3 Best West Coast Cities To Retire on a Budget of $2,000 a Month

Woman jogs with her dog at the Spokane River promenade in downtown Spokane Washington USA at sunrise.
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If you’ve got West Coast dreams but only $2,000 to spread across any given 30-day period, your options are almost non-existent — almost. Although life is more expensive adjacent to the Pacific Ocean than in almost any other place on Earth, there is still a trio of West Coast cities where you can retire with just 20 $100 bills per month.

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To identify them, GOBankingRates used rent data from ApartmentList and cost-of-living data from Sperling’s Best, including the price of groceries and healthcare. To get a more accurate picture, the ranking included Bureau of Labor Statistics data on healthcare and grocery costs, too. People 65 and up had to constitute at least 10% of the population for any city to qualify, and all cities had to have AreaVibes livability scores of at least 65.

When reading, keep in mind that the average American city has a 65-and-over population of 16%. The national average for groceries is of $412 per month or $4,942 per year. The country’s average cost of healthcare is $431 per month or $5,177 per year — and that’s where retirees will really save. All three of the following cities keep their average annual healthcare costs under $4,600. In total, the average nationwide monthly expenditure for groceries and healthcare is $843.25. All three of the following cities are below that — you won’t do any better on the entire West Coast. See the three best West Coast cities to retire on $2,000 a month.

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Richland, Washington

  • Monthly expenditures: $1,950
  • Livability: 80

Richland has the highest rent of all three cities, with an average one-bedroom going for $1,176 a month. At $418 per month or $5,021 per year, groceries are more expensive there than in the other two cities as well — neither of those top $5,000. 

The good news is that health carecosts just $4,266 per year, the cheapest of all three cities — but the really good news is Richland’s exceptional livability score, which is 12 points higher than second place. 

AreaVibes scores it so high because of the city’s low crime rate, affordable rent and real estate, and low overall cost of living compared to Washington as a whole. A younger city than average, just 15.5% of Richland is 65 and older, the lowest of all three.

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Eugene, Oregon

  • Monthly expenditures: $1,830
  • Livability: 65

With an average monthly rent of $1,033, Eugene falls right in the middle on housing — same for groceries, which cost $4,986 per year. At $382 per month or $4,587 per year, healthcare is more expensive in Eugene than in the other two cities. With a 65-plus population of 16.6%, it’s the oldest city on the list and the only one that’s older than the national average.

Retire Comfortably

Its livability score barely meets the study’s threshold — it’s the lowest of the bunch and the only one that ranks below average. The city’s troubling crime rate, which is 49% higher than the state average, accounts for most of the low score. 

Spokane, Washington

  • Monthly expenditures: $1,683
  • Livability: 68

Coming in at No. 1 is Spokane, which boasts the only three-digit average monthly rent on the list — $917.60, to be exact. At $4,883 per year, it’s also the only city on the list where groceries cost less than the national average. Healthcare costs $359 per month, or $4,302 per year, and the 65-plus set represents 15.7% of the population. 

Spokane’s livability score is average; but, in terms of cost of living, AreaVibes ranks it as the No. 1 big city in Washington. 

More From GOBankingRates

Methodology: To find the best West Coast 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 West Coast 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 on the West Coast a person 65 and older could survive on $2,000 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 June 23, 2022.

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About the Author

Andrew Lisa has been writing professionally since 2001. An award-winning writer, Andrew was formerly one of the youngest nationally distributed columnists for the largest newspaper syndicate in the country, the Gannett News Service. He worked as the business section editor for amNewYork, the most widely distributed newspaper in Manhattan, and worked as a copy editor for TheStreet.com, a financial publication in the heart of Wall Street's investment community in New York City.
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