GOBankingRates

10 Best (and Worst) Places To Retire If You Have No Savings

AlenaMozhjer / Getty Images/iStockphoto

AlenaMozhjer / Getty Images/iStockphoto

When it comes to saving for retirement, many Americans have a lot of catching up to do. A GOBankingRates survey found that 40% of adults have less than $300 saved, which isn’t enough to live comfortably for even one year in retirement. Or is it?

If you have little to no savings and will likely have to rely on Social Security benefits, don’t assume that you won’t be able to have a comfortable retirement. There are places in the U.S. where you can get by without much in retirement savings.

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More: 27 Ugly Truths About Retirement

To identify those places, GOBankingRates analyzed the 300 largest cities in the U.S. and narrowed the list to 150 cities with a large population of adults ages 65 and older. These cities were then ranked based on the following factors:

  • Average home price, sourced from Zillow
  • Annual expenditures
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people
  • Whether the state taxes Social Security benefits, sourced from the AARP
  • Whether retirement income is taxed
  • Annual healthcare costs
  • Annual homemaker services costs
  • Annual home health aide costs

From that list we pulled the top 10 best places to retire, and the bottom 10 worst places to retire. On the whole, the best places to retire with no savings tend to be more affordable and relatively safe, and they have larger populations of older adults. The worst places for retirement tend to have a more expensive cost of living or other strikes against them, such as high crime rates.

Retire Comfortably
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10 Best Places To Retire With No Savings

Affordability is the key reason that these cities are the top 10 places to retire if you have no savings. Almost all have an average home price under $200,000. Plus, retirees can hang on to more of their income in these places because, with the exception of two cities in West Virginia and one in New Mexico, Social Security income isn’t taxed.

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10. Lewiston, Pennsylvania

  • Percentage of population 65 and older: 22%
  • Average home price: $134,250
  • Annual expenditures: $17,392.68
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 31.94
  • Tax on Social Security: No
  • Retirement income taxed: No
  • Annual healthcare cost: $19,500
  • Annual homemaker services cost: $59,488
  • Annual home health aide cost: $59,488
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9. Harrison, Arkansas

  • Percentage of population 65 and older: 22%
  • Average home price: $152,728
  • Annual expenditures: $15,787.52
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 21.65
  • Tax on Social Security: No
  • Retirement income taxed: Yes
  • Annual healthcare cost: $20,800
  • Annual homemaker services cost: $50,222
  • Annual home health aide cost: $50,336
andyKRAKOVSKI / Getty Images/iStockphoto

8. Freeport, Illinois

  • Percentage of population 65 and older: 23%
  • Average home price: $106,480.33
  • Annual expenditures: $18,730.85
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 20.94
  • Tax on Social Security: No
  • Retirement income taxed: No
  • Annual healthcare cost: $22,620
  • Annual homemaker services cost: $64,064
  • Annual home health aide cost: $64,064

Retire Comfortably
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7. Warren, Pennsylvania

  • Percentage of population 65 and older: 23%
  • Average home price: $108,551.67
  • Annual expenditures: $18,252.07
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 26.16
  • Tax on Social Security: No
  • Retirement income taxed: No
  • Annual healthcare cost: $19,500
  • Annual homemaker services cost: $59,488
  • Annual home health aide cost: $59,488
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6. Oil City, Pennsylvania

  • Percentage of population 65 and older: 23%
  • Average home price: $103,719
  • Annual expenditures: $18,045.65
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 16.85
  • Tax on Social Security: No
  • Retirement income taxed: No
  • Annual healthcare cost: $19,500
  • Annual homemaker services cost: $59,488
  • Annual home health aide cost: $59,488
A.F.Smith / Shutterstock.com

5. Johnstown, Pennsylvania

  • Percentage of population 65 and older: 23%
  • Average home price: $100,759
  • Annual expenditures: $15,613.34
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 52.96
  • Tax on Social Security: No
  • Retirement income taxed: No
  • Annual healthcare cost: $19,500
  • Annual homemaker services cost: $59,488
  • Annual home health aide cost: $59,488
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4. Martinsville, Virginia

  • Percentage of population 65 and older: 23%
  • Average home price: $98,798.67
  • Annual expenditures: $17,654.86
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 28.4
  • Tax on Social Security: No
  • Retirement income taxed: Yes
  • Annual healthcare cost: $20,280
  • Annual homemaker services cost: $57,200
  • Annual home health aide cost: $57,200
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3. Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina

  • Percentage of population 65 and older: 22%
  • Average home price: $92,265.67
  • Annual expenditures: $17,608.51
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 49.05
  • Tax on Social Security: No
  • Retirement income taxed: Yes
  • Annual healthcare cost: $14,365
  • Annual homemaker services cost: $52,624
  • Annual home health aide cost: $52,624

Retire Comfortably
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2. Weirton, West Virginia

  • Percentage of population 65 and older: 22%
  • Average home price: $105,358
  • Annual expenditures: $17,458.56
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 1.88
  • Tax on Social Security: Yes
  • Retirement income taxed: Yes
  • Annual healthcare cost: $13,000
  • Annual homemaker services cost: $42,328
  • Annual home health aide cost: $42,900
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1. Bluefield, West Virginia

  • Percentage of population 65 and older: 22%
  • Average home price: $94,766
  • Annual expenditures: $17,737.75
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 16.77
  • Tax on Social Security: Yes
  • Retirement income taxed: Yes
  • Annual healthcare cost: $13,000
  • Annual homemaker services cost: $42,328
  • Annual home health aide cost: $42,900
©Shutterstock.com

10 Worst Places To Retire With No Savings

These 10 places are not such great cities to retire if you have no savings. Most of these cities have home prices that range from $400,000 on the low side to almost $900,000 on the high end. While many of these cities do not tax Social Security benefits, most of them do tax retirement income.

Additionally, the safety in these cities varies wildly, and the annual costs of services and expenditures remain on the high end.

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10. Medford, Oregon

  • Percentage of population 65 and older: 22%
  • Average home price: $431,182
  • Annual expenditures: $18,270.07
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 46.88
  • Tax on Social Security: No
  • Retirement income taxed: Yes
  • Annual healthcare cost: $31,850
  • Annual homemaker services cost: $72,072
  • Annual home health aide cost: $73,216

Retire Comfortably
©Tiny Home Builders

9. Brookings, Oregon

  • Percentage of population 65 and older: 34%
  • Average home price: $427,599.67
  • Annual expenditures: $17,650.96
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 18.53
  • Tax on Social Security: No
  • Retirement income taxed: Yes
  • Annual healthcare cost: $31,850
  • Annual homemaker services cost: $72,072
  • Annual home health aide cost: $73,216
©Tiny Home Builders

8. Grants Pass, Oregon

  • Percentage of population 65 and older: 26%
  • Average home price: $415,667.33
  • Annual expenditures: $18,701.72
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 33.45
  • Tax on Social Security: No
  • Retirement income taxed: Yes
  • Annual healthcare cost: $31,850
  • Annual homemaker services cost: $72,072
  • Annual home health aide cost: $73,216
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7. Fredericksburg, Texas

  • Percentage of population 65 and older: 29%
  • Average home price: $467,014
  • Annual expenditures: $17,425.40
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 10.94
  • Tax on Social Security: No
  • Retirement income taxed: No
  • Annual healthcare cost: $9,230
  • Annual homemaker services cost: $54,912
  • Annual home health aide cost: $54,912
©Google Maps

6. Laconia, New Hampshire

  • Percentage of population 65 and older: 22%
  • Average home price: $405,711.33
  • Annual expenditures: $18,648.20
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 30.7
  • Tax on Social Security: No
  • Retirement income taxed: No
  • Annual healthcare cost: $22,100
  • Annual homemaker services cost: $72,072
  • Annual home health aide cost: $74,360
Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto

5. Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

  • Percentage of population 65 and older: 26%
  • Average home price: $450,442.33
  • Annual expenditures: $17,723.20
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 23.18
  • Tax on Social Security: No
  • Retirement income taxed: Yes
  • Annual healthcare cost: $16,900
  • Annual homemaker services cost: $53,196
  • Annual home health aide cost: $53,768

Retire Comfortably
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4. Sonora, California

  • Percentage of population 65 and older: 26%
  • Average home price: $400,879
  • Annual expenditures: $17,497.90
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 60.36
  • Tax on Social Security: No
  • Retirement income taxed: Yes
  • Annual healthcare cost: $22,100
  • Annual homemaker services cost: $73,216
  • Annual home health aide cost: $73,216
©Shutterstock.com

3. North Port, Florida

  • Percentage of population 65 and older: 32%
  • Average home price: $436,056
  • Annual expenditures: $18,483.37
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 11.66
  • Tax on Social Security: No
  • Retirement income taxed: No
  • Annual healthcare cost: $18,200
  • Annual homemaker services cost: $57,200
  • Annual home health aide cost: $57,200
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

2. Easton, Maryland

  • Percentage of population 65 and older: 29%
  • Average home price: $418,056.67
  • Annual expenditures: $17,066.98
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 18.77
  • Tax on Social Security: No
  • Retirement income taxed: Yes
  • Annual healthcare cost: $23,140
  • Annual homemaker services cost: $61,776
  • Annual home health aide cost: $61,776
Eloi_Omella / Getty Images

1. Montrose, California

  • Percentage of population 65 and older: 24%
  • Average home price: $385,110.33
  • Annual expenditures: $16,015.42
  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 32.87
  • Tax on Social Security: Yes
  • Retirement income taxed: Yes
  • Annual healthcare cost: $23,400
  • Annual homemaker services cost: $76,648
  • Annual home health aide cost: $76,648

More From GOBankingRates

Methodology: For this piece, GOBankingRates first found (1) the 100 towns or cities with the highest percentage of its population aged 65 years and older, as sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau 2020 American Community Survey. GOBankingRates analyzed those 100 cities across the following factors: (2) violent and property crimes per 1,000 residents, sourced from NeighborhoodScout; (3) the average 2022 median list price of a single family home in each city, as sourced from Zillow. GOBankingRates then took the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey’s 2020 annual expenditures for consumers 65 years and older for Groceries (“food at home”), Healthcare, Utilities (“utilities, fuels and public services”), and Transportation (gas, other fuels & motor oils” + ” other vehicle expenses”). These annual expenditures were then factored out for each city using Sperling’s Best Places Cost of Living Indices and combined to give a (4) total annual Cost of Living Expenditure for each city; (5) taxes on Social Security benefits and (6) retirement income, sourced from AARP. (7) The annual cost of an adult day health care service on the state level, (8) the annual cost of homemaker services on the state level, and (9) the annual cost of a home health aide on the state level were all sourced from Genworth’s annual Cost of Care Survey. These nine factors were then compiled and scored, with a lower score being better. All research was conducted and up to date on May 4, 2022.