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Best Places in the Country for Military Retirees

When you’re evaluating the best places for military retirees to live several criteria come to mind including weather, taxes, employment opportunities, crime, education, entertainment. Other, less tangible items like proximity to family and friends, are often more important to the individual retiree.

That said, Wallet Hub recently published their “Best Places” list for 2014. The methodology for the rankings was categorized as Economic Environment, Quality of Life, and Health Care. Different weights were placed on the scores to help emphasize issues that may be of interest to military retirees specifically, such as the number of bases in the state and the number of VA facilities. 

I won’t steal Wallet Hubs thunder by repeating their top ten list, but will point out that it’s probably better to break this information down further and consider regional alternatives. In Nevada, Las Vegas is lumped in the mix with Elko and Carson City, but has a new, state-of-the-art VA Hospital and a recovering economy. It also is the home of Nellis AFB, offering military retirees all the amenities that come along with a world class facility. 

Nevada is a Paradise for Military Retirees

No state income tax, great weather, seasonal changes (if you’re willing to travel just a bit), and so many activities…just a few reasons why Nevada is a paradise for military retirees. While the summer will be tough in Las Vegas for many, there is always respite in the Reno/Lake Tahoe area, and even Las Vegans can escape the heat on Mount Charleston. 

What are your favorite retirement locations?

Housing Prices Continue to Fall

Cities that were outside the reach of military retirees are now a real bargain. Popular choices such as Phoenix, Las Vegas, Orlando, and Tampa are now at bargain basement prices. In addition, mortgage rates have fallen again to the lowest levels of the year.

We recently purchased a short-sale home in Las Vegas. We were interested in this neighborhood in 2005, but the prices were far to high for our projected budget. Five years later the home was available for less than half the price in 2005.

Florida, which does not have a personal income tax, has truly become a bargain. How does a two bedroom, two bathroom condo with an ocean view in Destin for less than $190,000 sound? This one sold in 2004 for $499,900 and is now on the market for $189,900.  Using your VA mortgage, with no money down, your payment would be about $1,600 each month, including taxes, condo fees, and insurance.

If this is still too rich for you, try the greater Phoenix, AZ area. This four bedroom two bathroom home in Tolleson, AZ was built in 2006, selling at that time for about $250,000. You can buy it now for $86,000. Try a payment of $641!

The bottom line, again, is that military retirees have so many more options than they had five years ago, and mortgage rates will lower your monthly payment to the point that you can enjoy greater freedom and more security than you’ve ever been able to achieve. This is a great time to consider an early retirement!