Places Where Your Retirement Will Cost Less Than $50,000 a Year

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The last thing anyone wants in retirement is to see their hard-earned savings eaten away by everyday expenses. However, you can spend less and save more if you simply avoid places with high costs of living.

In a recent study, GOBankingRates crunched the numbers in all 50 states to determine the cities where you can retire for less than $50,000 a year. The study analyzed the overall cost-of-living index as well as other cost-of-living factors — such as groceries, housing, utilities, transportation and health care — then multiplied these indices by the average annual expenditures of an American aged 65 and older. Based on the study’s results, look primarily to the Midwest and the South if you want to retire someplace affordable.

Last updated: Oct. 26, 2020

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41. Fresno, Calif.

  • Annual Expenditure: $48,776

Though you can retire to all the cities on this list for less than $50,000 a year, the difference between the highest- and lowest-ranked cities is over $15,000. Fresno’s cost of living is 6.6 percent more than the U.S. average, but it’s still one of the best places to retire with low rent.

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40. Colorado Springs, Colo.

  • Annual Expenditure: $48,044

At $19,256, which is 24 percent above the national average, the housing costs in Colorado Springs are the most expensive on this list. Consider taking a vacation to scope out your potential new home — Colorado Springs is one of the best trips for soon-to-be retirees.

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39. Las Vegas, Nev.

  • Annual Expenditure: $47,815

Although the costs for groceries, housing, transportation and health care are all higher than average, your utilities bill in Las Vegas would be 10 percent cheaper compared to the rest of America.


38. Houston, Texas

  • Annual Expenditure: $46,808

Groceries cost only $2,859 annually in Houston, which is 15.8 percent lower than the U.S. average as well as the cheapest on this list. Keep this city in mind for retirement, because Houston is also the place where your $1 million nest egg will last the longest.

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37. Raleigh, N.C.

  • Annual Expenditure: $46,717

You can get both transportation and health care for slightly less in Raleigh at $6,709 and $5,641, respectively, but other costs are more expensive than average.

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36. Mesa, Ariz.

  • Annual Expenditure: $46,671

Housing might be 11% which is 5% cheaper than the national mean. If you’re thinking about living in the Grand Canyon State, Mesa is one of the great places to retire with cheap rent.

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35. Atlanta, Ga.

  • Annual Expenditure: $46,580

Your annual grocery bill and transportation costs will be slightly more expensive at $3,504 and $7,120, respectively. Unfortunately, Atlanta is one of the places where retirees are struggling to get by.

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34. St. Paul, Minn.

  • Annual Expenditure: $46,305

With its cheaper housing costs, St. Paul is one of the places you should really consider for retirement. You’ll pay $14,287 a year to live in this city — saving 8% compared to the rest of America.

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33. Nashville, Tenn.

  • Annual Expenditure: $45,573

You won’t find less expensive healthcare on this list. Nashville residents spend only $4,950 a year on health care, which is 14% below the national average.

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32. Philadelphia, Pa.

  • Annual Expenditure: $45,527

As one of the places in the U.S. that are getting poorer, Philadelphia might concern residents who want higher salaries. Plus, the city has high grocery and utility costs, both of which are at least 20% more expensive than the U.S. mean.

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31. Phoenix, Ariz.

  • Annual Expenditure: $45,481

Phoenix has one of the best neighborhoods to retire in across America, and for good reason: Health care expenses total $5,468 annually, which is 5% cheaper compared to the rest of the U.S.

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30. Albuquerque, N.M.

  • Annual Expenditure: $44,521

At a yearly cost of $6,435, transportation in Albuquerque is 6% less expensive than the national average. Health care comes at a discount as well — it’ll take $5,526 out of your pocket annually.

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29. Charlotte, N.C.

  • Annual Expenditure: $44,475

With an annual cost of $3,524, groceries are the only category in Charlotte that is more expensive than average. However, prospective residents might want to know that Charlotte is one of the cities in the U.S. where retirees are struggling.

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28. Arlington, Texas

  • Annual Expenditure: $44,383

Arlington’s transportation costs of $6,298 are the second-cheapest in the nation, but its healthcare bill is a staggering 21 percent above average. Luckily, this city is one of the top 20 places where your retirement savings will last the longest.

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27. New Orleans, La.

  • Annual Expenditure: $44,109

The annual utilities bill in New Orleans is $3,153, which is 13 percent cheaper than average and one of the lowest amounts on this list. That’s likely one of the reasons why New Orleans can count itself among the best places for retirees.

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26. Orlando, Fla.

  • Annual Expenditure: $44,063

Home to Walt Disney World, Orlando is an affordable city for active retirees. Health care and transportation are less expensive compared to the rest of the U.S. at $5,411 and $6,709, respectively.

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25. Fort Worth, Texas

  • Annual Expenditure: $43,651

Fort Worth’s grocery, utility, transportation and health care costs are identical to Arlington’s, but Fort Worth ranks higher on this list due to its slightly cheaper housing bill.

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24. Tucson, Ariz.

  • Annual Expenditure: $43,560

Overall, Arizona is one of the top 20 states where it’s easiest to save $1 million for retirement. It’s not difficult to see why: Tucson’s utilities are 12% less expensive than average, and you can save 17% on housing.

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23. Dallas, Texas

  • Annual Expenditure: $43,560

Like in Tucson, the cost of living in Dallas is 4.8% cheaper compared to the rest of America.

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22. Tampa, Fla.

  • Annual Expenditure: $43,056

Tampa is considered one of the cheapest places to retire because expenses tend to fall below the national average. At $7,051, only transportation costs exceed the U.S. mean — by 3%.

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21. San Antonio, Texas

  • Annual Expenditure: $42,645

San Antonio boasts the cheapest utility costs on this list at $3,044 a year, which is 16% less expensive than the U.S. average. It’s also one of the top 10 cities where your savings will last the longest in retirement.

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20. Lincoln, Neb.

  • Annual Expenditure: $42,233

Lincoln is one of the cities where your money stretches the furthest. You can find housing for $12,889 a year, which is 17% cheaper compared to the rest of the U.S.


19. Jacksonville, Fla.

  • Annual Expenditure: $42,096

Though transportation costs in Jacksonville are 9% higher than average, you can score housing for $11,647 a year, which is a significant 25% savings.

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18. Lexington-Fayette, Ky.

  • Annual Expenditure: $42,050

Lexington’s low cost of living, which is 8.1% less expensive than average, makes it one of the cheapest cities for retirees. Groceries are a steal at $3,066 — you’ll save 9.7%.

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17. Indianapolis, Ind.

  • Annual Expenditure: $41,363

Despite its hefty healthcare bill of $6,504 a year, which is 13% more expensive than average, Indianapolis is still one of the best cities to retire rich. You can save 26% on housing in the capital city of Indiana.

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16. Baltimore, Md.

  • Annual Expenditure: $41,180

Although grocery costs might be concerning at $3,819 a year, which is 12.5% higher than the U.S. average, Baltimore is still one of the best places for Americans to retire. At 37% cheaper, housing is a major draw.

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15. Greensboro, N.C.

  • Annual Expenditure: $40,997

Most costs in Greensboro hover around the national average, but housing is a particular steal at $10,404, which is 33% less expensive. Greensboro counts among the best places to retire on a budget.

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14. Pittsburgh, Pa.

  • Annual Expenditure: $40,265

In Pittsburgh, you can save on housing by a whopping 39% at $9,473 a year. With those numbers in mind, Pittsburgh is another one of the places you should consider for retirement.

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13. Omaha, Neb.

  • Annual Expenditure: $40,265

Like in Pittsburgh, the cost of living in Omaha is 12% less expensive compared to the rest of America. In fact, all of Omaha’s cost-of-living categories are cheaper than average.

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12. Louisville, Ky.

  • Annual Expenditure: $40,220

Louisville is one of the best cities for your retirement nest egg because you’ll spend only $5,180 a year on health care, saving 10% compared to the rest of the U.S.

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11. Oklahoma City, Okla.

  • Annual Expenditure: $39,899

Oklahoma City is one of the best places to stretch your retirement savings thanks to the low cost of groceries. At $3,018 a year, grocery costs in Oklahoma City are 11.1% cheaper than the U.S. average.

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10. Kansas City, Mo.

  • Annual Expenditure: $39,808

Although utilities in Kansas City are 10% more expensive compared to the rest of the nation, housing costs only $9,162 a year, which is a staggering 41% cheaper than average. Kansas City is also one of the most affordable cities for retirees with active lifestyles.

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9. St. Louis, Mo.

  • Annual Expenditure: $38,984

Like in Kansas City, housing costs in St. Louis come at a 41% discount compared to the rest of America. It makes up for transportation and health care, both of which land squarely on the U.S. average.

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8. Tulsa, Okla.

  • Annual Expenditure: $38,801

Tulsa is another one of the places with affordable homes, as housing costs are even cheaper in this city at $8,852 a year, which is 43% less expensive than average.

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7. Wichita, Kan.

  • Annual Expenditure: $38,710

Groceries in Wichita are the second-least expensive on this list at $2,991 a year, which is a savings of 11.9%. Wichita is also one of the greatest cities for rich retirees.

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6. Columbus, Ohio

  • Annual Expenditure: $38,572

When you’re planning for retirement, remember that Columbus is one of the best cities to retire on a $1,000 monthly budget. At $3,083 a year, groceries will cost you 9.2% less compared to the rest of the U.S.

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5. Milwaukee, Wis.

  • Annual Expenditure: $38,481

Although utilities and health care in Milwaukee are both at least 10% more expensive than the U.S. average, you can save significantly on housing, which is 48% cheaper.

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4. El Paso, Texas

  • Annual Expenditure: $38,252

Utilities are particularly inexpensive in El Paso at $3,117 a year, which is 14 percent cheaper compared to the rest of America. However, thanks to certain factors like dropping incomes, El Paso might be one of the worst places for retirees.


3. Toledo, Ohio

  • Annual Expenditure: $35,095

You’ll find the second-least expensive housing costs on this list in Toledo, where the annual housing bill adds up to only $4,814 — which is a jaw-dropping 69% cheaper than average.

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2. Memphis, Tenn.

  • Annual Expenditure: $33,859

Memphis is inexpensive across all cost-of-living categories, and it offers the cheapest transportation costs on this list at $6,161 a year. However, prospective residents might want to note that Tennessee is also one of the states with the poorest retirees.

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1. Detroit, Mich.

  • Annual Expenditure: $33,356

At $3,106, annual housing costs in Detroit are cheaper by an astounding 80 percent compared to the rest of America. Though utilities, transportation and healthcare all hover around the national average, you can save significantly on housing alone.

Click through to see the cheapest places to retire across middle America.

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Methodology: To determine the cities where it costs $50,000 or less to retire, GOBankingRates analyzed all 50 states in terms of the following factors: (1) overall cost-of-living index, (2) grocery cost of living, (3) housing cost of living, (4) utilities cost of living, (5) transportation cost of living and (6) health cost of living, all sourced from Sterling’s Best Places. These indices were then multiplied by the average annual expenditures of an American aged 65 and older, sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.