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Top Places to Retire in 2023

Many people start retirement planning quite early in life. This requires a clear vision of their life, finding activities that will fill up their time, preparing to pick up hobbies or make travel plans, and having enough savings to invest in a property they can call their forever home.

All of this requires thorough planning and even a professional’s insight into finding the perfect property in a location where they feel most comfortable living long-term.

When searching for a place to retire, here are some important factors you need to consider:

  • Healthcare options for seniors
  • Retiree tax rates
  • Housing costs
  • Desirability
  • The overall environment of the place for resident happiness

If you’re already working on your retirement planning and looking for a place to relocate to, let our real estate experts help!

Let’s take a comprehensive look at the top places to retire in 2023.

Charlotte, NC

Named during the Revolutionary War after the Queen of England, Charlotte is one of the most popular places to retire in 2023.

Property Taxes

Reports reveal that Mecklenburg County and North Carolina both have lower property tax rates when compared to the national average of 1.077%. The median home prices in Charlotte are around $378,000, which is 1% above the national median but the cost of living is 1% below the national average.

But when it comes to property tax, North Carolina is below the national average at 0.77%.

North Carolina is a Tax-Friendly State

One of the top reasons many seniors opt to relocate to North Carolina is the tax exemption.

Seniors who qualify can take advantage of North Carolina’s low-income homestead exclusion. This applies to seniors who are 65+ and have an income of less than $31,500, which can deduct 50% of their property’s taxable value.

Retirement Income Tax

Retirees in Charlotte receiving their Social Security retirement benefits don’t have to pay taxes. However, seniors with another form of retirement income like IRAs, 401(k)s, and pensions have to pay a flat income tax of 5.25%.

Health Care Options

 a smiling old lady with white hair.

Charlotte has two major healthcare systems that provide high-quality healthcare facilities to residents.

There are several top-notch medical facilities with specialties like cardiovascular care, cancer care, burn treatment, organ transplants, etc. The Atrium Health center in Charlotte was even named America’s top physical rehabilitation center.

Novant Health is another popular healthcare center in Charlotte with several specialty centers, including the Cancer Center, the Heart& Vascular Institute, the Women’s Center, the Rehabilitation Center, the Stroke & Neurosciences Center, and the Behavioral Health center.

Some cons of retiring in Charlotte include the crime rate slightly above the national average and the moderate risk of natural hazards.

Columbia, Missouri

Columbia, Missouri is a multiple college town known for its comfortable climate, lower risk natural hazards, good air quality, and no estate taxes.

Low Property Taxes

two people sitting together by the lake.

South Carolina has some of the lowest property tax rates in the US. Retirees in South Carolina only have to pay 0.57% of the property tax rate, while those living in the state for over a year become exempt from property taxes because of “homestead exemption”.

You Can Deduct $15,000 from Income Taxes

$15,000 will automatically be deducted from your income taxes if you’re a senior aged 65 or above. Seniors receiving some form of retirement income like IRAs, 401(K) plans, or pension qualify for this benefit. This can help you save a hefty amount of money during retirement.

Wonderful Weather

One of the best things about Columbia is the wonderful weather. The temperatures typically range from 36°F to 58°F in January and 72°F to 95°F during July.

While residents rarely see snowfall, Columbia usually receives 1.5 inches of snow and 106.7 rainfall days in a year.

Healthcare Options

Columbia has some of the most premium quality healthcare options for retirees like the Medical University of South Carolina and the Prisma Health Alliance.

These healthcare centers help people have access to affordable healthcare facilities with high-quality patient care and plenty of treatment options. Their excellent specialty centers also include behavioral, heart health care, cancer care, neonatology, stroke, and trauma care centers.

The cons of living in Columbia include the state income tax that you will have to pay if you’re receiving Social Security benefits and the serious crime rate.

Iowa City, IA

a man holding a little girl.

Iowa is a popular college town known for its low cost of living, robust economy, and low crime rates.

Tax Exemptions

In Iowa City, senior citizens are exempt from paying state income tax on Social Security and even receive a tax break for up to $12,000 on pension income.

Low Cost of Living

The average cost of living in this city is 10 to 15% lower than the national average

The housing is also quite affordable; the median home price is $260,000 – 31% below the national average.


With good air quality and a very comfortable climate, Iowa City sees all four seasons with plenty of rainfall and perfect summer days.

Healthcare Options

Iowa City has reliable healthcare options, and it has a good ratio of physicians per capita. Iowa City ranks as the second-best state in healthcare because of its extremely lower costs and range of benefits.

The only downside to relocating to Iowa includes the cold winters and the state inheritance tax.

Fargo, North Dakota

two men talking to each other.

Fargo is North Dakota’s largest city, with a population of over 126,000. This aesthetically pleasing place is another one of the top choices for many retirees because of the rolling landscapes, mountainous hills, and low housing costs.

Affordable Housing

Fargo’s cost of living is 6% less than the national average, whereas the median home prices are $271,000, which is 28% lower than the national median.

Affordable Healthcare Solutions

Fargo provides a range of healthcare options to retirees that will surely safeguard your health and finances. Fargo also partners with the Health Insurance Marketplace to offer affordable family health insurance plans and even funds low-income assistance plans.

No Estate Tax

Being a homeowner means taking on the responsibility of regularly paying taxes and other home maintenance bills.

But in Fargo, there is no estate tax. North Dakota also does not have an inheritance tax.

Weather Conditions

The weather is usually very pleasant in Fargo, except that it can get exceptionally cold in the winter. But the natural hazard risk is very low, and the area has good air quality.

Jacksonville, Florida

Jacksonville has a population of 939,000 and is Florida’s largest city which is ensconced in the northeastern corner of the Atlantic Ocean.

Jacksonville should be your top choice if you’re searching for a place with a warmer climate, year-round sunshine, and good air quality.

Low Housing Costs

One of the main reasons why many retirees consider relocation to Jacksonville is because of the low housing costs. This city has a housing index of 78/100, and the median home cost is $231,800, which is $60,000 less than the national median. This will help you save a lot of money in the long run.

Jacksonville also has a strong economy, and you will not have to pay income or estate tax.

Staying Fit

Jacksonville provides a lot of options for seniors to stay fit and active. There are several coastlines where one can go fishing, surfing, swimming, and sunbathing. You can even visit the Big Talbot Island State Park to visit the unique trails, the forest habitats, and the shoreline.

Numerous Top-Notch Healthcare Facilities

Newsweek named The Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville one of the best healthcare facilities in the world.

Jacksonville has some of the best healthcare facilities and centers with qualified physicians and state-of-the-art technology. According to Forbes, Jacksonville also has a good physician per capita ratio.

The downside to living in Fargo is extremely cold winters, the crime rate slightly above the national average, and the state income tax on Social Security.

Lexington, Kentucky

With low taxes, affordable cost of living, and an affordable housing market, Lexington is known as the “Horse Capital of the World”.

No Social Security Tax

In Lexington, you do not have to pay Social Security tax. Residents over the age of 65 and receiving some form of retirement income will also get a $15,000 income tax reduction.

Lexington also has very low property tax rates, whereas retirees who qualify for the homestead exemption are also exempt from paying property taxes.


Lexington has very good air quality and great weather. The temperatures typically range from 34°F to 56°F in the colder months and 72°F to 94°F in the warmer months.

The city also receives 47 inches of rainfall and 1 inch of snow in a year.

Reliable Healthcare Options

Lexington has some of the top-rated healthcare options in the US. Some of their largest healthcare systems include Palmetto Health and the Greenville Health System.

Their healthcare facilities provide a wide range of services, including high-quality emergency care and even health and fitness centers.

The downside: state inheritance tax and the weak economy.

Athens, Georgia

Athens, the classic college town, has an agreeable climate and offers several benefits to retirees.

Athens has a population of 108,222 and a lower-than-average cost of living. It offers a range of activities for seniors and provides a global environment for seniors since it is full of students from all over the world.

Sales Tax

The sales tax in Athens is 7% which is significantly lower than the national average.

Tax Exemptions

a man reading the newspaper

Senior adults that are over the age of 65 do not have to pay any tax on social security, railroad retirement income, or interest on the US obligation. Retirees also receive $65,000 per person of retirement income which is exempt from income tax.

Seniors are also exempt from estate tax.

Healthcare Solutions

There are plenty of reliable and quality healthcare options in Athens, and the Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center even earned global recognition from Newsweek.

Although, the number of doctors per capita is slightly below the national average.

The only downside to living in Athens is the economy, the serious crime rate which is above the national average, and the city being barely walkable.

Palmdale, California

Palmdale is one of California’s most populated places, offering housing affordability, safety, family-friendly areas, and lower living costs.

Cost of Living

Palmdale is a super affordable place to live in because the cost of living is 27.4% higher than the national average but 49.9% lower than the California average.

Safe and Secure

Safety and security are the most important things to factor in when you’re deciding on a place to live.

Palmdale is a very safe place to live in. The crime rate is 26% lower than the national average, whereas the property crime rate is 33% lower.

Affordable Housing

California typically has houses that cost around $700,000 on average which is double the price of homes in the US.

But Palmdale gives residents the benefit of affordable housing. The average cost of a house in Palmdale is $431,130.

Quality Healthcare Facilities

Palmdale also offers the best healthcare services and has some of the top-rated medical centers in the US.

Tax Exemption

Senior citizens in Palmdale are exempt from property taxes.

The cons of living in Palmdale: the extreme weather conditions and the city has been rated as the fifth most stressful place to live in California.

Partner with Professional Real Estate Agents to Find Your Dream Property

Now that you’ve explored your options and learned about their benefits, it’s time to find a property that you can call home. But finding a good property that doesn’t just meet your specific requirements but also your financial situation can be difficult.

This is where our experienced and qualified real estate agents step in.

At Team Zotti, we take pride in our comprehensive real estate services and an in-depth understanding of the housing market.

We will help you find a property in Lancaster or Palmdale that is best suited to your needs and requirements. Backed with an experience of over thirty years, we are dedicated to making the home-buying process as stress-free as possible.

Our knowledgeable realtors with walk you through every step of the way and work diligently to help you achieve your real estate goals.

Whether you’re looking to buy or sell your property, we can help.

Ready to work with the experts? Get in touch with our real estate experts in Palmdale today to get started.