We want to retire to a small mountain town with $ 18,000 a year, where should we go?

I am 54 years old and my husband 62. We hate the heat, the humidity, the crowds and the beaches. We love the little mountain villages, the privacy, the colder climate. We are very conservative Christians.

He loves to hunt deer. I love walking the trails. We would like to have a garden. Our income will be approximately $ 1,500 per month, including rent. We don’t spend money, but we look to nature as our entertainment. We get up early and go to bed early, so we enjoy beautiful sunrises and sunsets. We love cats and dogs, reading and being alone together. Where can we go? Thanks! Lisa Lisa, a small mountain town? That is quite a challenge. Home prices in so many mountain towns have gone up with COVID-19 and the freedom to work remotely. Small towns with lesser known mountains (some might call them really big hills) may need to be replaced. I used the MarketWatch tool “Where should I retire?” To help me find some options, picking median rents for a two-bedroom place under $ 600 (the lower the better) and counties with fewer than 50,000 people. If you insist on going west, start with southeastern Idaho, particularly Bear Lake County. It is part of the same metropolitan area as Logan, Utah, suggested here. You know your budget better. I admit I am concerned about utility bills in colder places, unless I find a well-insulated home. Your income puts you just above the minimum to be eligible for health insurance subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, but you may want to make sure the state you choose has expanded Medicaid eligibility so that you qualify. for health insurance that way too. You may also want to be close enough to potential jobs, in case you decide to pursue some additional income. Here are three suggestions to get started. I targeted counties with median two-bedroom rents around $ 600. But since you’re looking for a rental in a small town, finding an attractive home may be the deciding factor. I include listings of homes for sale just for flavor. And if Internet access is important to you, remember to ask about speed and cost. You will find trails, he will find deer; hopefully they won’t find your garden.

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Think in terms of two cities: Escanaba, on Lake Michigan, and Iron Mountain, an hour inland on the Wisconsin border. Escanaba, which bills itself as one of the safest natural harbors in the upper Great Lakes, is the largest city, with about 12,000 people and without the triple-digit snowfall totals in the rest of the region. . Rents in Delta County are much cheaper than around Iron Mountain, where median incomes are higher and median rents are well above $ 600. Another reason Iron Mountain is more expensive: It is close to Pine Mountain Resort, which attracts golfers and skiers. But if you prefer that area, cross the Florence County of Wisconsin and median rents drop below $ 500. Average winter highs will be below freezing; Average summer highs are in the mid-70s. Iron Mountain is the snowier of the two. As a trail hiker, you can enjoy the 25.5 mile crushed stone rail trail from Escanaba to Hermansville. The cost of living in both areas is almost 14% below the national level. This is what’s for sale now throughout Delta County, using listings on Realtor.com (which, like MarketWatch, is owned by News Corp.) St. Marys, Pennsylvania

The view east from Hyner View State Park, accessible by country lanes from St. Marys iStockphoto

You could explore rural Pennsylvania and West Virginia for options within your budget, but I’ve focused on St. Marys in the northern part of the state. It is a city of 12,000 people, about 45 miles north of Interstate 80 and 2½ hours south of Buffalo, NY, in an area that tourism people call the Pennsylvania Wilds region. They describe it as home to millions of acres of unspoiled forests and mountains. Median rents in Elk County, where 30,000 people live, are just under $ 600 a month and slightly lower than in neighboring Cameron County, which has just 4,500 residents. The cost of living is 10% below the national average. Winters here would be slightly warmer than those in Michigan and Maine, with average temperatures around freezing. Average summer highs are between 70 and 80 degrees. Annual snowfall averages 58 inches. Your trail hike could start with the West Creek Recreational Trail north of St Marys and head 19.5 miles east towards Emporium, a town of 2,000 people that calls itself the “Land of the Endless Mountains.” This is what’s on the market now in Elk County. Presque Isle, Maine

Maine Baxter State Park iStockphoto

Consider this your starting point for seeing the many small towns in rural Maine. With 9,000 residents, Presque Isle is the largest community in Maine’s northernmost county and the commercial center of the area. You can also look at Houlton (5,700 people), also in Aroostook County but further south. You could even hike between the two along the Southern Bangor and Aroostook Trail. Or consider Piscataquis County to the west (nearly 17,000 people). Baxter State Park and Mount Katahdin are in neighboring Penobscot County. The temperatures in this area are comparable to Escanaba, but you would have much more snow. Aroostook County also has more residents than Delta County, nearly 68,000, but it covers an area the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island. Median rent here is $ 574. This is what’s for sale now in Aroostook County. Readers, where do you think Lisa and her husband should retire? Leave your suggestions in the comments section.