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Sunday, April 21, 2024

12 best places to retire in Tennessee in 2024

12 best places to retire in Tennessee

01.11.2024

Tennessee has become an increasingly popular destination for retirees, and it’s easy to see why. First, the state makes for an attractive retirement home thanks to its low cost of living and the lack of state income taxes. But the benefits Tennessee has to offer expand far beyond its financial ones.      

The state is home to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is the most popular national park in the country, by attendance.1 It has beautiful scenery throughout the state, regardless of whether you enjoy outdoor recreation. It also has a relatively mild climate, which retirees often appreciate. Finally, Tennessee has a rich culture.                                 

How we determined the best places to retire

With so many beautiful communities in Tennessee, 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                                          

Best places to retire in Tennessee                  

1. Tellico Village

Population: 7,615

% of population above 65: 75%

Median home value: $555,000

Cost of living (compared to the national average): 21% higher

Cost of healthcare (compared to the national average): 8% lower

Crime rate (compared to the national average): 56% lower

Amenities score: F

Tellico Village is an unincorporated planned community in Loudon County Tennessee on the western shore of the Tellico Reservoir. Tellico Village is a planned retirement community, which is why such a large percentage of the population is over age 65.

In addition to its large senior population, Tellico Village has other amenities that could make it attractive for retirees. It has a crime rate that’s considerably lower than the national average. It also has below-average healthcare costs. Unfortunately, the cost of living overall is quite high, including the cost of housing.                                          

2. Germantown

Population: 41,034

% of population above 65: 7%

Median home value: $481,917

Cost of living (compared to the national average): 9% higher

Cost of healthcare (compared to the national average): 17% lower

Crime rate (compared to the national average): 38% lower

Amenities score: A+                                                           

Germantown is a relatively small city in Shelby County, Tennessee, and is a suburb of Memphis. Germantown has plenty of advantages for retirees. First, the city has a low crime rate and low healthcare costs compared to the national average. It also has many amenities for seniors and residents in general. That being said, Germantown does have an overall high cost of living and housing costs that are higher than the national average.

3. Chattanooga

Population: 182,113

% of population above 65: 6%

Median home value: $283,277

Cost of living (compared to the national average): 10% lower

Cost of healthcare (compared to the national average): 3% lower

Crime rate (compared to the national average): 229% higher

Amenities score: A+

Chattanoogaa is located along the Tennessee River and near the Appalachian Mountains in the southeastern part of the state. As a result, it’s especially appealing for seniors who love beautiful scenery or outdoor recreation. Chattanooga has a relatively low cost of living. Both housing and healthcare costs are lower than the national average, and it has many amenities. The biggest downside of Chattanooga is that its crime rate is several times the national average.                                                     

4. Memphis

Population: 628,127

% of population above 65: 4%

Median home value: $153,894

Cost of living (compared to the national average): 19% lower

Cost of healthcare (compared to the national average): 17% lower

Crime rate (compared to the national average): 237% higher

Amenities score: A+                                                                       

Memphis is one of the largest cities in Tennessee, making it perfect for seniors who love big city life and many amenities. Located on the Mississippi River in southwest Tennessee, Memphis is famous for its music scene and the blues, soul, and rock n’ roll that originated there. Memphis has a relatively low cost of living, including low housing and healthcare costs. However, it has a crime rate that’s considerably higher than the national average. It also has the lowest senior population of any city on our list.                                     

5. Kingston Springs

Population: 6,023

% of population above 65: 2%

Median home value: $420,186

Cost of living (compared to the national average): 1% lower

Cost of healthcare (compared to the national average): 7% lower

Crime rate (compared to the national average): 80% lower

Amenities score: F                                                 

Kingston Springs is located in Cheatham County, Tennessee, just 20 miles from downtown Nashville. Thanks to its small population and proximity to Nashville, its residents get the benefits of both the big city and a small town. Kingston Springs has plenty to offer, including a cost of living, healthcare costs, and crime rate that are lower than the national average. The town doesn’t have as many amenities as some on our list, but as we mentioned, you can find them nearby in Nashville. The city also has housing costs that are higher than the national average.                                                             

6. Knoxville

Population: 192,648

% of population above 65: 9%

Median home value: $331,796

Cost of living (compared to the national average): 18% lower

Cost of healthcare (compared to the national average): 8% lower

Crime rate (compared to the national average): 115% higher

Amenities score: A+                                                           

Knoxville is a relatively large city in the eastern part of the state along the Tennessee River. The city has a rich history, as well as plenty of attractions and amenities for its residents to enjoy. The city has a cost of living that’s lower than the national average, including affordable housing and healthcare. The major downsides are its high crime rate (which is often the case in larger cities) and its small senior population.                                                   

7. Crossville

Population: 12,268                                                 

% of population above 65: 9%

Median home value: $277,272

Cost of living (compared to the national average): 11% lower

Cost of healthcare (compared to the national average): 9% lower

Crime rate (compared to the national average): 99% higher

Amenities score: A+                              

Crossville is a small city in Cumberland County. The city is known as the Golf Capital of Tennessee and has major pristine golf courses. It’s also located next to a state park, which makes it a perfect location for seniors who love the outdoors. Crossville has plenty going for it, including its below-average cost of living, affordable housing, and affordable healthcare. However, Crossville does have a crime rate that’s considerably higher than the national average, despite its small population.                                                                

8. Kingsport

Population: 55,582                                                 

% of population above 65: 25%

Median home value: $195,667

Cost of living (compared to the national average): 14% lower

Cost of healthcare (compared to the national average): 8% lower

Crime rate (compared to the national average): 120% higher

Amenities score: A+                                                           

Kingsport is a medium-sized city in the eastern part of Tennessee, falling into both Sullivan and Hawkins counties. Kingsport has one of the largest senior communities of any city on our list — roughly one quarter of the city’s residents are 65 or older. The city also has plenty of amenities to offer, including its arts scene and outdoor recreation. Kingsport’s cost of living is lower than the national average, offering affordable housing and healthcare for its residents. However, Kingsport has a crime rate that’s considerably higher than the national average.                                                 

9. Johnson City

Population: 71,278

% of population above 65: 5%

Median home value: $236,159

Cost of living (compared to the national average): 10% lower

Cost of healthcare (compared to the national average): 8% lower

Crime rate (compared to the national average): 91% lower

Amenities score: A+                                                           

Johnson City is a medium-sized city located in eastern Tennessee. The city is known for its outdoor recreation, including its parts, water recreation, nearby fossil sites, and more. Johnson city stands out in just about every way a retiree could want. It has a low cost of living, including housing and healthcare costs that are lower than the national average. It also has a low crime rate and many amenities.

10. Union City

Population: 11,107

% of population above 65: 5%

Median home value: $126,137

Cost of living (compared to the national average): 22% lower

Cost of healthcare (compared to the national average): 18% lower

Crime rate (compared to the national average): 132% lower

Amenities score: A-                                                

Union City is a small Tennessee city located in the northwestern part of the state, not far from the Kentucky border. The city is known for its world-renowned encyclopedic museum that displays the rich history of the city, state, and country. Union City has a low cost of living, including both housing and healthcare costs that are well below the national average. It also has a large senior population and low crime rate.                                             

11. Paris

Population: 10,341

% of population above 65: 3%

Median home value: $153,764

Cost of living (compared to the national average): 22% lower

Cost of healthcare (compared to the national average): 18% lower

Crime rate (compared to the national average): 46% higher

Amenities score: A-                                    

Paris is a small city in the western part of Tennessee, located in Henry County. Paris is known for the large replica of the Eiffel Tower that stands there, which makes it reminiscent of the city of Paris, France. Paris has a large senior population and many amenities. It also has low housing and healthcare costs, which contribute to its overall low cost of living. The one major downside of Paris is its high crime rate.                                           

12. Maryville

Population: 32,263

% of population above 65: 2%

Median home value: $342,162

Cost of living (compared to the national average): 10% lower

Cost of healthcare (compared to the national average): 92% lower

Crime rate (compared to the national average): 45% lower

Amenities score: A+                                                                       

Maryville is a relatively small city in Blount County. It’s a suburb of the nearby Knoxville and is located in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. Maryville has just about everything a retiree could want, including a wide array of amenities, a low cost of living, a large senior population, and a low crime rate.

The bottom line                                          

Finding the best place for you to retire is just one step on your journey toward retirement. It’s equally  as important — if not, more so — to make sure you’re financially on track to retire.

Empower’s Retirement Planner can help you map out realistic financial goals:

  • Build a plan for your retirement
  • Run different scenarios including big expenses, like buying a home or funding kids’ college education
  • Add income events, like an inheritance, that may impact your retirement success
  • Get a spending plan for your retirement

1 CNN, “The top 10 most visited US National Park sites are …” May 2023.

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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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