Affordable Places to Retire
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In some cities, it’s difficult for seniors who can’t or don’t want to drive to get about town, but not in Pittsburgh. Senior citizens age 65 or over can ride Port Authority buses and trains free at all times if they have a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania senior citizen identification card or a Medicare card. Also, look into the low-cost activities at the two major colleges: the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. Seniors get a discount on tickets to Carnegie Mellon School of Music concerts, for example, and some shows are even free.
Low-cost places are not without affordable charms. New York State residents age 60 and older can audit classes free at Binghamton University. And seniors can check out the newest images of other galaxies at the Kopernik Observatory and Space Center for just $3.
Florida doesn’t levy personal income, inheritance, or gift taxes. And the sales tax rate hovers at 6 percent. Real estate can be quite expensive in many parts of the state, though. Retirees with an eye on their bottom line might do well to pass over pricey Orlando and give nearby Cocoa, where the median home price is just $121,250, a closer look.
Eau Claire, Wis.
Eau Claire is a winter paradise for cross-county skiers, snowmobilers, and ice skaters. When spring approaches, try out the eight golf courses and the Chippewa River State Trail, which begins in Eau Claire and parallels a river of the same name for 26 miles. Wisconsin residents age 60 and older or may audit courses at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire tuition free.
Multibillionaire Warren Buffett bought a five-bedroom stucco house in Omaha for $31,500 in 1958. He still lives there. The median home price has risen a bit since then -- to $113,044 -- but that’s still an affordable price for most Americans. Plus, you won’t have to travel far to attend the Berkshire Hathaway shareholders’ meeting, known as "Woodstock for capitalists."
There is an annual UFO festival in Roswell. And you can learn plenty about comets, quasars, and black holes at the Goddard Planetarium. But don’t forget to check out the terrestrial treasures, like the Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge -- where more than 90 species of dragonfly live -- a symphony orchestra, and a zoo, all of which have either no admission fee or a discount for seniors.
Many seniors say they need and want to work during the traditional retirement years. But work can be difficult to find, unless you live in San Antonio -- one of only three large areas in the United States experiencing significant gains in employment in the past year. And with a median home price of just $142,310 and no state income tax in Texas, your nest egg will stretch even further.
South Bend, Ind.
The Division I sports at Notre Dame will draw you to this idyllic town named for a bend in the St. Joseph River. Fans of the Fighting Irish have a block party in downtown South Bend every Friday evening before a Notre Dame home football game. Affordable housing is just an extra perk. The median home price, $81,396, will give you plenty left over to spend on hot dogs.
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