I’m a Retirement Planning Expert: These 4 states are led by Florida and Arizona

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RondaKimbrow/Getty Images/iStockphoto

When it comes time to retire, many people automatically think of heading to the bright and sunny states of Florida or Arizona.

With their warm weather, golf courses, and retirement communities, these states seem like obvious choices. However, retirement planning experts say other states may be even better for retirement living.

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In recent years, there has been a shift away from traditional retirement magnet states like Florida and Arizona. Rising housing costs, taxes and crowds have some retirees reconsidering whether these are really the best places to settle. Instead, they are looking for alternatives that offer high quality of life, low cost of living and tax advantages.

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SWKrullImaging/Getty Images/iStockphoto


While Colorado may not immediately come to mind as a retirement destination, it offers compelling benefits, according to some experts. The state offers access to the Rocky Mountains and an active, outdoor lifestyle. The cost of living is quite reasonable in certain areas.

Colorado is a great state for retirees, in my opinion, said Seamus Nally, CEO of TurboTenant. I’m partial to it because I live here of course, but the truth is that it’s a great option for retirees looking for a competitive cost of living. Cities like Denver or Colorado Springs are more expensive, but there are other options like Canon City, where the cost of living is below the national average. The median home price is about $346,000. For overseas retirees, there really is no better place to be.

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By comparison, Florida’s median home price is about $388,000, while Arizona’s is nearly $422,000, according to Zillow.com.

With stunning mountain towns like Vail and Aspen, there is certainly luxury living available to those who can afford it. However, many of Colorado’s smaller cities and communities offer retirees a quiet lifestyle and comfortable cost of living. Active adults will find plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking, fishing and skiing. With the right home base, Colorado offers the ideal blend of natural beauty and amenities for many retirees.

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Jonathan Ross/Getty Images/iStockphoto


Tennessee has emerged as a top retirement destination in recent years thanks to its natural beauty, range of lifestyle options and tax benefits. This state offers an excellent balance of urban and rural amenities along with a low cost of living.

According to Zillow, the median home price in Tennessee is about $306,000, and according to Payscale.com, the cost of living in Memphis is 13% lower than the national average.

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Major metro areas such as Nashville and Memphis offer amenities, health care facilities and cultural attractions. At the same time, small towns in east Tennessee offer a more peaceful environment with a charming, homey atmosphere. The Great Smoky Mountains offer numerous opportunities for outdoor recreation and natural beauty.

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Anya Douglas / Shutterstock.com

North Carolina

North Carolina is quickly emerging as a top retirement destination thanks to its mild climate, natural beauty and vibrant cities. The state offers miles of scenic coastline, the Blue Ridge Mountains and a reasonable cost of living.

According to Payscale, the median home price in North Carolina is $175,000. Better yet, the cost of living is nearly 10% lower than the national average.

North Carolina offers the stunning natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, as well as over 300 miles of pristine Atlantic coastline, said Alex Adekola, CEO and founder of Ready Adjuster. Major metro areas offer amenities such as world-class health care through Duke University and cultural attractions that rival larger states.

Smaller towns allow you to escape the hustle and bustle. With options ranging from quiet Appalachian countryside to bustling cities, North Carolina has a retirement location to fit every lifestyle, Adekola said. Low taxes and affordable housing, along with natural wonders and an inviting climate make North Carolina a sweet spot for retirement. It offers a high quality of life for much less popular alternatives in the west and south.

With such abundant natural beauty and so many amenities, it’s no wonder North Carolina is becoming a favorite retirement destination. The mild climate means plenty of comfortable days to be out and about. With everything from large metros to charming small towns, North Carolina offers retirement living options to fit every lifestyle and budget.

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DenisTangneyJr/Getty Images/iStockphoto

South Dakota

Although not on most retirees’ radars, South Dakota offers financial benefits that make it worth a closer look. The state does not tax income, social security benefits or pension income. For retirees focused on maximizing their savings, South Dakota offers unparalleled advantages.

According to Zillow, the median home price in South Dakota is about $290,000 and, according to Payscale, the cost of living in Sioux Falls is 8% lower than the national average.

Major population centers are few, but lively cities like Sioux Falls offer ample amenities along with a more relaxed pace of life. Custer State Park offers beautiful wildlife viewing opportunities. Retirees who enjoy the outdoors will find ample opportunities for biking, fishing and hiking.

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: I’m a Retirement Planning Expert: These 4 States Top Florida and Arizona

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