What Are the Most Affordable US Cities to Retire In?

According to the Economic Policy Institute, finding an inexpensive place to live will be increasingly important for Americans nearing retirement. About half of all families in the United States, including those nearing retirement, have no retirement savings to fall back on. Knowing where they can retire affordably is essential for older Americans, considering that the average monthly Social Security benefit for a retired worker is just over $1,400. 

Here are a few of the most affordable places to retire, taking into account median home price and annual expenses.

Birmingham, Alabama 

Birmingham is a leading Sunbelt metropolis with a median home price of about $65,000 and annual expenses of just $33,219, according to The Street. As Alabama’s cultural hub, Birmingham is also a pleasant place to put down roots, with art museums, concert venues, theaters, a long list of annual cultural events, and plenty to offer sports fans.

Memphis, Tennessee

A Southern city with a rich history, Memphis lies at the cultural and economic crossroads of the Old South. It remains a vibrant community and an inexpensive place to live, according to USA Today. A median housing price of just over $82,000 and expenses of under $34,000 annually makes Memphis an attractive locale for would-be retirees. For music enthusiasts, few cities can compete with the Mississippi River port town, home to some of the world’s most famous Delta Blues musicians.   

Toledo, Ohio

For Midwesterners contemplating retirement in the Great Lakes region, Toledo boasts a median home price of just $63,000 and annual average expenses of about $35,000. The city on the western shore of Lake Erie offers affordable healthcare and health insurance rates, as well as some of Ohio’s leading hospitals, which are important factors for people looking ahead to retirement. 

Jackson, Mississippi

Mississippi’s state capital is another affordable and highly livable Southern urban center. Far from the cold of northern climes, Jackson is one of many attractive Sun Belt destinations, offering a relaxed and gracious lifestyle. And with the Gulf of Mexico just a short drive away, you can indulge your love of the ocean whenever you feel like it. 

Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland may not make many Top 10 lists, but the big city where the river once caught on fire has a lot to offer. Cleveland is still settling into a new economic reality in the wake of the Recession and is an often-difficult transition away from its historic industrial base. Today, the city that hosted the Republic party convention is home to the International Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and friendly people who are justifiably proud of their hometown. For older adults, Cleveland offers the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic — a pioneer in cancer treatment and research — and many other cutting-edge initiatives. For those looking to invest in a new home, affordable housing and a budget-friendly cost of living make it an attractive destination for many.

Brownsville, Texas

Texas’s southernmost city sits at a crossroads of two cultures. It’s a vibrant bordertown with a perennially manageable cost of living and plenty of services, amenities, good healthcare facilities, and senior living opportunities for seniors. 

Relocating to a community with lower housing costs is about more than getting away from the snow and lousy traffic. It’s also an opportunity to better your financial position in retirement. For example, a senior who sells a home in a pricey location and buys (or rents) in a town with lower housing costs and expenses could give their retirement savings a tremendous boost. If you’re still in the workforce, it could even mean being able to retire sooner and take advantage of a higher quality of life as you grow older. 

The good news is that if you don’t like the idea of moving to a faraway part of the country, there are several cities closer to family and friends that will make it possible for you to retire comfortably. You can retire to Florida if you like as so many have, but you can fully expect to save money and enjoy an acceptable quality of life in places like Cleveland, Birmingham and Memphis without completely uprooting your life.