Most Affordable Cities for Retirees

The 10 cities best for retirees who still want the convenience of an urban city but need it to be affordable since they're on a fixed income.

If retirees are simply looking for the most affordable place to live, they’ll flock to small cities like Harlingen, Texas, or Pueblo, Colo. However, for some, it’s an urban city or nothing.

The problem with living in an urban city is that despite the fact that life can be more convenient, money doesn’t go as far, which is important when you live on a fixed income.

NerdWallet has compiled a list of the best urban cities for retirees by considering factors that are important to seniors who are no longer working. The best retirement cities were chosen based on six main questions:

1. Can you afford to live there (on a fixed income)?

2. Can you afford help if and when you need it?

3. Is health care affordable?

4. Can you have an active social life? (What is the percentage of population over 65?)

5. Is the weather warm?

6. Is the city walkable? (How easy would it be to live without a car?)

Three Floridian cities snagged spots on the top 10, while Texas and Tennessee grabbed two entries each.

(Median home prices are from Trulia.com and based on home sales between December 2012 and February 2013. Population numbers are from the U.S. Census Bureau in July 2011.)

10. Nashville, Tenn. (overall score: 54.6)

Copyright Sami99tr | Wikipedia.com

Population: 590,807

Percentage of population over 65: 10.2%

Cost-of-living index: 108.1

Median home price: $160,000

Cost of a doctor’s visit: $79

In 2012 Travel + Leisure named Nashville one of the top five friendliest cities in the U.S. Although Nashville has one of the lowest costs for a doctor’s visit, it’s one of the cooler cities on the list and has a low walkability score.

9. Tucson, Ariz. (overall score: 54.8)

Population: 525,796

Percentage of population over 65: 11.9%

Cost-of-living index: 93.8

Median home price: $135,463

Cost of a doctor’s visit: $100

Out of the top 10, Tucson has the second highest cost for a doctor’s visit, but it has one of the better walkability scores. Unfortunately, Arizona had one of the highest foreclosure rates as of November 2012.

8. Louisville, Ky. (overall score: 55.6)

Fourth Street

Population: 602,011 (2010 census)

Percentage of population over 65: 12.6%

Cost-of-living index: 91.6

Median home price: $130,517

Cost of a doctor’s visit: $83

Louisville was named one of the fastest growing cities in recovery from the recession, according to the Brookings Global MetroMonitor 2012, with employment growing 3.1% over 12 months. Unfortunately, Louisville has one of the highest tax burdens, according to the Office of the Chief Financial Officer of the District of Columbia’s Tax Rates and Tax Burdens 2011 Nationwide study.

7. San Antonio, Texas (overall score: 56)

Riverwalk

Population: 1.3 million

Percentage of population over 65: 10.4%

Cost-of-living index: 87.7

Median home price: $76,000

Cost of a doctor’s visit: $98

The cost of a doctor’s visit in San Antonio might be one of the most expensive because the city is one of the least healthy places to live, according to Trulia. However, the median home price is the second lowest on the top 10.

6. Oklahoma City, Okla. (overall score: 56.4)

Automobile Alley. Copyright Wikimedia Commons.

Population: 591,967

Percentage of population over 65: 11.8%

Cost-of-living index: 90.5

Median home price: $124,000

Cost of a doctor’s visit: $85

Oklahoma City was also named a good city for people to live if they want to work during retirement, according to Forbes, with a 4.6% unemployment rate.

5. Memphis, Tenn. (overall score: 58.2)

Beale Street. Copyright Jeremy Atherton

Population: 652,050

Percentage of population over 65: 10.3%

Cost-of-living index: 85.6

Median home price: $86,250

Cost of a doctor’s visit: $75

Although Memphis has one of the lowest over-65 populations, the Washington Economic Group named Memphis the second-best city for baby boomers to retire in 2012 and it was also named one of the most affordable cities.

4. Tampa, Fla. (overall score: 59.9)

Street festival in Ybor City, Tampa. Copyright Bobak Ha'Eri.

Population: 346,037

Percentage of population over 65: 11%

Cost-of-living index: 92.2

Median home price: $111,750

Cost of a doctor’s visit: $85

The smallest (population-wise) city in the top 10, Tampa has one of the warmest average annual temperatures and the second-highest walkability score. Unfortunately, in August 2012, Tampa had one of the worst housing markets, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller 20 City Index.

3. Jacksonville, Fla. (overall score: 60.9)

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Population: 827,908

Percentage of population over 65: 10.9%

Cost-of-living index: 95.7

Median home price: $105,000

Cost of a doctor’s visit: $67

According to Zillow, Jacksonville’s housing market hadn’t hit the bottom as of October 2012 — but it’s expected to in September 2013. Even worse, Florida has the worst foreclosure rate. Perhaps that means its housing market can only go up from here. However, Jacksonville has the lowest cost for a doctor’s visit.

2. El Paso, Texas (overall score: 64.6)

Population: 665,568

Percentage of population over 65: 11.2%

Cost-of-living index: 94.6

Median home price: $61,372

Cost of a doctor’s visit: $74

By far the cheapest housing market on the top 10 with the lowest median housing price and the second-lowest cost for a doctor’s visit. However, El Paso’s walkability score is also one of the lowest.

1. Miami, Fla. (overall score: 67)

Population: 408,750

Percentage of population over 65: 16%

Cost-of-living index: 108.1

Median home price: $160,000

Cost of a doctor’s visit: $107

Although Miami is pricier than some of its fellow top 10 cities, it also some has real positives for its retirees’ lifestyles. For instance, the city scored the highest walkability score, by far, with a 73. The next highest score in the top 10 was Tampa’s 51. It’s also the warmest city and has the largest percentage, by far, of population over 65.