When you’re looking ahead to your golden years, choosing the perfect location for retirement can be tricky. New, unfamiliar locales and populous cities might appeal to your sense of adventure; however, at the same time, you should ensure your nest egg will last as long as it possibly can. And, you want to rest easy knowing that your money and well-being are safe.
To help you with the retirement planning process, GOBankingRates scored the most secure cities on factors such as cost of living and population percentage of residents ages 65 and older. Keep reading to see some of the best places for retirees to enjoy a safe and affordable retirement.
- Safety Score: 77.4
Although Midland was ranked as the least safe city on this list, it’s still counted among the most affordable and safest places to retire. Overall, Texas is one of the states where $1 million in retirement will last the longest — over 23 years.
West Des Moines, Iowa
- Safety Score: 79.2
Annual expenditures total $57,357 in West Des Moines, which is a cost of living that’s 4.5 percent lower than the national average. For soon-to-be retirees keeping their options open, neighboring Des Moines, Iowa, is also one of the most affordable places to retire, according to a separate GOBankingRates study.
- Safety Score: 78
Bloomington features a cost of living that’s 8.5 percent below the U.S. average, which is good news for the city’s senior population — one in 10 residents is age 65 and older.
If you’re concerned about keeping your retirement income intact, check out the best cities for retirement in income tax-free states.
East Lansing, Mich.
- Safety Score: 80.8
At only 6.4 percent, East Lansing’s population has the lowest percentage of seniors on this list, which could mean that retirees might struggle to get by in this city. However, the cost of living is 6 percent lower than the national average, which should provide prospective residents with some comfort.
West Lafayette, Ind.
- Safety Score: 81.59
For soon-to-be retirees with at least $500,000 saved up, Indiana is one of the top 10 states where a half-million dollars will last the longest. West Lafayette, in particular, offers a cost of living that’s 4.5 percent below the U.S. average.
Port St. Lucie, Fla.
- Safety Score: 81.41
Port St. Lucie, one of the metro areas with the biggest wealth gaps, claims the highest cost of living on this list of the safest and most affordable retirement cities. Retirees in this Florida locale can expect to spend $60,240 a year on average.
Cedar Falls, Iowa
- Safety Score: 81.61
Seniors make up 12.4 percent of the population in Cedar Falls, where residents spend an average of $57,357 annually. If you’re still weighing your retirement options, take a look at the cheapest places to retire across middle America.
Green Bay, Wis.
- Safety Score: 79.02
Although the cost of living in Green Bay is much cheaper than the national average — by 12.7 percent, to be exact — retirees should keep in mind that Wisconsin is one of the top 15 states most impacted by potential Social Security cuts.
- Safety Score: 81.04
At 11.3 percent, people ages 65 and older make up a significant portion of Appleton’s population. Unfortunately for prospective residents, however, Wisconsin is one of the least tax-friendly states for retirees.
Palm Bay, Fla.
- Safety Score: 79.36
Annual expenditures in Palm Bay come out to $54,835 on average, which means the cost of living is 8.7 percent lower compared to the rest of America.
- Safety Score: 80.84
Seniors make up 16.2 percent of the population in Bethlehem — otherwise known as the Christmas City — and enjoy a cost of living that’s 5.9 percent lower than the U.S. average. Overall, Pennsylvania hosts one of the best places to live on only a Social Security check.
El Paso, Texas
- Safety Score: 79.45
The cost of living in this Texas city is a comfortable 16.4 percent below the national average, with annual expenditures totaling $50,210. For prospective residents with tighter purse strings, El Paso is the best city to retire on a $1,000 monthly budget.
- Safety Score: 79.4
At 19.8 percent, people ages 65 and older make up a significant portion of this city’s population — nearly one in five Staunton residents is a senior. Overall, Virginia contains a couple of the best cities to retire rich, so wealthier retirees can take their pick of locations.
- Safety Score: 81.1
Seniors make up a whopping 26.3 percent of the population in this Florida city, which helps make it an appealing neighborhood to retire in. However, Sebastian residents spend an average of $59,219 annually — the second-highest cost of living on this list.
- Safety Score: 79.8
Wausau is a solid choice for retirement: Retirees comprise 15.7 percent of the population, the cost of living is 14.9 percent lower than the national average, and you’ll spend $51,111 annually to live there.
Rocky Mount, N.C.
- Safety Score: 81.39
Annual expenditures in this city total $50,931 on average, which means the cost of living is 15.6 percent lower compared to the rest of the U.S. Beyond Rocky Mount, North Carolina offers at least one other great place to retire where the monthly rent is under $1,000.
- Safety Score: 80.86
Seniors comprise 16.5 percent of Rome’s population, which makes the city friendly to retirees. If you’re considering the Empire State for retirement, make sure to avoid New York City — $1 million in savings has the shortest lifespan there.
- Safety Score: 81.07
The cost of living in Altoona is only $49,009 a year, which is 18.4 percent below the national average as well as the cheapest in this study of the most affordable and safest places to live. It’s a city that you should really consider for retirement.
- Safety Score: 83.96
With annual expenditures of $52,553 a year, Midland offers a cost of living that is 12.5 percent below the U.S. average. This Michigan city is also one of the best places in America to live on a fixed income, which prospective residents should take into consideration for retirement.
- Safety Score: 85.15
Tyler was top-ranked on this list of the safest cities in the U.S. Luckily for soon-to-be retirees, this Texas city holds appeal in other areas as well: Its cost of living is 11.4 percent below the national average, and 14.4 percent of the population is 65 and older.
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Methodology: GOBankingRates found the safest and most affordable places to retire across America by analyzing the safest cities in the U.S., sourced from SecurityChoice.com, and scoring these cities on certain factors, which included: (1) cost of living, sourced from Sperling’s Best Places, and (2) senior population, or residents 65 and older, sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau.
About the Author
Grace joined the GOBankingRates team in 2017 with an editorial background in print journalism and magazines. Prior to editing and writing for GOBankingRates, Grace pitched books and movies from Renaissance Literary & Talent, a literary agency and management firm representing clients such as the estate of Audrey Hepburn, Kirk Douglas, Goldie Hawn and Heidi Murkoff of the “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” series.