Retiring in Tennessee

1 min readLast updated January 24, 2024by Kate Morgan

Discover the age-related benefits, the best towns and cities, and the pros and cons of retiring in Tennessee.

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2022, Tennessee had a population of approximately 7 million people, with over 17% of the population being over the age of 65, making it one of the top states with a large retirement population. Let’s dive a little deeper into retiring in Tennessee.

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  • Retiring in Tennessee offers a laid-back, culturally rich lifestyle.

  • Medicare eligibility begins at age 65, whether you’re retired or not.

  • Tennessee has a low cost of living, natural beauty, and other pros.

  • Franklin is the best place to retire in Tennessee.

  • Weather and natural disasters are among the state’s cons.

What age can you retire in Tennessee?

The law in Tennessee does not mandate a specific age for retirement. People who live in the state and can support themselves financially are free to retire whenever they choose. However, there are some age-related benefits and considerations that you should take into account if you’re thinking about retiring in Tennessee:

  • Social Security benefits: You can start receiving Social Security benefits when you turn 62 years old. However, delaying taking benefits will lead to an increase in the size of your monthly payments. Depending on your birth year, full retirement age (FRA) is between 66 and 67. You will be faced with even higher monthly payments if you delay benefits until after FRA.

  • Medicare eligibility: Medicare eligibility begins at age 65, regardless of retirement status. However, you will need to find alternative healthcare coverage until you become eligible for Medicare if you choose to retire before age 65.

  • Age discrimination: It is illegal for employers to discriminate against employees or job applicants based on age.

  • Retirement savings: Regardless of retirement age, it is important for individuals to start saving for retirement as early as possible. Many financial experts recommend saving at least 15% of your income for retirement. You could check out the average retirement savings in the US here.

What are the pros and cons of retiring in Tennessee?

There are both pros and cons to retiring in Tennessee. Find out what attracts retirees to the state and what makes some people settle elsewhere below.

The biggest pros include:

  • Affordability: The Volunteer State has a lower cost of living compared to many other states, and there are a number of affordable retirement communities in Tennessee, making this an attractive destination for retirees on a fixed income. Tennessee also has relatively low taxes in certain areas.

  • 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.

There aren’t too many cons about spending your golden years in the Volunteer State:

  • 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.

What are the best places to retire in Tennessee?

There are 55+ active retirement communities in Tennessee. Most of these communities are near towns and cities that offer a fulfilling lifestyle. The best places to retire in Tennessee include:

  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. Mountains surround the city, and it 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.

Is Tennessee a good place to retire?

In conclusion, Tennessee offers potential retirees many benefits, including great healthcare and affordability, though you should also consider environmental downsides. The Volunteer State certainly has appeal, but whether the pros would be enough for you in the long term is something you should consider when thinking about retiring in Tennessee.

Use expert financial advice from an SEC-regulated advisor to help you make informed decisions about your retirement options. Visit Unbiased to learn more about retirement. Let us match you with the best financial advisor who can help you plan to achieve your goals.

Content writer

Kate Morgan

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

Want to retire in Tennessee?

A financial advisor can help you plan and realize your dream retirement.