida, you’ll find the huge city of Jacksonville—and we mean huge—coming in at 747 square miles!12 Part of that hugeness includes its gorgeous beaches and waterways.
Several bridges make it easy to get from downtown to the sandy beaches. And there are a bunch of other outdoor activities to do hiking, cycling and camping at places the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve.
Sports lovers can cheer on the Jaguars NFL team among other sports teams, while music lovers can enjoy the annual Springing the Blues music festival.13
- Taxes: No state income tax14
- Median Home Price: $174,658
- Median Monthly Rent: $1,019
- Average Temps: 79° / 61°
- Average Annual Rainfall: 49″
- Special Feature: Largest city in the U.S. by land area—outside of Alaska
If any of these cities are starting to catch your eye, get the ball rolling on your retirement dream city by downloading our free Ramsey Relocation Guide today!
5. Port St. Lucie, Florida
Surprised to see the Sunshine State make another appearance? Yeah, we aren’t either. Port St. Lucie sits on the Atlantic coast of southern Florida, between Orlando and Miami.
With its consistently nice weather, you can wear flip-flops all year long, baby! This place is a haven for golfers—you can even find golf cart parking at grocery stores. And don’t worry if you’re not a pro golfer—yet. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to up your game at the PGA Golf Club.
If you love exploring, check out the Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens and all the water adventures available—boating, fishing, beach bumming and paddling near manatees.15
- Taxes: No state income tax16
- Median Home Price: $211,083
- Median Monthly Rent: $1,074
- Average Temps: 82° / 63°17
- Average Annual Rainfall: 52”18
- Special Feature: Spring training grounds for the New York Mets of the MLB
4. Asheville, North Carolina
Surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina is a land of cool mountain air and breathtaking views—yup, we’re talking about Asheville, Land of the Sky. Now, folks, if you have a creative itch, you’ll love Asheville.
The place is jam-packed with art galleries, museums, historic architecture and pretty-looking artists’ studios made from repurposed factories— the ones at the colorful River Arts District. Plus, there are over 100 different local craft breweries.
But if you’re someone who s it more quiet, you can enjoy stunning hiking trails at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests—just do yourself a favor and look out for black bears.19
- Taxes: No tax on income from Social Security20
- Median Home Price: $248,500
- Median Monthly Rent: $849
- Average Temps: 58° / 52°21
- Average Annual Rainfall: 45”22
- Special Feature: The beautiful, historic Biltmore Estate is the largest privately owned house in the U.S.—at 175,000 square feet23
3. Lancaster, Pennsylvania
The next best city to retire to is in the great state of Pennsylvania. If you variety, Lancaster is a dream town for retirement. It bundles farmland, suburbs and a lively downtown area all into one.
You can also visit the Amish communities where folks get around on horse and buggy and live without public electricity. Don’t worry, social butterflies, the downtown area features monthly arts and music festivals.
Lancaster also has a winter mountain resort, hiking trails, corn mazes, tractor pulls and even a notable dog park.24
- Taxes: No tax on income from Social Security25
- Median Home Price: $196,025
- Median Monthly Rent: $957
- Average Temps: 62° / 42°
- Average Annual Rainfall: 42″
- Special Feature: Oldest Amish settlement in the U.S.26
2. Sarasota, Florida
Located just below Tampa sits the runner-up of the best cities to retire: Sarasota. It offers all the outdoor fun you’d expect boating, fishing and beach activities. Speaking of beaches, Sarasota’s are praised for their clear, warm water and fine, white sand.
It’s the type of sand that’s so soft it makes you want to give the whole beach a hug! Also, the city tends to lean more toward accommodating older folks by providing a ton of activities golf and shopping.
27 Let’s just say you’ll definitely find plenty of things to enjoy in this city!
- Taxes: No state income tax28
- Median Home Price: $237,260
- Median Monthly Rent: $1,089
- Average Temps: 82° / 64°
- Average Annual Rainfall: 53″
- Special Feature: Some of America’s best beaches including Siesta Key Beach
1. Fort Myers, Florida
Here it is—Fort Myers is ranked as the number one city to retire! Along the state’s southwestern river of Caloosahatchee (say that 10 times fast), Fort Myers started getting really famous after Thomas Edison and Henry Ford chose to build their winter homes there.
In fact, it was nicknamed “City of Palms” after Edison started planting royal palm trees along McGregor Boulevard—a sight that screams “paradise.” And for you water lovers out there, hot spots Cape Coral, Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel Island are all less than an hour away.
- Taxes: No state income tax30
- Median Home Price: $219,200
- Median Monthly Rent: $1,035
- Average Temps: 84° / 64°
- Average Annual Rainfall: 53″
- Special Feature: Edison Ford Winter Estates historical museum and botanical garden
How to Choose Your Best City to Retire
Can you picture yourself enjoying beautiful weather, heading to a sporting event, golfing with friends, or relaxing on a beach in retirement? Maybe you read this list and got excited by all the activities you have to look forward to—and now you can’t wait to move!
Find expert agents to help you buy your home.
But listen: Before you decide where you want to live when you retire, you need to get a little more clarity on what you want your retirement to look and what it will cost. Plug in a few numbers to our investment calculator to estimate how much you’ll need to save each month to make your dreams a reality.
The specifics will look different for everyone. For instance, some people are willing to retire on $40,000 a year, while others need $90,000 a year. Do some dreaming (and some math) to make sure you’ll be able to afford living in your chosen retirement city.
Ready for the Retirement of Your Dreams?
To get clarity on your retirement game plan, connect with a qualified investment professional. Our SmartVestor program makes it quick and easy to get a list of pros in your area.
If you’ve already reached your nest egg goal and are ready to relocate for your dream retirement, get a head start with an expert real estate agent who will keep your best interest in mind.
The agents in our Endorsed Local Providers (ELP) program are vetted by our team and are the top-performing agents in their market.
They also participate in ongoing peer-to-peer mentoring to ensure they’re growth-minded and focused on serving you first.
Find your real estate agent today!
10 best places for retiring overseas
La bella Italia: known for its historic cities, beautiful beaches, delicious cuisine, exquisite fashion, and influential art.
Pick the right area of the country to call your home and you can spend your weekends driving to its diverse cities and small towns, and you can even take a ferry to the unforgettable islands of Sardinia and Sicily.
If you make your home in the region of Abruzzo, in particular, you will enjoy an affordable cost of living that is ideal for those who are no longer working full-time.
You will have access to Pescara, which sits along the Adriatic coast, and you will also be close to Rome, vineyards, castles, and villages. Plus, when you don’t want to be on a beach or in the water, you can go skiing instead, as this region is close to it all. With a warm climate throughout the year, you can relax in the sunshine while sipping wine and chatting with friends.
4. Central Valley, Costa Rica
Move to Costa Rica and live a “pura vida,” or pure life. This Central American country boasts a high standard of living, and the locals are known for their friendliness. The climate is tropical all year long, making this the ideal retirement spot for anyone who wants to enjoy fun in the sun rather than frolicking in the snow.
The Central Valley, in particular, is popular amongst retirees, as it is the region that surrounds the capital, San Jose. You will be close to the international airport, medical facilities, and shopping.
Speaking of medical facilities, Costa Rica is known for providing some of the best health care in all of Latin America, with new hospitals and equipment, as well as highly trained staff. Expats can access the universal, government-run health care system or the private system to cover all of their needs.
Plus, when you want to get away from the urban environment, you can easily make your way into the countryside, where you can indulge in some peace and quiet. When you are ready to explore, you can hike through rainforests, or you can lounge on one of the country’s many famous and beloved beaches.
5. Chiang Mai, Thailand
Retirees on a tight budget will feel completely comfortable in Chiang Mai, which has a low cost of living but plenty of beautiful things to see and fun things to do. This is the biggest city, as well as the most culturally significant area, in northern Thailand.
From beaches to mountains, staying active throughout your senior years is easy when you live in this unique country. Many people are attracted to this area because it features modern infrastructure in a laid-back atmosphere, along with high quality health care.
Plus, you can explore ancient temples that include Wat Chedi Luang and Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, as well as go shopping at the Night Bazaar. The weather is usually humid and hot, though you should be prepared to deal with the monsoon season.
And to help you keep your new house clean and beautiful, you can hire domestic staff that includes housekeepers and gardeners on a part-time or full-time basis with the help of an agency, local ads, or referrals. With live-in help, you can even learn to speak Thai, though you can get around surprisingly well by speaking English with locals in a place Chiang Mai.
6. George Town, Malaysia
When you are living in George Town, Malaysia, you can enjoy everything from concerts and amusement parts, to beaches, art centers, museums, and more.
This is yet another super affordable place to retire in, but you can certainly splurge every now and then by dining out at an upscale restaurant.
George Town is the multicultural capital of the gorgeous island of Penang, featuring plenty of history that combines with the amenities and features of a modern city.
With a high quality, yet affordable, health care system—Malaysia is one of the top countries for medical tourism—you can rest assured that your needs will be met as you get older. Modern public transportation means you can easily go exploring whenever you choose, and this tropical island features a community that speaks English, so you won’t have to worry about learning a new language.
7. Algarve, Portugal
The Algarve is considered one of the best places in the world for those who are ready to make the most of their retirement.
It is the southernmost region in Portugal that boasts a low cost of living that will make it easy for retirees from other parts of the world to make their move into Western Europe.
And it is also considered one of the best places to spend your golden years because it features plenty of fun outdoor activities that will keep you moving, such as open-air markets, golf courses and resorts, and Mediterranean beaches.
The area is naturally stunning, and it truly has something for everyone. Perfect for retirees who want to feel as though they are on a permanent holiday, Algarve will not disappoint.
Plus, when it comes to health care, you can register with the National Health Service (Serviço Nacional de Saúde) to receive your SNS card. This will give you access to public hospitals and health centres, and if you are over 65 years of age, you can access subsidized prescription medications. In an effort to attract expats, Portugal is also offering 10 years tax free on your pension for retirees, which is one incentive you definitely shouldn’t ignore. Check to see if you qualify.