Are you considering joining the approximately 47 million Americans who are retired? You’re not alone. That’s approximately 14% of the U.S. population that has closed the door on the working world.
Making the decision to retire is momentous, but it leads to many other decisions. One of the biggest is where to live.
GOBankingRates is here to help, giving you the best cities to retire on a monthly budget of $3,000 or less for a person 65 and older. In addition to looking at the cost of living for each city, GOBankingRates used only cities that scored well for livability and had at least 10% of the population over the age of 65.
The numbers vary widely for the cities in our top 35. A one-bedroom apartment in Lubbock, Texas, rents for $690 per month, while the same in Boise, Idaho, will cost $1,420 per month. The average of the cities on our list is $1,066 per month.
Monthly grocery costs also show a wide range. The average is $399.14, while Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada, lead the way at $421.31. The lowest average on our list is Shreveport, Louisiana, at $374.77.
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The last price GOBankingRates measured was monthly healthcare cost, which averaged $415.36 among the top 35 cities. The numbers ranged from $351.60 in Tucson, Arizona, to $537.11 in Lincoln, Nebraska.
35. Boise, Idaho
Monthly expenses: $2,199.32
The largest city in Idaho kicks off this list, but it also scores highest in the AreaVibes livability ranking at 81. The monthly rent for a one-bedroom apart is high at $1,420, but the average monthly cost of groceries is on the low end of the spectrum at $386.30.
34. Virginia Beach, Virginia
Monthly expenses: $2,182.45
Healthcare costs are on the higher end here, at $469.38 per month, and this coastal town’s grocery bill also comes in higher, at $413.07.
33. Reno, Nevada
Monthly expenses: $2,108.21
Reno’s healthcare costs are a little lower, at $396.90, while the monthly cost of groceries is the highest on the list, at $421.31.
32. Las Vegas, Nevada
Monthly expenses: $2,089.50
Like its fellow Nevada city Reno, Las Vegas has the highest grocery costs, at $421.31.
31. Mesa, Arizona
Monthly expenses: $2,088.07
Mesa scores well on the livability index at 77, while the grocery costs are $400.30.
30. Phoenix, Arizona
Monthly expenses: $2,078.48
It costs a little less than Mesa to live in Phoenix ($1,280 for rent), but the city’s livability rating barely makes the cut at 65.
29. Jacksonville, Florida
Monthly expenses: $2,057.44
The Sunshine State city has healthcare costs on the higher end, at $418.91.
28. Forth Worth, Texas
Monthly expenses: $2,051.19
The home of the Stockyards in Texas has one of the lower percentages of residents over 65 years old, at just 11%.
27. Houston, Texas
Monthly expenses: $2,012.64
Another city with just 11% of the population at 65, Houston does have lower healthcare costs, at $398.63 per month.
26. Raleigh, North Carolina
Monthly expenses: $2,006.38
At $414.30, the monthly cost for groceries in Raleigh is on the higher side, leading to a score of 100.6 on the grocery cost-of-living index (the average score of the cities ranked is 96.9).
25. Durham, North Carolina
Monthly expenses: $2,005.87
The home of Duke University sports a surprising 15% of the population over 65, which seems high for a college town.
24. Aurora, Colorado
Monthly expenses: $2,005.78
Aurora’s grocery prices are higher than average at $408.95.
23. Norfolk, Virginia
Monthly expenses: $2,003.02
This town on Chesapeake Bay has some of the higher monthly healthcare costs, at $470.24.
22. Richmond, Virginia
Monthly expenses: $1,996.82
This is the first city on the list with monthly total expenses of less than $2,000, including monthly rent of $1,170.
21. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Monthly expenses: $1,965.68
Pittsburgh ties for the oldest population on the list, with 20% of the population aged 65 or older. The monthly healthcare costs are quite low, at $369.72 (average is $415.36).
20. Chattanooga, Tennessee
Monthly expenses: $1,956.93
Chattanooga features below-average monthly grocery prices of $399.48, But healthcare tilts a little high, at $437.46.
19. Knoxville, Tennessee
Monthly expenses: $1,913.17
The home of the University of Tennessee isn’t cheap, but the large retiree crowd (18%) has to appreciate that the monthly grocery bill ($400.30) is below average.
18. Colorado Springs, Colorado
Monthly expenses: $1,905.52
The population over 65 is only 13%, and the monthly grocery expenses are $405.24.
17. Madison, Wisconsin
Monthly expenses: $1,905.50
The monthly healthcare costs are quite low, at $372.31.
16. Lincoln, Nebraska
Monthly expenses: $1,878.24
The home of the Cornhuskers has the highest healthcare costs of the cities on the list, at $537.11. But average rent is just $940, which is why Lincoln sits in the middle of this list.
15. Spokane, Washington
Monthly expenses: $1,865.40
This inland Northwest city has the second-lowest monthly healthcare costs, at $358.51.
14. Arlington, Texas
Monthly expenses: $1,862.84
Arlington’s costs are close to average, but the livability index is high at 77.
13. San Antonio, Texas
Monthly expenses: $1,838.93
San Antonio’s monthly grocery costs are the second-lowest on the list, at $376.42.
12. Des Moines, Iowa
Monthly expenses: $1,820.63
Des Moines features relatively low rent ($930 per month) and monthly grocery costs ($395.36).
11. Greensboro, North Carolina
Monthly expenses: $1,779.02
Greensboro’s healthcare costs are on the higher side, at $484.48. But rent is $900 and groceries are $394.54.
10. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Monthly expenses: $1,725.63
Oklahoma City has the second-highest healthcare costs, at $505.62, which is 29.3% of the total cost of living for the city.
9. Corpus Christi, Texas
Monthly expenses: $1,718.34
The Texas coastal town has some of the lowest grocery costs, at $382.18.
8. Indianapolis, Indiana
Monthly expenses: $1,709.95
Indianapolis has a good combination, with below-average costs for both groceries ($385.48) and healthcare ($374.47).
7. Columbus, Ohio
Monthly expenses: $1,680.50
The home of Ohio State University has higher grocery costs ($406.89) but below-average health-care expenses ($373.61).
6. Cincinatti, Ohio
Monthly expenses: $1,640.38
The Queen City has the third-lowest healthcare costs, at $368.43 per month.
5. Laredo, Texas
Monthly expenses: $1,588.77
This Texas border town has the lowest percentage of population over 65 (9%).
4. Tucson, Arizona
Monthly expenses: $1,584.91
Tucson ties for the oldest population (20% at age 65 or older) but also has the lowest healthcare costs, at $351.60.
3. El Paso, Texas
Monthly expenses: $1,562.92
El Paso, another border town, features low healthcare ($374.04) and grocery ($378.79) costs.
2. Lubbock, Texas
Monthly expenses: $1,520.60
Lubbock sports the lowest rental costs for a one-bedroom apartment, at $690.
1. Shreveport, Louisiana
Monthly expenses: $1,498.65
Shreveport tops our list, with monthly expenses less than half of our target of $3,000.
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Methodology: To find the best cities to retire on a monthly budget of $3,000 or less, GOBankingRates first used Zumper’s March 2022 National Rent Report to find every city in the U.S. that has (1) an average monthly rent of $1,500 or less for a one-bedroom apartment. 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 2020 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 they 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 a person 65 or older could survive on $3,000 or less. In order for a city to be qualified for the study, it had to have a livabilty score of 65 or higher, as sourced from AreaVibes, and its population had to be 10% or more over the age of 65, according to the Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey. All data was collected on and up to date as of April 15, 2022.