Retirement should not be stressful, and choosing an affordable place to retire might just take away any financial stress you might have. It’s no secret that the largest expense you will likely incur in your lifetime is retirement. So why not choose a place that allows you to maximize that nest egg you’ve built up over the course of your lifetime?
It is unfortunate that many people still don’t understand the importance of saving and investing for retirement. If you aren’t quite sure what exactly I am talking about yet, take a look at some of the figures below.
Investopedia reports that according to a study conducted by Fidelity, the average 401(k) savings by age group is:
- Age 20-29: $11,800
- Age 30-39: $42,400
- Age 40-49: $102,700
- Age 50-59: $174,100
- Age 60-69: $195,500
You might be thinking to yourself that $195,000 seems like a lot of money to have saved up. However, it is only a drop in the bucket. In a study done by Charles Schwab, it was found that the average American will need approximately $1.7 million to retire comfortably. How does that $195,000 sound now? How are you going to come up with an additional $1.5 million to last the duration of your retirement?
Well lucky for you, we’ve put together a list of the best places to retire to make your retirement savings stretch as far as possible.
13 Cheap Places to Retire Without Breaking the Bank
All of the following statistics were pulled from US Government Census reports.
1. Gainesville, Georgia
Total Population: 41,464
Median Household Income: $45,708
Average Mortgage: $1,357
Average Rent: $908
Percent of Population Over 65: 13.3%
Gainesville may seem like a sleepy little town considering it’s one of the smallest cities on our list with a population of ~41,000, however, with the charming brick sidewalks and a square that is constantly buzzing with shoppers from all over Georgia, this city will make you feel right at home.
Another major attraction to Gainesville is Lake Lanier. Lake Lanier was completed in 1956 by the Army Corps of Engineers and is a huge draw for boating and water sports. The lake attracts nearly 8 million visitors each year.
2. Tucson, Arizona
Total Population: 545,975
Median Household Income: $41,625
Average Mortgage: $1,159
Average Rent: $825
Percent of Population Over 65: 13.9%
Tucson is most well known for its extremely hot summers and mild, sunny winters. The mild, sunny winters make Tucson a top destination for snowbird retirees.
The city is also surrounded by parkland making it a great place for retirees who like to remain active. Additionally, there are several golf courses to take advantage of for those of you who still like to swing the clubs.
3. Daytona Beach, Florida
Total Population: 68,866
Median Household Income: $32,932
Average Mortgage: $1,197
Average Rent: $894
Percent of Population Over 65: 20.4%
Does retiring on a beach sound appealing to you? How about, retiring on a beach without breaking the bank?
Daytona Beach offers retirees just that. With average monthly mortgage payments of $1,197 and average monthly rent payments of $894, Daytona Beach is one of the most affordable places to retire. It is also home to the NASCAR headquarters and hosts several large motorsport events each year for you to enjoy.
Oh, and did I mention, Florida has no state income tax? Perfect for those of you who may choose to do some work in retirement.
4. Augusta-Richmond County, Georgia
Total Population: 196,939
Median Household Income: $40,545
Average Mortgage: $1,117
Average Rent: $851
Percent of Population Over 65: 13.1%
Augusta is a great place for life-long learners. Augusta is home to Augusta University and allows Georgia residents who are 62 and older to take classes for free. If you’ve ever wanted to explore new areas of study or just take some fun classes, what better place to do it?
Augusta is also home to a large military base, Fort Gordon, which is the largest employer in the area.
It wouldn’t be right to end the conversation about Augusta without talking about The Masters. Perhaps the thing Augusta is most known for is the most prestigious professional golf tournament the city hosts every year. The Masters brings the best golfers in the world to Augusta each spring and attracts fans from all over the world, and you could be right at the heart of it all.
5. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Total Population: 33,908
Median Household Income: $40,525
Average Mortgage: $1,354
Average Rent: $875
Percent of Population Over 65: 20.1%
Myrtle Beach is most known as a vacation destination located on the Atlantic coast. The city is home to beautiful beaches, amusement parks, and an incredible boardwalk with a 200-foot-tall SkyWheel.
Despite being a popular tourist destination, this city is clearly a great place for retirees with over 20% of the population being 65 years or older. And again, if you’re a golfer, Myrtle Beach is home to some great courses with greens designed by the likes of Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus.
6. Pensacola, Florida
Total Population: 52,713
Median Household Income: $48,686
Average Mortgage: $1,347
Average Rent: $942
Percent of Population Over 65: 16.8%
If you didn’t like our previous suggestion of Daytona Beach, maybe you can try the other coast. Pensacola is located on the western side of Florida on Pensacola Bay near the Gulf of Mexico.
Pensacola offers great fishing, sailing, and of course, white sand beaches all with relatively low monthly mortgage and rent payments making this one of the most affordable beach retirement destinations.
And as we mentioned before, Florida has no state income tax which is great for working retirees.
7. Knoxville, Tennessee
Total Population: 187,500
Median Household Income: $37,703
Average Mortgage: $1,115
Average Rent: $815
Percent of Population Over 65: 13.2%
Knoxville is another town that offers great educational perks for retirees much like that of Augusta. The University of Tennessee is located in Knoxville and allows senior citizens to audit classes for free and enroll in classes at a significantly reduced rate. Additionally, the University of Tennessee Medical Center provides top-notch medical care for any issues that may arise.
The state of Tennessee, much like Florida, does not charge any tax on wages and salaries. However, dividends and interest earned on investments are taxable, but low-income seniors above the age of 65 may qualify for an exemption from this.
8. Lake Havasu City, Arizona
Total Population: 55,090
Median Household Income: $51,187
Average Mortgage: $1,265
Average Rent: $884
Percent of Population Over 65: 31.7%
Lake Havasu may sound familiar to you because of another beautiful destination named Havasu Falls. However, Havasu Falls is actually located 4-5 hours outside of Lake Havasu City. Lake Havasu City is located on the eastern shore of Lake Havasu and is a popular destination for spring breakers and snowbirds.
However, it’s evident many retirees choose to make this city their full-time home wth 31.7% of the population being over the age of 65.
Lake Havasu City offers an abundance of recreational activities including boating, fishing, swimming, water sports, and even scuba diving. The city is also on the upswing with Kiplinger naming Lake Havasu one of the top satellite cities poised to thrive based on expanding business growth and a stellar job market.
9. Tampa, Florida
Total Population: 392,890
Median Household Income: $50,909
Average Mortgage: $1,565
Average Rent: $1,082
Percent of Population Over 65: 12.3%
Tampa is another great place in Florida for retirees to plant their roots. The city offers relatively affordable living and skews slightly lower in age, which attracts younger retirees.
Tampa is actually one of three major cities that makes up the Tampa Bay area. The other two cities include St. Petersburg and Clearwater which skew a little more toward the older side.
Much like the other Florida retirement spots, Tampa offers many of the same benefits such as white sand beaches, warm water, prime golfing, and no income tax.
10. Gulfport-Biloxi, Mississippi
Total Population: 71,870
Median Household Income: $37,811
Average Mortgage: $1,158
Average Rent: $843
Percent of Population Over 65: 13.6%
Gulfport is a great place for retirees looking to save some money. The extremely low cost of living paired with the generous tax breaks will allow you to stretch your retirement savings a long way.
On top of the extremely low cost of living, the Gulfport-Biloxi area offers the same perks as many other coastal towns, including white sand beaches on the Gulf of Mexico, kayaking, fishing, shrimping, camping, golfing, and even casinos if you care to gamble some of your retirement savings.
11. St. Louis, Missouri
Total Population: 302,838
Median Household Income: $41,107
Average Mortgage: $1,259
Average Rent: $810
Percent of Population Over 65: 12.6%
St. Louis is one of the top destinations for early retirees. The Gateway to the West has housing costs well below the national average and an abundance of activities to keep you busy. The city is home to many great restaurants and craft breweries including one of the country’s largest breweries, Anheuser-Busch.
Additionally, the surrounding area is home to hundreds of parks, trails and waterways. There are also plenty of medical care facilities with more than 40 establishments per 1,000 seniors in the St. Louis metro area.
12. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Total Population: 649,021
Median Household Income: $54,034
Average Mortgage: $1,362
Average Rent: $849
Percent of Population Over 65: 12.1%
Oklahoma City is another great place for retirees to save some money. With housing-related costs nearly 27% below the national average, you can make your nest egg last much longer than other areas of the country.
Oklahoma City is one of the largest livestock markets in the world, but in recent years, the city has tried to revitalize the downtown area so there are more activities for non-cowboys. The Bricktown Entertainment District is home to a variety of different restaurants and venues that will surely keep you busy.
Additionally, in the neighboring town of Norman, the University of Oklahoma hosts plenty of big-time sporting events that will draw huge crowds, especially during football season.
13. Roanoke, Virginia
Total Population: 99,920
Median Household Income: $43,028
Average Mortgage: $1,088
Average Rent: $799
Percent of Population Over 65: 15.9%
Roanoke definitely affords the cheapest housing-related expenses on our list and is great for those of you who like to spend your time actively outdoors. Roanoke is situated between the Allegheny and Blue Ridge mountains and is home to more than 600 miles of hiking trails in the Roanoke Valley. The trails range from easy strolls to highly challenging climbs for any skill level.
If you aren’t so sure about the hiking but still want to take in the scenery, consider taking a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway and cap off the day with a stop at one of the several local craft breweries.
Regardless of where you choose to retire, it is important you make sure you are being realistic with how much money you have saved up, and how long that money can last you. If you’re not sure about your current progress, please read 5 Steps to Get Your Retirement Savings on the Right Track.