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Retiring early? These 10 US cities could be your best bet

Key Points
  • Retiring early takes careful planning in an era where many must work past age 65 to survive. Where you live is an important consideration.
  • SmartAsset ranked U.S. cities by tax rates, availability of health care, housing costs, crime rates and other factors to determine the 10 best for early retirement.
  • Top cities tended to cluster in Arizona, Nevada and Kentucky.

Source: SmartAsset

Retiring early can take some careful financial planning, especially in a era when many Americans have to keep working not only past 65 but well into their 70s just to make ends meet.

Where you decide to settle down to ease into your golden years is a huge factor in just how far your savings will stretch. Low taxes and expenses are ideal, especially when paired with a high quality of life, excellent medical facilities and abundant activities options.

Personal finance company SmartAsset has compiled a list of the 10 best U.S. cities for early retirement, weighing metrics as varied as the effective income tax rate for retirees, the average cost of a silver health insurance plan for a 60-year-old, the concentration of nearby medical facilities and crime statistics.

WHL | Getty Images

"We crunched the numbers to find the cities where early retirees can stretch their savings with lower taxes and affordable housing, while still having access to doctors and entertainment," said AJ Smith, vice president of financial education at SmartAsset. "We also considered general livability factors like unemployment and safety."

SmartAsset found that seven of the 10 cities topping its list offer "favorable tax environments for early retirees." Cities in Florida and Nevada — with no state income tax, extra deductions for retirement income and reasonable sales and property taxes — were particular standouts.

The firm did not consider weather in the rankings but, in a happy coincidence, many of the finalists also offer pleasant temperatures year round. They also tended to clump in certain states.

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"The data show that there are good options nationwide for workers to pursue an affordable early retirement but the top-ranking cities tend to be located in three states: Nevada, Arizona and Kentucky," added Smith.

Here's a look at SmartAsset's list of the most affordable cities for early retirement:

1. Henderson, Nevada

Effective retiree tax rate: 9.42%
Annual health insurance cost: $9,396
Housing cost as percentage of income: 21.72%
Avg. effective property tax rate: 0.60%
State/local tax rate: 8.25%

2. Chandler, Arizona

Effective retiree tax rate: 10.8%
Annual health insurance cost: $10,860
Housing cost as percentage of income: 20.69%
Avg. effective property tax rate: 0.57%
State/local tax rate: 7.8%

Chandler, Arizona, ranks second on SmartAsset's list.
DenisTangneyJr | iStock | Getty Images

3. Plano, Texas

Effective retiree tax rate: 9.42%
Annual health insurance cost: $10,656
Housing cost as percentage of income: 18.13%
Avg. effective property tax rate: 1.62%
State/local tax rate: 8.25%

4. Las Vegas

Effective retiree tax rate: 9.42%
Annual health insurance cost: $9,396
Housing cost as percentage of income: 23.24%
Avg. effective property tax rate: 0.63%
State/local tax rate: 8.25%

The Las Vegas Strip in Clark County, Nevada.
Eric Lo | Moment | Getty Images

5. Pittsburgh

Effective retiree tax rate: 10.23%
Annual health insurance cost: $8,472
Housing cost as percentage of income: 23.19%
Avg. effective property tax rate: 1.32%
State/local tax rate: 7%

6. Mesa, Arizona

Effective retiree tax rate: 10.8%
Annual health insurance cost: $10,860
Housing cost as percentage of income: 22.38%
Avg. effective property tax rate: 0.54%
State/local tax rate: 8.3%

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7. Lexington, Kentucky

Effective retiree tax rate: 10.17%
Annual health insurance cost: $10,284
Housing cost as percentage of income: 19.77%
Avg. effective property tax rate: 0.97%
State/local tax rate: 6%

8. Louisville, Kentucky

Effective retiree tax rate: 10.6%
Annual health insurance cost: $9,432
Housing cost as percentage of income: 20.02%
Avg. effective property tax rate: 0.92%
State/local tax rate: 6%

Louisville, Kentucky, No. 8 on SmartAssets list of best cities for early retirement.
Sean Pavone | iStock | Getty Images

9. Fort Wayne, Indiana

Effective retiree tax rate: 12.35%
Annual health insurance cost: $8,364
Housing cost as percentage of income: 18.44%
Avg. effective property tax rate: 0.92%
State/local tax rate: 7%

10. St. Petersburg, Florida

Effective retiree tax rate: 9.42%
Annual health insurance cost: $12,420
Housing cost as percentage of income: 21.98%
Avg. effective property tax rate: 0.75%
State/local tax rate: 7%

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