The choice of where you want to spend your retirement years doesn’t only come down to money. Knowing that you can afford to live the lifestyle you want in retirement also plays an important role in choosing where you retire.
To help you answer the question, “How long will my retirement nest egg last?” GOBankingRates looked at the average costs for a 65-year-old for housing, utilities, groceries and healthcare in the largest 100 cities in the country. To put these costs in perspective, GOBankingRates took the approximate median nest egg retirees have saved — $150,000 — and subtracted one year’s worth of costs in each of the most affordable cities to show you how long your nest egg will last.
Read on to see how long your retirement savings will last in these 24 cities.
24. Lincoln, Neb.
Retiree cost of living: $42,233
Nest egg left over: $107,767
Lincoln, a city of almost 300,000 people, is the capital of Nebraska and home to the flagship campus of the state’s university system. Lincoln’s low cost of living is led by housing costs that are just 83 percent of the national average. Groceries and healthcare costs are also below the national average, at 92 percent and 97 percent, respectively. The only cost over the national average is utilities, at just 1 percent higher than average.
23. Jacksonville, Fla.
Retiree cost of living: $42,096
Nest egg left over: $107,904
If you’re looking to retire in a city with a northern feel but with Florida temperatures, consider Jacksonville. Jacksonville excels in low annual costs for housing at under $12,000, but its utility costs are 4 percent higher than the average. It also performed well in healthcare expenditures, at just 88 percent of the average, which can be quite important in your retirement years.
Want to Live in the South? These Southern Hidden Gem Cities Are Perfect for Retirees
22. Lexington-Fayette, Ky.
Retiree cost of living: $42,050
Nest egg left over: $107,950
Lexington-Fayette barely edged out Jacksonville for the 22nd spot on this list, with an overall cost of living of just $50 less per year. Even if you don’t love bluegrass music or horse racing, you’ll appreciate the lower housing costs — housing here costs just 84 percent of the national average. Plus, at just 90.3 percent of the national average, you’ll enjoy paying just $3,224 per year for groceries.
Retiree cost of living: $41,363
Nest egg left over: $108,637
Indianapolis is home to over 850,000 people and 500 miles of racing every Memorial Day Weekend. Indy’s lowest-cost category is housing, with costs under $12,000 per year. Utility and grocery costs are also almost 10 percent below national averages.
You might not like the healthcare costs, however. At an average of almost $6,800 per year, those costs are 13 percent higher than the national average. Indianapolis is one of the cheapest places to retire, according to a separate GOBankingRates study.
Retiree cost of living: $41,180
Nest egg left over: $108,820
Located just 40 miles northeast of Washington, more than 620,000 people call Baltimore home. Housing costs are just $10,008 per year, which reduces the overall cost of living.
However, Baltimore isn’t as budget-friendly in the remaining expenditure areas. Healthcare costs are right at the national average, but utilities are 6 percent higher than the national average and groceries are going to cost you at least 12 percent more than the national average.
19. Greensboro, N.C.
Retiree cost of living: $40,997
Nest egg left over: $109,003
Greensboro is the first city with an annual overall cost of living below $41,000. The utilities, groceries and healthcare costs are all right around the national average. But where Greensboro really stands out is housing, with costs at just 67 percent of the national average. Though the region is more working class, it also has a high education level due to the presence of University of North Carolina-Greensboro and other, smaller, liberal arts colleges.
Retiree cost of living: $40,265
Nest egg left over: $109,735
The Steel City is home to over 300,000 people as well as three professional sports teams: the Steelers, Pirates and Penguins. At $9,690, there aren’t many cities with lower annual housing expenditures. Annual healthcare costs of under $5,700 are also below the national average, as are the $3,441 utility costs. Yearly grocery costs, on the other hand, are just barely above the national average at almost $3,600.
17. Omaha, Neb.
Retiree cost of living: $40,265
Nest egg left over: $109,735
If you like living among the wealthy, including Warren Buffet, you’ll love Omaha: It has more millionaires per capita than any other U.S. city. It doesn’t have the prices to match because every category is under the average national cost. Housing costs of just over $12,000 are the lowest relative to the national average at 76 percent. The remaining categories are all between 92 and 98 percent of the national average.
16. Louisville, Ky.
Retiree cost of living: $40,220
Nest egg left over: $109,780
Louisville still carries a distinct Southern accent from its days as a wealthy river town. Today, it’s home to over 615,000 people, and costs remain relatively low. Utility costs will run you under $3,300 per year and medical costs fall below $5,400 per year, but housing is the big winner: At just under $12,000, the cost is only 75 percent of the national average.
15. Oklahoma City
Retiree cost of living: $39,899
Nest egg left over: $110,101
Oklahoma City has undergone a period of growth since the late 1990s and is a hub for the oil industry. Despite growing to over 630,000 people, the cost of living is still affordable, so you have a better answer to the question of “How long my retirement will last?”
Housing costs barely exceed $11,100, and groceries will run you less than $3,200 per year. The most expensive category is healthcare costs, which are 96 percent of the national average at just over $5,750.
14. Kansas City, Mo.
Retiree cost of living: $39,808
Nest egg left over: $110,192
Kansas City has almost half a million people on the Missouri side of the Kansas/Missouri border, and was ranked by Sperling’s Best Places as the ninth-best city for seniors in 2011. It’s also light on your wallet.
Average housing expenses run under $9,400 per year, which is less than 60 percent of the national average, and medical expenses are just over $5,750. But don’t expect a low utility bill: Average utility costs run almost $4,000 per year — 10 percent higher than the national average.
Retiree cost of living: $39,304
Nest egg left over: $110,696
Cincinnati is home to almost 300,000 people and sits at the crossroads of the country. The city is home to Procter & Gamble, which is its largest employer.
The city ranks slightly above the national average in grocery costs at almost $3,600 per year, and healthcare costs run just over $6,100 annually. But utility costs average less than $3,300 annually, and the city shines for its low housing costs at just 61 percent of the national average. Cincinnati has the 10th-cheapest apartment costs, according to a separate GOBankingRates study.
12. St. Louis
Retiree cost of living: $38,984
Nest egg left over: $111,016
If you can handle the hot and humid summers, you’ll enjoy living in the Gateway City. Though the population had been dwindling for decades, the downtown area has recently experienced a revitalization.
Housing costs are less than 60 percent of the national average at $9,372, and the annual grocery costs of $3,424 are also under the national average. Expect to shell out a little extra for your utilities, though, as St. Louis’ residents pay about 7 percent more than the national average.
11. Tulsa, Okla.
Retiree cost of living: $38,801
Nest egg left over: $111,199
Over 400,000 people call Tulsa home, enjoy the arts and culture of the city and tolerate the high summer temperatures. The average housing costs are just over $9,000, which can leave enough room in your budget to take a trip to avoid the summer heat. Grocery costs of $3,210 are less than 90 percent of the national average, and utility and healthcare costs also fall below national averages.
Affordable States for Retirees: Best and Worst States to Retire Rich
10. Wichita, Kan.
Retiree cost of living: $38,710
Nest egg left over: $111,290
At almost 400,000 people, Wichita is the largest city in Kansas, but you might feel a bit isolated in the middle of the state. However, living in Wichita can give you a better answer to “How long will my retirement funds last?” than many other cities.
Housing costs are the lowest category relative to the national average, at just 62 percent, and you’ll also save on groceries, which average 12 percent less than the national average. Medical costs and utilities are also below the national average, but not by much.
9. Corpus Christi, Texas
Retiree cost of living: $38,664
Nest egg left over: $111,336
Almost 325,000 people call this city on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, just north of the U.S.-Mexico border, home. Two naval air stations are nearby, as well as a Texas A&M campus in the city.
Although other areas of Texas are experiencing a housing bubble, Corpus Christi housing costs are great for retirees, averaging under $10,500 per year. You’ll save a bunch on groceries living here, with the average cost of under $2,900 being the lowest of any city on the list. But utilities will run you extra: Corpus Christi has the highest average utility cost per year of any city on this list at $4,044.
8. Columbus, Ohio
Retiree cost of living: $38,572
Nest egg left over: $111,428
If you want to live in a big city, but also near a university, Columbus might be the place for you. Home to over 850,000 people and The Ohio State University, the city has a diverse economy, with Nationwide Insurance, Wendy’s and Cardinal Health just some of the companies headquartered here.
The city’s low housing costs of just over $10,300 contribute heavily to its place on the list, though all categories are under the national average. Healthcare costs, however, are just under $6,000 per year, so you won’t save much versus the national average.
Retiree cost of living: $38,481
Nest egg left over: $111,519
If you like access to big city life without the price tag, Milwaukee might be the city for you — if you can stand the winters. Living in Milwaukee, you’re a short drive from Chicago, but without the high costs of living there.
Housing in Milwaukee is tied for the fifth-lowest of any city on the list at $8,260. However, groceries are only 3 percent cheaper than the national average, and you’ll pay a double-digit premium over the national average for utilities and healthcare, which cost almost $3,500 and $6,800 per year respectively.
6. El Paso, Texas
Retiree cost of living: $38,252
Nest egg left over: $111,748
If you don’t like spending the winter on Lake Michigan, El Paso also offers low costs with a dry climate and mild winters. However, there’s no booming metropolis nearby — like Chicago — for a weekend getaway.
Healthcare costs are the second-lowest of any city listed, coming in more than 10 percent below the national average. Housing is also inexpensive, at just over 60 percent of the national average, so you’ll have some room in your budget if you want to take a trip. But you won’t save much on groceries: At approximately $3,550, food costs are just a hair under the national average.
5. Fort Wayne, Ind.
Retiree cost of living: $37,154
Nest egg left over: $112,846
Home to over a quarter-million people, Fort Wayne is the second-largest city in Indiana. Despite its size, it still has a friendly feel, though it lacks friendly winter weather. You can expect to pay about $8,260 for housing in the city — barely more than half the national average.
Among the cities mentioned, Fort Wayne also has the lowest utility bills, at just over $2,900 per year. Living in Fort Wayne will only save you about 3 percent in medical costs versus the national average, though.
Retiree cost of living: $36,056
Nest egg left over: $113,945
Cleveland is home to less than 400,000 people, but has struggled with the changing economy because of its history as an industrial hub. The city just misses the top spot for the lowest overall costs of living, but takes the silver for housing costs, with an average of less than $4,500 per year.
Utilities are the only other category with costs below the national average, and only by 1 percent. Groceries average over $3,800 per year, and healthcare costs average almost $6,500. But the housing savings are so significant that Cleveland still scores very well overall.
Low Housing Costs: The Cheapest Places to Rent
3. Toledo, Ohio
Retiree cost of living: $35,095
Nest egg left over: $114,905
Another midwestern industrial town, Toledo has also struggled with the modernizing economy and still has an industrial feel to it. Despite the long, cold winters, the city’s cost of living can still bring a smile to your face when you answer “How long will my retirement savings last?”
At under $5,000 per year, only Cleveland and Detroit had lower housing expenses. However, don’t expect major savings in other areas. Groceries still cost about 95 percent of the national average, utilities are just a tick below the national average, and you’ll pay about a 3 percent premium for healthcare.
2. Memphis, Tenn.
Retiree cost of living: $33,859
Nest egg left over: $116,141
Memphis is the largest city in Tennessee, with over 650,000 residents and a wealth of entertainment and culture. But it won’t cost you a fortune to go walking in Memphis.
Its runner-up position in this study is fueled by housing costs that are just 40 percent of the national average, but the city also scores well across the board. You’ll save about 15 percent on utilities, 10 percent on groceries and 5 percent on healthcare, leaving you with over $116,000 in the coffers after a year of retirement.
Retiree cost of living: $33,356
Nest egg left over: $116,644
If you want the best answer for “How long will my money last in retirement? — look no further than Detroit. Detroit is only slightly larger than Memphis, with nearly 680,000 people calling it home, but it struggles with urban decay and crime. However, it is home to several professional teams, including the Pistons, Lions, Tigers and Red Wings — all of which play downtown.
Housing is incredibly inexpensive in the city, with average costs of under $3,200, a mere 20 percent of the national average. Grocery costs of $3,400 also save 5 percent against the national average, but you won’t see any savings in healthcare costs or utilities.
Methodology: GOBankingRates analyzed the top 100 largest cities U.S. by population and ranked them based on their cost of living for retirees 65 and older. In order to find the average annual expenditures for retirees, GOBankingRates.com used data from the BLS Consumer Expenditure Survey. Cost of living indices were taken from Sperling’s Best Places on Nov. 9, 2017.
About the Author