The top affordable retirement spots

by Krista Reisdorf

The day you have been waiting for has arrived—you are ready to retire. You may have dreamed of spending your retirement days in a seaside paradise, mountain retreat or quiet rural town. But how can you realize your dream without draining all of your hard-earned savings?

According to Kendra Todd, real estate guru and winner of the television show "The Apprentice 3," there are four factors people consider when looking for a place to retire: cost of living, climate, available activities and access to an active social network. Todd offers five top retirement spots that help meet these criteria in various ways.

  • Beaufort, S.C.—This waterfront city is on Port Royal Island, about 90 minutes from Charleston. With a historic downtown and population of about 13,000, Beaufort offers abundant health care, as well as homes with views of the marshlands that go for as low as $275,000.
  • Fort Collins, Colo.—Nestled at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, this city of 128,000 offers reasonable housing prices slightly more than $200,000. Its economy is strong; its taxes are moderate; and its outdoor offerings are plentiful.
  • Lawrence, Kan.—Home to Kansas University, Lawrence has homes with an average price of $180,000 and great health care. Like many college towns, it offers the arts, sports events, history and an active downtown area.
  • Paso Robles, Calif.—Although it is located in one of the more expensive states, this town of 29,000 is settled in a premium wine-growing region and offers an average home price of $380,000. With beaches, mountains and deserts nearby, the town is located halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
  • Prescott, Ariz.—Housing costs are moderate with an average of $274,000, and taxes are low in this Southwestern town. Features include a hillside artist colony, outdoor and cultural activities, lots of restaurants and charming neighborhoods.

In addition, in Retirement Migration in America, author Charles F. Longino offers the following retirement areas that haven't yet been discovered by the mainstream.

  • Asheville, N.C.—Set by the Blue Ridge Mountains, this town of about 70,000 is known as the Paris of the South. It is a hot spot for arts and culture and offers many outdoor attractions. Median housing costs are about $169,000, and cost of living is below average.
  • Boerne, Texas—A historical town with low housing prices, Boerne offers outdoor activities and a relaxed atmosphere. It is minutes from San Antonio and close to Austin.
  • Cedar City, Utah—This city is a western town settled in a pleasant climate. Home prices are reasonable, and features include Southern Utah University and the Utah Shakespearean Festival.
  • Charleston, S.C.—This seaside city offers a rich history, low housing prices (about $220,000 on average), arts, culture and recreation.

This Web exclusive information is a supplement to Workplace.