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The 10 Best US Cities to Retire In

The 10 Best US Cities to Retire In

When the time comes to trade in your tie or work boots for golf clubs and a fixed-income, relocation is often something to consider. America boasts a lot of towns that are all but tailor-made for retirees looking for a more relaxed pace and less of a hit to the wallet. Check out these 10 great places to retire and start planning your escape.

bellingham

    Bellingham, WA

    Cost of Living: 9 points above national average

    State Sales Tax: 6.5%

    If the Pacific Northwest is your dream retirement spot, you could hardly find a better town than Bellingham, WA. Aside from the breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean complete with a resident orca whale population, Bellingham boasts above average air quality, low crime, and a high walkability rating. The only downside to this college town is a price with a cost of living 9% above the national average.

    cape coral

      Cape Coral, FL

      Cost of Living: At national average

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      State Sales Tax: 6%

      This town may only be 50 years old, but that doesn’t make it any less desirable. Overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, Cape Coral scores highly for volunteering, has a warm climate, and the cost of living sits right at the national average. Combined with Florida’s 6% state tax there are few reasons not to choose this lovely town to work on your golf game.

      clemson JA SC
        flickr via JA SC

        Clemson, SC

        Cost of Living: At national average

        State Sales Tax: 6%

        Clemson is a lively college town with above average air quality, a warm climate, and a cost of living at the national average. With average home prices sitting right around $135,000, you might be able to overlook South Carolina’s state sales tax.

        tuscon

          Tuscon, AZ

          Cost of Living: 4 points below national average

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          State Sales Tax: 6%

          Tuscon, or “The Old Pueblo,” is famous for its warm climate but it also has so much more to offer retirees. Scoring high for volunteering and bike-ability, this oasis in the desert also has an abundance of doctors per capita and a cost of living 4% below the national average. The only catch is the 6% Arizona state sales tax.

          boise Charles Knowles
            flickr via Charles Knowles

            Boise, ID

            Cost of Living: 4 points above national average

            State Sales Tax: 6%

            With high rankings for volunteering, walkability, and cycling combined with an average home price around $168,000, Boise is one of the most retirement friendly state capitals around. The dry climate keeps winters manageable, although the cost of living is 4% above the national average.

            fredricksburg Baker Country Tourism
              flickr via Baker Country Tourism

              Fredricksburg, TX

              Cost of Living: 5 points below national average

              State Sales Tax: 6.25%

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              Come to Fredricksburg for the great air quality and warm climate, but stay for the low cost of living and average house price of $138,000. Fredricksburg is also super walkable with a classic small-town main street and has a microscopic crime rate, making it one of the nicest places in the country to stroll around in your ten-gallon hat.

              kentucky Dale
                flickr via Dale

                Bowling Green, KY

                Cost of Living: 6 points below national average

                State Sales Tax: 6%

                With a name like Bowling Green, who could stay away? This quiet Kentucky town isn’t as unassuming as it seems though. Every Chevrolet Corvette you see in your travels began its life here. Because of that, Bowling Green has a stable economy despite its low average house price of $138,000. Throw in a great climate and low crime rate, and this town is pretty much the full package.

                fargo Ron Reiring
                  flickr via Ron Reiring

                  Fargo, ND

                  Cost of Living: 8 points below national average

                  State Sales Tax: 5%

                  If escaping the cold isn’t your number one priority, Fargo might be the place to spend your golden years. Spend some of you leisure time taking in any of Fargo’s 8 museums or the Red River Zoo. With clean air, great volunteering opportunities, and more doctors than you can shake a stick at, Fargo could be your perfect winter wonderland.

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                  Auburn Robert S Donovan
                    flickr via Robert S. Donovan

                    Auburn, AL

                    Cost of Living: 11 points below national average

                    State Sales Tax: 4%

                    If you’re looking to retire to a town with southern charm and nary a snowflake in site, give Auburn a spin. With average house prices at $165,000, low crime, and a great economy, Auburn has a lot to offer. Enjoy the high life at 11% below the national average cost of living.

                    Utah Kenneth Lu
                      flickr via Kenneth Lu

                      Ogden, UT

                      Cost of Living: 12 points below national average

                      State Sales Tax: 4.7%

                      With majestic mountain views, a strong economy, and the lowest average housing price ($124,000) on this list, Ogden scores high in the bang-for-your-buck category. Stroll the historic Main Street or try your hand at curling on the ice sheet used during the 2002 Olympics in your spare time. Utah’s low state sales tax combined with a cost of living 12% below the national average make this mountain town a great place to call home when you decide to leave the working world behind.

                      Featured photo credit: Retirement/401(K) 2012 via flickr.com

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                      Last Updated on January 21, 2020

                      The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                      The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                      Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

                      your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

                        Why You Need a Vision

                        Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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                        How to Create Your Life Vision

                        Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

                        What Do You Want?

                        The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

                        It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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                        Some tips to guide you:

                        • Remember to ask why you want certain things
                        • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
                        • Give yourself permission to dream.
                        • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
                        • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

                        Some questions to start your exploration:

                        • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
                        • What would you like to have more of in your life?
                        • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
                        • What are your secret passions and dreams?
                        • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
                        • What do you want your relationships to be like?
                        • What qualities would you like to develop?
                        • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
                        • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
                        • What would you most like to accomplish?
                        • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

                        It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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                        What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

                        Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

                        A few prompts to get you started:

                        • What will you have accomplished already?
                        • How will you feel about yourself?
                        • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
                        • What does your ideal day look like?
                        • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
                        • What would you be doing?
                        • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
                        • How are you dressed?
                        • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
                        • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
                        • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

                        It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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                        Plan Backwards

                        It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

                        • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
                        • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
                        • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
                        • What important actions would you have had to take?
                        • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
                        • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
                        • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
                        • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
                        • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

                        Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

                        It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

                        Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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