5 Affordable Alternatives To Popular (but Pricey) Retirement Towns

benedek / Getty Images/iStockphoto
benedek / Getty Images/iStockphoto

As people get closer to retirement, they tend to dream about where they might live out their golden years. They might even scout out a few locations in preparation. However, when faced with the financial realities of what it would take each year to actually live in a popular retirement destination, those pleasant dreams sometimes falter.

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If popular and pricey retirement towns like Miami, Denver and Los Angeles aren't in your budget, here are five affordable alternatives to consider.

Juanmonino / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Juanmonino / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Hialeah, Florida (Instead of Miami)

Miami may seem like a quintessential retirement destination -- with its warm weather and beautiful beaches -- but only if you have millions in the bank to foot the cost of living there throughout the years.

An affordable alternative is Hialeah, Florida, which is a mere 25-minute drive from Miami. Housing is 5% below the national average there and expenses like utilities and goods and services are within 2-3% of the national average.

gregobagel / Getty Images
gregobagel / Getty Images

Spokane, Washington (Instead of Portland, Oregon)

Portland has a lot to offer retirees, including abundant access to natural areas and an amazingly diverse culinary scene, but having to part with six figures each year to live there is hard on the wallet.

Luckily, Spokane, Washington is a good alternative. It has an impressive foodie scene as well, and is less than a 40-minute drive from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, which is a recreational paradise. Housing in Spokane is 15% below the national average and groceries and utilities are within 2-3% of the national average.

Jacob Boomsma / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Jacob Boomsma / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Lamar, Colorado (Instead of Denver)

There's no doubt that Denver is full of mountain views and beautiful scenery, but you would need a six-figure annual income to live here comfortably as a retiree. Lamar, Colorado, located in the southeastern part of the state, is an alternative that's a lot more affordable.

While it doesn't have the majestic mountain scenery that Denver does, it is considered one of the state's best birding destinations. This rural town is more than a three-hour drive from Denver, so you likely won't be going there on a whim. However, the cost of housing in Lamar is 50% below the national average and groceries, utilities and healthcare are also below.

MattGush / Getty Images/iStockphoto
MattGush / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Lancaster, California (Instead of Los Angeles)

Los Angeles has its strong points for retirees, including great weather and some of the best hospitals in the nation, but its cost of living is high. To live comfortably as a homeowner, you'd need around $150,000 at your disposal annually.

Instead, consider retiring in Lancaster, which is on the northern end of Los Angeles County, and only about an hour or so from Los Angeles. Although many of the cost-of-living expenses are similar to L.A.'s, you can save big on housing here. For example, housing in L.A. is 127% above the national average, whereas in Lancaster, it's only 5% above.

traveler1116 / Getty Images/iStockphoto
traveler1116 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Scranton, Pennsylvania (Instead of New York City)

If you have an affinity for New York and would love to make it your retirement home, it's not a bad idea. After all, you wouldn't need a car. Unfortunately, the Big Apple also made GOBankingRates list of the most expensive cities in the U.S. to retire, so you'd  have to have pretty deep pockets.

Instead, consider Scranton, Pennsylvania, which is within two hours driving distance of NYC. The typical home value in Scranton is $153,421, according to Zillow, which is 38% lower than the national average. Healthcare is also 15% lower than the national average.

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 5 Affordable Alternatives To Popular (but Pricey) Retirement Towns