Retiring in Tennessee

1 min readLast updated March 30, 2023by Kate Morgan

Tennessee, located in the southeastern United States, is a popular retirement destination for many Americans seeking a more laid-back lifestyle with access to natural beauty, cultural events, and a moderate climate. With its stunning mountains, lakes, and charming small towns, Tennessee offers a unique retirement experience that attracts many retirees every year. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau in 2020, Tennessee had a population of approximately 6.9 million people, with over 15% of the population being over the age of 65, making it one of the top states with a large retirement population.

What age can you retire in Tennessee?

Like many states, Tennessee has no specific retirement age that is mandated by law. This means that individuals are free to retire whenever they choose, as long as they are able to financially support themselves. However, there are some age-related benefits and considerations for retirees in Tennessee: 

Why do people retire to Tennessee?

  • Affordability: Tennessee has a lower cost of living compared to many other states, making it an attractive destination for retirees on a fixed income. 

  • Natural beauty: Tennessee is known for its natural beauty, from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the Tennessee River. Retirees can enjoy living in a peaceful environment that offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and boating. 

  • Culture and entertainment: Tennessee has a rich cultural heritage, with numerous music festivals, art galleries, and museums. The state is also home to Nashville, the country music capital of the world, and Memphis, the birthplace of rock and roll. 

  • Healthcare: Tennessee has a high-quality healthcare system, with many highly ranked hospitals and medical centers. 

What puts people off retiring to Tennessee?

  • Weather: Tennessee's climate varies greatly depending on the region, but many areas experience hot and humid summers and cold winters. This may not be ideal for retirees who prefer a more moderate climate. 

  • Natural disasters: Tennessee is prone to natural disasters such as tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes, which could be a concern for retirees living in certain areas.

Best places to retire in Tennessee

If Tennessee is your chosen retirement state, here are some of the best places to retire in: 

  1. Franklin: Located just south of Nashville, Franklin is a charming and historic town that offers a range of amenities for retirees. The town has a vibrant downtown area with shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions, as well as parks and green spaces for outdoor recreation. 

  2. Chattanooga: Known for its natural beauty and outdoor activities, Chattanooga is a great destination for active retirees. The city is surrounded by mountains and has many parks and trails for hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities. Chattanooga also has a thriving arts and cultural scene, with numerous galleries and museums. 

  3. Nashville: Tennessee's capital city, Nashville, is a great place for retirees who want to enjoy urban amenities and a lively music scene. The city has a range of senior-friendly communities and services, as well as cultural attractions such as the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and the Ryman Auditorium. 

  4. Knoxville: Located in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, Knoxville offers a mix of urban amenities and natural beauty. The city has a thriving downtown area with shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions, as well as parks and green spaces for outdoor recreation. Knoxville is also home to the University of Tennessee, which offers a range of lifelong learning opportunities for retirees. 

  5. Oak Ridge: Known for its role in the Manhattan Project, Oak Ridge is a small town that offers a quiet and peaceful retirement destination. The town has a range of senior-friendly amenities and services, as well as parks and green spaces for outdoor recreation. Oak Ridge is also located near Norris Lake, which offers boating and fishing opportunities. 

  6. Memphis: Located in the southwestern corner of Tennessee, Memphis is a great destination for retirees who want to enjoy southern culture and history. The city is known for its music scene, with attractions such as Graceland and the Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum. Memphis also has a range of senior-friendly communities and services, as well as parks and green spaces for outdoor recreation. 

In conclusion, Tennessee offers potential retirees many benefits including great healthcare and affordability, though you should also consider environmental downsides. It's important to seek expert financial advice to weigh up all of the costs associated with retiring in Tennessee, including property taxes, insurance, and living expenses, in order to make an informed decision about whether the state is the right choice for your retirement. 

Content writer

Kate Morgan

Kate has written for leading publications and blue chip companies over the last 20 years.