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We want to retire in a small mountain town on a salary of 18,000 dollars a year – where should we go?

I am 54 years old and my husband is 62 years old. We hate the heat, the humidity, the crowd and the beach. We love the small mountain town, privacy, colder weather. We are very conservative Christians.

He loves deer hunting. I love hiking. We want a vegetable garden.

Our income will be about $ 1,500 a month including rent. We do not spend money, but consider nature as our entertainment. We get up early and go to bed early, so we can enjoy beautiful sunrises and sunsets. We love dogs and cats, read books and are alone together.

Where can we go? Thank you!



A small mountain town? That is a challenge. Housing prices in many mountainous towns have soared with COVID-19 and the freedom to work remotely. Small towns with lesser known mountains (some might call them really big hills) may have to be replaced.

I used the MarketWatch tool “where should I retire” to help me find several options, choosing an average rent for a two bedroom place under $ 600 (the lower the better) and counties with few more than 50,000 people.

If you’re determined to go west, start with southeast Idaho, especially Bear County. It is part of the same metropolitan area as Logan, Utah, suggestion here.

You know your budget best. I admit that I am concerned about utility bills in colder places unless you find a home that is well insulated. Your income puts you above the minimum to be eligible for health insurance benefits under the Affordable Care Act, but you may want to make sure the state you choose has Medicaid eligibility extended. so that you also qualify for health insurance that way.

You may also want to get close enough to potential jobs, if you decide to seek additional income.

Here are three pointers to get you started. I’m targeting counties where two bedroom average rents are around $ 600. But since you’re looking to rent in a small town, where you find an attractive home can be the deciding factor. I include a list of homes for sale just for flavor.

And if internet access is important to you, remember to ask about speed and cost.

You will find trails, he will find deer – hopefully they won’t find your vegetable garden.

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula


Think of two towns: Escanaba, on Lake Michigan and Iron Mountain, an hour inland from the border with Wisconsin.

Escanaba, which claims to be one of the safest natural harbors upstream of Great Lake, is the larger town, with around 12,000 inhabitants and no 3-digit total snowfall elsewhere in the area. Rents across Delta County are much cheaper than around Iron Mountain, where the median income is higher and the average rent is also over $ 600.

Another reason Iron Mountain is more expensive: it’s close to the Pine Mountain Resort, which attracts golfers and skiers. But if you like that area, go to the Florence County of Wisconsin, and the average rent drops below $ 500.

The average winter high will be below freezing; The average high in summer is in the mid 70s. Iron Mountain is the snowy mountain of two people.

As a trail hiker, you might enjoy chunks of 25.5 miles long railway from Escanaba to Hermansville.

The cost of living in both regions is nearly 14% lower than the national level.

This is what’s selling currently on Delta County, using listings on Realtor.com (like MarketWatch, owned by News Corp.)

St. Marys, Pennsylvania

Views east from Hyner View State Park, accessible along the country roads from St. John’s. Marys


You can search rural Pennsylvania and West Virginia for options within your budget, but I focus on St. Petersburg. Marys in the north of the state. It’s a city of 12,000, about 45 miles north of Interstate 80 and 2 and a half hours south of Buffalo, NY, in an area the tourists call the Pennsylvania Wilds area. They describe it as home to millions of acres of unspoiled forests and mountains.

The average rent in Elk County, where 30,000 people live, is just under $ 600 a month and is slightly lower than neighboring Cameron County, where only 4,500 residents live. The cost of living is 10% lower than the national average.

Winter here will be warmer than Michigan and Maine, with average highs surrounding freezing. The average high temperature in summer is between over 70 and 80 degrees. The average annual snowfall is 58 inches.

Your trail trek can begin with Leisure Trail West Creek north of St Marys and head 19.5 miles east into Emporium, a town of 2,000 people calling itself “Land of the Mountains Endless.”

This is what’s on the market right now Elk County.

Presque Island, Maine

Maine’s Baxter State Park


Take this as your starting point for looking at the many small towns in rural Maine. With 9,000 people, Presque Isle is the largest community in the northernmost district of Maine and the commercial center of the region. You can also look at Houlton (5,700 people), also in Aroostook District but further south. You can even walk between the two along South Bangor and the Aroostook Trail. Or consider the western Piscataquis District (nearly 17,000 people).

Baxter State Park and Mount Katahdin are located in neighboring Penobscot County.

The temperatures in this area are comparable to that of the Escanaba, but you’ll get more snow. Aroostook County also has more population than Delta County, with nearly 68,000 people, but it is the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island.

The average rent here is $ 574.

This is what’s on sale currently Aroostook County.

Readers, where do you think Lisa and her husband should retire? Leave your suggestions in the comments.

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