Cheap Places for Retirement in the Midwest

by Chris Joseph

People often dream of spending their retirement years in sun-drenched climates where snow is only a distant memory. However, if you are looking for an affordable place to retire that still provides the four-season experience, the Midwest has plenty of prime locations to choose from. Many of these cities are home to major universities, so you will have access to lots of activities and a college atmosphere.

Kansas City, Missouri

With a population of nearly 460,000 as of 2010 and a metropolitan area population of more than 2 million, Kansas City is a large Midwestern city that is a relatively inexpensive place to live. According to the U.S. News & World Report, the median home price in Kansas City was $118,000 as of 2009, 20 percent below the national average. Kansas City also offers multiple activities for retirees who like to keep busy, many of them based around music and dancing.

Lincoln, Nebraska

Lincoln is home to the University of Nebraska and is widely regarded as a friendly college town with plenty to do for retirees. Lincoln is also an inexpensive place to live, as the SmartMoney website indicates that the average two-bedroom home costs around $115,000 as of 2011, a figure that has changed little since 2007. Retirees who still want to work on a part-time basis to supplement their income can benefit from Lincoln's low unemployment rate. The city's stable economy is advantageous to seniors living on a fixed income.

Manhattan, Kansas

Another college town, Manhattan is the site of Kansas State University as well as the Fort Riley Army facility. Manhattan is also a cheap place to live, as SmartMoney reports that the cost of living was 9 percent below the national average as of 2011. Manhattan features a low unemployment rate, and there are ample opportunities for retirees who wish to launch a second career or start a business, as retail space rental rates are extremely affordable.

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Home of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor offers plenty of low-cost amenities and services catering to the needs of seniors, such as no-cost bus transportation and discounted taxi service. U.S. News & World Report also points out that housing prices in Ann Arbor remained relatively stable as of 2009, even in the wake of plummeting real estate values resulting from the mortgage crisis of 2008.

Columbus, Ohio

Ohio's state capital and largest city, Columbus is the location of The Ohio State University and major corporations such as Nationwide Insurance and Bob Evans Farms. The city offers affordable housing, with U.S. News & World Report indicating a median home price of $106,000 as of 2009. Columbus features an abundance of low-cost activities for seniors, such as reduced-priced admission to museums and theaters. Workshops are also available for entrepreneurial seniors looking to convert their hobbies and interests into business opportunities.

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