While the prospect of retirement can bring excitement and relief as it’s an end to work, and a time to live more slowly and leisurely, it can also be daunting to live with a strict budget from month to month. However, there are several factors to consider that can make the budgeting process less intimidating and allow people entering retirement to feel more prepared.
When choosing a city to retire in, it’s important to consider cost of housing, groceries, healthcare and overall livability. In order to streamline the process, GoBankingRates has compiled a list of the 11 best cities to retire with a budget of $2,500 a month.
13. Omaha, Nebraska
- Monthly expenditures: $2,499.39
- Livability: 72
Omaha’s rent falls in the middle range: A one-bedroom apartment averages $1,199. What ranks Omaha lower on the list, however, is the steep monthly healthcare cost of $670.19 and the hefty monthly grocery average of $362.01. Despite those sizable expenses, the livability in Omaha (72) is quite high.
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12. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
- Monthly expenditures: $2,481.37
- Livability: 69
Oklahoma City is similar in price range to Omaha: A one-bedroom apartment averages $1,187. Its monthly expenditures are fairly high, however, with healthcare costs of $622.16 and monthly grocery average of $317.27. It’s livability is a bit lower, but still decent.
11. Lafayette, Louisiana
- Monthly expenditures: $2,474.06
- Livability: 73
Lafayette has a high livability score, of 73, which makes up for its relatively high expenses, such as monthly healthcare costs, of $671.95 and grocery costs of $359.01. Its average monthly utilities costs, of $286.56, are significantly lower than the national average of $326.75.
10. Sioux Falls, South Dakota
- Monthly expenditures: $2,399.81
- Livability: 70
Sioux Falls lands at No. 10 on this list, with monthly rent at $1,109 and utilities among the most affordable on the list, at $314.99. Sioux Falls offers monthly living for under $2,400 and has a decent livability.
9. Abilene, Texas
- Monthly expenditures: $2,376.72
- Livability: 75
Abilene has one of the highest livability scores on this list, which is probably why some of its monthly expenses are more expensive here than other cities on the list. Monthly grocery costs average $344.40, monthly utilities, $344.72, and monthly healthcare costs are the highest on the list at $683.08.
8. Brownsville, Texas
- Monthly expenditures: $2,364.89
- Liability: 73
Brownsville is one of the towns where the major expenses all fall under the national average. Monthly grocery costs are $336.53, healthcare costs are $585.83, and utilities at $298.65. You can rent a one-bedroom here for $1,144.
7. Lake Charles, Louisiana
- Monthly expenditures: $2,352.07
- Livability: 70
Lake Charles features a monthly rent of $1,113. The city does showcase pricier monthly grocery costs, at $348.14 and healthcare costs at $596.96.
6. Ft. Wayne, Indiana
- Monthly expenditures: $2,329.31
- Livability: 75
Ft. Wayne has one of the highest livability scores on the list, at 75. The rent for Sebring falls at $1,124 for one bedroom, and the other monthly costs are reasonable. Monthly grocery costs are $342.52 and healthcare costs are $566.50.
5. Cedar Rapids, Iowa
- Monthly expenditures: $2,320.83
- Livability: 76
Cedar Rapids is a great place for folks looking to retire comfortably, with a high livability score, 76, and a monthly one-bedroom rent at $1,034.
4. Des Moines, Iowa
- Monthly expenditures: $2,308.39
- Livability: 75
Des Moines offers a one-bedroom apartment for an average of $1,056 and low monthly utilities costs, at $292.77. The monthly healthcare costs in Des Moines are $599.89 and grocery costs are a little higher than other cities, at $359.76, but still lower than the national average.
3. Lansing, Michigan
- Monthly expenditures: $2,251.57
- Livability: 66
Lansing is a top contender for retirees as it offers the lowest monthly healthcare costs on this list, at $514.95. With rent costing $1,076 for a one-bedroom apartment, the city offers multiple appealing factors for those looking to find a place to settle down during their retirement.
2. Shreveport, Louisiana
- Monthly expenditures: $2,244.22
- Livability: 65
Shreveport takes second place on this list, with rent costing $1,036 and a relatively low healthcare cost of $562.99. While this city features a lower livability number, the great rent and healthcare costs make it a fantastic city for retirement.
1. Edinburg, Texas
- Monthly expenditures: $2,152.03
- Livability: 77
Edinburg made the No. 1 spot as the best city to retire on a monthly budget of $2,500 or less by offering the most budget-friendly expenditures compared to the rest of the U.S. and the top livability score among these 13 cities. Rent averages $944, $1,010 less than the U.S. mean. Groceries typically cost $342.52, and healthcare is $572.36.
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Methodology: To find the best cities to retire on a monthly budget of $2,500 dollars or less, GOBankingRates first isolated the 300 largest rental markets according to Zillow’s 2022 rent data. Using this same Zillow rent data GOBankingRates then found the cities that have an (1) average 2022 monthly rent of $1,250 dollars or less. GOBankingRates then used Sperling’s Best to find the cost of living index for each listed city, looking at (2) grocery and (3) healthcare index scores. Next, GOBankingRates used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 Consumer Expenditure Survey to find the annual expenditure amount for both grocery (“food at home”) and healthcare costs for people aged 65 and older in order to find how much a person 65 and over would spend on groceries and healthcare in each city on a monthly basis. GOBankingRates then added monthly housing, grocery, and healthcare costs together to find where in the a person 65 and older could survive on $2,500 or less. In order for a city to be qualified for the study the city had to have a livability score above 65, (5) as sourced from AreaVibes. All data was collected on and up to date as of December 15, 2022.