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The Guide to Retiring in Tennessee

Best Places to Retire in Tennessee 👨‍🦳 | Retiring in Tennessee Guide [Where to Retire + Tennessee Retirement Taxes]

Last Updated on: 24th May 2024, 11:24 pm

Planning your dream retirement but not quite sure where to spend your golden years? You should consider retiring in Tennessee. Due to its mild climate, affordable housing, and favorable tax policies, Tennessee is popular among retirees. It’s also home to national and state parks, award-winning golf courses, and large retirement communities where seniors will feel right at home.

The Volunteer State is also home to many mid-sized cities and small towns that offer a calm pace of life and access to amenities and healthcare options that many retirees need. Plus, when it’s time to make the move, our dependable senior movers will help make the journey easy and stress-free.

But with so many fantastic options, it may be tough to know where to even start. So, to help make your decision easier, here is a list of the best places to retire in Tennessee.

Is Tennessee a Good State to Retire?

Before you choose a particular location, it helps to weigh the retiring in Tennessee pros and cons. One of the major benefits of retiring in Tennessee is the favorable state income tax policies and low cost of living.

For starters, Tennessee does not tax retirement income, which includes pensions, social security, 401K’s, and IRA distributions. The state also offers a few property tax programs for eligible applicants.

Low-income elderly and disabled seniors can apply for property tax relief through state-sponsored programs. The exact amount will change depending on the circumstances, but the state awards $41 million in tax breaks to over 100,000 applicants retiring in TN each year.

Retirees can also apply for a property tax freeze, which means the property taxes on their principal residence can be frozen at a base rate (or the amount of taxes owed in the year they first qualified for the program).

In order for applicants retiring in Tennessee to qualify for the tax freeze, they must:

  • Be 65 or older by the end of the year in which the application is filed
  • Own their primary residence in a participating county or city
  • Not exceed the income limits set by the county

The cost of living in Tennessee is very affordable overall, and data from the Council for Community and Economic Research shows that it’s the 10th least expensive state in the US. So, your retirement savings will go a long way.

The climate is another great reason to consider retiring in Tennessee, as it never gets too hot or too cold. There are dozens of 55+ active retirement communities in Tennessee that offer resort-style amenities and friendly neighbors. A study from US News and World Report also shows that Tennessee ranks number 28 in the country for quality of life based on factors such as drinking water quality, pollution, access to healthcare, housing costs, political involvement, and more.

For all these reasons, Tennessee is an excellent place to retire and spend the best years of your life in total comfort. Still, some places are more senior-friendly than others. So, now that you understand all the fantastic benefits, here is a list of the best places to retire in Tennessee.

Best Places to Retire in Tennessee

Tellico Village | A Waterfront Retirement Community in Tennessee with State-of-the-Art Amenities

  • Population: 6,224
  • Share of population 65+: 71%
  • Crime rate: 59% lower than the national average

Tellico Village is one of the best retirement communities in Tennessee with fantastic amenities and beautiful views of the Little Tennessee River. It’s a census-designated place and active adult retirement community in East Tennessee with championship golf courses, waterfront homes, and miles of walking and hiking trails. Tellico Village has a population of 6,224 residents, and 71% of residents are over the age of 65 (although it technically has no age restrictions).

It’s also a very safe community, and the total crime rate is 59% lower than the national average. It’s one of the premier lakefront retirement communities in Tennessee and features a massive 27,000-square-foot wellness center complete with multiple indoor pools, a fitness center, tennis courts, and other enticing features. For those in search of affordable living with luxury amenities, Tellico Village is one of the best places to retire in Tennessee.

 

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Franklin | A Safe, Affordable Suburb That is Ideal for Retirees

  • Population: 86,895
  • Share of population 65+: 15%
  • Crime rate: 47% lower than the national average

Franklin also has a reputation for being the best city in Tennessee to retire in. The peaceful suburb is located about 20 miles south of Nashville and has a population of 86,895 residents. Although not specifically a retirement community, Franklin does have a slightly older, more affluent population that has a median age of 40. The median household income is $108,354.

In 2022, Money Magazine ranked Franklin among the top 10 places in the US for retirees due to its affordable cost of living, close proximity to Nashville, and bustling historic district. It’s also one of the safest cities in Tennessee to retire, and both violent and property crimes are 47% lower than the national average. As a result, anyone searching for a safe, affordable Nashville suburb with amenities and culture will find that Franklin is one of the best places for retirees to live in Tennessee.

Germantown | A Quiet Memphis Suburb with A Robust Economy

  • Population: 41,094
  • Share of population 65+: 23%
  • Crime rate: 27% lower than the national average

Germantown also ranks among the best cities in Tennessee to retire. The idyllic suburb in Shelby County is located about 20 miles east of Memphis and is home to 41,094 residents. It has a wealthy, older population, and 23% of residents are over the age of 65, while the median household income is $140,429.

The home improvement reality TV show This Old House ranked Germantown the number one best suburb in Tennessee for retirees based on financial well-being, as only 4.6% of seniors live below the poverty line. In addition to its strong economy, Germantown also offers access to parks and golf courses, a tight-knit community and a violent crime rate that is 54% lower than the national average. That’s why it consistently ranks as one of the best retirement cities in Tennessee.

 

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Chattanooga | The Best City to Retire in Tennessee on a Budget

  • Population: 187,071
  • Share of population 65+: 17%
  • Crime rate: 174% higher than the national average

Chattanooga is also one of the best places to retire in Tennessee. Located in the southeastern quadrant of the state, Chattanooga is home to 187,071 residents, which makes it the fourth largest city in Tennessee. It’s a good, mid-sized city for retirees with a central location, lush golf courses and 16 mile Riverwalk. Chattanooga is also within two hours of major cities such as Nashville, Atlanta and Birmingham, as well as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

According to census data, Chattanooga was the top destination for retirees relocating out of state during the pandemic, and in 2023, it was named the best all-around city to retire in the South by Southern Living. Plus, with a median home price of only $325,000, it’s one of the best places to retire in Tennessee on a budget.

Kingston Springs | A Small Town With Low Crime and Natural Beauty

  • Population: 187,071
  • Share of population 65+: 17%
  • Crime rate: 57% lower than the national average

Anyone in search of the best towns to retire in Tennessee should definitely check out Kingston Springs. The peaceful small town is located in Cheatham County, about 24 miles west of Nashville. It’s home to about 2,798 residents, and 20% of them are over the age of 65.

Kingston Springs offers the perfect benefits of small town living with convenient access to amenities. Mace Bluff Recreation Area, Harpeth River State Park and the Golf Club of Tennessee are also immediately accessible, plus I-40 allows you to be in downtown Nashville in under 30 minutes. It’s also one of the safest towns in Tennessee, with a violent crime rate that’s 68% lower than the national average.

In spite of all the advantages residents enjoy, Kingston Springs is very affordable, and the median home price is $259,900. So, for those who want a peaceful atmosphere with a low cost of living and access to outdoor adventure, Kingston Springs is one of the best small towns in Tennessee to retire.

Oak Hill | A Safe, Affluent Place to Retire in Tennessee with a Small Town Feel

  • Population: 4,764
  • Share of population 65+: 24%
  • Crime rate: 67% lower than the national average

Oak Hill is another one of the best towns in Tennessee to retire. Situated just 6 miles south of Nashville, Oak Hill is a pleasant suburb offering easy access to attractions. It’s adjacent to Radnor Lake State Park and just minutes from the Nashville Zoo.

It has the feeling of a small town with direct access to the big city, making it the ideal community for retirees. Oak Hill is home to 4,764 residents, and the median age is 45.7, while 24% of residents are 65 and over. It’s also a very safe, affluent community. The median household income is over $200,00, and the crime rate is 67% lower than the national average. It isn’t the most affordable place on this list, as the median home value is over $2 million. However, for those with the correct budget, Oak Hill is one of the best places to live in Tennessee for retirement.

 

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Crossville | A Small City with Award-Winning Retirement Communities

  • Population: 12,099
  • Share of population 65+: 21%
  • Crime rate: 81% higher than the national average

Crossville also ranks among the best places to retire in Tennessee. Located in Cumberland County, Crossville is under two hours from Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga. It’s a small city that has about 13,000 residents, 21% of which are 65 or older. Crossville is also home to Fairfield Glade, a resort-style retirement community with top-notch amenities, including five golf courses, 25+ miles of walking, hiking and biking trails, 11 lakes, four indoor/outdoor pools, and so much more.

With a median home price of $367,500, Fairfield Glade is also one of the most affordable retirement communities in Tennessee. Beyond its fantastic retirement communities, Crossville also offers close proximity to the Catoosa Wildlife Management area, an 82,000-acre nature preserve that is great for hiking, fishing, hunting, and white water rafting.

It’s also a friendly and welcoming community with a low cost of living and top-rated healthcare facilities such as the Crossville Medical Clinic and Pinnacle Health Center. So, if you want a well-rounded town with plenty of attractive options for seniors, Crossville is ranked among the best places to retire in Tennessee.

Map of the Best Places in Tennessee to Retire


When you’re ready to move into your new home or retirement community, trust our expert Nashville senior movers to make your relocation easy and efficient. Call (615) 434-8272 today for a free moving quote.

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