While you could spend your golden years basking in the sun in a tropical location, there are plenty of great retirement destinations right here in the U.S. — some of which are located in places you may have overlooked.
The Midwest is a prime example. America's heartland has a lot to offer retirees, from below-average housing and living costs to culture and amenities. Here are some places to retire in the Midwest and why you might consider a Midwest retirement.
Appleton balances historic charm with urban living. With a population of roughly 74,000, Appleton is less than two hours from Milwaukee and is even closer to Green Bay. Thirteen percent of Appleton's population is age 65 and older, which means you may find a community of like-minded retirees if you decide to call the city home.
Appleton is also part of the Fox Cities region, which boasts a housing price average of $152,100 — lower than both the state and national averages, according to the Fox Cities Regional Partnership. Appleton itself boasts a cost of living that's 13.4% below the national average. Plus, with a performing arts center, a baseball stadium and popular convention center that hosts everything from trade shows to entertainment events, there's enough to keep retirees busy year-round.
Fargo, North Dakota
Although the movie and TV series may have imposed a reputation on this city, Fargo is an attractive option if you're considering a Midwest retirement.
Health care is one of the city's main industries. Fargo is home to 305 doctors for every 100,000 seniors, putting it near the middle of the pack compared to other Midwest cities, according to USA Today. The median home value is $199,700, which is far below Midwest cities like Chicago, where median home values are $246,500. If you're looking to stretch your retirement dollarsfurther while having access to traditional urban comforts like museums, theaters and other cultural activities, Fargo may be worth adding to your list.
Kansas City, Missouri
Want big city living in a more tax-friendly state? Kansas City may be worth consideration.
Missouri recently lowered its income tax rate to 5.4%, and the median home values are $148,500. The city also has a thriving arts and restaurant scene (Kansas City barbecue, anyone?), and with professional sports teams like the Chiefs and Royals, retirees who are sports fanatics may just find their tribe in this city.
While Chicago gets most of the attention, Illinois' capital city shouldn't be forgotten, either.
Springfield's cost of living is nearly 11% lower than the national average and offers some of the most affordable housing in the region, with median home values of $127,500. While housing costs might be a major consideration for a soon-to-be retiree, so might access to good health care. Springfield gets a check here, too — there are 295 doctors for every 100,000 seniors, according to USA Today.
For those who enjoy a bit of nostalgia, the city has a drive-in theater, which is fittingly called the Route 66 Drive-In. Whether you're a book lover or foodie, Springfield has a longstanding literary tradition and love of the arts. Its cultural events and festivals showcase these traditions all year round, showcasing the many activities retirees can enjoy.
Columbus may be known as a college town, but this also means it has more amenities — even if you aren't a Buckeyes fan. Below-average housing costs are another main draw, with median home values at $143,000 compared to a national average of just over $243,000.
Despite being the 14th largest city in the country, Columbus embraces green space. The city has several parks, including the Park of Roses, a 13-acre rose garden. For retirees who are also grandparents, there are several family-friendly activities, too. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is a local favorite, and so is the July 4th fireworks celebration at the downtown riverfront.
If you crave a Midwest retirement that's more socially active than laid back, Columbus may just meet your needs.
Are You Ready to Retire in the Midwest?
If you're set to retire, looking beyond the coasts to the Midwest may provide more options. From Fargo to Columbus, there are a number of places to retire in the Midwest that can offer an affordable retirement filled with arts and culture. You've saved all these years for retirement, so why not spend it in a place where your dollars could potentially go further and where you can truly enjoy it?