Top 10 cities for frugal retirees (11 items)
For some, frugality isn’t a lark. It’s a lifestyle.If you’re one of these people, you may approach retirement a little differently than the rest. Instead of retiring to a place marked by lush beaches or a sparkling nightlife, you may instead choose a city that allows you to stretch your savings as far as possible -- and maybe even leave something extra to a spendthrift heir or two.
These rankings emerged by taking the U.S. metropolitan areas with the lowest costs of living (according to 2012 data from C2ER) and removing the cities that also appear on NeighborhoodScout’s list of the 100 Most Dangerous Cities in America. After all, even frugal retirees may be willing to spend a little extra to avoid those places. (Sorry, Memphis, Tenn., and Springfield, Ill.)This cost of living data doesn’t reflect every expense retirees may face, so data on property, sales and state income taxes from Tax-Rates.org are also listed. And while home prices are included in the cost of living data, the area’s median home prices from NeighborhoodScout appear for additional clarity.
1 of 11. Youngstown-Warren, Ohio
Cost of living: 88.2 percent of the national average.
Median home value (Youngstown): $44,813
Average state income tax rate in Ohio: 3.42 percent
Average property tax rate in Ohio: 1.36 percent
State sales tax rate in Ohio: 5.5 percent
Youngstown-Warren hit hard times after the U.S. steel industry collapsed in the 1970s, shrinking the city’s population by more than 60 percent over several decades. But the city is trying to revive its economy today through projects such as the Youngstown Business Incubator, a downtown space that aims to foster growth and collaboration among technology start-ups. On the cultural side, art enthusiasts may appreciate the Butler Institute of American Art and the McDonough Museum of Art, which stand across the street from each other on the Youngstown State University campus.
2 of 11. Idaho Falls, Idaho
Cost of living: 88 percent of the national average
Median home value: $127,626
Average state income tax rate in Idaho: 5.38 percent
Average property tax rate in Idaho: 0.69 percent
State sales tax rate in Idaho: 6 percent
As the state’s second-largest city behind Boise, Idaho Falls is a hub for both eastern Idaho and western Wyoming. The low cost of living and relatively low crime rates in Idaho Falls have earned it appearances on several other “best of” lists, and its recreational and cultural attractions include the Museum of Idaho, the Tautphaus Park Zoo and the Colonial Theater. The city’s Greenbelt offers joggers, cyclists and pedestrians a six-mile paved path along the Snake River.
3 of 11. Conway, Ark.
Median home value: $141,170
Average state income tax rate in Arkansas: 4.08 percent
Average property tax rate in Arkansas: 0.52 percent
State sales tax rate in Arkansas: 6 percent
Nicknamed “The City of Colleges,” Conway hosts three post-secondary schools: Central Baptist College, Hendrix College and the University of Central Arkansas. For culture, Conway boasts the Conway Symphony Orchestra and the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre, the latter of which holds an annual festival each June. On the downside, Conway’s violent and property crime rates are above the national medians.
4 of 11. San Marcos, Texas
Cost of living: 87.6 percent of the national average
Median home value: $121,772
Average state income tax rate in Texas: No state income tax
Average property tax rate in Texas: 1.81 percent
State sales tax rate in Texas: 6.25 percent
As the fastest-growing U.S. city of more than 50,000 residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the frugal appeal of San Marcos is heightened by the lack of a state income tax in Texas. San Marcos is home to an abundance of college students (Texas State University is based in San Marcos) and an overwhelmingly white-collar workforce, which comprises more than 85 percent of the area’s workers.
5 of 11. Pueblo, Colo.
Cost of living: 87.1 percent of the national average
Median home value: $105,703
Average state income tax rate in Colorado: 4.63 percent
Average property tax rate in Colorado: 0.6 percent
State sales tax rate in Colorado: 2.9 percent
As part of southern Colorado’s high desert, Pueblo’s winters are milder than many of the other large cities in the state. Pueblo hosts the Colorado State Fair each year, which features a rodeo and major concerts (The Oak Ridge Boys and Lynyrd Skynyrd visited in 2013). If Pueblo’s name sounds oddly familiar, it could be because it hosts the Federal Citizen Information Center, which for more than 30 years has produced public service announcements that invite citizens to write for information to “Pueblo, Colorado, 81009.”