What’s the cheapest place to retire in the US?

When you want to balance a fixed income with an enjoyable retirement, you should consider moving to a cheaper place. Find out what’s the cheapest place to retire in the US.

4 min read

For most retirees, moving to a cheaper state or city allows them to live off a fixed income and stretch the dollar further. To identify some of the most affordable places to retire in the United States, we compare various cities and states based on several factors, including taxes, quality of healthcare, cost of living, and lifestyle.

Some of the cheapest places to retire in the United States include Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, Ohio, and Georgia. Florida has one of the highest senior population due to its warm weather, long coastline of beaches, and favorable tax climate. On the other hand, Alabama has one of the lowest costs of living, and it is tax-friendly to retirees.

Cheapest Places to Retire in the United States

Here are some of the cheapest places in the US for retirement:


Florida is a popular state for budget-conscious retirees, and it is already home to a big population of retirees. The state does not impose state income taxes on retirement income, and this means retirees get to keep most of their earnings from Social Security, pension, retirement plan distributions, etc.

Some of the cheapest cities in Florida include Ocala, Dayton Beach, and Port St. Lucie. Ocala is dubbed “The Horse Capital of the World”, and it is home to the Ocala National Forest; you can go hiking, fishing, camping, tour the many museums, play golf, and enjoy plenty of other outdoor opportunities.

Daytona Beach is known for being the World Center for Racing, and you can also find museums, a performing arts center, farmer's markets, and antiques. Port St. Lucie is a beach city on the Atlantic Coast, and it has a long coastline of beaches, and it offers plenty of outdoor opportunities, including golf courses, nature trails, and botanical gardens.


Alabama is a retirement-friendly state, and it offers good weather, good healthcare, a low cost of living, and plenty of outdoor opportunities. Its cost of living is 13% lower than the US average, and it has a state income tax of 2% to 5% and low property taxes. If you receive Social Security payments, you will be exempted from state income taxes on the earnings.

Some of the cheapest places to retire in Alabama include Huntsville, Mobile, and Montgomery. Huntsville is a center for technology and engineering, and it is home to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, the Redstone Arsenal, and the University of Alabama; it has good weather, nice beaches, golf courses, and cultural attractions.

Mobile is known for the Mardi Gras Festival, and it is home to many museums, art centers, and modern entertainment spots. On the other hand, Montgomery is a good choice for history lovers, and it is considered the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement. It also has various outdoor opportunities like museums and nature trails.


Most cities in Tennessee have below-average living costs for retirees, and house prices are 30% below the US average. It has one of the friendliest tax climates for retirees, and you won't pay state income taxes on Social Security benefits, pensions, and other forms of retirement income. Also, it has comparatively low property taxes, and the average effective property tax rate is 0.56%.

Some of the cheapest places to retire in Tennessee include Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Nashville. Knoxville has the second largest percentage of seniors over 60; it is the gateway to the Smoky Mountains and it is home to the University of Tennessee where seniors pursuing life-long learning can audit classes for free.

Chattanooga lies between the banks of the Tennessee River and the Appalachian Mountains, and you can explore plenty of outdoor opportunities including cycling, mountain biking, water rafting, and rock climbing. It has a senior center, where seniors hang out with their peers. On the other hand, Nashville hosts an international airport for easy travel, it has plenty of parks, live entertainment, and social clubs, and is considered the birthplace of country music.

South Carolina

The Palmetto State has many retirement communities, and it offers balmy weather all year round, a low cost of living, and reasonable property home prices. It has low taxes, and you can live comfortably on a fixed income from Social Security, pension, and other sources of retirement income.

Some of the best cities to retire in South Carolina include Greenville, Myrtle Beach, and Charleston. Greenville is located in the North West, and it is near mountains, rivers, and lakes. It is home to performing art centers, museums, and nature trails. It has an international airport, which eases local and international travel.

You can also choose to retire in Myrtle Beach, a coastal town that hosts miles of coastline beaches and golf courses. You can also explore seafood restaurants or go shopping. This city has the highest percentage of 60-plus seniors at 35% of its total population. On the other hand, Charleston has plenty to offer to retirees, including historical architecture, delicious southern cuisines, art spaces, art galleries, and senior centers.


Ohio has one of the lowest costs of living in the United States, and retirees have plenty of recreation opportunities. You can explore museums, tour cultural attractions, cheer your favorite sports teams, and access quality healthcare from some of the top-ranked hospitals in the state.

Some of the cheapest places to retire in Ohio include Dayton, Cleveland, and Columbus. Dayton was the home of the Wright brothers, and it is considered the birthplace of aviation. Retirees interested in the aviation field can volunteer at the Dayton Art Institute or the National Aviation Hall of Fame. You can also explore the Five Rivers MetroParks and bike in the extensive network of paved bike trails.

If you want to retire in a city with institutions of higher learning, Cleveland is a good option. The city is home to Cleveland State University, Case Western Reverse University, Cleveland Institute of Art, etc. You can also access extensive public book collections at the Cleveland Public Library. The city also hosts the Cleveland Clinic, the 4th best hospital in the United States. 

On the other hand, if you retire in Columbus, the largest city in Ohio, you can take advantage of Program 60, which allows seniors over 60 to take free university courses. You can visit the downtown area to explore galleries, restaurants, and the shopping scene.


If you want to retire in a state with a near year-round warm climate, low cost of living, and favorable tax climate, Georgia could be a good option for you. While Georgia does not have a big senior population like Florida, it has plenty of amenities for seniors, as well as recreation and entertainment options for seniors.

Some of the affordable places to retire in Georgia include Augusta, Cumming, and Forest Park. Augusta is a college town, and it is home to Augusta University and Fort Gordon military base. Retirees can explore restaurants, museums, and galleries in the downtown area. You can also enjoy kayaking along the Savannah River or running and walking along the Augusta Canal.

If you are an outdoor enthusiast, Cumming could be the best place to retire. The city offers easy access to Lake Lanier, where you can walk or bike across the paved trail, enjoy boating, and participate in watersports. On the other hand, Forest Park is located south of Atlanta, and it is a good option if you want to retire in a big city but without traffic congestion. Retirees can find multiple amenities, including dining, shopping, and modern entertainment.