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The No. 1 Most Affordable Place to Retire in 2024—it’s Not in Florida

If affordability is a top priority on your retirement destination wish list, you may want to consider Ohio as a potential locale.

Youngstown, Ohio, ranks as the most affordable place to retire in the U.S., according to U.S. News and World Report’s November study. The outlet analyzed the 150 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. based on a number of factors, including housing affordability, retiree taxes and access to quality health care. 

Youngstown boasts relatively low housing costs compared with more expensive retirement destinations. The median home price is $137,546 and the median mortgage costs $653 per month, per U.S. News’ report. In San Jose, the most expensive place to retire, home prices run a median of $1,522,574.

Youngstown also ranks as U.S. News’ 9th best place to retire overall and ranked as the 2nd best place to live in Ohio behind Cincinnati, according to the publication.

Although Youngstown was greatly impacted by the collapse of the steel industry in the 1970s, the city has been in the “midst of a cultural and economic renaissance,” per U.S. News.

Around $26 million has been put toward revitalizing the downtown area to make it feel safer and attract new business, according to WFMJ, NBC’s local news station in Youngstown.

“We are looking at national chains that are interested in coming to cities like ours and how they can come downtown with a mixture of our mom and pop stores,” Stephanie Gilchrist, director of economic development for the city of Youngstown, told the outlet in November.

Overall, Ohio is also relatively tax friendly toward retirees. Social Security isn’t taxed at the state level, although income from a retirement account such as a 401(k) or an IRA is taxed as regular income. Retirees can also take advantage of certain tax credits.

Surprisingly, no Florida cities made the list of affordable places to retire. In fact, Naples, Florida, actually ranked as the 8th most expensive with a median home price of $806,604.

Here are the 10 most affordable places to retire, according to U.S. News and World Report.

  1. Youngstown, Ohio
  2. Hickory, North Carolina
  3. Springfield, Missouri
  4. Brownsville, Texas
  5. Huntington, West Virginia and Ashland, Kentucky-Ohio
  6. Fort Wayne, Indiana
  7. Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  8. Mobile, Alabama
  9. Toledo, Ohio
  10. South Bend, Indiana

Although housing costs can be one of the highest expenses retirees face, a location’s affordability is just one factor to consider when choosing where to spend your post-work years.

For instance, retirees should also think about how close they would like to be to their families and what kinds of activities they may want to do, such as hiking or visiting museums.

But before you choose where you want to retire, it can be helpful to have an idea of how much you’ll need to do so comfortably. CNBC Make It’s retirement calculator can help you figure that out based on things such as your current age, your ideal retirement age and how much you currently have saved up. 

Once you have your retirement savings goal in mind, that can help you determine how long those savings may last in different locations. If you’ve saved $1 million by the time you retire, you could live off that amount for around 21 years in Ohio versus only about 13 years in California, according to a GoBankingRates analysis.

Source: CNBC