The 15 Best Places To Retire 2020 and What It Will Cost

Senior couple sitting on jetty together fishing, enjoying their time in retirement.
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When finding the best places to retire, place your focus on the lifestyle you want at a price you can afford. If budget is a concern, you’ll want to choose a retirement destination that will allow you to stretch your retirement nest egg the furthest. So if you’re looking for the best places to retire cheaply, an affordable beachfront location may be out of the question.

Yet affordability isn’t the only consideration. Other factors, tangible and intangible, are also important for a happy retirement.

  • Enjoy spending the majority of your time outdoors? You may want to consider the best places to retire in a dry climate.
  • Younger retiree? Look into the best places to retire early in the U.S. Access to arts and culture may also be important to you.
  • Retiree with special medical needs? Access to quality healthcare is probably at the top of the list.

To help in this search, GOBankingRates reviewed numerous factors to find the best places to retire in 2020.

Where Is the Best Place To Retire In 2020?

To find the best places to retire in 2020, a recent GOBankingRates survey looked at cities with populations under 1 million residents and reviewed the following considerations:

  • Livability
  • Cost-of-living
  • Median income
  • Median home prices
  • Percentage of the population over 65
  • Access to quality healthcare

Being comfortable and not feeling isolated in a place is important, so the survey considered cities where the percentage of seniors in the population was 9.5% or higher.

For access to quality healthcare information, Healthgrades’ patient rankings are the benchmark. All locations had to have above-average to highly ranked healthcare facilities to make the list.

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AARP designed the livability index. It rates locations stringently on a 0-to-100 scale, with higher numbers being better. AARP’s livability index touches more on the intangibles such as community life, neighborhoods, transportation, environment, health and engagement.

Financial Considerations

Median income, median home prices and cost-of-living — take center stage in these rankings, which are helpful if you’re trying to find the best places to retire cheaply in the U.S. cost-of-living figures utilize Sperling’s Best Places indices.

To help inspire you in your search for the perfect location, here are the 15 best places to retire.

1. Sioux Falls, South Dakota

  • Median Home Price: $230,000
  • Median Income: $59,017
  • Population: 183,793
  • Percent of seniors: 12.2%
  • Livability score: 61

Affordability and small-town atmosphere combined with a high livability score put Sioux Falls in first place as one of the best places to retire economically. South Dakota’s largest city has a cost-of-living that’s 11.4% lower than the national average, driven mostly by more affordable housing costs.

2. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Median Home Price: $225,000
  • Median Income: $45,831
  • Population: 300,286
  • Percent of seniors: 14.6%
  • Livability Score: 56

Low housing costs, arts, culture and professional sports combine to make Pittsburgh one of the best places to retire affordably. Pittsburgh had the lowest overall cost-of-living on the list at 12.5% below the national average.

3. Fargo, North Dakota

  • Median Home Price: $233,000
  • Median Income: $53,309
  • Population: 124,662
  • Percent of seniors: 11.3%
  • Livability Score: 59

If you want affordable small-town living, cold winters and cool summers, Fargo, North Dakota, may be for you. This college town on the Red River sports a classic historic American downtown district. Great parks along the waterfront are also a big plus.

4. Columbia, Missouri

  • Median Home Price: $205,000
  • Median Income: $49,277
  • Population: 123,195
  • Percent of seniors: 10.2%
  • Livability Score: 56

Another college town on the list is Columbia, Missouri. The cost-of-living here is 12.1% lower than the national average. Located about midway between St. Louis and Kansas City, Columbia offers highly ranked hospitals and low median home prices.

5. Greenville, South Carolina

  • Median Home Price: $255,000
  • Median Income: $53,571
  • Population: 70,635
  • Percent of seniors: 12.8%
  • Livability Score: 55

Greenville, South Carolina, ranks as one of the smallest cities on this list. In the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this town of roughly 70,000 has a well-manicured riverfront downtown area. The cost-of-living is 10.2% lower than the national average.

6. Iowa City, Iowa

  • Median Home Price: $250,000
  • Median Income: $47,275
  • Population: 75,130
  • Percent of seniors: 9.6%
  • Livability Score: 62

College towns keep popping up on the list. The University of Iowa calls the former state capital its home. Restaurants and entertainment venues dot the historic downtown near the Iowa River. The cost of living in Iowa City falls 5.4% below the national average.

7. Charleston, South Carolina

  • Median Home Price: $384,900
  • Median Income: $64,599
  • Population: 137,566
  • Percent of seniors: 14.2%
  • Livability Score: 53

Charleston, South Carolina, features great restaurants, bars and shopping that keep the city’s historic district booming year-round. Add its coastal location and mild winters, and it’s easy to see why it’s a tourist and retirement favorite. However, you’ll pay a bit more for all these amenities: The cost-of-living is 11.5% above the national average.

8. Lincoln, Nebraska

  • Median Home Price: $219,500
  • Median Income: $55,224
  • Population: 289,102
  • Percent of seniors: 12.8%
  • Livability Score: 60

The Cornhuskers of the University of Nebraska call the state capital home, as do 289,000 other people. With a cost-of-living 10.2% lower than the national average, Lincoln makes the list despite its harsh winters.

9. Boise, Idaho

  • Median Home Price: $399,900
  • Median Income: $56,798
  • Population: 228,959
  • Percent of seniors: 13.6%
  • Livability Score: 64

Boise is the beautiful capital of Idaho. It offers outdoor recreation options, including fishing, hunting, downhill skiing, rafting and kayaking. The cost-of-living is 3.6% higher than the national average, which is offset by its high livability score.

10. Charlotte, North Carolina

  • Median Home Price: $320,000
  • Median Income: $60,886
  • Population: 885,708
  • Percent of seniors: 10%
  • Livability Score: 53

With a population exceeding 885,000, Charlotte is the largest city on our list. Even so, its cost-of-living is 1.1% below the national average. Sports fans have pro basketball, football and soccer teams to cheer on. Moderate weather prevails most of the year, but the summers are hot and steamy.

11. Madison, Wisconsin

  • Median Home Price: $299,900
  • Median Income: $62,906
  • Population: 259,680
  • Percent of seniors: 11.3%
  • Livability Score: 66

Madison is a capital city and college town, too. It’s home to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which means it boasts college-town amenities. It’s cost-of-living is slightly above the national average, but its high livability scores balance that out. A clean, attractive downtown and two lakes provide ample activities.

12. Rochester, Minnesota

  • Median Home Price: $264,900
  • Median Income: $70,749
  • Population: 118,935
  • Percent of seniors: 14.5%
  • Livability Score: 64

As home to the famed Mayo Clinic, you will be hard-pressed to find a city with better healthcare. Its cost-of-living is 5.9% below the national average, driven by lower housing costs.

13. Raleigh, North Carolina

  • Median Home Price: $315,000
  • Median Income: $63,891
  • Population: 474,069
  • Percent of seniors: 10.2%
  • Livability Score: 55

Raleigh is North Carolina’s capital and home to numerous colleges, including NC State University. Its Research Triangle Park hosts some of the nation’s top technology companies. And the location isn’t bad either. Weekend drives from Raleigh to Atlantic Ocean beaches or Blue Ridge Parkway are within a few hours.

14. Plano, Texas

  • Median Home Price: $394,900
  • Median Income: $92,121
  • Population: 287,677
  • Percent of seniors: 12.7%
  • Livability Score: 59

If you like entertainment, sports and culture, you’ll like Plano. It’s in the Dallas metro area, so it’s easy to get to the big city and all that it offers. Then, back in Plano, you can slow down and enjoy a less frantic lifestyle. The cost-of-living here is 9.3% above the national average.

15. Naples, Florida

  • Median Home Price: $395,000
  • Median Income: $94,394
  • Population: 22,088
  • Percent of seniors: 52.8%
  • Livability Score: 49

Naples is among the best places to retire with beachfront property. Out of the approximately 22,000 people who live there, more than half of are 65 and older. Beaches and outdoor recreation drive retirees here from around the nation. Naples has a cost-of-living that’s 11.9% above the national average due to higher housing costs.

This article has been updated with additional reporting since its original publication.

Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.

About the Author

Barri Segal has 20+ years of experience in the publishing and advertising industries, writing and editing for all styles, genres, mediums, and audiences. She has been writing on personal finance topics for 12 years and gains great satisfaction from making a difference in consumers’ lives.