Most Inexpensive Places to Retire

by Lee Nichols

After retirement, some individuals decide to move to conserve their retirement funds. If the cost of living is the only factor in your decision, researching the most inexpensive places to live is the place to start, and end, your research. Other factors do enter into your decision if you need a certain climate because of health issues or you want to be near your children or other family.

Brownsville, Texas

Kiplinger and Bloomberg Businessweek agree that the area around Brownsville, Texas -- a small city on the Mexican border -- is the cheapest place to live in the United States. In 2011, rent for a two-bedroom apartment averaged $659, mortgage payments averaged $847 and a half gallon of milk was $1.99. The median income per household averaged $30,034 and Brownsville's cost-of-living index was 80. According to Kiplinger, utility costs were more expensive than other U.S. cities, but the low price for consumer goods and groceries more than make up for the price of utilities.

Midland, Texas

With a median housing price of $96,600, AARP lists Midland, Texas, one of the most inexpensive places to live after retirement. Texas has a state sales tax of 8.25 percent; however, there is no state income tax on pensions or Social Security. The cost-of-living index for Midland is 86.70, according to Sperling's Best Places. Midland is approximately halfway between El Paso and Fort Worth, making it around 300 miles from either city. If you like flat, dry country with lots of cattle, Midland may be for you.

Fort Smith, Arkansas

If you are looking for a mountain home near the water, CNN Money determined that the most affordable homes were in Fort Smith, Arkansas. In 2011, the cost-of-living index for Fort Smith was 85, the median household income was $37,363 and the average home price was $235,168, according to Kiplinger. While the cost of owning a home is higher than in some other retirement cities, the average rent was $456 per month and the low cost of living can make owning a home more affordable if you do not want to rent.

Tulsa, Oklahoma

With a median housing price of $125,600 and a state sales tax of 5.5 percent, AARP lists Tulsa, Oklahoma, as one of its 10 most-affordable cities for retirement. The 26 miles of paved walking and cycling paths make it a city to consider for retirees who enjoy staying in shape. The cost-of-living index for Tulsa is 89.80 according to Sperling's Best Places, making it a little more expensive than some other retirement cities, but not much.

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