Low Cost Retirement Towns

I enjoy reading Where to Retire magazine.  Although it is jam-packed with ads for retirement communities and the like, even that information is helpful to prospective retirees. The editorial content is good, providing useful facts and figures about different retirement locations.

In a recent issue, the magazine printed a feature on “Havens Where You Save on Living Costs.” The magazine ranked small to medium-size towns and cities that have below average costs (compared to a national average) in four different cost of living categories: housings, groceries, health care, and utilities. The data used to rank the towns came from the ACCRA Cost of Living Index.

Not surprisingly, many of the towns were in the South. None were in the Northeast.

In the housing category, the low cost town selected was Rome GA, followed by Tupelo MS, Americus GA, Springfield, MO, and Clarksville, TN.  I have some personal knowledge about Clarksville, as it is only a 45 minute drive from us. Clarksville is the home of the 101st Airborne.

The low cost retirement town selected in the grocery category was Corpus Christi TX, followed by San Antonio TX, Louisville KY, Cookeville TN, and Savannah GA. I’ve spent time in Louisville, Cookeville, and Savannah. Cookeville is mostly a college town (home of Tennessee Tech) and is close to the Cumberland Plateau.

For health care, Florence AL took the low cost prize, followed by Dothan AL, Auburn AL, Lafayette LA, and Hot Springs AK. I’ve been to all of the Alabama towns. The only one that might appeal to me is Auburn because it is also a college town.

In the final category of utilities, Roanoke VA was selected as the low cost retirement town. Also on this list was St. George UT, Martinsburg WV, Albany GA, and Spokane WA.

If there is a trend to be observed from the data, is that living in the South, e.g., Georgia, Alabama, or Tennessee can provide significant cost of living advantages over other retirement areas. A low cost of living may not be enough by itself to justify a relocation for retirement but it sure can help.

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