3 Best Northeast Cities To Retire on a Budget of $2,000 a Month
Retirement is a unique time in life where you can set down the burdens of work and live at a more leisurely pace. If you like pastoral beauty and a slower pace of life, the United States’ northeastern states offer several nice cities that will fit with the budget you probably have on a fixed income.
As of June 2022, the average Social Security benefit is $1,542.22 per month, according to the Social Security Administration. A GOBankingRates study at the time found this is actually lower than the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in the U.S. — $1,927 per month. That alone makes it difficult to find cities where one can live on a $2,000 monthly budget, especially since there are other expenses to consider.
For this study, GOBankingRates found that the average annual cost of groceries in the U.S. is $4,942 — $411.83 monthly — while healthcare expenses average $5,177 per year — $431.42 monthly — to determine three cities where the total monthly expenditures were less than $2,000.
In addition to affordability, these Northeastern towns have a sizable 65 and older population. The U.S. average is 16%, and having folks of similar age can make a town feel immediately more comfortable.
To find the best Northeast cities to retire on a monthly budget of $2,000 or less, GOBankingRates gathered data from ApartmentList, Sperling’s Best, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey to find out the annual expenditures for a one-bedroom apartment, groceries and healthcare monthly. In order for a city to be qualified for the study, its population had to be 10% or more over the age of 65, according to the Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey; and must have a livability score of 65 or above, as sourced from AreaVibes.
- Monthly expenditures: $1,927.00
- 2022 1-bedroom rent: $1,129.83
- Livability score: 67
The town of Lowell, Massachusetts is known as the “birthplace of writer Jack Kerouac and the Industrial Revolution,” according to the University of Massachusetts website. People seeking to retire here will enjoy its deep historical ties, cultural richness and lovely scenery, including old mill buildings and cobblestone streets.
While it is a college town, and only about 12% of the population is age 65 or over, it’s a great place for retirees to consider, given the low cost of living. Here, your annual grocery cost will be less than $5,300 per year, and your annual healthcare cost is just a bit more than $4,300 per year. All told, you can comfortably get by on $2,000 per month.
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- Monthly expenditures: $1,968.52
- 2022 1-bedroom rent: $1,094.83
- Livability score: 66
Retirees with a love of the Northeast will want to consider making Allentown, the third largest city in Pennsylvania, their home. Here, 18% of the population is 65 or older, probably because it’s an incredibly affordable place to live. Annual grocery cost is just under $5,000, and annual healthcare cost is under $5,000 per year as well.
Additionally, it’s a city with a lot to offer. According to Allentown.gov, it has more parkland per capita than any other similarly-sized city in the U.S. Allentown is also comprised of several unique districts with their own flavor, where residents can find plenty of amenities, places to eat out, hear music, watch sports and much more.
- Monthly expenditures: $1,784.51
- 2022 1-bedroom rent: $998.83
- Livability score: 75
At the top of the list for best Northeast cities to retire is Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where 20% of population is age 65 or over. Here, your annual grocery cost is under $5,000, and your annual healthcare cost is less than $4,500 per year. Home to famous philanthropist Andrew Carnegie — along with being the birthplace of the steel industry and a hub for coal mining — Pittsburg is a town steeped in history and art, with plenty of museums and places of cultural significance.
It’s also physically beautiful, with rivers and trails, parks and gardens available for walking, riding. or biking. Finally, Pittsburgh boasts such attractions as the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, the Andy Warhol Museum, and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.
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Methodology: To find the best Northeast cities to retire on a monthly budget of $2,000 or less, GOBankingRates first used ApartmentList’s data to find (1) average 2022 rent in Northeast cities. GOBankingRates then used Sperling’s Best to find the cost of living index for each selected 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 to determine how much a person 65 and over would spend on groceries and healthcare in each city monthly. GOBankingRates then added monthly housing, grocery, and healthcare costs together to find where in the Northeast a person 65 and older could survive on $1,500 or less. In order for a city to be qualified for the study, its population had to be 10% or more over the age of 65, (4) according to the Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey; and (5) must have a livability score of 65 or above, as sourced from AreaVibes. All data was collected on and up to date as of July 25, 2022.