Authors: Jeanette Torres
(NEW YORK) -- Like millions of Americans, Judy and Leroy Snyder worried about whether they could afford to retire. She is a former secretary; he worked cranes on construction jobs.
When they decided to quit working in their early 60's, the couple put down roots right where they'd already been living -- in Pittsburgh. And it turns out they made a good choice.
Pittsburgh is one of 10 U.S. cities that offer what a new analysis calls a "rich retirement at a fraction of the cost." The analysis, commissioned by AARP The Magazine, began with one key question: Where could you live well on $100 a day, or an annual income of $36,500?
At a 25 percent tax rate, that's $27,375 in spendable income, or about $2,281 a month. If one spent about a third of that -- $720 -- on mortgage payments, one could buy a home that costs $192,000.
Housing costs though were just the starting point.
"Other criteria we used were crime, cost of living, climate," said Gabrielle Redford, editorial projects manager for AARP The Magazine. "We of course wanted health resources, doctors and hospitals. We looked at recreation, we looked at the arts."
A nearby college or university was a plus, so was easy access to an airport. AARP also factored in the number of sunny days a year.
Combining the hard economic numbers, with the softer quality of life issues brought a broad array of choices from all parts of the country.
"These are not necessarily retirement meccas," Redford said, "they are just great places to live and great places to retire."
Besides Pittsburgh, the other cities that grabbed the brass ring are San Antonio; Omaha, Neb.; Grand Junction, Colo.; Gainesville, Fla.; Spokane, Wash.; Las Cruces, N.M.; Eau Claire, Wis.; Morgantown, W.Va.; and Roanoke, Va.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio