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Dave Ramsey Says These Are the 12 Best Cities for Soon-To-Be Retirees

Dave Ramsey is one of the forefathers of financial management culture. Ramsey’s 50/30/20 budgeting rule has helped countless Americans find financial independence, and his advice is gospel for many. Suppose you’re planning to retire soon or in the distant future. In that case, it’s worth considering these cities that the Ramsey team has deemed retiree-friendly based on tax environment, costs of living, and other relevant factors. 

1. Lancaster, PA

Amish Country, Lancaster County, PA
Image Credit: Discover Lancaster.

If you don’t mind sharing the roads with horse-drawn buggies, Lancaster, PA, provides a quaint, relatively quiet backdrop for retirees. A significant Amish population means you’ll be reminded of the good old days (before electricity mucked things up). At the same time, the city boasts rooftop bars, indoor pools, nature trails, and a host of other activities to keep you young. The combination of open space and modern amenities makes Lancaster a prized destination for those seeking to retire in peace without sacrificing modern comforts.

2. Why Lancaster, PA Is Retiree-Friendly

Lancaster County, PA

Image Credit: Rlevse – Own work, Public Domain / Wiki Commons.

Lancaster is relatively affordable, with median home prices of just over $226,000 and median rent of $1,050. Additionally, you’ll face no taxation on income from pensions and Social Security benefits. The average winter temperature of 31 degrees may be chilly for some, so factor that into your retirement plans. 

3. Sarasota, FL

Ariel view of Sarasota, Florida.

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

A popular migration spot for retirees dating back decades, Sarasota offers a robust retiree community that will welcome you with open arms. Sarasota Bay provides a constant breeze, eye-catching scenery, and plenty of water-involved activities for the nautically inclined retiree.

4. Why Sarasota, FL Is Retiree-Friendly

Sarasota, FL
Image Credit: Visitor7 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0/Wiki Commons.

The Ramsey team notes Florida’s lack of an income tax as a pull factor for retirees in Sarasota. Rising living costs in Florida may be a concern, but the median home price of $387,600 is not exorbitant. Better yet, Sarasota offers average temperatures of 82 and 62 degrees, so you won’t have to break your back shoveling snow in the winter.

5. Pensacola, FL

Pensacola Beach

Image Credit: Visit Pensacola, Florida.

Florida is all-too-logical a destination for those who want to kick their feet up and enjoy their golden years. The sunshine alone is a magnet for retirees, and Pensacola’s immediate access to Escambia Bay, Pensacola Bay, and the Gulf of Mexico offers plenty of water-borne adventures. There’s plenty of shopping for the wife, fishing and golf for the hubby, and much more to love for the whole family.

6. Why Pensacola, FL Is Retiree-Friendly

Pensacola, Florida
Image Credit: Matt Buikema/Shutterstock.

Those who want to explore the Spanish history of Pensacola can do so on a budget. Of course, there’s no state income tax. Housing is also relatively cheap in Pensacola, with median home prices of $200,800 and median rents of $1,046. Average temperatures of 81 degrees in the summer and 53 degrees in the winter are the benefits of living in Northwest Florida. 

7. Ann Arbor, MI

Michigan Stadium

Image Credit: Shutterstock/G.E. Anderson.

Of course, you can check Ann Arbor off your list if year-round sunshine is non-negotiable. If you’re okay with cool weather, Ann Arbor’s vibrant college-town atmosphere, a plethora of outdoor activities (the University of Michigan Nichols Arboretum and Matthaei Botanical Gardens are among many offerings), and quaint downtown are all reasons to consider Ann Arbor. Assign bonus points to Ann Arbor if you’re a Michigan alum.

8. Why Ann Arbor, MI Is Retiree-Friendly

Ann Arbor, Michigan
Image Credit: JuwanGOAT – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

Ann Arbor residents don’t have to suffer taxes on their Social Security benefits, a critical financial consideration for retirees. Despite being a college town, the cost of living in Ann Arbor is palatable, with median rent of $1,161 and median home prices of $270,600.

9. Charleston, SC

Charleston South Carolina

Image Credit: Julian Colton – CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

A bastion of American history, Charleston still maintains many of the hallmarks of the Antebellum South. The museums and plantations alone could keep a retiree busy for years, but Charleston is far more than its rich history. Charleston has one of the most decorated culinary scenes in the United States, with award-winning restaurants like Sean Brock’s Husk being appointment dining.

Warning about Charleston: If you visit even once, the charm may not allow you to leave.

10. Why Charleston, SC Is Retiree-Friendly

Charleston, South Carolina
Image Credit: Khanrak – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0/Wiki Commons.

Charleston offers several financial perks, including the fact that Social Security benefits are not subject to taxation. However, the city could be more affordable, with median home prices pegged at $448,600. Median rent is more reasonable at $1,197. If you decide to retire to this Southern gem, perhaps ditch your hopes of owning a home.

11. Asheville, NC

Asheville, North Carolina
Image Credit: Michael Tracey – CC0/Wiki Commons.

Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville embodies what North Carolinians love about their state. You haven’t smelled fresh mountain air until you’ve ventured into the Carolina foothills, and many retirees have become entranced by Asheville’s allure.

If you are uncomfortable around environmentalist types, think twice about making Asheville home. For the most part, though, Asheville residents live harmoniously while enjoying the city’s abundant hiking trails, eateries, and Subarus. 

12. Why Asheville, NC Is Retiree-Friendly

Asheville, North Carolina
Image Credit: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock.

Asheville’s retiree-friendly environment begins with no taxation on Social Security benefits. A median monthly rent under $1,000 is another perk for those who choose not to buy a home. If you are a homebuyer, the median housing cost of $278,750 is manageable. Relatively moderate temperatures (75 in the summer, 35 in winter) also keep Asheville above freezing for most of the year.

13. Nashville, TN

Nashville, Tennessee

Image Credit: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock.

It’s easy to be turned off by the population explosion in Nashville, and you may be wise to heed the warnings that “Nashville isn’t what it used to be.” However, many retirees are lured by the round-the-clock country music, an ever-rolling parade of concerts and shows, and a general sense of life that keeps Nashville buzzing. The ability to take trips to Tennessee’s abundant countryside makes Nashville a logical home base for many retirees.

14. Why Nashville, TN Is Retiree-Friendly

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - NOV 22, 2016: Roberts Western World and Jack's Bar-B-Que neon sign along Broadway in Nashville, Tennessee.

Image Credit: Atomazul/Shutterstock.

The cost of living is a knock rather than a perk regarding Nashville. The immense demand for real estate in Tennessee has pushed Nashville’s median home price to $445,360. Rents are more reasonable, with the median monthly rent being $1,135. Retirees eyeing Nashville will smile at the fact that there is no state income tax, which will offset some of the cost-of-living deficiencies.

15. Melbourne, FL

Melbourne, Florida
Image Caption: Giuseppe Milo – CC BY 3.0/Wiki Commons.

Not to be confused with Melbourne, Australia, Melbourne, Florida lacks kangaroos. Like its namesake in Australia, though, Melbourne, Florida, has its fair share of sun-soaked beaches. Located on the East Coast, Melbourne visitors rave about the fishing, wetland tours, sanctuaries, and surprisingly rich culinary scene. Florida’s Space Coast has much to offer its residents, and Florida sunshine is atop the list of perks.

16. Why Melbourne, FL Is Retiree-Friendly

Melbourne, Florida
Image Credit: Leonard J. DeFrancisci, CC BY-SA 3.0/Wiki Commons.

You already know why you might retire to Florida. Say it with me: No state income tax! Melbourne is among the most high-value Floridian locales, with median home prices of $217,400 and median rents of $1,111. 

17. Naples, FL

Naples, Florida
Image Credit: LesPalenik/Shutterstock.

Floridians know Naples as a retiree-rich community, and there are several reasons why so many people quit work and move to Naples. Active retirees will love the white sand of Barefoot Beach, Vanderbilt Beach, and Naples’ many other sandy oases. An abundance of shops, fine-dining establishments, shows, and other events ensures you can hold onto your youth when you retire to Naples. This southwestern Floridian city routinely ranks among the hottest retirement destinations in the United States. 

18. Why Naples, FL Is Retiree-Friendly

Naples, Florida
Image Credit: P. Hughes – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

Naples lies in the income-tax-free state of Florida, which is a significant plus. The cost of living is higher in Naples than in specific other Floridian communities (the average home price is $345,000), but if you can swing it, bring your golf clubs down to Naples and retire in the sunshine.

19. Austin, TX

There are plenty of things to do in Austin, Texas if you know where to look.

Image Credit: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock.

Those who have kept tabs on Austin’s population boom (and the related rise in the cost of living) may scratch their head at this entry. Sixth Street, the South by Southwest Festival, and the burgeoning comedy scene in Austin may seem like a younger crowd’s game, but many retirees place a premium on remaining hip. Lake Travis, the countryside outside Austin, and a wide range of culinary options are more reasons to consider Austin your retirement spot.

20. Why Austin, TX Is Retiree-Friendly

Austin City in Texas

Image Credit: Jouaienttoi – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

Housing prices have skyrocketed in Austin over the past few years to the point where the median home price is just above $500,000. Rent is not cheap, with median rent prices being $1,326. Austin’s saving grace is its lack of a state income tax, which may be enough to allow some retirees to realize their Texan dream.

21. Harrisburg, PA

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Image Credit: Farragutful – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

The capital of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, offers Aarich an array of theaters, museums, and local culture. This rich tapestry of activities makes Harrisburg a city you can enjoy at any age. The Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra may be the perfect prelude to a fine meal in the city’s vibrant downtown. A local airport also makes it easy to travel to your family holidays or have loved ones visit.

City Island is a unique feature of the city, as you can spend a day watching the Harrisburg Senators baseball team, board the Pride of the Susquehanna for a trip on Lake Tobias, and enjoy local delicacies when your appetite kicks in. 

22. Why Harrisburg, PA Is Retiree-Friendly

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Image Credit: JohnDziak – Own work, CC0/Wiki Commons.

Harrisburg is affordable by American standards, with a median monthly rent of $970. If you are looking for a home, median home prices below $300,000 will be welcomed news (at least when you compare it to where you currently live). No tax on pensions and Social Security benefits is the cherry on top of the Harrisburg sundae. 

23. Daytona Beach, FL

Daytona Beach Florida.

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Retirees, start your engines!

In all seriousness, Daytona Beach is far more than the home of the Daytona 500. Located on Florida’s Atlantic Coast, Daytona offers the beaches that Florida is renowned for. Being a major Floridian city, you will also find plenty of fine dining, theaters, and culture in Daytona Beach. There are plenty of kid-friendly activities for when the little ones visit, including but not limited to the Marine Science Center, Museum of Arts & Sciences, and the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse.

24. Why Daytona Beach, FL Is Retiree-Friendly

Daytona Beach, Florida
Image Credit: Roboat06 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

The Ramsey Team cites Florida’s non-existing (at least for now) state income tax and moderate temperatures as criteria that make Daytona Beach a retiree haven. Additionally, median monthly rents of $1,127 and median home prices of $339,100 are less than those of many other locales. When you consider the lifestyle Daytona Beach affords, many retirees consider the cost of living justifiable.


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