4 Beach Towns Where You Can Retire Comfortably on $40,000 a Year
There’s a reason that retiring to Florida has become somewhat of a stereotype over the years. It’s balmy, beautiful, and breezy—and, really, who wouldn’t want to live out their best years in a paradise like that? But while high costs of living in some areas can make the Sunshine State seem unattainable, there’s plenty more affordable coastline to go around (in Florida and beyond). Thankfully, the team at MarketWatch scouted out four gorgeous beach towns where you can live happily on $40k annually—quite a bit less than what the average 65-and-older household spends per year on everything from housing to food ($49k, according to the Census Bureau). Flip through for their dreamy picks.
Bay St. Louis, Mississippi
Surrounded by water on three sides (marsh, river, and the Gulf of Mexico) this charming escape is ideal for those seeking a small-town vibe with lots of Southern influence. A mix of retirees and vacation homeowners, the roughly 12,000 residents here enjoy quiet streets lined with quaint cafes and century-old architecture. And the best part? Setting down roots here is surprisingly affordable, with average home prices coming in at less than $150k (and relatively low property, taxes, too, according to SmartAsset). And while low-key is definitely the buzzword here, drive just over an hour down I-10 and you’ll hit the funky and fab city of New Orleans.
The Sunshine State’s panhandle is rife with gorgeous sugar-sand beaches—and Pensacola is home to one of them. Aside from that, locals love it for its festivals, food, arts scene, and affordability. Compared to other Florida towns, Pensacola boasts a lower than average cost of living, with average home prices hovering around $140k. And for retirees on a fixed income, that’s just one of the benefits—Florida is just one of a few states in the country where incomes (including retirement incomes) are not taxed.
Fort Pierce, Florida
If you have your heart set on Florida but prefer the Atlantic coast, venture an hour north from Palm Beach to this considerably more affordable beach town. Here, you’ll get the palm trees, water views, and charming Main Street—named one of the best in the U.S.—for an average home cost of $150k. (According to the Census Bureau, residents here spend a median $10,000 per year total on housing.) As another benefit, MarketWatch also points to the diversity of nature and marine life in Fort Pierce, which aside from providing stellar views, brings local restaurants an abundance of fresh, locally caught fish year-round.
Corpus Christi, Texas
They say everything is bigger in Texas, and in Corpus Christi, that includes your bank account. Perched on the Gulf coast, this urban escape combines the amenities of city living with plenty of opportunities to connect with nature. (Padre Island National Seashore—the largest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world—is a nesting ground for sea turtles and more than 380 species of birds.) And with average home prices coming in at $150k—and, like Florida, a lack of state income tax—retirees can get beachfront (or close to it) at a serious bargain.