Senior Living
10 Best Places To Retire In Kentucky 2024

10 Best Places To Retire In Kentucky 2024

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best places to retire in Kentucky

If you want to enjoy a vibrant, balanced scene of all four seasons, look no further than Kentucky! For a place where affordability meets adventure, Kentucky has a lower-than-average cost of living, and top sights and cultural delights are waiting to be explored.

From tax perks such as Social Security exemptions and grocery sales tax breaks to ensuring your nest egg stretches further to fine arts and top-notch dining options, Kentucky helps you write the next chapter of your life in its welcoming embrace.

7 Best places to live in Kentucky for retirees

Whether you want a vibrant urban atmosphere and a tranquil pace of life, the Bluegrass State has something special for every retiree. There are many top-notch places to retire in Kentucky, and there are a few cities that stand out to me.

  1. Louisville: Louisville is the largest city in Kentucky with a blend of urban and suburban living and a low cost of living. It has easy access to both Indiana and Ohio and is home to Churchill Downs, the Kentucky Derby venue. Louisville has vibrant cultural scene with museums, art galleries, and performing arts venues.
  2. Lexington: Like horses? Then consider retiring in Lexington: the “Horse Capital of the World”. It is home to the University of Kentucky. Lexington has a rich history, beautiful parks, a thriving arts scene, and offers various outdoor activities, including horseback riding and hiking.
  3. Bowling Green: Bowling Green is a charming college town in south-central Kentucky, home to Western Kentucky University. The city is laid-back and friendly, with theaters, parks, and golf courses. It offers an affordable cost of living, a mild climate, and access to outdoor recreation opportunities like live concerts.
  4. Bardstown: Fan of bourbon? The “Bourbon Capital of the World”, Bardstown is filled with a rich history and charming downtown area. It has a low cost of living and is the official trailhead of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and the annual Bourbon Festival that features boatloads of food trucks and fantastic music.
  5. Paducah: Paducah is a thriving suburb and riverside city with a rich cultural heritage and arts scene that includes numerous art galleries and studios. It holds the UNESCO-designated title of the Creative City of Crafts and Folk Art! It has a low cost of living, pretty affordable housing, and quality medical care.
  6. Ashland: Ashland has low crime rates, affordable housing with art installations, and unique restaurants and boutiques. It is perfect for country music lovers, as it has been deemed the country music capital of Kentucky. The cost of living is 11% below the national average.
  7. Frankfort: Frankfort, the state capital, is for suburban retirement with beautiful Victorian architecture, golf courses, and art galleries. The cost of living is relatively affordable, the local healthcare system is robust and has reasonably priced housing options. Seniors can explore the Kentucky History Center and enjoy the scenic views along the Kentucky River.

What about small towns?

Featuring a landscape that varies from the mountainous terrains of eastern Kentucky — to the sumptuous rolling hills and vast plains on the western side, the world’s bourbon capital also plays host to a delicious array of charming small towns where the pace of life is slow, people are incredibly friendly, and opportunities for adventure are numerous.

Top 5 small towns in Kentucky to retire

Nestled close to these sites are towns that are small, charming, and closely knit and, hence, the kind that will tickle the fancy of a senior looking forward to his retirement.

If this is what you are looking for, explore the 5 best small towns in Kentucky for seniors.

  1. Mayfield: With the small-town feel and affordability, Mayfield is a retirement paradise in Kentucky located in the southwestern corner of the state. Seniors here will have a blast enjoying shopping at Pear Tree Mall, crappie fishing in the sparkling waters of Kentucky Lake or just a relaxing troll at Kentucky Dam Village and Kenlake Park.
  2. Berea: Seniors who take great satisfaction in being lifelong learners will have many opportunities to learn new talents, such as fiber arts, blacksmithing, and jewelry making. Art enthusiasts can schedule a weekly visit to Artisan Village, and seniors interested in staying healthy can enjoy the state’s top hiking trails, Berea Pinnacles.
  3. Shelbyville: Shelbyville has earned the title “Saddlebred Capital of the World.” Here’s the truth, too. Few things can match the excitement and adventure of spending a significant portion of your golden years perched atop an American Saddlebred horse’s muscular body and experiencing its graceful power through a full gallop.
  4. Bellevue: It only takes ten easy minutes to get from Bellevue to Cincinnati’s downtown. It means you can access Christ Hospital in Cincinnati, rated an astounding 43rd in the nation for orthopedics, if you inadvertently twist your ankle while hiking at Bellevue Beach Park, a stunning green space gem with breathtaking waterfront views.
  5. Danville: Known as the City of Firsts, Danville is in the heart of central Kentucky’s Bluegrass region. Since it was Kentucky’s first capital, seniors will have many sites of historical interest with a colorful historic downtown charm. Seniors can catch a movie at the Pioneer Playhouse or spend weekends at the Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site.

Cost of senior living

Kentucky has an average retirement cost of $883,332, which is a lot lower than the national average. Which means, it peaks at around $60,000 annually, though retirement costs vary from person to person. For example, assisted living is relatively less costlier than nursing homes, or independent living cost is lower than most other senior care types. 

In fact, Kentucky is one of only five states nationwide where a senior can comfortably retire at the age of 65 with less than $900,000.

Kentucky currently shares its border with 7 states- Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, Missouri and Illinois.

A brief comparison between Kentucky and its surrounding states based on the costs of senior living is portrayed as follows:

Kentucky vs Ohio

  • Assisted living: $3,768 vs $5,065
  • Home care: $5,209 vs $5,522
  • Nursing home (semi-private room): $7,844 vs $7,977
  • Nursing home (private room): $8,708 vs $8,975
  • Memory care: $4,310 vs $5,794
  • Independent living: $2,830 vs $3,116

Kentucky vs Indiana

  • Assisted living: $3,768 vs $4,680
  • Home care: $5,209 vs $5,209
  • Nursing home (semi-private room): $7,844 vs $7,944
  • Nursing home (private room): $8,708 vs $9,507
  • Memory care: $4,310 vs $5,894
  • Independent living: $2,830 vs $2,681

Kentucky vs West Virginia

  • Assisted living: $3,768 vs $4,546
  • Home care: $5,209 vs $3,906
  • Nursing home (semi-private room): $7,844 vs $12,696
  • Nursing home (private room): $8,708 vs $13,344
  • Memory care: $4,310 vs $4,792
  • Independent living: $2,830 vs $2,460

Kentucky vs Tennessee

  • Assisted living: $3,768 vs $4,486
  • Home care: $5,209 vs $5,000
  • Nursing home (semi-private room): $7,844 vs $7,811
  • Nursing home (private room): $8,708 vs $8,376
  • Memory care: $4,310 vs $5,539
  • Independent living: $2,830 vs $2,920

Note: These costs may vary.

Now that you know how much it would cost you to retire in these states, start planning your perfect retirement today if you haven’t already!

And if you don’t know how to start your financial planning, here are some of our articles that will provide you with valuable insights.

**(Cost estimation is done by using Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey tool)**

Final thoughts

From all the discussion and cost comparison, we can say that Kentucky can offer a better retirement than its surrounding states with a low cost of living, numerous tax perks, unlimited access to outdoor activities, and southern hospitality.

Whether your preference is for the energetic vibe of Louisville, the calm and peaceful pace of E-Town, the aesthetics of Lexington, the small-town charm of Bowling Green, the perfectly balanced life pace in Frankfort, or the artsy haven of Paducah, the Bluegrass State has something unique for every senior of every walk of life.

In case you want to explore the surrounding states, have a look on these articles:


What’s the best place to retire in Kentucky?

It’s entirely up to you to decide what suits your lifestyle and needs better. But some recommended best places in Kentucky for seniors to spend their golden years, if they are looking for assisted living can be: 

Is it better to retire in Kentucky or Tennessee?

Both Kentucky and Tennessee have their own pros and cons that might affect the decision to retire there. But it is cheaper to retire in Kentucky with affordable living, laid back lifestyle and numerous tax reduction perks.

Is it expensive to retire in Kentucky?

Kentucky’s cost of living is generally lower than the national average. Lower housing, healthcare, and transportation costs in Kentucky are enormous advantages for seniors wanting to retire on a fixed income.

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