The 10 Cheapest U.S. Cities To Retire Early and Live Your Dream Life

Happy Old Couple

Imagine retiring early and living your dream life without draining your bank account.Retiring early and living your dream life is a goal that many individuals strive for. One of the critical factors in achieving this goal is finding an affordable place to settle down.

Look for cities with low housing costs, reasonable healthcare expenses, and affordable utilities. Additionally, consider the overall quality of life and access to amenities. Focus on cities that offer a range of recreational activities, cultural attractions, and a strong sense of community.

This article will explore the top 10 cheapest cities in the United States where you can retire early and enjoy a comfortable lifestyle without breaking the bank.

Brownsville, Texas

Brownsville, Texas
Image Credit: The City of Brownsville Press Release.

Located near the Mexican border, Brownsville offers a low cost of living, making it an attractive option for retirees. With affordable housing and low healthcare costs, retirees can stretch their retirement savings further and enjoy a pleasant climate year-round.

Explore the city's rich history and culture by visiting the Gladys Porter Zoo, known for its diverse collection of animals, or the Historic Brownsville Museum, which showcases the city's past. Retirees can also take advantage of the beautiful weather by spending time at the Boca Chica State Park, where they can relax on the beach, go fishing, or even catch a glimpse of nesting sea turtles.

Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis, Tennessee Night life
Image Credit: Wiki Commons.

Memphis is known for its vibrant music scene and rich cultural heritage. It also boasts a low cost of living, particularly in housing and utilities.

Retirees can explore the city's iconic landmarks, enjoy delicious barbeque, and take advantage of numerous cultural events without straining their finances.

Exploring the city's rich musical heritage is a must. Retirees can visit the legendary Sun Studio or tour Graceland, Elvis Presley's former home. For the foodies, enjoying the local cuisine is a delightful experience. Memphis is famous for its mouthwatering barbeque, and retirees can savor delicious ribs and pulled pork at renowned BBQ joints.

Fort Wayne, Indiana

Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory
Image Credit:

Fort Wayne combines a low cost of living with a high quality of life. The city offers affordable housing options and various recreational activities, including parks, museums, and sports events.

Check out the Fort Wayne Museum of Art and the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory. These venues provide opportunities to appreciate art, explore beautiful gardens, and engage with the local community.

Fort Wayne also boasts an extensive park system, including the scenic Rivergreenway, where retirees can indulge in outdoor activities like walking, biking, and picnicking.

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Serre Vineyards
Image Credit: Surry County Tourism.

Winston-Salem is a charming city with a rich history and a lower cost of living compared to other metropolitan areas in the country.

With its mild climate and diverse cultural scene, retirees can explore art galleries, attend music festivals, and enjoy the beauty of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains.

Augusta, Georgia

Phinizy Swamp Nature Park in Augusta, Georgia
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Augusta, famously known for hosting the Master's Tournament, is an affordable city with a low cost of living.

Retirees can enjoy the city's golf courses, the vibrant arts community, and mild winters. The presence of world-class healthcare facilities further adds to Augusta's appeal as a retirement destination. The city also offers a vibrant arts scene, with opportunities to explore galleries, attend live performances, and immerse oneself in the local creative community.

Columbus, Ohio

Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Image Credit:

Columbus offers a blend of affordability, amenities, and vibrant city life.

The city has a low cost of living, affordable housing options, and diverse cultural attractions.

Regarding groceries and dining out, prices in Columbus are generally affordable, allowing retirees to enjoy a diverse culinary scene without breaking the bank. Retirees can explore the city's numerous parks and museums and enjoy a thriving food scene.

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area
Image Credit:

Tulsa, often called “Green Country,” is an affordable city with a low cost of living and a thriving arts scene.

The city offers a range of recreational activities, including hiking, biking, and boating. With its affordable housing options and favorable tax rates, retirees can make their retirement dollars go further.

Birmingham, Alabama

Cahaba River Birmingham, Alabama
Image Credit:

Birmingham combines Southern charm with a low cost of living.

The city offers affordable housing options and a low tax burden, allowing retirees to maintain a comfortable lifestyle. With its vibrant food scene, cultural festivals, and proximity to beautiful outdoor spaces, Birmingham has much to offer retirees.

El Paso, Texas

San Jacinto Plaza
Image Credit:

Our second Texas city on the list, El Paso, located in the westernmost corner of Texas, offers an affordable and relaxed lifestyle.

The city offers relatively inexpensive housing options, with affordable rental and lower home prices than the national average. Utilities, transportation, and groceries also tend to be reasonably priced.

Additionally, El Paso's lower tax burden contributes to its overall affordability. Retirees in El Paso can stretch their retirement savings further, allowing them to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle without the financial strain often associated with larger metropolitan areas.

Shreveport, Louisiana

Cross Lake Shreveport
Image Credit:

Shreveport is an affordable city with a low cost of living and a vibrant arts and entertainment scene. Housing expenses in Shreveport are notably reasonable, with various affordable housing options available. Additionally, the city's groceries, transportation, and healthcare costs are generally lower than the national average.

Retirees can enjoy various outdoor activities, including fishing and boating on the Red River. The city's diverse cuisine and lively festivals make it an exciting place to retire.

Author: Steve Adcock


Steve Adcock quit his job after achieving financial independence at 35 and writes about the habits millionaires use to build wealth and get into the best shape of their lives. As a regular contributor to The Ladders, CBS MarketWatch, and CNBC, Steve maintains a rare and exclusive voice as a career expert, consistently offering actionable counseling to thousands of readers who want to level up their lives, careers, and freedom. Steve lives in a 100% off-grid solar home in the middle of the Arizona desert and writes on his own website at