Morrison at "All Doors Considered" has an interesting post about taking a trial run at retirement. But aside from the main points in her post, I was struck by one sentence where she posits that it is better (and certainly less expensive) to live in a small town rather than a big city. In her case, the big city is New York City, and the small town is in Rhode Island.
I agree that it is less expensive to retire to a small town, but you won't see Grace doing that.
Frankly, moving to the largest city in my state 20 years ago is one of the smartest and most soul-satisfying things I've ever done.
I didn't know how it would turn out, so I kept (and still have) my home in the much smaller coastal town where I grew up, reared two of my five children, and worked for 18 years.
I have good memories from that town, but I have better ones from the big city.
More to the point, I have better access to quality healthcare, public transportation (I'm something of a menace when I drive now--I can't imagine that it won't get worse as I get older), an amazing library system, local universities, not to mention great restaurants and an active cultural life. Not all of these things are more costly--I scout out all the freebies, which are more numerous here than they were in my hometown.
I've never quite understood the retirement dream of moving to a small town. A friend of mine did that a couple of years ago. He retired as a university professor (not from my city but from the second-largest city in the state) and moved to the beach. Financially, it was a success--but socially, not so much. He just moved back to his college-town and bought a condo. These days, if he wants to go to the beach, he drives the two hours there and gets a motel.