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The Top 5 Places to Spend Your Retirement

Thursday, 30 Oct 2008 | 9:06 PM ET

A big part of making sure you live an extraordinary financial life after you leave the workforce is knowing where to spend it. Real estate guru Barbara Corcoran, author of Nextville: Places to Live the Rest of Your Life, has five U.S. cities you probably never would have thought of that she considers to be among the best places to spend retirement:

Binghamton, NY
If you don’t mind the cold weather, this city in upstate New York is hitting a growth spurt. The mayor has brought in 22,000 jobs in three years and home prices are going up by 9% - where else in the country do you see that? – with a median sale price of $121,000. Young people are also flocking to Binghamton in droves, which is one of the best sign of the vitality of a city.

Amarillo, TX
With one of the lowest divorce rates in the country, Amarillo also boasts low unemployment and generally upbeat residents. Corcoran described it as a place where “you can be happy.” Home prices in this Texas city are up over 7%.

Charleston, WV
West Virginia’s three major thoroughfares converge on Charleston, putting it at the center of commerce in the state and surrounding area. West Virginia is also one of the more tax-friendly states in the country and is seeing its home prices up 7%.

Corpus Christi, TX
A beautiful city on the eastern coast of Texas, Corpus Christi is friendly, young and, perhaps most importantly, a cheap place to live. Home prices are up 6% there.

Des Moines, IA
Before you write off Iowa as a place to spend your golden years, consider that this capital city has a great mix of young and old people, a thriving job market, and is regularly considered one of America’s most welcoming cities. Home prices are up 6% and foreclosures are down a whopping 50%.

Even though you might be older yourself, Corcoran said that you should not automatically consider moving to a city or town with a large retirement community. Frankly, places with lots of older people tend to see less influx of jobs and more depressed prices. Furthermore, coastal cities, while hit hard by the current downturn, tend to see greater returns on investment (two-to-one) over those in between the coasts, Corcoran said. And don't forget to look for areas with nice cars, parks, families, and the right mix of ages. This is where your new home stands the best chance of appreciating as you grow older.