9 Best Places to Retire Early

Retiring before the age of 37 gives you the incredible ability to enjoy the majority of your life on your own terms without the burden of having to head off to a job every day. While you need to prepare financially for early retirement, you also need to think about how you plan to spend your days in retirement. Choosing the best place to retire early is an essential part of any retirement plan. To help you in this process, we’ve reviewed the top retirement cities in the U.S.

The Best Places to Retire Early

There are many factors to consider when you are looking for the best place to retire early. For example, the top retirement cities have a reasonable or low cost of living. They also have many recreational activities, entertainment options and medical services nearby. If you plan to travel extensively in retirement, the best cities to retire in also have an airport or other transportation options available.

However, those who plan to travel by road in retirement may prefer a central location that makes it easier to explore most areas conveniently. Safety, traffic conditions, weather conditions and other factors may also be a top consideration. If you are looking for the best places to retire early, these are a few of the top options to consider.

1. Naperville, Illinois

Naperville is considered to be one of the best places to retire early because it is a quiet, safe suburb of Chicago. Home to fewer than 150,000 residents, it has a low crime rate, and a reasonable cost of living in comparison to the national average and other communities in the Chicago area.

While Naperville has its own activities, festivals and entertainment venues for residents to enjoy, the cultural venues in Chicago are a short drive away as well. This includes beaches, sports teams, art museums, dining venues and more that you can enjoy in retirement.

2. Cary, North Carolina

Cary is another beautiful suburb that you can choose as the best place to retire early. It also has fewer than 150,000 residents. Moreover, it is located in an ideal location in the middle of the Research Triangle. The Research Triangle is comprised of Raleigh, Chapel Hill and Durham.

Cary has an exceptional cost of living, and residents also have proximity to more than 40 free attractions located in Raleigh. Sports teams as well as numerous outdoor recreational venues are located just a short drive away. The crime rate is only 1.6 crimes per 100 people, making it one of the safer places to live in the area.

3. Knoxville, Tennessee

Knoxville is a moderately-sized city that has an excellent climate and a friendly population. It is home to minor league sports teams, museums, numerous parks and other fun activities that you can enjoy.

One of the reasons that is on a list of the best places to retire early is because of its exceptional climate. This climate is paired with natural beauty in surrounding areas to make it a truly wonderful place to spend time in year-round.

4. Sandy Springs, Georgia

If you are looking for the best place to retire early in the southern states, Sandy Springs is a wonderful choice to consider. Sandy Springs is a smaller city with fewer than 100,000 residents. Almost one-quarter of its population is between the ages of 45 and 64 years old.

If you use the MARTA transportation system, you can reach Atlanta in less than 40 minutes for a very affordable rate. Atlanta is home to numerous sports teams, museums, shopping districts and more. This gives you plenty to see and do in retirement. In Sandy Springs, you will also find festivals and recreational activities on the nearby Chattahoochee River.

You might also like: How About You Retire Early… Abroad?

5. Sioux Falls, South Dakota

South Dakota may not be the first place that you think about when you are looking for the best places to retire early. However, it has a cost of living that is an astounding 18 percent lower than the national average as well as a low crime rate.

The winters can be chilly, but weather throughout most of the rest of the year is rather mild. One of the features that make this a wonderful place for active retirees to visit is the hike and bike trail that encircles most of the city.

6. Peoria, Arizona

For those who are searching for the best place to retire early in a warmer area, Peoria is an excellent Arizona city to consider. Home to approximately 160,000 residents, the cost of living in Peoria is nine percent less than the national average.

Housing costs in Peoria are 17 percent less than the national average. This state also has an excellent tax situation for retirees and a low crime rate. As a Phoenix suburb, Peoria offers its residents proximity to the attractions and culture that Phoenix is known for.

7. Midland, Texas

If you are looking for the best places to retire early, Midland should be included in your list of top retirement cities. While most cities on this list are suburbs of larger metropolitan areas, Midland is a city that is located several hours away from large Texas cities like Fort Worth and El Paso.

Home to 120,000 residents, it has a thriving economy, a reasonable crime rate and a cost of living that is nine percent below the national average. Residents here will enjoy Texas’s affordable tax structure and beautiful scenery in surrounding areas.

8. Virginia Beach, Virginia

For early retirees who are looking for a charming and beautiful place to settle down in on the East Coast, Virginia Beach should be considered. Home to approximately 450,000 residents, this is one of the largest cities on this list.

However, it has the ambiance of a fun, close-knit beach town. With a long boardwalk, beautiful beaches, numerous golf courses, historical sites and easy access to many of the larger metropolitan areas in the region, you will have plenty to do if you retire early in Virginia Beach.

9. Lexington, Kentucky

Lexington is home to approximately 320,000 residents. Because of its sprawling cityscape, you will notice that Lexington has a more laidback ambiance than other cities this size.

The cost of living and crime rate are reasonably low. Also, there is plenty to do in and around the area. Local wineries and distilleries, state parks, historical attractions and museums are only a few of the many places where you can spend your free time.


Before you finalize your retirement plans, you need to carefully research the best cities to retire. There are many wonderful choices to consider, but you will notice that they all differ in substantial ways. Think about how you plan to spend your time in retirement, such as by spending time outdoors close to home, traveling frequently and more.

You should also focus on the cost of living, housing cost, crime rate and even proximity to your family when looking for a place to settle down in during retirement. Analyze these top cities to retire in, and look beyond these cities as needed. When you understand more about what makes each of these cities great places to retire in, you can more easily choose the most ideal retirement location. Which city is the best place to retire early in your opinion? Use the comment form below to share your thoughts!

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