Chattanooga in top 10 to retire for under $75 a day

Chattanooga in top 10 to retire for under $75 a day

October 18th, 2013 by Dave Flessner in Business Around the Region

Coolidge Park in Chattanooga

Photo by Doug Strickland/Times Free Press.

Retirees without a huge nest egg would do well to settle down in the Scenic City, according to U.S. News & World Report.

The magazine on Thursday listed Chattanooga as one of the 10 best U.S. cities to retire for less than $75 a day. With a median rent of $644 and an average mortgage payment of $1,023, Chattanooga housing costs are well below the U.S. average. Magazine writer Emily Bragdon brags that Chattanooga's scenery, mild climate, low taxes and recreational opportunities give retirees lots to do without breaking the bank.

Chattanooga also boasts a free downtown electric shuttle and a 75 cent fare for seniors on other CARTA buses.

"Chattanooga is nearly surrounded by mountains, and the Tennessee River flows right through it, offering ample opportunities for outdoor activities," Brandon said.

The lower cost of living in Chattanooga allows seniors to retire younger "or maintain a better lifestyle than you could in a more expensive city," Brandon said.

Chattanooga's retiree ranking comes on the heels of a similar study this summer by Bankrate.com, which identified Tennessee as the best state in which to retire. Tennessee had the second-lowest cost of living in the country, behind only Oklahoma, and the Tax Foundation found Tennessee has the third-lowest taxes overall of all states. Tennessee also ranked among the best in the country for access to medical care, and its weather is warmer than average.

"Probably, the No. 1 reason that people want to move to Tennessee is our low property taxes -- even more important than the state not having an income tax," said Ramay Winchester, executive director for Retire Tennessee, a state-backed program to encourage retirees to move to the Volunteer State. "People are amazed at how much they can save by moving to Tennessee."

Other low-cost and attractive cities identified by U.S. News and World Report for retirees include Augusta, Ga.; Greenville, S.C.; Little Rock, Ark.; Louisville, Ky.; Akron, Ohio; Pittsburgh; San Antonio; and Syracuse, N.Y.

The rankings are based upon 2012 census data for housing and medical costs and services and the magazine's assessment of recreation options.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 757-6340.