Texas, forever! That’s what you might be saying to yourself once you retire and are looking for that next chapter of life where you can kick back for some well-deserved rest and relaxation after a long career. Why not do it in the state where they claim everything is bigger: the Lone Star State?
In Texas, not only will you find an array of incredible barbeque options, professional teams of all kinds of sports, and land stretching out as far as the eye can see. In Texas, you also can make your Social Security check stretch a little farther, too, depending on which city you end up making a home in for yourself.
According to the Social Security Administration’s data, the average monthly Social Security benefit payment is $1,630.98. With that fixed income in mind, here are the nine best places to live in Texas when your only income is a Social Security check.
Average one-bedroom rent: $1,238
Just outside Houston is The Woodlands, a planned community that might feel more like a resort than a neighborhood. The Woodlands is home to lots of educational institutions, including the Lone Star College, with both undergraduate and graduate degree tracks. If going back to school in the traditional sense might not be up your alley, be sure to research the Academy for Lifelong Learning — a continuing education program tailored for senior adults.
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Average one-bedroom rent: $1,129
If you have grandchildren, they’ll love coming to visit you in Denton. Not only is it home to a number of ranches and parks, but you’ll have countless hours of fun exploring the house country filled with mustangs. When you are looking for a relaxing outing for the family, the Sky Theater Planetarium offers a unique look at the stars for gazers of all ages.
Average one-bedroom rent: $1,127
While the rents might be a little higher than you’d expect for Texas, you absolutely pay for what you get with a high quality of life and a solid, down-home style enclave right outside of San Antonio. All year long, Universal City comes together as a community, with Easter egg hunts in the spring, pumpkin patch festivals in the fall and the annual tree lighting ceremony in December.
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Average one-bedroom rent: $1,085
Dallas might be just down the road, but don’t overlook Arlington, a suburb with the amenities of the big city and just a fraction of the traffic seen in its neighboring metro area. If you are a baseball fan, you’ll love the summer games and the feeling of community when sitting in the stands, root-root-rooting for the home team, the Texas Rangers.
Average one-bedroom rent: $1,008
The best thing about Temple — beyond its residents reporting high levels of safety and comfort within the city limits — is that it’s close to other major Texas destinations. Waco is 45 minutes away by car, while the drive to Austin will take about an hour. But don’t feel like you need to leave; Temple which has its own unique set of nightlife, large-scale shopping and other local amenities.
Average one-bedroom rent: $946
Maybe you were hoping that in your golden years you’d settle down in a beachside community in Miami or Cancun, but you found out you couldn’t afford it. The good news is that Galveston, which sits on a peninsula on the Gulf of Mexico, is the perfect compromise for those living on fixed budgets.
Galveston rents are about 5% lower than the Texas average, meaning you have more disposable income to spend on water activities such as dolphin tours and banana boat rides.
Average one-bedroom rent: $908
East Texas used to be a no-man’s land, but it has had an upswing in popularity in the last few years. If healthcare is on your mind, Longview might be the place for you to move. It’s a small city with dozens of clinics and specialists, plus two large hospitals, making it a reliable town for those who need access to medical professionals.
But don’t worry: There’s a lot of fun to be had, too. You might want to buy a boat and take it out on any of the nearby watering sporting spots, including Lake O’Pines, Caddo Lake, Martin Creek Lake and Lake Fork.
Average one-bedroom rent: $849
If you’re looking for some nightlife, San Angelo has all the best spots, particularly if you are a fan of country music and line dancing. Clubs such as Cattleman’s Club, Oasis Lounge, Steel dosey doe ’til the break of dawn.
Average one-bedroom rent: $872
With its stupendous weather and proximity to the water, Baytown is the place that retirement dreams are made of. Hit the green with some friends at the Evergreen Point Golf Course in the morning and spend your weekends taking in the historical sites around town, including the Battleship Texas or the San Jacinto Monument and Museum.
Methodology: GOBankingRates determined the best places in Texas to live on only a Social Security check based on the (1) average monthly benefit for retired workers, $1,630.98, sourced from Social Security Administration; (2) the overall cost of living in each city, sourced from Sperling’s Best Places; (3) average 2022 rent for a one bedroom apartment as sourced from ApartmentList,; and (4) livability scores sourced from Areavibes. Factors (2) through (4) were scored and combined with the lowest score being best. Factor (4) was weighted double in final calculations. All data was collected and is up to date as of Nov. 28, 2022.
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