Cheapest Places to Retire in the U.S. in 2012.

Fri, Jan 20, 2012


In my capacity as a CPA, Certified Financial Planner and tax strategist I am often called upon to assist my clients in making the transition from worker to retiree.  With the near economic collapse of 2008 the question I have been repeatedly asked  is:

“Where are the cheapest places to retire in the U.S.?”

The underlying motivation for asking this question was the loss in retirement assets that resulted from The Great Recession and a fear that many of my retirement clients shared…can they retire with the assets or income they have or expect to have in retirement?

In 2009 I set out to answer that very question. I analyzed over 3,020 select cities, towns and communities across the United States for ten key retirement factors and applied a proprietary scoring formula to each factor to determine which communities ranked highest as the best of the cheapest places to retire in the U.S. For each city, town or location we focused on the following ten key retirement factors:

1)         Lowest Housing Costs

2)        Lowest Property Tax

3)        Lowest Sales Tax

4)        Best Climate

5)         Lowest Crime Rate

6)        Lowest Income Tax

7)         Closest to Major or Regional Metropolitan Areas

8)        Closest to Hospitals

9)        Closest to Airports

10)      Closest to Beaches or Coastlines

Deciding where to retire may very well be one of the most important decisions you make as you approach retirement. Use this book as a tool in helping you find your ideal, affordable  retirement community.

To purchase a copy of the book go to: www.richhabits.net

Below is a sampling of a few of the very affordable communities highlighted in my book.


When you think of Mississippi you don’t always think beaches. But there is a small slice of Mississippi heaven on the Gulf Coast that makes you re-think everything about the state. Situated just over 10 miles to the west of Biloxi is the town of Gulfport, just 3 miles from Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport and a short walk to many Gulf Coast beaches.  In an hour’s drive east you can find yourself in the heart of Mobile, Alabama and Mobile Bay.

Here you’ll find 6.7 miles of picturesque, white-sandy beaches lining the Gulf of Mexico. There are exciting, fun-filled indoor and outdoor activities, championship golf courses, taste-tantalizing cuisine, plentiful shopping, gambling casinos and must-see cultural attractions.

From its simple, humble beginnings as a lumber and port city, Gulfport has evolved into a diversified, expanding community.

Approximately 55% of its citizens are white, 35% are black and the balance is a blend of Hispanic and other races. Religious diversity is evident in Gulfport with a good mix of Southern Baptists (36%), Catholics (33%), Methodists (14%), and other religious affiliations balancing out the mix.


The Good

  • Waterfront location
  • Affordable housing for a coastal community
  • Low property tax
  • Close proximity to air transportation

The Bad

  • Crime rate is 5.45%, slightly higher than our average of 3-4%
  • Still rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina




Having visited Pensacola on one of my “research missions”… stop laughing, it was a real research mission… I can’t help but express my unbridled bias toward this most unique coastal community.

Let me paint you a picture. You are sitting on your porch or deck. A few hundred feet to the west is the bay, with its own flat sandy beach; at the same distance to the east is the ocean, with its fluffy white sand and warm tropical ocean temperatures. You’re hungry so you decide to bar-b-que on one of the many free grills that pepper the public beaches. You’re thirsty and decide to take short stroll alongside the beach to Peg Leg Pete’s Oyster Bar.

Mm mm, sounds too good to be true doesn’t it? Well that’s Pensacola. Pensacola is, hands down, this author’s top pick of affordable retirement communities.

What you get in Pensacola at a very affordable price is simply hard to believe. Affordable housing, exceptional location on the panhandle of Florida, no income tax, scenic coastal views, warm waters, beaches on the bay and ocean, boating, fishing galore, great night life, excellent restaurants, free beach access, a quaint trolley and much more makes Pensacola a fabulous retirement retreat.

Take your boat and anchor it off Conch Island and explore the variety of shell life there. Or simply anchor your boat in the bay near the shore and sit down in the water with an aperitif before the dinner bell rings. Comb the bay sea floor for Sandollars of every size. It’s all here and at a very affordable price.

A diversified community is what you’ll find here with 65% white, 25% black with the balance a blend of many other races. Catholics, Southern Baptists, United Methodists, Assemblies of God and many other religious affiliations are well represented in Pensacola.

The Good

  • Magnificent sandy beaches on both the ocean and the bay
  • Unlimited water recreational activities
  • Comfortable year-round climate
  • No income tax
  • Nearby Pensacola Airport
  • Great nearby restaurants, bars and night life

The Bad

  • Slightly higher than average crime rate at 5.45%
  • Somewhat remote



For the first time Oregon makes the list. Florence is situated along the beautiful Siuslaw River on the west coast just 4 miles from Heceta Beach.

Here you can enjoy a stroll along the boardwalk, experience Historic Old Town Florence’s truly unique shopping or dine in one of the many restaurants in the district. From chowder to gourmet pizza, crab encrusted halibut to the famous green donkey burrito; retirees can find a variety of foods to fit any budget. At the south end of Florence you will find 42 miles of magnificent, wind-shaped sand dunes, some rising 500 feet above sea level. These dunes represent the largest expanse of coastal sand dunes in North America. If you’re looking for adventure you’ll find it at the dunes through their guided sand rail tours, self-guided ATV tours, sand boarding, hiking, camping, horseback riding and photography.

Florence is often billed as a river town, and why not with 17 lakes and rivers in and around the area. But the hidden gem is the Pacific Ocean which is located just over the dune.  When it comes to enjoying the Ocean, the possibilities for adventure are truly endless. Walk along the surf in search of glass floats, shells, agates and driftwood. Hit the Oregon Coast Trail for hiking, biking or horseback riding. If you like fishing or boating, Florence has that too. There are over a dozen fresh water lakes, which serve anglers and boaters.

Florence is a predominantly white community with a robust diversity of religious affiliations making Florence truly a religious melting pot..

The Good

  • Desirable location
  • Low property tax
  • No sales tax
  • Unique outdoor activities

The Bad

  • Higher than average precipitation (rainfall)
  • Very high income tax
  • Somewhat remote

4 Responses to “Cheapest Places to Retire in the U.S. in 2012.”

  1. Annamaria Hemmen says:

    Hey Mike, you know why you get so many assists right? Its because your recon drone gets you assists..

  2. Time managing is very important and also if the police officers manage to talk extremely well to each other I guess that it could be possible. Why not, and after all, not the officers matter so much but the citizen itself! Their education help the city to be stable from many points of view.

  3. Rosemary Donelan says:

    Actually Michael, Mr. Darcy was worth 10,000 pounds per year. His good friend Mr. Bingley was worth 5,000 pounds per year. That’s why, in spite of Jane’s superior looks, Elizabeth made a more advantageous marriage.

  4. Lonnie Hershfield says:

    I enjoy reading the report, too. It′s easy to understand that a journey like this is the biggest event in ones

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