Isn't 'retirement' when you should be able to start prioritizing all of those things you have wanted to do in life and never had the time or resources to do? Your 'bucket list' of sorts? Planning a cheap retirement shouldn't stop you from having the lifestyle you dream about.
Cheap Retirement Destinations
The problem is, if you are retiring on a budget, achieving these goals will take active planning on your part. The first step is deciding where to live. And if you are looking for somewhere vibrant and filled with culture, we have some ideas that may help.
For instance, if you want that “senior” year abroad you never had in your youth, such as making visiting all the great museums and galleries and music venues, you may want to consider moving abroad---even if it is just for a few months or a year.
If you want to stay in the United States and find a location that generates multiple cultural opportunities, then you will want to decide where that location might be and then research how you might be able to live there on a budget.
Considering Moving Abroad?
Let’s start with the idea of moving abroad. You might want to consider moving somewhere for a year or so to see if it fits. A great solution is to choose the area you want to move to and then rent short term. Homeaway.com and other web sites have searchable databases where you can type in your monthly housing budget and come up with a list of choices. There are also web sites where you can list your present house or apartment and simply swap with someone else for a period of time at no added cost.
These solutions mean that you can choose the ultimate cultural locations: Paris, Salzburg, Rome, Florence, London. Normally they would be expensive to move to as far as a long term or permanent move. Choosing to rent in the short term brings that cost way down. Make sure to look for rentals on the periphery of these expensive cities within walking distance of a subway or bus. When you are retired, taking an extra 20 minutes to get into town is not a major concern.
Mexico is another overseas location to consider. Many American artist colonies have sprung up in Mexico and are communities where you can thrive taking classes and attending events.
San Miguel Allende is one of the first locations to look at. Long a magnet for American artists and retirees, San Miguel Allende is where you can get by speaking only English, attend plays and concerts, find affordable housing, and also enjoy living in a large city.
Guadalajara is also a fascinating city to take a look at, with thousands of American retirees, great warm weather, an energetic cultural life, and a sophisticated way of living.
Ajijic is the third option in Mexico if you are looking for a cheap retirement and would like to be located near cultural activities. This town has a huge population of American retirees and the added bonus of picturesque cobblestone streets and warm weather.
Inside the United States, there are two large cosmopolitan cities that deserve a look because of their very low cost of housing and their very high level of cultural resources.
Closer To Home
The first one is Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the median housing price is $125,000 (Source: AARP) The performing arts are alive and well there! You will be able to enjoy world class ballet, opera, the philharmonic, festivals, concerts, poetry readings, and be able to visit a wide range of museums.
The second city to take a look at is Columbus, Indiana, where the median housing price is $124,200 (Source: AARP). This modern city populated by buildings created by the nation’s top architects has a plethora of public art spaces to stroll through, arts festivals, and museums.
On a final note, why not look into living on an island in your retirement? Block Island is located just off the east coast of New England and, although it does get cold in the winter, it has a well known artist colony. You can find affordable year-round housing and would have the added benefit of being a stone’s throw over the water from the cultural scene available in Boston.
Planning a cheap retirement and still maximizing your ability to be located in a cultural mecca is entirely possible. Begin your research early, take a trip there to get a feel for whether it would be a location you would be happy moving to, and look forward to achieving your goal!