South Carolina’s affordable homes and pleasant winter temperatures make the state attractive to retirees. Those who relocate from more expensive parts of the country may be able to enjoy a higher quality of life. You could retire in a coastal area, historic city or college town. Here’s a look at the best places to retire in South Carolina.
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,225
Median monthly rent: $920
South Carolina’s capital city can be a place to reinvent your life in retirement. Columbia is a college town that is home to the University of South Carolina, where South Carolina residents age 60 and older can take college classes tuition-free.
“You have access to all kinds of opportunities for people who want to do lifelong learning at the university,” says Sue Ellen Levkoff, endowed chair at the SeniorSMART Center of Economic Excellence in the College of Social Work at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. “For people who want to have a second or third career in their retirement, Columbia is a great place to do that. There are these incubators that you can belong to for very cheap and get a lot of support for a business idea.”
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,175
Median monthly rent: $822
Located in northwestern South Carolina, Greenville is about halfway between Atlanta and Charlotte. Locals enjoy exploring Falls Park on the Reedy, which has a curved pedestrian bridge overlooking a waterfall, and the Greenville County Museum of Art. Retirees who plan to travel will appreciate that Greenville has an international airport.
“I find that many retirees move here to be near their kids and grandkids who have moved here for job opportunities,” says Danielle Harmon, a certified financial planner at Boundless Financial Services in Greenville. “It’s very affordable, which means that retirees can spend less from their investment portfolios while still having a very comfortable retirement lifestyle.”
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,077
Median monthly rent: $763
Spartanburg’s low cost of housing enables retirees to live well on even a modest retirement budget. The Spartanburg community makes an effort to welcome people who are new to the area. The Spartanburg Newcomers Club plans monthly activities and special events to help people who relocate to the area to forge new friendships. The Hatcher Garden and Woodland Preserve was founded in 1969 by retirees Josephine and Harold Hatcher, who relocated to the area from Indianapolis. The free garden now provides a place for retirees to exercise, enjoy nature and volunteer. The restaurant chain Denny’s moved its headquarters from California to downtown Spartanburg in 1991.
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,508
Median monthly rent: $1,114
Charleston’s many charms include a coastal setting, historic architecture, cobblestone streets and a unique sense of southern hospitality. You could spend your retirement years exploring galleries, boutiques, scenic gardens and innovative restaurants. While housing costs far more than in other parts of South Carolina, Charleston can still feel affordable to people relocating from more expensive cities outside the South.
“The big draw for seniors to the area is the weather and the lower cost of living,” says Heather Boger, interim director of the Center on Aging at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. “There are many great senior communities in the area that offer amenities for seniors specifically.”
1. Myrtle Beach
Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,267
Median monthly rent: $913
This Atlantic coastal city attracts plenty of tourists to its beaches and golf courses. “There are very few days you cannot play golf or walk on the beach,” says Joe Taylor, founder of Oak Street Advisors in Myrtle Beach. “Whether you enjoy basking in the sun, searching for shells or just a great morning walk to start your day off, we have it.”
The low housing costs make it affordable for retirees to retire near the ocean. Housing options for retirees include condos by the beach or a golf course, new housing developments and retirement communities. Keeping housing expenses low allows many retirees on a budget to enjoy the area’s dining and entertainment options.