Where Should I Retire?

Sept. 18, 2020, 1:57 p.m. EDT

I want to retire in Texas and near freshwater on $4,000 a month — where should I go?

Looking for ideas on the best place for you to retire? Email HelpMeRetire@marketwatch.com

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By Silvia Ascarelli, MarketWatch


Jim Flynn/Courtesy New Braunfels CVB
A woman relaxes on the Guadalupe River in New Braunfels.

Dear MarketWatch,

I want to retire to Texas. I will be moving from Maine within the next five years and would like a location that has freshwater and some national or state parks. I estimate my monthly retirement income in the range of $3,750 to $4,200. I will be buying a house and selling the one in Maine. Some of the equity will be used for college.

I would like a good hospital and airport within a one-hour drive. Live entertainment would be a plus!

What have you got for me?

Much appreciated!

Rachel

Dear Rachel,

Join the line of people heading to the Lone Star State — about 1,500 every day in 2018 . There are many reasons for the state’s popularity, and you know your reasons best. Just a word of caution: Maine to Texas is quite a temperature switch, so consider investigating your possibilities during the summer. Texas is hot, hot, hot that time of year, and you don’t want to discover you hate the weather after you’ve paid for a move.

But assuming you’re good with 100-degree days, you can certainly find places that offer what you are looking for, all with different personalities. As always, some places that sound great on paper may not be as appealing in real life. I can’t stress enough the importance of treating your exploration time as if you were living there, not just visiting on vacation.

Taxes can be a big focus for retirees, and Texas appeals to many because it doesn’t have a state income tax. (Maine, by the way, won’t tax your Social Security check .) While the overall tax burden is low, sales and property taxes are on the higher side.

You say you want to use some of the money from selling your Maine house for college. If you’re the student, depending on the school you pick, you may qualify for reduced or even free tuition as a senior citizen , freeing up some of your budget.

Speaking of budget, be honest about what you’ll be spending more on, not just how you’ll be cutting some costs by leaving Maine. The last thing any of us wants in retirement is to be unnecessarily squeezed.

Read: There is more to picking a place to retire than low taxes — avoid these 5 expensive mistakes

Also: Health care will cost this much in retirement — but probably even more

Ready to look? Here are three options that give you a lake nearby:


Jim Flynn/Courtesy New Braunfels CVB
Gruene Hall in New Braunfels is the oldest dance hall in Texas.

Texas Hill Country

This is the area between Austin and San Antonio and includes plenty of state parks. If the sale of your home in Maine means you’ve got the money to afford a lake house, why not consider Canyon Lake in what’s dubbed the Hill Country Coast ? More than 20% of the 21,000 residents there are 65 and older. The drawback is you’ll have a longer drive to college classes, airports and hospitals.

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