Retire in Northeastern Nevada - on Social Security alone
(c) 2005, Mike Barkley

This is not a paid commercial, I'm presenting this because I'm impressed with the area and found no other resource that presents a comprehensive view of this sort for the region. There are other sites, like Best Places to Retire, but those seem to be for people with enough money to retire anywhere. This site is aimed at Californians facing tight times after retirement. Taxes are a big part of your decision, see Taxes by State for a quick summary of Nevada taxes in comparison with other states. For comparing other costs, see Compare Cities, although, for instance, it would depend on how much house you bought, etc.

A few years ago I drove to a convention in Salt Lake. On passing through the upper Humboldt River Valley I was impressed at how lush and green it was well into July - it is quite different from my previous impression of Nevada as all hot and dry. The Weather Channel confirms that the Northeastern Nevada high desert has generally cooler summers than Las Vegas or California's Central Valley. My wife's health has limited my ability to explore the region, but I remain interested in it.

Further examination on the Internet of the various small towns in the Interstate 80 and U.S. Highway 50 corridors shows me that no more than an 8 or 9 hour drive east of California's Bay Area is ample cheap housing - a person could sell their $500,000 California home, buy a site-built or manufactured house as cheap as $25,000 (although some of these seem like little more than miner's shacks), invest most of the rest, have enough left over to make the new home perfect, and still live comfortably within Social Security. What I have tried to collect here are Chamber of Commerce and City and County Government sites, mention of medical care, and real estate listings for each town. Among the listings there are duplicates and omissions, and I'm suspicious of the validity of the REO/foreclosure sites.

Elko is the population center of Northeastern Nevada, has all the modern conveniences, many chain stores, major banks, etc., has scheduled air service, and is aggressively marketed by a number of real estate professionals. Urban populations may be stagnant or falling throughout most of the region making it a buyer's market for housing. Housing is cheaper in outlying communities like Carlin, Battle Mountain, Eureka, Austin - or Ely which seems to be cheapest. Most communities have some medical care available and there are 4 hospitals. The I-80 corridor is served by Greyhound (click on "Locations by state"), but I find no scheduled bus service anywhere on U.S. 50. Elko is apparently served by North Eastern Area Transit (N.E.A.T.) but information on it on the internet is hard to find. There is mention of a Wendover Area Transit (W.A.T.) but I've not found any information on it. Amtrak's California Zephyr serves Elko & Winnemucca. Scenic Airlines provides daily Elko/Reno or North Las Vegas and Ely/North Las Vegas service.

Nevada Heritage reports 9 different years of heavy flooding on the Humboldt River - be careful where you buy. For extensive information on the Humboldt River, see the Humboldt River Chronology from the Nevada Division of Water Resources - Nevada has done a poor job of flood control on the Humboldt. Insulate your house - low temperatures across the region of 40 below zero or more, Fahrenheit, have been recorded.

Outside of hotel and fast food chains, the only chain affiliates I find on U.S. 50 are Ace & True-Value Hardware, but most communities are served by United Parcel Service, so with internet access and companies like Sears, Home Depot, HDSupply,, Hometown Favorites,, wisdomking discount medical supplies, etc. you can get most anything delivered promptly. These days, with satellite TV & satellite internet access (see DirecTV and DiRECWAY for instance, with satellite internet access not as fast as cable modem but a lot faster than dial-up) you can be physically remote but still tuned into the world.

In addition to the members lists for the Chambers of Commerce, use Yahoo Yellow Pages (for instance) to find what stores and services are available for each community.