2 top coastal retirement choices in South America


Uruguay's Punta del Este and Chile's Viña del Mar are perhaps the two most famous beach resorts in South America. People from around the world and especially across the region travel here for vacations.

SEE ALSO: 11 critical things to consider when choosing where to retire

Both are located in economically and politically stable countries with first world infrastructure, including well maintained roads and drinkable water. And both can make for great coastal living in retirement, either full or part time. In many ways, Punta Del Este and Viña Del Mar are very similar. Both offer high quality lifestyles for relatively bargain costs.

[See: 50 Affordable Places to Buy a Retirement Home in 2016.]

Here's how these two appealing retirement options compare in categories of importance to retirees overseas:

Dining and diversion. Both cities boast a wealth of fine restaurants, cafés and nightlife. Punta del Este has a far higher density of offerings, but you'll have no trouble filling your evenings out in either town.

Walkability. Punta del Este and Viña del Mar are both walkable cities. Base yourself in Punta del Este's Peninsula region or Viña del Mar's downtown, and you could easily do without a car.

26 tips for enjoying retirement on a reduced income:

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26 tips for enjoying retirement on a reduced income

What can you reduce or eliminate?

Cable TV. Consider an internet streaming service such as Hulu, Netflix or Amazon Prime, which can cost as little as a few dollar per month.

Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Landline phone service. Consider ditching your landline and using only your cell phone. These days, many landline calls are unwanted robo-calls. In the current era of email, texting and Facebook messaging, people don't talk on the phone nearly as much as they used to.

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Expensive cell phone plans. While modern cell phones offer many capabilities such as maps, internet access and texting, consider what you actually use and what you could do without

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Gym memberships. If you use the gym regularly, then your membership fee provides good value. But if your road to the gym is paved with good intentions, yet you rarely go, cancel it. Some health insurance plans offer free or reduced gym memberships through the Silver Sneakers program.

Cars. After you retire, you can probably get by with just one car or perhaps no car at all. The cost of Uber, Lync, taxis or bus passes may seem like a lot of money trickling out of your pocket, but when you consider the money you're not spending on gas, maintenance, license fees and insurance, it's probably much less expensive. You can rent a car when you want to take a weekend trip or have a special need.

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Subscriptions. If you find that you don't regularly read the magazines or newspapers you subscribe to, don't renew them next time they come due. Most of their content is available online. If you subscribe to anything else that arrives at a regular interval, such as books, music or wine, consider whether you would be better off buying these items only when you need them. Subscription deals always work in favor of the seller.

[See: 10 Financial Perks of Getting Older.]

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Become a smarter shopper.

Shop online. It's easier to compare prices, which could help you snag better deals. While you can't see and touch the item in person, you gain the benefit of reading other people's reviews and comparing prices and features from multiple sources side-by-side. If you see a box for a promotion code during the checkout process, search for a coupon code.

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Use coupons. While it can be a hassle to cut out, collect and carry coupons, they really do help you save money. Be careful not to buy stuff just because it seems cheaper. Buy only those items you regularly use or have a current need for.

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Stock up on things when they are on sale. But don't stockpile things that may expire before you get a chance to use them.
Own a stand-alone freezer. This allows you to take advantage of sales, and you can buy the larger quantities that are sold at wholesale clubs such as Costco and Sam's Club.

Check out grocery store loyalty programs. Many stores offer special deals to customers who belong to their loyalty program. You can load coupons onto your account, eliminating the need for paper coupons. In some markets, stores offer discounts at local gas stations or they will contribute money to a non-profit of your choice based on the amount of your purchases.

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Senior discounts. Don't be bashful or self-conscious about asking for discounts. In many markets, the major grocery chains offer a 10 percent discount to people over 55 on a certain day every month. Find out what's available in your area.

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Check your receipt. Watch the monitor screen at the cashier station and check your receipt before you leave the store. You might be surprised how often sale prices and loyalty card discounts are not applied properly.

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Visit dollar stores and discount outlets. Maybe it's not elegant, but dollar stores and discount outlets such as Big Lots, T.J. Maxx, Marshall's and Home Goods offer fantastic values. However, resist the temptation to buy things just because they are cheap.

Avoid shopping malls. Mall stores rarely offer good prices. They thrive on price-insensitive shoppers who browse the stores for recreational shopping.

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Look for the best value. The best value is often not the cheapest option. If the item wears out or breaks quickly, you haven't really saved money. Conversely, the most expensive options are usually loaded with features you don't need. The sweet spot is usually somewhere in the middle, where you will find the ideal combination of price and quality. Consumer Reports (the magazine or the website) is an excellent resource for finding the best value for many items that you purchase.

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​​​​​Get insurance quotes at least every two years. Insurance companies know that once you sign on with them, you will probably automatically renew each year. While it's easy to get quotes online, it may help to speak to an agent and ask if there is anything they can do to lower your rates.

Buy ebooks rather than physical books. Ebooks are cheaper, they don't take up space, they are easier to travel with and you save on shipping. If you don't have a Kindle device, Amazon offers a free Kindle reader app for most modern computers, tablets and smartphones.

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Why pay for what you can get for free?

Libraries. Use your local library for books, music and movies.

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Volunteer to be an usher at a theater or concert hall. After patrons are seated, you can enjoy the performance for free.

Free wi-fi. If you are a light internet user, you may be able to get by without internet service to your home unless you are using an internet streaming TV service. Starbucks and other coffee shops offer free wi-fi, and some restaurant chains are following suit. Your local library may also offer free wi-fi.

[See: 10 Classic (and Unique) Retirement Gift Ideas.]

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Seek out discounts for local entertainment.

Discounted or free tickets. Goldstar.com offers substantial discounts to local productions and some national touring acts in many major cities. Fillaseat.com offers free surplus seating, and check out VetTix.org if you're a veteran.

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Colleges. Local colleges offer many types of performances that are sometimes free to the public. They are usually of good quality, and the students will appreciate having an audience to perform for.

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Museums. Many museums have free days or evenings on a weekly or monthly basis.

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Theaters. Theaters may offer discounted admissions to pre-opening night dress rehearsals or abbreviated lunchtime performances.

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Eat out less expensively. Avoid appetizers, alcohol and desserts. These are the higher mark-up items. You can enjoy these at home before or after you go. Eat out at lunch rather than at dinner, because many restaurants have cheaper lunch menus. Look for coupons, senior discounts and deals through sites such as Groupon and Living Social. Sign up for the email list of the restaurants you dine in most often.

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Climate. Both cities have four mild seasons, and neither has ice or snow. Punta del Este is a few degrees warmer in the summer with an average high of about 77 degrees. Punta is also a few degrees cooler in the winter with an average high in July of 58 degrees. Overall, the climates are too similar to make any real difference in your choice.

Expat community. Neither city has a large, organized expat community. There are expats in both who get together on occasion, but otherwise are blended into the community. If you want to live among North Americans and speak mostly English, you have better beach resort choices.

Access. Both of these coastal cities get poor marks on this score. For Uruguay, you'd fly to Montevideo. The nearest major airport in Chile is in Santiago. Both those flights are about nine and a half hours from Miami. Then, from the international airport, you'd travel two hours by car to reach your destination.

[See: 10 Retirement Hot Spots in the U.S.]

Crime and safety. Punta del Este and Viña del Mar are both safe cities in countries with honest cultures. I'd give Punta del Este the edge here, because it's small and wealthy, but without enough of an edge to be a deal breaker.

While these two top choices for coastal resort retirement living are similar in many ways, there are several important ways that they're different:

Image. Punta del Este is better known and more prestigious than Viña del Mar. It attracts famous people. This tends to inflate the prices, so unless it's important that you see Michael Caine on the beach or bump into Shakira in the grocery store, Punta's notoriety isn't an advantage and could be a negative.

City services. Viña del Mar is more of a full-service city, with a population of more than 300,000. Punta del Este is more of a tourist destination. Only when considered together with the adjacent city of Maldonado (population 62,000) can Punta del Este be considered to provide a full complement of services for day-to-day living.

Punta del Este has a full-time population of around 10,000, but receives 500,000 summertime visitors from around the world, so the seasonal change is far greater than in Viña del Mar. And while Viña del Mar is open all year, life in Punta del Este slows down considerably during the winter months of June through September, with some businesses closed. Some retirees living here might love it when the tourists go home, while others will find it overly quiet.

Beaches. The beaches are world class in both cities and a big part of the appeal in each case. However, the beaches are arguably better in Punta, and there are more of them. In addition, in Punta, you'll almost definitely be living within close walking distance of a beach. In Viña del Mar, the beaches are one aspect of a large, multi-faceted city.

Language. Thanks to the booming tourist industry, more people speak English in Punta than in Viña del Mar. That said, you'll need to learn at least some Spanish to enjoy either of these cities to its fullest.

Health care. Health care services are available in both cities. However, because Viña del Mar is a bigger city, it boasts more and bigger health care facilities. Living in Punta del Este, you'd travel to Montevideo, two hours away, for major care.

Residency. While the process is straightforward in both countries, it is easier to obtain residency in Chile than in Uruguay. Both countries offer a residency option with a path to citizenship, if that is of interest to you.

Remember, establishing legal residency is only necessary if you want to live in a country beyond the term allowed to a tourist. If you reside in Uruguay or Chile only part time, you don't have to worry about becoming a legal resident.

Cost of living. The cost of living is lower in Viña del Mar than in Punta del Este, especially at today's exchange rates. Your day-to-day costs will be about 25 percent cheaper in Viña del Mar overall.

[See: 10 Places to Retire on a Social Security Budget.]

Cost of real estate. Housing also costs less in Viña Del Mar. In addition, the property market in Viña is more diverse and includes a bigger percentage of homes suitable for full-time living. However, Punta del Este offers a greater inventory of beach properties and can be a more liquid market. This means it would be easier to find a buyer for your property if and when you decide to sell.

Punta del Este has three major beach areas: the Peninsula, Playa Mansa and Playa Brava. The beaches are better on the Playa Brava side of the Peninsula, and the waves are bigger. On the Playa Mansa side, the beaches aren't as nice, but the water is calmer. If you're looking for a house for full-time or long-term living, Mansa could be the better choice.

A waterfront apartment in this part of Punta sold recently for $7.5 million after being on the market for a week. However, you have much more affordable options. You could buy a two-bedroom ocean-view apartment of about 800 square feet for as little as $200,000.

In Viña del Mar, the place to be is the city itself or Reñaca and Concón to the north or Recreo to the south. In Viña, you could buy a two-bedroom ocean-view apartment of about 800 square feet for as little as $125,000 at today's exchange rate.

RELATED: Best states for early retirement

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Best states for early retirement
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Best states for early retirement
51. Connecticut

Average Effective Tax Rate: 3.7%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $8,945

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 120

Median Annual Housing Costs: $16,776

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 2.1%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 6.4%

Index: 0.00

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50. North Carolina

Average Effective Tax Rate: 4.7%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $10,272

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 100

Median Annual Housing Costs: $10,392

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 0.9%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 6.9%

Index: 5.83

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49. Minnesota

Average Effective Tax Rate: 4.5%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $6,816

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 107

Median Annual Housing Costs: $12,192

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 1.1%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 7.3%

Index: 10.83

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48. Massachusetts

Average Effective Tax Rate: 4.5%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $5,306

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 119

Median Annual Housing Costs: $16,920

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 1.2%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 6.3%

Index: 13.06

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47. New Jersey

Average Effective Tax Rate: 2.0%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $8,347

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 113

Median Annual Housing Costs: $18,000

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 2.4%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 7.0%

Index: 13.89

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46. Oregon

Average Effective Tax Rate: 7.1%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $6,991

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 117

Median Annual Housing Costs: $12,432

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 1.0%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 0.0%

Index: 15.00

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45. Wisconsin

Average Effective Tax Rate: 4.4%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $7,726

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 100

Median Annual Housing Costs: $10,884

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 1.9%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 5.4%

Index: 16.39

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43. Nebraska

Average Effective Tax Rate: 4.0%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $6,862

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 95

Median Annual Housing Costs:$9,900

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 1.85%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 6.8%

Index: 41.71

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43. Maryland

Average Effective Tax Rate: 6.5%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $6,418

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 100

Median Annual Housing Costs: $17,280

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 1.1%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 6.0%

Index: 21.39

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42. California

Average Effective Tax Rate: 3.6%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $7,346

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 111

Median Annual Housing Costs: $17,256

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 0.8%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 8.5%

Index: 26.11

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41. Missouri

Average Effective Tax Rate: 3.7%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $7,757

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 96

Median Annual Housing Costs: $9,744

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 1.0%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 7.9%

Index: 27.22

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40. Hawaii

Average Effective Tax Rate: 6.0%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $6,672

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 145

Median Annual Housing Costs: $18,396

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 0.3%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 4.4%

Index: 28.33

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39. Georgia

Average Effective Tax Rate: 3.9%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $7,286

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 97

Median Annual Housing Costs: $11,364

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 0.9%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 7.0%

Index: 30.83

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38. South Carolina

Average Effective Tax Rate: 3.6%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $7,757

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 102

Median Annual Housing Costs: $9,756

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 0.6%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 7.2%

Index: 32.22

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37. District of Columbia

Average Effective Tax Rate: 4.7%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $6,300

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 108

Median Annual Housing Costs: $18,924

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 0.5%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 5.8%

Index: 35.56

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36. Oklahoma

Average Effective Tax Rate: 3.8%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $7,603

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 95

Median Annual Housing Costs: $9,072

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 0.9%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 8.8%

Index: 36.11

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35. Rhode Island

Average Effective Tax Rate: 2.6%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $6,708

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 117

Median Annual Housing Costs: $13,740

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 1.6%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 7.0%

Index: 36.39

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34. New York

Average Effective Tax Rate: 2.9%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $4,428

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 111

Median Annual Housing Costs: $15,060

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 1.7%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 8.5%

Index: 38.06

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32. Maine

Average Effective Tax Rate: 3.0%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $7,817

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 112

Median Annual Housing Costs: $10,608

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 1.4%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 5.5%

Index: 39.72

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32. Indiana

Average Effective Tax Rate: 4.5%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $7,027

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 93

Median Annual Housing Costs: $9,636

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 0.9%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 7.0%

Index: 39.72

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31. Alabama

Average Effective Tax Rate: 4.1%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $7,380

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 95

Median Annual Housing Costs: $8,724

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 0.4%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 9.0%

Index: 40.56

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30. Vermont

Average Effective Tax Rate: 3.1%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $5,616

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 112

Median Annual Housing Costs: $13,020

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 1.8%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 6.2%

Index: 40.83

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29. Idaho

Average Effective Tax Rate: 4.9%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $7,121

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 96

Median Annual Housing Costs: $9,948

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 0.7%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 6.0%

Index: 43.06

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27. West Virginia

Average Effective Tax Rate: 4.1%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $9,358

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 104

Median Annual Housing Costs: $6,864

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 0.6%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 6.2%

Index: 44.17

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27. Kansas

Average Effective Tax Rate: 3.3%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $6,547

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 94

Median Annual Housing Costs: $10,056

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 1.4%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 8.6%

Index: 44.17

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26. Arkansas

Average Effective Tax Rate: 3.5%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $7,409

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 96

Median Annual Housing Costs: $8,172

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 0.6%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 9.3%

Index: 45.56

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25. Virginia

Average Effective Tax Rate: 3.4%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $7,390

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 95

Median Annual Housing Costs: $14,520

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 0.8%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 5.6%

Index: 45.83

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24. Illinois

Average Effective Tax Rate: 0.0%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $6,766

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 99

Median Annual Housing Costs: $12,624

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 2.3%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 8.6%

Index: 46.94

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23. Utah

Average Effective Tax Rate: 4.6%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $6,163

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 95

Median Annual Housing Costs: $12,576

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 0.7%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 6.7%

Index: 50.56

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22. Washington

Average Effective Tax Rate: 0.0%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $6,166

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 106

Median Annual Housing Costs: $14,400

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 1.0%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 8.9%

Index: 51.67

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21. Arizona

Average Effective Tax Rate: 2.5%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $7,054

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 98

Median Annual Housing Costs: $11,436

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 0.7%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 8.3%

Index: 51.67

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20. Iowa

Average Effective Tax Rate: 3.2%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $7,375

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 95

Median Annual Housing Costs: $9,324

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 1.5%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 6.8%

Index: 52.50

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19. Montana

Average Effective Tax Rate: 4.0%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $8,239

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 98

Median Annual Housing Costs: $9,540

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 0.8%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 0.0%

Index: 52.78

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18. Alaska

Average Effective Tax Rate: 0.0%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $18,300

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 127

Median Annual Housing Costs: $15,012

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 1.1%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 1.8%

Index: 53.89

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17. Delaware

Average Effective Tax Rate: 3.1%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $9,060

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 106

Median Annual Housing Costs: $13,176

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 0.5%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 0.0%

Index: 55.00

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16. North Dakota

Average Effective Tax Rate: 1.0%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $8,340

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 102

Median Annual Housing Costs: $9,276

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 1.0%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 6.8%

Index: 55.83

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15. Colorado

Average Effective Tax Rate: 2.4%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $7,166

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 97

Median Annual Housing Costs: $14,340

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 0.5%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 7.5%

Index: 56.94

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14. Michigan

Average Effective Tax Rate: 3.2%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $6,622

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 96

Median Annual Housing Costs: $10,152

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 1.6%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 6.0%

Index: 58.33

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13. Ohio

Average Effective Tax Rate: 1.7%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $6,494

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 97

Median Annual Housing Costs: $9,912

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 1.6%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 7.1%

Index: 58.61

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12. New Hampshire

Average Effective Tax Rate: 0.0%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $6,792

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 115

Median Annual Housing Costs: $15,168

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 2.2%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 0.0%

Index: 59.17

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10. New Mexico

New Mexico is tied with Nevada as the 10th best state for an early retirement. New Mexico ranks well in the cost of living measures. It has the second-lowest average healthcare expense at $5,200 per year, as well as the 10th-lowest average housing cost at $9,300 per year. A potential drawback to retiring early in New Mexico is the lack of doctors’ offices. According to data from the Census Bureau, New Mexico has only 4.7 doctors’ offices per 10,000 residents, which ranks 43rd in the nation.

Average Effective Tax Rate: 2.9%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $5,244

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 99

Median Annual Housing Costs: $9,324

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 0.8%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 7.5%

Index: 64.17

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10. Nevada

High rollers may be pleased to see Nevada crack our top 10. Nevada offers a 0% effective tax rate on income and has the sixth-most doctors’ offices per resident, meaning help is never far away. Living costs in the Silver State can be fairly steep though, including a combined $20,000 per year on housing and healthcare costs on average.

Average Effective Tax Rate: 0.0%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $8,016

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 110

Median Annual Housing Costs: $12,312

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 0.7%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 8.0%

Index: 64.17

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9. Louisiana

Louisiana has a lot to offer as a state for an early retirement. The third-lowest property taxes, seventh-lowest housing cost, ninth-lowest non-housing cost of living and eighth-highest rate of doctors’ offices in the country are all on offer for people looking to retire in Louisiana. Unfortunately, Louisiana is not a utopia for early retirees. There are relatively few arts, entertainment and recreation establishments per 100,000 residents and it has one of the highest sales tax rates in the country.

Average Effective Tax Rate: 1.9%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $9,002

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 95

Median Annual Housing Costs: $9,060

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 0.5%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 9.0%

Index: 65.00

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8. Texas

Texas has a little bit of everything, meaning just about anyone can find themselves at home there. The Lone Star State has no income tax and the non-housing cost of living is low. The average cost of an annual silver healthcare plan in Texas is $6,626. That’s the 14th-lowest. However housing costs can get pretty high relative to everything else. The average Texan pays $11,600 per year in housing costs.

Average Effective Tax Rate: 0.0%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $6,626

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 95

Median Annual Housing Costs: $11,616

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 1.8%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 8.2%

Index: 65.28

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7. Pennsylvania

Like many in the top 10, Pennsylvania is another state which does not tax retirement income which makes it a great option for an early retirement. Pennsylvania also has the 10th-lowest average healthcare costs in the country. The average cost of a silver healthcare plan in Pennsylvania is only $6,500 per year.

Average Effective Tax Rate: 0.0%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $6,547

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 103

Median Annual Housing Costs: $11,184

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 1.6%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 6.3%

Index: 74.17

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6. Florida

The state that is famous for its retirees and bad drivers comes in sixth place for best states for an early retirement. Florida ranks well because of its 0% income tax rate and the 9.15 doctors’ offices per 10,000 residents. But living costs in Florida can get pretty high. Average housing costs are almost $12,000 per year and the non-housing cost of living sits at 102 which rank 30th and 31st respectively.

Average Effective Tax Rate: 0.0%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $7,243

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 102

Median Annual Housing Costs: $11,976

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 1.0%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 6.7%

Index: 75.56

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5. Tennessee

The Southern theme continues with Tennessee claiming the fifth spot for best states for an early retirement. Tennessee is another state with a 0% effective income tax which is only partly offset by the nation’s highest average state and local sales taxes at 9.5%. Tennessee also has 6.55 doctors’ offices per 10,000 residents and 36 arts, entertainment and recreation establishments per 100,000 residents.

Average Effective Tax Rate: 0.0%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $7,447

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 95

Median Annual Housing Costs: $9,576

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 0.7%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 9.5%

Index: 77.78

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4. South Dakota

The Mount Rushmore State is another great option for an early retirement. Other than the gorgeous scenery, South Dakota can offer potential early retirees a 0% effective income tax and some of the lowest housing costs in the country at $8,900 per year on average. Besides gazing at Mount Rushmore, there are plenty of things to do. There are 79 arts, entertainment and recreation establishments per 100,000 residents – the second-highest in the nation.

Average Effective Tax Rate: 0.0%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $8,208

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 95

Median Annual Housing Costs: $8,964

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 1.3%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 5.8%

Index: 87.22

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3. Mississippi

Mississippi is the second-highest-rated Southern state and third-highest overall for best states for an early retirement. Mississippi is similar to Kentucky in that it is a cheap place to retire. It has a 0% effective tax on retirement income. It also has the lowest non-housing cost of living as well as the second-lowest housing costs in the nation. So why isn’t it first or second? There are only 22 arts, entertainment and recreation establishments per 100,000 people – the lowest in the nation. There are also not as many doctors’ offices in Mississippi as there are in other states. Our data shows that it ranks 33rd in this measure.

Average Effective Tax Rate: 0.0%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $6,922

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 89

Median Annual Housing Costs: $8,136

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 0.8%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 7.1%

Index: 95.28

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2. Kentucky

The Bluegrass State comes in a close second, thanks to six metrics scoring in the top 20 and its tax-friendly environment. Particularly attractive for prospective early retirees are the low costs of living. Kentucky ranks fourth in average housing costs per year at $8,600 and fifth in non-housing cost of living. But early retirees in Kentucky may need to develop some personal hobbies. According to data from the Census, there are only 28 arts, entertainment and recreation establishments per 100,000 residents, 44th best in the country.

Average Effective Tax Rate: 1.0%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $6,593

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 94

Median Annual Housing Costs: $8,628

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 0.8%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 6.0%

Index: 96.67

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1. Wyoming

Wyoming jumps two places from last year to take the top spot in our study of best places for an early retirement. This state offers an effective tax rate of 0% on retirement income and has the third-lowest non-housing cost of living. To go with the relatively cheap living costs, Wyoming also has 73 arts, entertainment and recreation establishments per 100,000 people. That score ranks fifth in that metric. What hurt Wyoming (although not enough to prevent it from snagging first place) is the relatively high average healthcare costs. Wyoming ranks second to last in this measure paying an average of $11,000 per year. Only Alaskans pay more.

Average Effective Tax Rate: 0.0%

Annual Health Insurance Cost: $11,705

Non-Housing Cost of Living: 93

Median Annual Housing Costs: $10,296

Average Effective Property Tax Rate: 0.6%

Average State and Local Sales Tax Rate: 5.4%

Index: 100.00

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Kathleen Peddicord is the founder of the Live and Invest Overseas publishing group.

Copyright 2016 U.S. News & World Report

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