The 25 Cheapest U.S. Cities to Live In

When it comes to cheap living, the best places to settle down are mostly south of the Mason-Dixon line. Texas, Tennessee and Arkansas are just a few states making multiple appearances on our list.

But if you're thinking about relocating to one of these cheapest cities to live in, just remember to weigh the pros and cons. A low cost of living is attractive, but the allure lessens if jobs are hard to come by, paychecks are small or the town offers little to do. Plan an extended visit to ensure the city fits your needs.

We compiled our rankings based on the Council for Community and Economic Research's calculations of living expenses in 270 urban areas. Its Cost of Living Index measures prices for housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, health care and miscellaneous goods and services such as going to a movie or getting your hair done at a salon.

Read on for our latest list of the cheapest U.S. cities to live in.

SEE MORE Millionaires in America 2020: All 50 States Ranked The Cost of Living Index is based on price data collected during the first quarter of 2020. City-level data on populations, household incomes and home values come from the U.S. Census Bureau. Urban area unemployment rates are as of Sept. 30 and are provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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11 Costly Medicare Mistakes You Should Avoid Making

Medicare covers the bulk of your health care expenses after you turn 65. But Medicare's rules can be confusing and mistakes costly. If you don't make the right choices to fill in the gaps, you could end up with high premiums and big out-of-pocket costs. Worse, if you miss key deadlines when signing up for Medicare, you could have a gap in coverage, miss out on valuable tax breaks, or get stuck with a penalty for the rest of your life.

Here are 11 common Medicare mistakes you should avoid making.

SEE MORE How to Pick the Right Medicare Plans for You

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Considering Real Estate? Know the ABCs of DSTs, TICs and 1031s

Investment real estate is the largest asset class in the U.S. behind the equity and bond markets. Millions of investors allocate some portion of their investment portfolio to income properties, including commercial and multifamily real estate, to diversify their assets and as part of a potential wealth-building strategy.

SEE MORE Why ‘Rent vs. Buy’ Is the Wrong Question

Before you invest in real estate — or add to your portfolio if you already own investment property — you should know about two increasingly popular passive investment vehicles, and one of the most attractive real estate tax benefits.

Two Ways to Passively Invest in Real Estate No. 1: Delaware Statutory Trusts

A Delaware Statutory Trust (DST) is an entity used to hold title to investments such as income-producing real estate. Most types of real estate can be owned in a DST, including industrial, multifamily, office and retail properties. Often, the properties are institutional quality similar to those owned by an insurance company or pension fund, such as a 500-unit Class A multifamily apartment community or a 50,000-square-foot industrial distribution facility subject to a 10- to 20-year lease with a Fortune 500 logistics and shipping company.

There can be up to 499 individual investors in a DST, typically. Each investor holds an undivided fractional interest in the property or properties (if the DST holds multiple assets), making the investor an owner. That said, decision-making authority typically rests with a trustee who is the asset manager designated by the sponsor of the DST offering. The asset manager takes care of the property day to day and handles all investor reporting and monthly distributions.

A DST is considered a security and is governed by securities laws. The typical minimum investment in a DST is $100,000. Owners of a DST receive an operating statement at the end of the year showing their pro-rata portion of property income and expenses, which investors input onto Schedule E of their tax return, in the same way that you would any other commercial or rental properties that you may own directly.

No. 2: Tenants-in-Common

A tenants-in-common (TIC) structure is another way to co-invest in real estate. With a TIC, the number of allowable invest

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Why a Massive Retirement Rush Is Underway

COVID-19 has changed the complexity of work, and a massive retirement rush is underway. With companies starting to return to the office or deciding to close for good, many employees between the ages of 58 and 65 are finding themselves contemplating retirement earlier than expected.

SEE MORE 7 Surprisingly Valuable Assets for a Happy Retirement

If you were close to retirement anyway, you may be wondering if returning to work is really worth the hassle and the risk to your health. It's time to stop wondering and work with a financial planner to see whether you can retire comfortably with reliable income sources.

The reality for older workers

This pandemic-prodded surge in people contemplating early retirement may be partly attributable to their getting used to having no commute and living in “athleisure” attire. Now, they are dreading a return to work attire and rush-hour traffic. However, for many, this contemplation is driven far more by the daunting fact that their work environments and expectations will be drastically changed when they return.

SEE MORE You’ve Been Forced into Early Retirement – Now What?

Teachers, for example, have had to master new technology and revamp their techniques for engaging students and providing feedback without the structure of a classroom. Working in a home environment with many distractions creates a stressful environment for everyone. A National Education Association poll found 28% of teachers said the COVID-19 pandemic made them more likely to retire early or change professions. In school districts opting for in-person classes, the numbers are higher, particularly for more experienced (i.e., older) teachers.

Health care workers are facing two realities in the crisis: Those on the front line are dealing with the stress of risking their health while being surrounded by the virus all day. Others have been laid off as elective procedures and non-emergency doctor and dentist visits are postponed indefinitely.

These examples illustrate some reasons early exits from the labor force are growing. Experts predict an estimated 4 million older workers will have left the labor force by October. This does hurt retirement savings in what would have been the crucial final years in the workforce, but many are finding their options a

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Stock Market Today: Stocks Seesaw on Stimulus Hopes

Wednesday's strong market open indicated that investors weren't hung up on last night's dispiriting first presidential debate. Instead, the session hinged on stimulus hopes … for better, and then for worse.

Stocks popped at the open and kept rising through midday ahead of a planned meeting between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Mnuchin said "I think there is a reasonable compromise here" and reportedly expects to counteroffer the House's $2.2 trillion bill with a $1.5 trillion plan.

SEE MORE 65 Best Dividend Stocks You Can Count On in 2020

But stocks cut some of their gains in the afternoon after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said "we are far apart" and indicated Republicans would not agree to $2.2 trillion in additional spending.

The result? The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which traded as high as 28,026 at Wednesday's highs, finished up 1.2% to 27,781.

Other action in the stock market today:

The Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.7% to 11,167.The S&P 500 improved by 0.8% to 3,363. The small-cap Russell 2000 edged 0.2% higher to 1,507. Shares of controversial big data and surveillance firm Palantir Technologies (PLTR) went public via a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange, gaining 34.2% from its $7.25 "reference price." Focus on the Big Picture

High levels of uncertainty around stimulus, the elections and COVID have put stocks in a holding pattern. The major indices are all effectively flat since mid-August, and most experts predict continued volatility at least through Election Day.

SEE MORE 15 Cheap Dividend Stocks Under $15

David Bahnsen, chief investment officer of California-based wealth manager The Bahnsen Group, doesn't view the presidency as the primary driver of the markets, but says "a lack of clarity around election results will facilitate more of the trading range we have been stuck in for quite some time."

"I believe there is a chance that in the weeks ahead, the presidential race gets more clarity, but the Senatorial races get less clarity," he adds.

That's a difficult environment for making short-term tactical tweaks and aggressive bets, but it's a fi

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