Thanks to my poor financial planning, it'll be a significant number of years until I can comfortably retire. Perhaps never. That hasn't stopped me from thinking about places I might like to check out when I finally say, "That's enough!" of Montana winters.

Many folks in the Treasure State choose to head south when the season gets dark and cold. Some elect to relocate permanently. While Arizona has been (and remains) a popular choice, are more Montanans looking at New Mexico?

an RV park in the desert
Credit Josh Rath, TSM

A decent tax structure for retirees and a fairly low cost of living.

According to data compiled by the relocation company PODS, New Mexico can be a great alternative to Nevada or Arizona. They note,

New Mexico’s cost of living index is a whopping 88.4, compared to the U.S. average cost of living index of 100. Necessities such as groceries, healthcare, housing, and transportation are well under the U.S. average.

They ranked the best budget-friendly communities in New Mexico for retirement in this order: Las Cruces, Roswell, and Carlsbad.

snowy mountain range in NM
Montana? Guess again. This is New Mexico. Photo by Jess Drake on Unsplash

Extreme weather in New Mexico.

Montanans are quite familiar with extreme weather conditions. Our extreme generally swings to the cold side of the spectrum, whereas summer heat can certainly be an issue in much of New Mexico. It's not all deserts and cacti though. Mountain towns like Red River, NM (elevation 8,750 ft.) are quite similar to Montana in scenery and weather.

An "Earthship" sits in the desert. Credit Canva
An "Earthship" sits in the desert. Credit Canva

Great for alternative construction methods and off-grid living.

Many parts of New Mexico are hubs for interesting home designs and construction, including Earthships, cob homes, straw bale houses, and more. For those looking at going "off the grid", New Mexico might be right up your alley.

map of NM with moving trucks
Credit Canva

Who would your new neighbors be in New Mexico?

Okay, you've packed up your stuff, sold your home in Montana (hopefully for a tidy profit) and you're headed to your new life in New Mexico. Who else is moving into the state with you? According to a 2023 report by news station KRQE, most new transplants to the Land of Enchantment are coming from Texas, California, Colorado, and Arizona. Interestingly, those seem to be the same states that are moving into Montana.

LOOK: The 25 least expensive states to live in

Here are the top 25 states with the lowest cost of living in 2022, using data Stacker culled from the Council for Community and Economic Research.

Gallery Credit: Aubrey Jane McClaine

LOOK: See America's 50 Best Beach Towns

Every beach town has its share of pluses and minuses, which got us thinking about what makes a beach town the best one to live in. To find out, Stacker consulted data from WalletHub, released June 17, 2020, that compares U.S. beach towns. Ratings are based on six categories: affordability, weather, safety, economy, education and health, and quality of life. The cities ranged in population from 10,000 to 150,000, but they had to have at least one local beach listed on TripAdvisor. Read the full methodology here. From those rankings, we selected the top 50. Readers who live in California and Florida will be unsurprised to learn that many of towns featured here are in one of those two states.

Keep reading to see if your favorite beach town made the cut.

Gallery Credit: Keri Wiginton

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