Is Tennessee a Good Place to Retire?

Benefits of Retiring in Tennessee

Straddling the line between the South and the Midwest- Tennessee is an understated gem. The state is known for its country music scene, tasty bbq, and outdoor attractions. People from all over the US are moving to Tennessee to retire in high numbers and here are 7 reasons why:

  1. Low Income Taxes

  2. Low Cost of Living

  3. Affordable Housing

  4. Mild Climate

  5. Beautiful Landscapes and Outdoor Activities

  6. Culture

  7. Diverse Cuisine

Knoxville City Skyline

Low Income Taxes

Tennessee is a tax-friendly state for retirees. Tennessee does not levy a state income tax on earned income including wages, salaries. This also includes retirement incomes such as public and private pensions, Social Security, 401(k) distributions, and withdrawals from retirement accounts, all of which are not taxed.

This means retirees in Tennessee reduce financial stress about income and focus more on enjoying retirement.

Low Cost of Living

The cost of living in Tennessee is generally lower than other states and is currently ten percent less than the national average. Goods and services, necessities like groceries and clothing, transportation, healthcare and entertainment options in Tennessee are also more affordable compared to the national average.

Affordable Housing

Tennessee generally has a relatively low cost of living, which can make it appealing for retirees.

Median home prices in Tennessee have increased in the past few years, but statewide are still lower than the national average. Whether you plan to buy or rent, Tennessee housing costs are generally 20% lower than the national average with some of the lowest property taxes in the country and reasonable home insurance rates. Home maintenance services are also less costly. Tennessee’s utilities are 6% lower than the national average.

Mild Climate

Tennessee has a generally mild climate, but it can vary across different regions of the state. Tennessee experiences distinct seasons, allowing residents to enjoy a variety of weather conditions throughout the year. From the blooming of flowers and foliage in the spring to the colorful fall foliage and cooler temperatures in the autumn. However, the temperatures never get too extreme. Compared to northern states, Tennessee experiences milder winters. This means that the temperatures are generally more moderate, ranging from 30°F – 50°F. In the Summers, temperatures do not reach the highs that are common in some southern states, with temperatures generally topping out from 80s°F to 90s°F. While this is not too hot, it allows for a wide range of outdoor activities.

A villager enjoying kayaking.

Beautiful Landscapes and Outdoor Activities

Tennessee is known for its stunning landscapes, including rolling hills, lush forests, picturesque rivers, and scenic mountains. This diverse and picturesque landscape allows for a wide range of outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, fishing, boating, birdwatching, golfing, camping, and more. The state is home to numerous national parks, state parks, and recreational areas, including the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cherokee National Forest, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, and more. These natural spaces offer abundant opportunities to stay active, connect with nature, and enjoy the outdoors.

6. The unique restaurants at Market Square in downtown Knoxville are just a short drive away


Tennessee offers a range of cultural benefits from music, history, and local traditions. Tennessee is widely recognized as a hub of music heritage. Nashville, known as the “Music City,” is famous for its country music scene and the Grand Ole Opry. Retirees can enjoy live performances, visit music museums, and attend concerts and festivals featuring a diverse range of genres. On top of this Tennessee is home to a thriving performing arts scene, with numerous theaters, opera houses, and performing arts centers throughout the state.

If live performances aren’t your flavor, there are numerous museums and galleries such as Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the Tennessee State Museum, the Frist Art Museum, and the Knoxville Museum of Art just to name a few.

Tennessee offers a vibrant and enriching retirement experience, fostering opportunities for intellectual stimulation, entertainment, and community engagement.

41. The food at the blue heron restaurant is scrumptious

Diverse Cuisine

Indulge in authentic Southern cuisine and savor delicious dishes such as fried chicken, barbecue, collard greens, cornbread, and biscuits. Southern cooking is known for its comforting flavors and hearty portions.

Tennessee’s fertile farmlands also provide an abundance of fresh produce and locally sourced ingredients. Retirees can take advantage of the state’s farm-to-table dining scene, where restaurants prioritize using local, seasonal ingredients to create flavorful and nutritious meals.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, Tennessee does not tax retirement income. This means that retirees in Tennessee are not required to pay state income taxes on their retirement earnings, such as distributions from retirement accounts (401(k), IRA), pension payments, or Social Security benefits.

Yes, Tennessee offers various senior services and programs to support retirees and older adults. Here are a few examples:

  1. Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability: This state agency provides resources and assistance to older adults, including information on health and long-term care services, senior employment programs, elder abuse prevention, and caregiver support.
  2. Senior Centers: Tennessee has a network of senior centers that offer a range of services and programs for retirees. These centers provide opportunities for socializing, educational classes, fitness activities, recreational programs, and access to resources like health screenings and counseling.
  3. Health Insurance Counseling: The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) in Tennessee offers free counseling and assistance to help seniors navigate Medicare, understand health insurance options, and make informed decisions regarding their healthcare coverage.
  4. Prescription Assistance: The Tennessee Drug Card Program provides prescription drug discounts to help seniors save on medication costs. Additionally, some local organizations and pharmacies may offer specific programs or discounts for seniors.
  5. Transportation Services: Several communities and counties in Tennessee have transportation services specifically designed for older adults. These services aim to ensure seniors have access to medical appointments, grocery shopping, and other essential destinations.