retirement

Billings, Mont.: A Great Small City for Retiring in Good Health

This town offers retirees city living that's not too far from the great outdoors.

Population: 110,263

Cost of living: N/A (national median: 100)

Median home price: $208,200 (national median: $185,000)

Healthy highlight: Swords Park Trail, with spectacular views of the city and Yellowstone Valley

Billings attracts retirees who enjoy the great outdoors but like their urban amenities, too. You can spend the morning hiking or mountain biking on nearby Phipps Park Trail or Swords Park Trail and be back in town by noon for a burger and a beer at Montana Brewing Company. During baseball season, you can spend the evening at Dehler Park rooting for the Billings Mustangs, a farm team for the Cincinnati Reds. Billings is in the midst of a decade-long project to connect a series of trails in and around the city. People often use the trails to bike to work, says Ed Ulledalen, a financial adviser for Raymond James and former deputy mayor.

Although outsiders often associate Montana with fierce winters, locals say it doesn't get nearly as cold in Billings as it does in other parts of the state. Because the city lies in a valley, temperatures are usually moderate, says Michael Mace, 65, a retired business executive. "I can remember one Christmas break when I went fly fishing one day, snow skiing the next day and played golf the following day," he says.

Isolation is a potential downside to Billings. Flying in and out of Billings Logan International Airport is expensive, and Denver, the closest major metro­politan area, is more than seven hours away by car. You won't have to travel to find good health care, though. St. Vincent Healthcare provides specialty services in heart and vas­cular disease, oncology, orthopedics, and neurology, among others. The Billings Clinic, which has a 304-bed hospital and offers more than 50 specialties, is a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network.

Many single-family homes in the Central-Terry and North Park neighborhoods, which are close to downtown Billings, are available for less than $200,000.

Montana has no sales tax, and residents don't have to worry about estate taxes, either. However, the state taxes most forms of retirement income at rates of up to 6.9%.

Most Popular

House Approves $3,000 Child Tax Credit for 2021
Coronavirus and Your Money

House Approves $3,000 Child Tax Credit for 2021

The proposal would temporarily increase the child tax credit to $3,000 or $3,600 per child for most families and have 50% of it paid in advance by the…
February 27, 2021
Third Stimulus Checks Are One Step Closer to Reality – How Much Will You Get?
Coronavirus and Your Money

Third Stimulus Checks Are One Step Closer to Reality – How Much Will You Get?

The House passed President Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus package. While the bill faces hurdles in the Senate, the provisions authorizing another roun…
February 27, 2021
Your Guide to Roth Conversions
Special Report
Tax Breaks

Your Guide to Roth Conversions

A Kiplinger Special Report
February 25, 2021

Recommended

10 Things You'll Spend More on in Retirement
retirement

10 Things You'll Spend More on in Retirement

From reading materials to debt, the demands on your savings during your golden years might surprise you.
February 25, 2021
10 Things You'll Spend Less on in Retirement
retirement

10 Things You'll Spend Less on in Retirement

We spend a lot of time worrying about running out of cash in retirement. But you might be surprised to see some of the things you'll find yourself spe…
February 25, 2021
33 States with No Estate Taxes or Inheritance Taxes
retirement

33 States with No Estate Taxes or Inheritance Taxes

Even with the federal exemption from death taxes raised, retirees should pay more attention to estate taxes and inheritance taxes levied by states.
February 24, 2021
Taxes in Retirement: How All 50 States Tax Retirees
Tax Breaks

Taxes in Retirement: How All 50 States Tax Retirees

We rated every state, plus Washington, D.C. on how retirees are taxed. We considered taxes on Social Security and other retirement income, tax exempti…
February 23, 2021