I am 50 years old and I am considering semi-early retirement. What’s a vibrant place with a moderate left-wing demographics where I can expand my savings?


I am a 50 year old single bicultural gay male who is considering early semi-retirement due to the ageism of my profession. I have $ 3.5 million in taxable investments (including my home appreciation) that I like to stretch as much as possible. Can you recommend a few US cities that offer robust medical infrastructure, vibrant cultural activities, warmer climates (no snow and no humidity), an LGBTQ + friendly environment, and moderate left-wing demographics?

When I own a home, Airbnb can be an option for a secondary income. And it would be nice to have a tax-efficient location for retirees.

A place with welcoming, community-minded and educated locals would be great. I want to feel safe in a new home.


Dear Wai,

I’m sorry you feel like you’ve been kicked out of your job. At least you’ve saved a lot, and it’ll give you options and hopefully reduce your stress. I still encourage you to consider holding on as you explore your options.

Considering your wishlist, you’re headed to a big city or its suburbs, unless you agree to some compromises. It would be really easy to tick off a few big, expensive cities – think San Diego and Denver – but I want to give you a wider range of possibilities.

I also hate to repeat myself, so if you’re interested in the Pacific Northwest, I’ve already spotlighted Eugene, Corvallis, Salem, and the Portland suburb of Vancouver, Washington, among others. Just be prepared for rainy winters instead of summer humidity and, these days, the risk of smoke from wildfires.

You can read three more friendly suggestions for LBGTQs here. You can also consider cheaper college towns with less than perfect weather. You will be retired; you don’t need to go anywhere when it’s snowing, for example. The Where Should I Retire MarketWatch tool can help you identify counties that may be right for you.

As you know, the upheaval in the workplace due to COVID has sparked bidding wars in some housing markets, so it is good that you are prepared to rent first. Nonetheless, given your desire to both buy a new home and stretch your funds, please take the time to plan your likely expenses, including health care before Medicare, and suggest an annual budget as well as a limit for your possible purchase of a house.

Be conservative; there are always unforeseen costs and the stock market may not cooperate with your dreams.

Taxes will be different in retirement as your sources of income are different and, of course, tax laws change. You can use this SmartAsset tax calculator to get an idea of ​​how it looks in different states; you can always consult a tax expert.

Here are three possibilities to get you started.

Tucson, Arizona

Tucson Arizona skyline cityscape framed by cactus and saguaro mountains

Getty Images / iStockphoto

For LBGTQ +, I turned to the Human Rights Campaign and its Municipal Equality Index. The HRC, a leading gay rights group, is examining factors such as whether the city has anti-discrimination laws for housing, a human rights commission, and an LGBTQ liaison officer in the city. mayor’s office, as well as whether it provides services or supports LGBTQ seniors.

Tucson is one of three Arizona cities with a perfect score (Phoenix and Tempe also got 100). Tucson, home to the University of Arizona, is slightly cooler and cheaper than Phoenix. It’s also much smaller: around 540,000 people (and just over one million in Pima County) compared to the 1.65 million people in Phoenix (and nearly 4.5 million in the county. of Maricopa).

Finally, it also got a high rating when I turned to MarketWatch’s “Where Should I Retire” tool.

You can read more about Tucson and its cultural attributes here.

While Tucson has some of the state’s best hospitals, according to US News & World Report rankings, there are more in the Phoenix area, including a Mayo Clinic, about a two-hour drive away.

A tradeoff if you are moving southwest is that even though the humidity is low, it is still warm. Average July highs in Tucson are 100 degrees and it looks like it’s getting hotter. In addition, there is a risk of water shortage in the years to come.

The median price of homes for sale in Tucson was $ 299,900 in August 2021, according to Realtor.com, which, like MarketWatch, is owned by News Corp. Find out what is currently on the market using the listings on Realtor.com.

Asheville, North Carolina

Courtesy to explore Asheville

To my surprise, liberal Asheville, a town of 95,000 people in the Blue Ridge Mountains, does not have an HRC rating. But Buncombe County is blue, unlike much of the rest of western North Carolina.

Asheville, a perennial on lists of good places to retire, is known both for its craft beer (the most breweries per capita in the United States) and its music scene. No wonder then that the region attracts millions of visitors every year. It might be good for your Airbnb wishes as long as you abide by city rules.

You will also find the robust medical infrastructure you are looking for and plenty of contractors if that is a direction you want to explore. In terms of other ways to get your brain working, UNC-Asheville has 3,600 students as well as an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute that caters to retirees.

The city has a moderate four-season climate. You will have some snow, but average winter highs are in the 40s above or below 50. Average summer highs are in the mid 80s.

When you want to go beyond the area’s many outdoor options, you can fly from Asheville Regional Airport or opt for Charlotte, a two-hour drive away.

You’ll hear complaints that Asheville is too crowded, it’s not what it used to be, that it’s too expensive. You will have to decide for yourself. Begin your home search in the West Asheville and River Arts neighborhoods. Overall, the median list price for a home in Asheville was $ 389,900 in August 2021, according to Realtor.com. Here is what is currently on the market.

If Asheville isn’t quite right, consider Hendersonville, described here, and Brevard, described here.

Covington, Kentucky

Riverside of Covington.

Courtesy meetingNKY

It’s my choice of wild card, and I can imagine the skepticism. But take the time to see if Covington’s talk about embracing diversity is right for you. It’s one of the first cities in Kentucky to pass an LBGTQ anti-discrimination measure called the Fairness Ordinance, and it gets a 96 from the Human Rights Commission. This is nothing new either: Covington claims the only library in the South that has never been separated.

In this town of 40,000 inhabitants, you will find a walkable city center (including new housing) and historic quarters including a revitalized 19th century German quarter – MainStrasse – which is home to bars and restaurants as well as townhouses. historical. Another historic district faces the Ohio River. And of course, you’ll hear about the region’s Bourbon Trail.

Cincinnati, with its big-city amenities, is a walk across the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge (think of it as a prototype for the Brooklyn Bridge).

Once you turn 65, you can take classes for free at Northern Kentucky University, which has 14,000 students.

Unlike Asheville, you won’t have mountains, if that’s your thing. Instead, get your fix of nature in the hills of Devou Park, then explore Bender Mountain Nature Preserve 12 miles on the Ohio side of the river and Shawnee Lookout even further west.

Likewise, you won’t find chain stores – these are centered in a few suburbs of Florence.

You’ll need to put up with summer humidity and average summer highs a few degrees warmer than Asheville, an average of about a foot of snow each year (similar to Asheville), and average winter highs of around 40.

The trade-off is a much more affordable housing market; the median list price for a home was $ 169,900 in August 2021, according to Realtor.com. Here is what is currently on the market.

Not quite right? What about a college town like Bloomington, Indiana?

Where should Wai retire? Leave your suggestions in the comments section.

More from the “Where Should I Retire” series from MarketWatch

We want to retire to a fun lakefront house, but we also want amenities in town. Our budget is $ 450,000. Where should we go?

We want a $ 250,000 home within an hour of the mountains or the ocean – where should we retire

I want to retire to “a liberal-thinking neighborhood” on $ 3,000 a month including rent – where do I go?

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