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retire

Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!

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Retire in Signal Mountain, Tennessee?

Overview: Walden Ridge is a flat mountain ridge that marks the end of the Cumberland Plateau in southeastern Tennessee. On top of the ridge sits Signal Mountain, a town with a country feeling and a kind of mountain mystique.  

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Signal Mountain has little commercial development and is known for its very good public schools.  Pruett's is a popular local grocery, and the weekly farmers' market, which is held in its parking lot, has a good selection of jams, grass-fed beef, produce, dairy products and more.   Signal Mountain Playhouse is nestled in the woods and has two performances, one indoor and one outdoor, each year.   Of particular pride is the Mountain Opry, which has live blue grass music and mountain tunes performed by fiddlers, banjo-pickers and harmonica players every Friday night (admission is free).   Perhaps the main draw, though, is the proximity of Cumberland Trail, a 196-mile system of remote, scenic hiking trails that follows the ridges and gorges of the Cumberland Plateau.

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Neighborhoods are low density with wooded lots. Homes include ranch ramblers, bungalows, chalets, contemporaries and at least one flying saucer house.  Chattanooga is just eight miles away.

Population:  8,500 (city proper)

Percentage of Population Age 45 or Better:   48%

Cost of Living:  20% above the national average

Median Home Price: $325,000

Climate:  The area has a mild, humid four season climate.  Summer temperatures reach the upper 80s and low-90s, and winter temperatures are in the 30s, 40s and 50s.  The area receives, on average, 53 inches of rain and a dusting of snow per year. The elevation is 1,790 feet.

At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients?  No, but Chattanooga Healthcare System is in Chattanooga and accepts Medicare patients.

At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission?   No, but Chattanooga Healthcare System is in Chattanooga and is accredited.

Crime Rate:   Well below the national average

Public Transit:   No

Public Library:   Yes

Political Leanings:  Conservative

Is Tennessee Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement?   Somewhat

Cons:   The tornado risk is 128% higher than the national average.  

Notes:  Residents are well educated (68% have a college degree).   Many more services are in Chattanooga, which involves a drive down the mountain.  Signal Mountain has very little racial diversity and has grown by 22% within the last decade or two.

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Recommended as a Retirement Spot?    Yes

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Tennessee

Explorer DeSoto visited this area in 1540, and in 1763 England won the land by winning the Indian Wars.   Early pioneers named the new state Franklin, and in the mid-1780s, the region was allowed to send representatives to the legislature. The state joined the union in 1796 and the Confederacy during the Civil War. Many residents remained pro-Union and the state was the scene of extensive fighting.

Today the majority of Tennessee locals live in urban areas.  Textiles, chemicals, electrical machinery, leather goods and furniture are the state's primary products.   Tennessee also produces a lot of tobacco, but other income is derived from dairy products, livestock, nursery and greenhouse products, as well as cotton.

A few of the state's points of interest are the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Hermitage (home of Andrew Jackson), the American Museum at Oak Ridge (atomic energy), three national military parks, and Rock City Gardens (in Chattanooga).

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Stats:

Population - 6,651,218

Persons 65 years old and over - 15%

High school graduates, percent of persons age 25+ - 85%

Bachelor's degree or higher, pct of persons age 25+ - 24%

Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin, percent - 6%

White persons, not Hispanic, percent - 75%

Median household income - $45,219

Social Security taxed? No

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

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