retirement

Why Chattanooga, Tenn., Is a Great Place to Retire

Tennessee's fourth largest city is in the midst of a massive revival.

Population: 173,778

Nearby large cities: Atlanta; Nashville

What $300,000 will buy: 2-bedroom, 2-bath downtown condo with views of the Ten­nessee River

Berke says the number of people who live downtown has doubled since he took office in 2013. Many of those newcomers include retirees who want to live in a walkable city that also offers lots of outdoor recreation. There are more than 50 trailheads within a half hour of downtown, says Shelda Rees, of the Chat­tanooga Convention and Visitors Bureau. “You can be on a hiking trail and in 15 minutes be in a five-star restaurant.”

Tennessee has no income tax or estate tax and is phasing out its tax on dividends. Be prepared to pay steep sales taxes, though: The combined state and county rate is 9.25%.

The median home price in downtown Chattanooga is about $212,000, according to the Greater Chattanooga Board of Realtors. Close-in neighborhoods that are popular with retirees include the Southside historic district, a haven for artists and trendy restaurants, and the Northshore, home to two large city parks and a wide selection of restored single-family bungalows. Homes in Signal Mountain, a nearby suburban com­munity that overlooks Chattanooga, are available for $300,000 and up. The median property tax in Hamilton County, where Chattanooga is located, is $1,408.

 

Health care is available through the Erlanger Health System, which has five hospitals based in Chattanooga. Other local hospitals include CHI Memorial and Parkridge Medical Center, near downtown.

Atlanta is an hour and a half away, so you’re not far from Emory University’s extensive health care system and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. (Chattanooga’s Metropolitan Airport provides nonstop service to Atlanta and eight other cities.) Retirees can also find plenty of specialists at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, which is about two hours away. While you’re there, you can visit the Grand Ole Opry, although you can find plenty of great entertainment—country or otherwise—without leaving home.

Most Popular

Your Guide to Roth Conversions
Special Report
Tax Breaks

Your Guide to Roth Conversions

A Kiplinger Special Report
February 25, 2021
4 Strategies to Reduce Taxes in Retirement
retirement planning

4 Strategies to Reduce Taxes in Retirement

Don’t let the possibility of higher taxes in the future sink your retirement income plan. Consider these four ways to help manage your taxes, keeping …
May 31, 2021
12 Housing Stocks to Ride the Red-Hot Market
investing

12 Housing Stocks to Ride the Red-Hot Market

The U.S. has a housing shortage and a love affair with home improvement, both of which could create tailwinds for this group of housing stocks.
June 8, 2021

Recommended

10 Least Tax-Friendly States for Retirees
retirement

10 Least Tax-Friendly States for Retirees

When it comes to state and local taxes, retirees in these states are likely to pay more than retirees in other states.
June 17, 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…
June 17, 2021
Great Jobs for Retirees
retirement

Great Jobs for Retirees

Your career job is ending. It’s time to consider how to earn extra cash in retirement working at something you’ve always wanted to do.
June 17, 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.
June 16, 2021