Retirement is often viewed as the holy grail of life — a time when a daily job is nonexistent and life is easy and full of fun. However, for many people who are retirement age, retirement may be a fearful time with many unknowns. One of the more important things to plan before retiring is where to live. While many have dreams of retiring to exotic locations, budgets and reality often dictate that retirees must live in locations that are more affordable. Fortunately, there are many affordable retirement locations in the U.S.
Gainesville, Florida, listed as the No. 1 location to retire during an economic downturn by SmartMoney magazine, is an affordable location to retire due to a strong local economy, stable housing market and a respected local health care facility. The economy of Gainesville is supported largely by the University of Florida, which is located in the city. Also, Florida does not have an income tax. The cost of living in Gainesville is similar to the national average. Higher education, one of the few industries that are nearly recession-proof, provides the city with a stable job supply and its large student body injects large sums of money into the local economy. Due to its stable labor market, the housing market in Gainesville has held its own during the destructive mortgage crisis of 2008 to 2010. Retirees may also find it useful that the University of Florida Health Science Center is located in Gainesville and provides high quality medical care, according to SmartMoney. Gainesville has an average July high of 91 degrees and an average January low of 43 degrees.
Ithaca, New York
Ithaca, New York, listed as the No. 2 location to retire during an economic downturn by SmartMoney magazine, is an affordable location to live and retire due to a strong local economy, affordable housing market and a respectable health care facility. The economy of Ithaca is largely supported by Cornell University and Ithaca College. Similar to Gainesville, Ithaca's economy is bolstered by the influx of students. The median home sale in Ithaca was $164,000 in 2010, according to Sperling's Best Places to Live. New York has a higher income tax rate compared to other states, which is one of the downsides to this location. The Cayuga Medical Center is the local hospital, which has affiliations with medical facilities such as The Mayo Laboratory Clinic and the Rochester Heart Institute. Ithaca has an average July high of 80 degrees and an average January low of 15 degrees.
San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio, Texas, listed as the seventh best location to retire during an economic downturn by SmartMoney magazine and as the best "Budget Town" to retire to by Today, is an affordable location to live and retire due to a strong local economy, strong housing market and the presence of several respected hospitals. The city's economy is supported in large part by tourism, such as the Alamo and the San Antonio Riverwalk, and the financial services industry. Similar to Florida, Texas does not have an income tax. Housing and the cost of living in San Antonio are very affordable, with, as of 2007, the housing market being nearly 10 percent below the national average and groceries nearly 22 percent below the national average. San Antonio has an average July high of 95 degrees and an average January low of 41 degrees.
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