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Retirement Tips

Looking for the Cheapest Places to Retire? Try These 10 Cities

10 Cheap Places to Retire

  • Augusta, Georgia
  • Birmingham, Alabama
  • Brownsville, Texas
  • Gainesville, Florida
  • Memphis, Tennessee
  • Pensacola, Florida
  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • Rochester, New York
  • Spokane, Washington
  • Tampa, Florida

Get the details below.

Packing up and moving to a warmer climate after retirement is a common American dream. But not everyone can afford a grand home on the beach or in the desert. Many retirees are finding the most common retirement destinations to be, well, a little pricey. Where, they wonder, are the cheapest places to retire?

Maybe it’s time to think outside the typical senior box and consider some cities where living is a little more affordable for those on a fixed income. And keep in mind, your options don’t all have to be warm-weather cities. After all, not everyone can take the heat!

Here’s a look at some of the cheapest places to retire comfortably, based on data from a recent GOBankingRates analysis. The website calculated annual costs for residents 65 and older by considering the overall cost of living plus the cost of housing, groceries, transportation, utilities, and health.

Cheap Places to Retire in Florida

Pensacola Beach, Florida

Pensacola is a beach that won’t break the bank.

Let’s start with a state that has no income tax – Florida. While Naples and Palm Beach are two of the most popular places for retirees, they have high costs of living. Many other Florida cities offer the same great climate without breaking your budget. Here are a few of the cheapest places to retire.

  • Pensacola: This coastal city on the Gulf of Mexico in Florida’s western Panhandle is often overlooked. Home to the Navy’s Blue Angels, Pensacola is a favorite retirement spot for government and military families. Fishing and boating are among the many recreational activities in the area. Annual costs: $41,541 
    Pensacola-area retirement communities
  • Gainesville: Located in the north-central part of the state, Gainesville is home to the University of Florida Gators as well as real alligators, turtles, and bats. A college town atmosphere is prevalent here, and while it’s not on the ocean, there’s plenty to do on nearby Lake Alice. Annual costs: $41,996 
    Gainesville-area retirement communities
  • Tampa: If your dream retirement city includes a sandy beach and spectacular sunset, Tampa’s a great choice. The cost of living is below the national average. Health care costs are reasonable. You’re near Tampa Bay area beaches. And there are plenty of outdoor activities as well as major sports teams to keep you young at heart. Annual costs: $43,056
    Tampa retirement communities

 

Cheap Places to Retire in the South

Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama, was ranked the No. 1 cheapest place to retire.

Florida, of course, doesn’t have a corner on warm weather. If the Sunshine State isn’t your cup of tea, how about one of these other Southern cities? These three are even cheaper than their Florida counterparts.

  • Birmingham, AL: This city actually tops GOBankingRates’ list of cheapest places to retire, with the cost of living coming in at a whopping 25 percent below the national average. Low costs for transportation and housing are major factors. Parks, golf courses, fishing and the University of Alabama at Birmingham are big draws, too. Annual costs: $33,219
    Birmingham-area retirement communities
  • Memphis, TN: It may not be Florida, but Tennessee does offer relatively mild winters along with top-notch health care. And the cost of living can’t be beaten. Annual costs: $33,859
    Memphis retirement communities
  • Augusta, GA: Those familiar with the Masters Golf Tournament will surely smile at this option. Health care and housing top the list of bargains for those over 65 as well. Annual costs: $35,781
    Augusta-area retirement communities

 

Cheap Places to Retire in the West

Phoenix, Arizona, desert scene

Temperatures are high and costs are low in Phoenix, Arizona.

Or maybe settling farther west is more to your liking. The dream of a desert retirement isn’t impossible.

  • Brownsville, TX: This southern Texas town has it all – warm weather, beaches, and cheap prices on groceries, housing and health care. Brownsville is part of the Corpus Christi metro area. Annual costs: $35,461
    Corpus Christi-area retirement communities
  • Phoenix, AZ: If you like the heat but not humidly, Phoenix may be the place for you. Golf courses, shopping, and hiking are all popular here. Another bonus? No tax on your Social Security check could help stretch your income. Annual costs: $41,837
    Phoenix retirement communities
  • Spokane, WA: More temperate than hot, you can afford to heat your home and burn the midnight oil in Spokane, with one of the lowest utility costs in the country. Plus, this is a scenic town in a state with no income tax. Not bad. Annual costs: $43,102
    Spokane retirement communities

 

And One Cheap Place to Retire in the Northeast

Rochester, New York

You might fall for Rochester, New York, if you like winter.

For those who prefer north to south and snow to sand, why not think way outside the box?

  • Rochester, NY: This one doesn’t offer year-round warmth, but there’s still plenty to like about Rochester. The average monthly housing cost comes in at just $742. Winter enthusiasts will love the nearby skiing and skating. And the snow does melt eventually, making walkers, bikers, and golfers pretty happy, too. Annual costs: $37,611
    Rochester-area retirement communities

So, if you’re looking to retire somewhere other than where you live now, you have plenty of cities to consider. And these cheapest places to retire won’t shatter your savings. Start your retirement research early and be sure to factor in cost, climate, and the activities that will suit your lifestyle.

Sources: AARP, USA Today, CBS News, and GOBankingRates using data from Sperling’s Best Places and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey.

What do you think? Are there other cities you’d recommend among the cheapest places to retire? Tell us about them in the comments below.

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  • Sue Sveum

    About :

    After helping her own parents as they aged, Sue began working with other seniors, and now shares what she learned in her blogs for seniors and their families. She currently writes about seniors and healthcare for several websites but her past includes diverse topics ranging from dogs to weddings to ghosts. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin with her husband and Golden retriever, Wrigley.

    Comments

    1. I would like to live in WA state, Lynwood, Bellevue, Kent, or outlying areas in a seniors only secured community I live on $3,200 a month. Is WA state an economic place to live?
      Thanks for any help offered.
      Carole

    2. Hi, you’ve given me some ideas and I appreciate that.
      The most Southern of the states frighten me. With the hurricanes, flooding, etc., I would never move there.
      Northern part gets really cold in the winter.
      I have been to NY, what an incredible, beautiful state, however, in the winter, it’s horrible. Most people when they think of NY they only think of the city which is a shame because that state, with its parks, mountains, valleys, is seriously gorgeous.
      I guess, I am looking more for the South West; even though I like “green,” the warm weather would help with the arthritis and help my hubby too.

    3. Victoria Coradin says:

      I am on a fixed income. I get $1,300 from Social Security and do work independently. Sick and tired of the nasty NY weather therefore looking to move to Florida. I need something affordable so I can pay for my car expenses, utility bills, food etc.

      • Hello Victoria, I have pulled up a search result for Florida (www.after55.com/senior-housing/fl). Please feel free to narrow down the search result based on your needs and specific area you are interested in moving to. Best of luck with your housing search!

    4. Sandra Richmond says:

      What is available in Levittown!PA or Yardley,PA for 55 + to rent or buy and prices please.

      • Hi Sandra. I’ve pulled a search result for after 55 properties in the Levittown (www.after55.com/senior-housing/pa/metro-philadelphia/levittown) and Yardley (www.after55.com/senior-housing/pa/metro-philadelphia/yardley) areas. Please feel free to filter these results based on your needs. Best of luck in your housing search

    5. Maria Elena Cabrera says:

      Hi!
      Yo vivo sola, soy senior trabajo un part-time en una academy the pre-school en orlando Fl., by l want buscar un apt. para senior de bajo costo alrededor de $500 mensuales en un area segura para mi, si saben de alguna comunidad en una area buena y accesible me pueden escribir a mi correo.
      Gracias de antemano.

      • He sacado un resultado de búsqueda para propiedades de 55+ en el área de Orlando (www.after55.com/senior-housing/fl/metro-orlando/orlando). Por favor, siéntase libre de filtrar estos resultados según sus necesidades. Buenas suertes en su búsqueda de vivienda.

    6. Melody Best says:

      Thank you for more options. Since retirement a couple of years ago,all the magazine’s show very expensive housing for seniors to retire. I plan to investigate a few of the ones you listed.

      • Annie Clifton says:

        Don’t move to Colorado. The mountains are beautiful but it’s getting very crowded here. Some call it “Little LA” others call it “Little NY”.
        The waiting list into a 55 and older communities is 4years! . Taxes are almost 9 percent and just buying milk they tax you. I am looking into moving to Minnesota. No mountains but they have beautiful lakes!

    7. Helen pena says:

      I’m looking to move from Lakewood co to Florida I live on $3600 a month from ssdisability and my pension I would like to live in a 55+ community I would try a Mobil home with 2 beds and 2 baths for myself I do not drive anymore because I have md in my eye area I need to have transportation to medical treatments for my eyes I currently go to the UCHHealth in aura co for my treatments I would like to live somewhere close to shopping for groceries and buying my medications I am looking to move from feb 2018 to June 2018

      • Hello, Helen.

        You will find lots of 55+ communities in Florida at https://www.after55.com/senior-housing/fl

        Since you mention a mobile home, you might want to pick a metro area in Florida, then look for the links to “Manufactured Homes” under “Senior Housing Options.”

        – Mark, After55.com

      • Judy Wells says:

        Hi, I live in Dunedin on Florida’s Gulf Coast. It is so beautiful here. You can live in an independent living center on that income, and it provides transportation, meals, housekeeping, entertainment. In Pinellas County, by Tampa, seniors can get cab rides anywhere within the county for $5. Lots of opportunities for seniors. No State income tax. I would not aim for a mobile home park. Too many other pretty housing possibilities here. Good luck to you!
        Judy

    8. Phoenix- no tax on social security is wrong. I live in Tucson. A percentage of your social security is taxed. You need to get correct information before you post stuff on the internet

      • Clinton, thank you for stopping by and giving your feedback. We try to be as accurate as we possibly can at After55.com. Although the state of Arizona does not tax social security, there are some instances where the federal government could tax social security income. However, we do appreciate you pointing out that there are instances where social security can be taxed. Thanks again for stopping by.

    9. Kathleen Peluso says:

      Yes, I would recommend Lake Isabella, CA or any of the small towns near here. It’s a beautiful mountain town with the Kern river running through it. Quiet, clean, mountainous, lots of retired people live here and it’s affordable. I love it here, they call it Californias best kept secret, and they are right.

    10. Tammy Driver says:

      I would like to see an article like this, for places which have a population under 2500

      • That’s a good question, Tammy. I’ve made a note to look into that for a possible future article.

        Readers: Do you have suggestions for the best small towns for retirement?

        – Mark, After55.com

        • Well, I would check out the mountains of NC, TN, Va and Northern Georgia I hear is very good for retirement. I have read many ppl move from Fla to mountains of NC and Georgia. Look into Franklin NC

      • Angelins Sigua says:

        I would love to find a place for myself that is affordable to me.Currently I’m renting a room that cost 60 percent of my paycheck. I can’t wait to find that certain place that is for myself only not living with other people.Is there such a thing?

    11. Julie Correia says:

      We are interested in finding a 55+ retirement community near the L A area (north or south). We know that prices here are high, but we’d like something reasonable!

    12. Carlos Mendez says:

      Hello Sue,
      As someone in transition towards retirement I find your city options very enticing and some revealing like Brownsville TX & Tampa FL! Thank you so much. Yours truly, Carlos.

    13. sherry whitehead says:

      I am 73 and want to retire within two years

      the only income I will have is social security monthly $1473.00

      I want to work part-time to help with social security.

      I have two cats.

      My credit is good.

      I need help find a place to live on social security.

      I would prefer to stay in Calif.

      thank you for your help

    14. Wayne Randall says:

      Interested in one bed room interdependent apt.

      Albuquerque, NM

    15. Deanna Everts says:

      Looking. Least expensive. Then other factors to consider. Only on income.

    16. Kimberly Sullivan says:

      I am living on disability, about 1900 a month. I’m willing to move out of the country, if necessary, to find a better standard of living. Can you provide me some direction?

    17. Joanne Kenzy says:

      The word used was cheap! In my household, after working full-time 54 years. these places are not cheap. No raises in the social security for the last 3 years. Inflation at work. Government manipulators at work. So I have at 77 gone back to work. I did a book this year. Help out with buying a few books. For-go the Starbucks for a month! Blessings!

    18. What about Melbourne/Viera Fl
      Great housing, medical and shopping. 45 minutes to Orlando airport or the attractions. Still a small town feel

    19. Am on a fix I come only get #790.mnothly and section 8 voucher let me know if I qualified thank Happy New Years

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