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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

10 best places to live in Montana

10 best places to live in Montana

02.08.2024

When planning for retirement, it’s important to consider where you’ll spend your golden years. There are countless places to choose from, each of which has its own advantages and disadvantages.

If you’ve considered retiring in Montana, this article is for you. We’re sharing the benefits of retiring in Montana, as well as the top 10 places in Montana to retire.

Is Montana a good place to retire?

Montana has plenty of characteristics that make it a great place to retire. First, Montana has plenty of financial benefits. Many of its towns have a low cost of living. And while the state’s average housing cost is more expensive than the national average, many of its small towns are considerably cheaper. Additionally, Montana offers a low tax burden for Montana residents. The state has no sales tax and limits taxes on Social Security and pension payments.

But Montana’s financial benefits aren’t the only reason to retire there. The state has plenty of other benefits as well. First, while Montana has some larger cities, it’s filled with small towns with large senior populations. As a result, you’ll have an easy time building a community there.                                                         

Montana also has beautiful scenery and plenty of outdoor recreation. It’s home to Glacier National Park, seven national forests, and excellent hiking, boating, fishing, skiing, and more. Even if you don’t enjoy spending your time in nature but enjoy looking at it, you’ll find Montana a peaceful and beautiful place to spend your retirement.

How we determined the best places to retire

With so many beautiful communities in Montana, it can be difficult to narrow down which are the best for retirees. To do that, we looked at factors such as affordability, safety, amenities, and community. To gather this information, we used three primary sources: Zillow, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the livability rankings website AreaVibes.

Here are the key factors we considered:

  • Percent of the population over 65
  • Median home price
  • Cost of living
  • Cost of healthcare
  • Crime rate
  • Amenities score

10 best places to retire in Montana      

1. Deer Lodge

Population: 2,904

% of Population 65 and Older:6%

Median Home Value: $223,804

Cost of Living (Compared to the State Average): 10% lower

Cost of Healthcare (Compared to the State Average): 4% lower

Crime Rate (Compared to the State Average): 77% lower

Amenities Score: B-                                                         

Deer Lodge is a small Montana city located in Powell County. The city is located in the western part of the state. It’s a meadowland with mountain ranges on its eastern and western sides. Deer Lodge is known for its strong history and is home to more museums and collections than any other town in the region. It’s also home to the 1,500-acre Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site.

Deer Lodge has plenty of advantages for retirees. It has a large senior population — more than one-quarter of the city’s residents are 65 or older. It also has housing costs, healthcare costs, and an overall cost of living that are lower than the state’s average. Finally, Deer Lodge has a very low crime rate.                                                       

2. Glasgow

Population: 3,332

% of Population 65 and Older: 22%

Median Home Value: $245,176

Cost of Living (Compared to the State Average): 10% lower

Cost of Healthcare (Compared to the State Average): 3% higher

Crime Rate (Compared to the State Average): 35% lower

Amenities Score: B-                                             

Glasgow is a small city in the northeast part of Montana in Valley County. Despite its small size, Glasgow is known as an economic hub of that part of the state since it’s the largest city for many miles. Glasgow is home to scenic plains and open farmland and is located near the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge, which is home to many types of animals.

Glasgow is an affordable place to live. Despite having healthcare costs that are a bit higher than the state’s average, it has housing costs and an overall cost of living that are considerably lower than the state and national average. Additionally, the state has a low crime rate and a large senior population.                                                         

3. Libby

Population: 2,758

% of Population 65 and Older: 22%

Median Home Value: $281,209

Cost of Living (Compared to the State Average): 8% lower

Cost of Healthcare (Compared to the State Average): 17% higher

Crime Rate (Compared to the State Average): 27% lower

Amenities Score: B-

Libby is a small city in northwestern Montana and is the county seat of Lincoln County. It sits at the intersection of Libby Creek and the Kootenay River and is home to the well-known Kootenai Falls. Unfortunately, Libby is best known for being the site of one of the country’s worst man-made environmental disasters when toxic asbestos dust killed many of its residents. However, Libby is now very safe to live in.                         

Libby has affordable housing and an overall cost of living that’s considerably lower than the national average. It also boasts a low crime rate and a large senior population.                                                          

4. Lewistown

Population: 6,048

% of Population 65 and Older: 26%

Median Home Value: $247,801

Cost of Living (Compared to the State Average): 14% lower

Cost of Healthcare (Compared to the State Average): 3% higher

Crime Rate (Compared to the State Average): 57% lower

Amenities Score: C+

Lewistown is a small city in Fergus County in the central part of Montana. It’s an agricultural community, but it’s surrounded by mountain ranges and an intersection of waterways, making it a perfect place for hiking, fishing, and other outdoor recreation. In fact, you’ll find five different mountain ranges nearby, which create a picturesque landscape for the town.

Lewistown has a low cost of living that includes affordable housing. It also has a large senior population, as more than one-quarter of the city’s residents are 65 or older. Finally, Lewistown has a crime rate that’s considerably lower than the state’s average.                                           

5. Glendive

Population: 5,030

% of Population 65 and Older: 21%

Median Home Value: $202,892

Cost of Living (Compared to the State Average): 2% lower

Cost of Healthcare (Compared to the State Average): 13% higher

Crime Rate (Compared to the State Average): 72% lower

Amenities Score: B+

Glendive is a small city in Dawson County in the eastern part of Montana. The city was originally established as a railroad town by the Northern Pacific Railway. Today it’s known for its outdoor recreation. The Yellowstone River runs through the city, and it has several parks and popular spots along the lakefront. The city is also home to the Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum and is known for having many dinosaur bones discovered there.                                                 

Glendive has a large senior population and a very low crime rate. It also has both housing costs and an overall cost of living that are lower than the national average. In fact, you can expect to buy a home in Glendive for less than half the state’s median home price.                                                

6. Conrad

Population: 2,624

% of Population 65 and Older: 22%

Median Home Value: $209,688

Cost of Living (Compared to the State Average): 13% lower

Cost of Healthcare (Compared to the State Average): 3% higher

Crime Rate (Compared to the State Average): 54% lower

Amenities Score: C+                                                        

Conrad is a small city in Pondera County in the northern part of Montana. Conrad is an agricultural town, and farming makes up an important part of the city’s economy. The city is also home to the Conrad Transportation and Historical Museum. Finally, it’s known for its outdoor recreation, including its parks, ski areas, and more.                                                             

Conrad makes for an excellent place to spend your retirement years. The city has very affordable housing and an overall cost of living that’s considerably lower than the state’s average. It also has a low crime rate and a large senior population.                                              

7. Hamilton

Population: 4,827

% of Population 65 and Older: 31%

Median Home Value: $523,182

Cost of Living (Compared to the State Average): 2% lower

Cost of Healthcare (Compared to the State Average): 4% lower

Crime Rate (Compared to the State Average): 27% higher

Amenities Score: A+

Hamilton is a small city in Ravalli County in the far western part of the state. It’s the largest community in the Bitterroot Valley. It has views of the Bitterroot Mountains to the west and the Swan Mountains to the east. And thanks to its hiking and other outdoor recreation, it hosts tens of thousands of tourists each year. The city also has a strong history. For example, you can visit the Daly Mansion, which was home to Marcus Daly, the founder of Hamilton.

Hamilton has healthcare costs and an overall cost of living that are a bit lower than the state’s average, but the average housing prices are quite a bit higher. Additionally, the city has a higher crime rate than the national average. That being said, nearly one-third of the city’s residents are 65 or older, and it has many amenities to offer retirees.                                                                  

8. Billings

Population: 117,445

% of Population 65 and Older:3%

Median Home Value: $365,200

Cost of Living (Compared to the State Average): 3% higher

Cost of Healthcare (Compared to the State Average): 4% lower

Crime Rate (Compared to the State Average): 117% higher

Amenities Score: A+                                                        

Billings is the largest city in Montana and the only one with a population of more than 100,000. It’s located in the southern part of the state. Billings sits along the Yellowstone River and is home to the Yellowstone County Museum, the Yellowstone Art Museum, and the Moss Mansion Museum. Billings is known for its Rimrocks, which is a geological sandstone formation around the city. Billings is also known for its outdoor recreation. It’s surrounded by several state and local parks, a zoo, and all of the activities the Yellowstone River has to offer.                                                  

While Billings has an overall cost of living that’s higher than the state’s average, it still offers affordable housing and healthcare. And while it has an above-average crime rate and a below-average senior population, it has many amenities for its residents and visitors.                                                                

9. Bozeman

Population: 54,539

% of Population 65 and Older: 2%

Median Home Value: $679,83

Cost of Living (Compared to the State Average): 13% higher

Cost of Healthcare (Compared to the State Average): 4% lower

Crime Rate (Compared to the State Average): 36% lower

Amenities Score: A+                                            

Bozeman is a Montana city located in the southern part of the state in the Rocky Mountains. It’s home to the Museum of the Rockies, which displays the area’s rich history. You’ll find plenty of mountains nearby, including Bridger Ridge and the Spanish Peaks. As a result, it’s no surprise this area is known for its hiking and other outdoor recreation. It’s also less than two hours away from the popular Yellowstone National Park. Bozeman is well-known for its livability. In addition to its outdoor recreation, the city itself has plenty of activities and sites to offer.                                    

Given that it’s one of the most popular places in the state to live and visit, Bozeman has a high cost of living. Its median housing cost is more than $200,000 higher than the state’s average. However, the city boasts below- average healthcare costs and many amenities. And despite its popularity and population, it has a low crime rate.                                                                       

10. Whitefish

Population: 8,492

% of Population 65 and Older: 20%

Median Home Value: $1,018,038

Cost of Living (Compared to the State Average): 20% higher

Cost of Healthcare (Compared to the State Average): 17% lower

Crime Rate (Compared to the State Average): 54% higher

Amenities Score: A+

Whitefish is a resort town in the Rocky Mountains in the northwest part of Montana. The town sits just outside Glacier National Park, meaning many people travel through it each year on their way to visit the park. Whitefish is also home to the Whitefish Mountain Resort and Whitefish Lake, which provides plenty of fishing, boating, and beaches. The town also has the Whitefish River running through it, which helps to shape the town’s landscape.                                   

Whitefish is one of the most expensive places in Montana to settle down. The median housing price is more than $1 million, and the cost of living is about 20% higher than the state’s average. However, it also has surprisingly low healthcare costs, a large senior population, and many amenities to offer its residents.                                                       

Next steps for you

Montana has plenty to offer its residents, including low taxes, a low cost of living, and plenty of outdoor recreation.

When planning for your golden years, the city you’ll live in isn’t the only thing you need to consider. It’s also important to prepare your finances with retirement planning, exploring how much you should save each month to retire on your terms.

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Erin Gobler

Contributor

Erin Gobler is a money coach who helps people pay off debt and reach their big financial goals without giving up spending on the things they love. She is a freelance writer for Empower.

Author is not a client of Empower Advisory Group, LLC, and is compensated as a freelance writer.

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