A financially secure retirement is the result of two things – how much money you have, and how much money you spend. One way to tilt that equation in your favor is to relocate to a more affordable location when you step away from your career. This time-tested strategy explains why so many Floridians have a New York accent, and why half of older North Carolinians root for the Cincinnati Reds.
If you’re open to the idea of post-career relocation, take a look at this list of cities where a retired couple could (theoretically) live on just their Social Security benefits. Since you, no doubt, have more financial resources to draw upon in retirement, you might be able to live like a king and queen in these delightful little cities.
These locations are so affordable because of their low housing costs, for both renters and buyers. And if you can pay cash for your new place when you relocate from a major urban center? Well, you’ll live like and emperor and empress!
1. Boise, Idaho – This capital city offers retirees with paid-off homes extremely low housing costs, coming in at around $350 per month. Boise is home to a thriving arts and entertainment community that offers many free or low-cost events. Idaho residents 60 or older can take classes at Boise State University for just $5 per credit hour.
2. Cape Coral, Florida – With over 400 miles of canals, access to the Gulf of Mexico and the Caloosahatchee River, waterfront property is a way of life in Cape Coral. And a view of the water won’t cost you a fortune. The median monthly homeownership cost for people age 65 and older is $1,251 with a mortgage. The median rent is $983 per month.
3. Colorado Springs, Colorado – This rocky mountain city provides scenic beauty and low-cost living. For retirees who have paid off their mortgages, housing costs are around $393 per month. Retirees with a mortgage are looking at costs of about $1,221, and those looking to rent will pay about $827 per month.
4. Dayton, Ohio – Housing costs in Dayton come in at a median of $469 for retirees with a paid off house, $659 for renters, and $1,080 monthly for retirees with a mortgage. Also to consider: Dayton is home to several top-rated hospitals.
5. Grand Rapids, Michigan – Known for its art and culture scene, outdoor recreation and booming health care industry, Grand Rapids is remarkably affordable. Housing costs here see a median of $1,113 for retirees with a mortgage, $434 for retirees without a mortgage, and $726 per month for renters.
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6. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania– A paradise for sports fans, costs for retired homeowners in Pittsburgh range from $1,069 with a mortgage to $468 without one. The median rent for retirees is $617 per month.
7. Richmond, Virginia – A retired couple can live comfortably in the vibrant history-rich city of Richmond, which sits on the gorgeous James River just two hours south of the crazy-expensive Washington, DC area. The median retiree homeowner pays $1,282 per month with a mortgage. That number drops to $465 among retirees who have paid off their homes. The median rent is about $905 monthly.
8. Rochester, New York – Located on the southern shore of Lake Ontario, Rochester is known for its cold winters. But if you can weather the snow, you can live a relatively low-cost retirement. Retired residents pay a median of $1,179 per month with a mortgage and $555 with a paid-off house. Retirees who rent are charged a median of $778 per month.
9. San Antonio, Texas – Historic San Antonio is home to cutting edge technology at the University Hospital. And costs of living here are cheap. Renters pay a median of $816 per month, while homeowners pay a median of $1,146 monthly with a mortgage to $430 per month without one.
10. Spokane, Washington– A great place for nature and adventure enthusiasts, Spokane offers plenty of outdoor activities for a low overall cost of living. For retirees with a mortgage, housing costs are at a median of $1,130, but that drops to $425 per month among retirees who have paid off their home. Renters pay a median of $662 monthly.