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SmartAsset: Best Places to Retire on the East Coast

Retirement is the time in your life when you can finally forget the stress of work and just relax. You may find yourself wondering, though, where exactly you want to spend your golden years. If you know you want to settle somewhere near the Atlantic but aren’t quite sure where, this guide will walk you through the best places to retire on the East Coast. Making your dream retirement a reality takes money, though, and saving enough money takes planning.

A financial advisor can help you create a financial plan for your retirement goals.

How We Determined the Best Places to Retire on the East Coast

A number of factors went into determining the best places to retire on the East Coast. Healthcare is obviously very important to seniors, so we considered the number of medical centers per 1,000 residents in each city. Tax burden is also important, especially for older people living on a fixed income or off of retirement savings, so we looked at the overall tax burden in 2018. Activities are also important to a happy retirement, so we looked at the number of recreation centers per 1,000 residents. Finally, knowing that the ability to form a community with likeminded people is important to many retirees, we looked at both the number of retirement communities per 1,000 residents and the percentage of a town’s total population made up of seniors. With that in mind, here are the top 10 best places to retire on the East Coast.

1. Cumming, Georgia

Located about an hour north of Atlanta near the shores of Lake Lanier, Cumming is not just the best place to retire on the East Coast — it’s also the second-best place to retire in the country. It also ranks first on our list of the best places to retire in Georgia.

Cumming leads this list with 32.93 medical centers per 1,000 residents, so you’ll always be able to find top-quality care if you need it. The tax burden in Cumming is on the high side, though, at 18%. That tax rate is the fifth highest on this list. The town also leads this list with 1.79 recreation centers and 8.59 retirement communities per 1,000 residents. Because Cumming is close to Atlanta, you can take advantage of all of the arts and entertainment options the city offers, including professional sports games and museums. It’s also near Lake Lanier, a reservoir where you can boat, swim and enjoy the beach.

2. Great Neck, New York

This hamlet on Long Island is tied for the second highest tax burden on this list — but it also has the second-highest number of medical centers per 1,000 residents. Great Neck also comes in second in terms of retirement communities, with 3.76 per 1,000 residents.

Seniors age 65 and over make up 18% of the population. That’s towards the bottom of this list, but it’s still a decent portion of older people if you that’s important to you. Great Neck is just down the road from New York City, so all of the culture that the city offers — from Broadway to the Knicks — are all readily available.

3. Seaford, Delaware

Seaford is tied for the lowest tax burden of any city on this list. The city’s tax rate comes in at just 11%, so you won’t have to worry about sending too much of your cash to Uncle Sam.

Seaford doesn’t fare as well when it comes to retirement communities, though, as its 0.14 retirement communities per 1,000 residents puts it near the bottom of this list in that metric. It also has the fourth-fewest medical centers per 1,000 residents, though 7.27 medical centers per 1,000 residents is still not a bad number overall. Seaford is home to a number of parks where you can experience the great outdoors. As an extra perk, Seaford’s annual Christmas Parade is the biggest on the Delmarva Peninsula.

4. Exeter, NH

This town is about 15 minutes from the Atlantic Coast, so if you’re a fan of windy days by the ocean then Exeter fits the bill. Beyond that, Exeter has a number of historic churches, including one dating back to the 17th century, and it’s also home to the American Independence Museum.

The tax burden in Exeter is low at just 11.3%. There are 5.42 medical centers per 1,000 residents. This places Exeter second to last on the list in that metric but is still a fairly good number in the grand scheme of things. Exeter is also tied for fourth in terms of recreation centers per 1,000 residents with 0.43.

5. New Hyde Park, New York

New Hyde Park is another Long Island town, meaning residents will have access to New York City. Queens and Brooklyn especially are easy drives from New Hyde Park. From the various multicultural neighborhoods and their attendant restaurants to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn for sports and concerts, entertainment is not far from New Hyde Park. The town itself has a tax burden of 18.90%, the second highest on this list. It has 22.99 medical centers per 1,000 residents, the third highest number of medical centers of any city on this list.

However, New Hyde Park does have the second lowest senior population percentage on this list at 14.4%. If you want a town with people of diverse ages, though, New Hyde Park might fit the bill.

6. Fairfax, Virginia

SmartAsset: Best Places to Retire on the East Coast

Fairfax, located in Northern Virginia, is an independent city within the larger Fairfax County. Its tax burden is towards the middle of this list at 16.7%, and it comes in fourth in terms of medical centers with 15.55 per 1,000 residents. Fairfax lands in third with 2.91 retirement communities per 1,000 residents.

Fairfax is close to Washington, D.C. and the myriad cultural options that our nation’s capital has to offer, including the Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian museums and the National Mall.

7. Bel Air, Maryland

You, too, can be the Prince of Bel Air — the one closer to the Atlantic than the Pacific, that is. This Maryland town does have the highest tax burden of any city on this list at 18.9%, which you should be sure to take into account when calculating your cost of living.

On the plus side, Bel Air has a respectable 11.33 medical centers per 1,000 residents, placing it fifth in that metric. Bel Air is also clearly popular among older people. Seniors age 65 and over make up 21% of the town’s population. Bel Air contains one of Maryland’s Arts and Entertainment districts, where concerts are frequently held. It is also close to both Philadelphia and Baltimore, so both cities’ amenities and recreational opportunities are within easy reach.

8. Hendersonville, North Carolina

Hendersonville comes in sixth on this list with 7.8 medical centers per 1,000 residents. It does have the third highest tax burden at 18.4%, though. The town’s senior population (age 65 and over) 32% of the population.

Hendersonville’s 1.34 recreation centers per 1,000 residents earns it second place on this list, so there will be plenty to do. It is also home to a number of museums, including the Mineral and Lapidary Museum, which has a Tyrannosaurus Rex skull that will surely be impressive to any visiting grandchildren. Hendersonville also topped our list of the best places to retire in North Carolina.

9. Newark, Delaware

This Delaware town is tied for the lowest tax burden on this list at 11%. It also has 6.66 medical centers per 1,000 residents. While low for this list, that’s not a bad number overall. Just 14% of Newark’s population is made up of senior citizens aged 65 and over.

That means you can expect to be surrounded by people of a variety of ages if you retire here. Newark also has the third-lowest number of recreation centers per 1,000 residents with 0.12. The University of Delaware is in town, though, so there are college sports and on-campus theater and music to keep you busy.

10. New Castle, Delaware

SmartAsset: Best Places to Retire on the East Coast

The final city on our list of the best places to retire on the East Coast is another Delaware locale, New Castle. New Castle is tied with the other Delaware cities on this list for the lowest tax burden at 11%. However, it does have the fewest medical centers per 1,000 residents at just 3.54.

New Castle is third in terms of retirement communities with 3.72 per 1,000 residents. The New Castle Historic District has a number of historic buildings, including an arsenal built in 1809 in preparation for the War of 1812.

Bottom Line

Turning your retirement into a reality takes money. When considering a place to retire, you should take a look at different financial factors, including tax burden, healthcare facilities and other costs. A financial advisor can help you create a financial plan to pay for your East Coast retirement dream.

Retirement Tips

  • If you’re considering a retirement in any of these places, you should start planning now. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • Consider digging deeper into one state to find where you want to retire. If you know you want to be on the East Coast, check out our lists of the best places to retire in Virginia, North Carolina and New Hampshire. If you’re willing to look outside of the East Coast, take a look at our lists of the best places to retire in Texas or the South.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/FatCamera, ©iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages, ©iStock.com/FatCamera

Ben Geier, CEPF® Ben Geier is an experienced financial writer currently serving as a retirement and investing expert at SmartAsset. His work has appeared on Fortune, Mic.com and CNNMoney. Ben is a graduate of Northwestern University and a part-time student at the City University of New York Graduate Center. He is a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing and a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®). When he isn’t helping people understand their finances, Ben likes watching hockey, listening to music and experimenting in the kitchen. Originally from Alexandria, VA, he now lives in Brooklyn with his wife.
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