Waterville, Me: A Smart Place to Retire

Retirees have access to ample extracurricular activities including music, sports and arts in this Maine town along the Kennebec River, home to Colby College.

Population: 16,646

Cost of living: Not available

Median home price: $147,000

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College perk: Amateur musicians, including retirees, can audition for the Colby Symphony Orchestra and Wind Ensemble.

This quiet New England town on the Kennebec River is getting a boost from its collegiate partner. Colby College, founded in 1813, is taking a renewed interest in its hometown as both city and college seek to attract newcomers and retain residents. Last fall, Colby opened a mixed-use building that serves as a residence complex for students and faculty and a meeting space for city employees and other groups. Colby also financed a new downtown hotel and arts center, which are scheduled to open in late 2020 and 2022, respectively.

Culturally minded retirees can visit the Colby College Museum of Art for free, while amateur musicians can audition for the Colby Symphony Orchestra and Wind Ensemble. Waterville also has a nine-hole municipal golf course open from mid April to late October. Skiers can check out Quarry Road, with more than eight miles of trails, located just two miles outside of downtown. Northern Light Inland Hospital, on the grounds of the Lakewood Continuing Care Center, offers primary care and received a 4-star rating from Medicare.

Housing is considerably more affordable than it is in Portland, where luxury units in the downtown area go for $600,000 and up. In Waterville, single-family homes with two bedrooms and two baths are available for about $140,000.

Maine offers a property tax credit of $300 for eligible residents who are 65 or older. Retirees can deduct up to $10,000 in income from retirement plans and pensions, but income that exceeds that threshold is taxed at rates of up to 7.15%. Social Security is exempt from state income taxes.

For population figures, we used the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data. Cost-of-living data comes from the Council for Community and Economic Research (100 represents the national median). Median home prices were provided by Redfin, Zillow and local associations of Realtors.

Rivan V. Stinson
Ex-staff writer, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Rivan joined Kiplinger on Leap Day 2016 as a reporter for Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine. A Michigan native, she graduated from the University of Michigan in 2014 and from there freelanced as a local copy editor and proofreader, and served as a research assistant to a local Detroit journalist. Her work has been featured in the Ann Arbor Observer and Sage Business Researcher. She is currently assistant editor, personal finance at The Washington Post.