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Best places to live in 2023

Friday, March 17, 2023
Happy couple over 50 riding a bicycle in the park in the autumn

Relocating after 50 and in retirement can help you save money and improve your quality of life. If you are thinking about where to move, check out our selection of the best places to live in the U.S. in 2023 and abroad.

When you pass 50 and start planning your retirement, you may want to move to another place. After all, you have the freedom to live anywhere you want.

Deciding where to live after 50 and in retirement is not just about following your desires. Choosing the best place to live in 2023 calls for careful consideration. You need to learn a lot about your selected state or country, if you are thinking about moving abroad. 

Finances are usually on top of everyone’s mind, so be sure to find out how your desired location fares in terms of housing affordability, cost of living, income taxes, as well as the cost and availability of health care.

It is also important to look at the climate, crime rates, air quality, and access to events and activities that are important to you. If you plan to look for part-time work to stay active or help make ends meet, get to know the employment situation too.

After you’ve done your research, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about relocating to a place that suits your budget and your interests. 

To help you decide where to spend your golden years, we selected the top 5 U.S. cities and top 5 countries. 

Best places to live in the U.S. 2023

Everything from housing affordability and cost of living to personal preference and yearning for change can prompt people over 50 and retirees to move from one state to another.

Weather is one of the top considerations for people in their 50s when deciding on the best places to live in the U.S.

Since not everyone is fond of sweltering afternoons and constantly clear skies, we made sure to include some snow in this selection of the best U.S. places to live in 2023. 

Pensacola, FL

Florida has long been a favorite of over-50s. With a good reason. What’s better than living close to the beach! 

You may find that housing has become more expensive in some Florida cities. But the city of Pensacola is still an affordable spot for people on a budget. With its warm weather, lovely white sand beaches, and many public parks, Pensacola is one of the best places to live in the U.S. if you love the outdoors.

The cost of living here is lower than what the average American pays, mainly thanks to low housing costs. On top of that, Florida does not levy income tax, which means you get to keep more money for yourself.

Friends enjoying the bright autumn day while walking along the seashore near their retirement village

Lancaster, PA

Pennsylvania might be much colder than Florida, but it has become one of the best places to live in the U.S.A. 2023 for people over 50 and retirees.

This state’s main attractions are strong health care, affordable housing, and high quality of life. 

Lancaster, the former capital of Pennsylvania, is surrounded by Amish farmland. You will find here both a rural atmosphere and lively downtown. Besides exploring the outdoors, you will have plenty to do while wandering around local markets and stores filled with Amish produce, baked goods, and craft items. 

Make sure to prepare for four seasons: mild springs, hot summers, crisp autumns, and snowy winters.

Ann Arbor, MI 

In this college town, the economy and lifestyle mostly revolve around the University of Michigan. But Ann Arbor also has a lot to offer to people over 50. Besides the high quality of life, it has excellent health care.

Houses in the center tend to be pricey, but lower-cost housing can be found on the periphery of Anne Arbor. The town promotes entertainment and community spirit throughout the year.

If you enjoy rubbing shoulders with the student population, strolling through the many public parks, kayaking, and hiking in warmer months, and snowshoeing, sledding, and ice fishing in the winter, Ann Arbor is for you.  

Anderson, SC 

Anderson, South Carolina gives retirees a peaceful and private lifestyle, with easy access to the bustling urban areas of Greenville and Clemson. The popular tourist hotspot, Lake Hartwell, is a short drive away. There you can enjoy the water and outdoor activities in the summer. 

Known as South Carolina's friendliest city, Anderson is all about hospitality, southern charm, and low cost of living. It is also a town that is committed to protecting the environment and plans to plant one million trees by 2028.

Anderson has four distinct seasons. Summers are hot and humid, while winters are cool with occasional snowfall.

A smiling African American woman over 50 enjoying a walk outdoors

Tucson, AZ

Summers in Tucson are hot, while winters are cool, though rarely cold. And the sky is mostly clear year-round. On average, there are 286 sunny days per year in Tucson. 

The unpolluted, cozy, village-style neighborhoods of Tucson are ideal for a stroll or power walk.  When you get tired, hop onto affordable public transport. You don’t even need a car to get around!

As for activities, you will be spoilt for choice. Explore the Sonoran Desert and Saguaro National Park, attend the opera, or rent a boat on one of the nearby lakes.

Tucson is also affordable, so it’s no wonder it has a large community of retirees.

Best places to live abroad in 2023

Many Americans opt to move abroad after reaching 50 and after retiring. A significant number of countries are keen to attract U.S. retirees with enticing retirement visas and plans. Typically, a retirement visa is granted to people over a specific age who have a lifetime source of income above a certain threshold. As a rule, holders of a retirement visa cannot engage in a gainful activity, at least not before they get permanent residency in the host country.

When considering relocating abroad, it is necessary to gather lots of information. You need to know about types of residency and residency requirements, tax regulations, and health care options, to name just a few. It is highly recommended that you consult an immigration expert in the country of your choice.

To help you narrow down your options, we bring you a selection of some of the best places to live in 2023 abroad. They are very popular with Americans over 50 and retirees.

A retired lady by the lake taking a video call on her laptop with her friends, enjoying time in nature


Panama is a tropical country that offers first-rate amenities, including good public and private healthcare systems. Most expat Americans opt for the private medical sector.

You can select one of three very different lifestyle options: cosmopolitan cities, beachfront resorts, or cooler mountain towns. The most popular destinations for American retirees are Coronado and Boquete. Coronado is close to beaches, while Boquete is located in the mountains.

The cost of living in Panama can fit most budgets. The country offers a “Pensionado Visa”. If you are retired and qualify for this visa, you can claim a variety of benefits while living in Panama, including utility discounts and tax exemption on importing household goods.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is one of the firm favorites of American retirees, due to its tropical climate, natural beauty, lower cost of living, and laid-back lifestyle. On top of that, the country boasts affordable quality medical care, both public and private.

With its abundance of national parks and the availability of unprocessed or minimally processed foods, Costa Rica will easily entice you to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

Costa Rica has a “Pensionado Program”, which allows retirees with a specific monthly income to apply for permanent residency. American expats tend to settle in the temperate climate zone around San José, along the dry and hot coast of Guanacaste, or amid the lush greenery in the south and on the Caribbean side of the country.

A surfer enjoying his retirement in Mexico ready to catch a wave


Mexico is easily accessible, it is very affordable, and offers quality healthcare. No wonder it has a large expat American population.  

There are many great places in Mexico. If you see yourself spending your golden years in a popular coastal resort town, pick Puerto Vallarta or Playa del Carmen. Tulúm is perfect for you if you value a laid-back and quiet lifestyle close to the beaches. Foodies will love the beautiful city of Mérida. Or you may want to make your home in the Lake Chapala region, one of Mexico’s most popular expat destinations. 

Retirees who want to reside permanently in Mexico need to apply for a Permanent Resident Card in a Mexican consulate in the U.S.


For Americans over 50 and retirees who want to live in Europe, Portugal offers lots of benefits. Renowned for its mild weather and gorgeous scenery, this country has one of the lowest costs of living in all of Europe and a comprehensive healthcare system. Portugal also boasts an excellent record for safety and stability.

Many American expat retirees live in the cities of Porto, Lisbon, and Cascais, as well as in the Algarve region, famous for its world-class beaches.

Portugal offers several accessible residency options. One of them is a “Retirement Visa”, issued to non-EU citizens who have a steady income. You need to apply for this visa at the nearest Portuguese consulate in the U.S.

Vaste green vineyard in France


The cost of living can be surprisingly affordable in many regions of France. On top of that, the French healthcare system is one of the best in the world. That is why this country is becoming one of the top places to retire in Europe.

Some of the popular spots where North American retirees choose to settle are the medieval town of Sarlat-la-Caneda, the vibrant metropolitan hub of Montpellier, and the wine-growing regions of Burgundy, Bordeaux, or the Loire Valley.

France does not have a special incentive visa for foreign retirees, but you can apply for a residency visa at your nearest French consulate in the U.S.

Shyft Will Help You Move

With so many things to consider when relocating in your 50s or after retiring, you can count on AARP® Moving Services powered by Shyft to organize your move door-to-door, stress-free.

Shyft is easy to use. Just download their free mobile app for iPhone or Android devices, called Shyft Next.

Then go to the AARP® Moving Services powered by Shyft website or call Shyft at  1-888-501-3181 to arrange a video call with a Shyft representative. This representative will be your dedicated Move Coach. 

During the video call, you’ll show your Move Coach everything you want to take to your new home. The Shyft Move Coach will make an inventory of all the items that need to be moved, which you can change until you are 100% satisfied.

Once your list is complete, it goes to a secure Shyft platform, where independently verified moving companies submit their offers. Shyft will send to you three or more top quotes so that you can select the mover that fits your needs and budget. 

Your dedicated Move Coach will oversee the entire process from start to finish. They will help you every single step of the way. No matter which company is handling your move, Shyft ensures the same quality standards for all.

With Shyft, AARP members get up to a $250 discount for every move booked, no matter how many times you decide to move and where you decide to move to. 

Make your dream of moving to greener pastures come true with Shyft. You can learn more about AARP® Moving Services powered by Shyft on Shyft’s website, or you can contact Shyft at 1-888-838-5981. 

Shyft is available to you seven days a week. 

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