The Least Expensive U.S. Cities for Retirees

If you're one of many Americans, you probably don't have enough saved for retirement. The members of the boomer generation are now 55-75 years old, and the median savings in this group is $152,000, according to the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies.

If you think you can make it on Social Security, imagine living on $1,461 a month, which is what the average retiree collects in 2019, according to the Social Security Administration. That's $17,532 a year, and using the 4% rule, you could draw another $6,080 a year from your $152,000 savings. That's a total of $1,967 a month or $23,612 a year, before taxes.

Retiring to a more affordable city could mean the difference between enjoying your retirement or living in your kids' basement. (Even living in an RV can cost you $1,400 to $3,000 a month.)

GOBankingRates found the 50 cheapest places to retire by analyzing the 100 biggest U.S. cities based on annual retirement income needed to cover basic costs for retirees, including the amount needed for:

  • housing
  • health costs
  • food
  • transportation
  • utilities

For a city to make the list, it had to have a percentage of seniors of 9.5% or higher. GOBankingRates also added Livability scores from AreaVibes, which cover amenities within each city, cost of living, crime rates, education, employment, housing costs and weather.

TheStreet added median home values from GoBankingRates and Zillow, and some information on taxes for retirees in each state, based on Kiplinger's state-by-state guide to taxes for retirees.

Based on the comparison by GoBankingRates, these are the cheapest cities to retire:

1. Cleveland
1. Cleveland

1. Cleveland

  • Total annual expenditures: $38,147
  • Percent of seniors: 13.3%
  • Livability score: 61
  • Median home value: $55,300
  • Taxes: Ohio does not tax Social Security

Photo: f11photo / Shutterstock

2. Toledo, Ohio
2. Toledo, Ohio

2. Toledo, Ohio

  • Total annual expenditures: $38,643
  • Percent of seniors: 13.7%
  • Livability score: 62
  • Median home value: $69,100
  • Taxes: Ohio does not tax Social Security

Photo: Shutterstock

3. Buffalo, N.Y.
3. Buffalo, N.Y.

3. Buffalo, N.Y.

  • Total annual expenditures: $40,624
  • Percent of seniors: 12.2%
  • Livability score: 63
  • Median home value: $86,000
  • Taxes: Although taxes in New York are generally high, the state does not tax Social Security benefits or public pensions, and there are some other breaks for retirees.
Photo: Atomazul / Shutterstock

4. Fort Wayne, Ind.
4. Fort Wayne, Ind.

4. Fort Wayne, Ind.

  • Total annual expenditures: $41,120
  • Percent of seniors: 13.4%
  • Livability score: 75
  • Median home value: $132,700
  • Taxes: Indiana exempts Social Security benefits and offers limited exemptions for military pensions and federal civil-service pensions, but IRAs, 401(k) plans and private pensions are fully taxable.

Photo: Shutterstock

5. Greensboro, N.C.
5. Greensboro, N.C.

5. Greensboro, N.C.

  • Total annual expenditures: $41,120
  • Percent of seniors: 13.3%
  • Livability score: 69
  • Median home value: $143,200 (Median sale price: $159,400)
  • Taxes: North Carolina has a flat tax and has eliminated a number of breaks for retiree income.

Photo: Shutterstock

6. Memphis, Tenn.
6. Memphis, Tenn.

6. Memphis, Tenn.

  • Total annual expenditures: $41,615
  • Percent of seniors: 11.8%
  • Livability score: 65
  • Median home value: $80,900
  • Taxes: There is no state income tax in Tennessee, so salaries, wages, Social Security benefits, IRA distributions and pension income are not taxed.

Above, the Memphis pride parade on Beale St. in 2018.

Photo: evenfh / Shutterstock

7. Lubbock, Texas
7. Lubbock, Texas

7. Lubbock, Texas

  • Total annual expenditures: $42,111
  • Percent of seniors: 11.5%
  • Livability score: 76
  • Median home value: $135,100
  • Taxes: Texas has no state income tax, so Social Security and other retirement income is not taxed.

Photo: Shutterstock

8. Wichita, Kan.
8. Wichita, Kan.

8. Wichita, Kan.

  • Total annual expenditures: $42,606
  • Percent of seniors: 13.1%
  • Livability score: 62
  • Median home value: $128,000
  • Taxes: Social Security benefits are exempt from Kansas income tax for residents with a federal adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less, but the state is one of the least tax-friendly.

Photo: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

9. El Paso, Texas
9. El Paso, Texas

9. El Paso, Texas

  • Total annual expenditures: $43,102
  • Percent of seniors: 12.2%
  • Livability score: 79
  • Median home value: $129,100
  • Taxes: Texas has no state income tax, so Social Security and other retirement income is not taxed.
Photo: Joseph Sohm /Shutterstock

10. Winston-Salem, N.C.
10. Winston-Salem, N.C.

10. Winston-Salem, N.C.

  • Total annual expenditures: $43,102
  • Percent of seniors: 13.7%
  • Livability score: 65
  • Median home value: $135,000 (median sale price: $141,900)
  • Taxes: North Carolina has a flat tax and has eliminated a number of breaks for retiree income.

Pictured is Main Street in the Old Salem Historic District in Winston-Salem.

Photo: Shutterstock

11. Indianapolis
11. Indianapolis

11. Indianapolis

  • Total annual expenditures: $43,597
  • Percent of seniors: 11.5%
  • Livability score: 69
  • Median home value: $144,200
  • Taxes: This is one of the least tax-friendly states. Indiana exempts Social Security benefits and offers limited exemptions for military pensions and federal civil-service pensions, but IRAs, 401(k) plans and private pensions are fully taxable.

Photo: Shutterstock

12. St. Louis
12. St. Louis

12. St. Louis

  • Total annual expenditures: $43,597
  • Percent of seniors: 12.1%
  • Livability score: 58
  • Median home value: $120,000
  • Taxes: In Missouri, Social Security benefits are not taxed for single taxpayers with adjusted gross income of less than $85,000 and married couples with AGI of less than $100,000.

Photo: Daniel M. Silva / Shutterstock

13. Mobile, Ala.
13. Mobile, Ala.

13. Mobile, Ala.

  • Total annual expenditures: $43,597
  • Percent of seniors: 15.5%
  • Livability score: 64
  • Median home value: $120,400
  • Taxes: Generally a tax-friendly state, most pensions and Social Security are exempt from state income taxes in Alabama, however, sales taxes are high, and even apply to food.

Photo: Kristi Blokhin / Shutterstock

14. Columbus, Ohio
14. Columbus, Ohio

14. Columbus, Ohio

  • Total annual expenditures: $44,588
  • Percent of seniors: 10%
  • Livability score: 76
  • Median home value: $156,200 (median sale price: $166,400)
  • Taxes: Ohio does not tax Social Security.

Photo: aceshot1 / Shutterstock

15. Milwaukee
15. Milwaukee

15. Milwaukee

  • Total annual expenditures: $44,588
  • Percent of seniors: 10%
  • Livability score: 58
  • Median home value: $122,200
  • Taxes: Property taxes in Wisconsin are the fifth-highest in the U.S. Social Security benefits are exempt from state taxes, but income from pensions, annuities, IRAs and 401(k)s are taxable.

Photo: Shutterstock

16. Tulsa, Okla.
16. Tulsa, Okla.

16. Tulsa, Okla.

  • Total annual expenditures: $44,588
  • Percent of seniors: 13.4%
  • Livability score: 69
  • Median home value: $121,300 (median sale price: $147,200)
  • Taxes: The state does not tax Social Security benefits, but sales taxes are among the highest.

Photo: Svineyard / Shutterstock

17. Cincinnati
17. Cincinnati

17. Cincinnati

  • Total annual expenditures: $44,588
  • Percent of seniors: 11.9%
  • Livability score: 68
  • Median home value: $146,400
  • Taxes: Ohio does not tax Social Security

Pictured is Findlay Market in the historic Over-the-Rhine district in Cincinnati.

Photo: aceshot1 / Shutterstock

18. Columbia, S.C.
18. Columbia, S.C.

18. Columbia, S.C.

  • Total annual expenditures: $44,588
  • Percent of seniors: 10%
  • Livability score: 63
  • Median home value: $133,900 (median sale price:$143,500)
  • Taxes: Generally a tax-friendly state, South Carolina does not tax Social Security benefits and provides a generous retirement-income deduction when calculating state income tax.

Photo: Shutterstock

19. Corpus Christi, Texas
19. Corpus Christi, Texas

19. Corpus Christi, Texas

  • Total annual expenditures: $45,588
  • Percent of seniors: 13.2%
  • Livability score: 80
  • Median home value: $150,200
  • Taxes: There is no state income tax in Texas.

Photo: Shutterstock

20. Oklahoma City
20. Oklahoma City

20. Oklahoma City

  • Total annual expenditures: $45,579
  • Percent of seniors: 11.9%
  • Livability score: 76
  • Median home value: $130,900 (median sale price: $150,900)
  • Taxes: The state does not tax Social Security benefits, but sales taxes are among the highest.

Photo: Shutterstock

21. Kansas City, Mo.
21. Kansas City, Mo.

21. Kansas City, Mo.

  • Total annual expenditures: $45,579
  • Percent of seniors: 11.4%
  • Livability score: 64
  • Median home value: $150,100
  • Taxes: Social Security benefits are not taxed for single taxpayers with adjusted gross income of less than $85,000 and married couples with AGI of less than $100,000.

Photo: Shutterstock

22. Pensacola, Fla.
22. Pensacola, Fla.

22. Pensacola, Fla.

  • Total annual expenditures: $46,074
  • Percent of seniors: 16.9%
  • Livability score: 72
  • Median home value:
  • Taxes: Florida has no state income tax.

Photo: ABEMOS / Shutterstock

23. Knoxville, Tenn.
23. Knoxville, Tenn.

23. Knoxville, Tenn.

  • Total annual expenditures: $46,569
  • Percent of seniors: 13.2%
  • Livability score: 69
  • Median home value: $145,100 (median sale price: $164,500)
  • Taxes: There is no state income tax, so salaries, wages, Social Security benefits, IRA distributions and pension income are not taxed.

Photo: Ken Wolter / Shutterstock

24. Pittsburgh
24. Pittsburgh

24. Pittsburgh

  • Total annual expenditures: $46,569
  • Percent of seniors: 14.2%
  • Livability score: 71
  • Median home value: $152,600
  • Taxes: Pennsylvania is one of the 10 most tax-friendly states for retirees; Social Security is exempt from tax.

Photo: Shutterstock

25. Omaha, Neb.
25. Omaha, Neb.

25. Omaha, Neb.

  • Total annual expenditures: $47,065
  • Percent of seniors: 12.3%
  • Livability score: 76
  • Median home value: $175,400 (median sale price: $183,400)
  • Taxes: Nebraska is one of Kiplinger's 10 least tax-friendly states for retirees.

Photo: Shutterstock

26. Lexington, Ky.
26. Lexington, Ky.

26. Lexington, Ky.

  • Total annual expenditures: $47,065
  • Percent of seniors: 12.2%
  • Livability score: 75
  • Median home value: $182,600 (median sale price: $178,400)
  • Taxes: Kentucky exempts Social Security benefits from state income taxes.

Photo: aceshot1 / Shutterstock

27. Louisville, Ky.
27. Louisville, Ky.

27. Louisville, Ky.

  • Total annual expenditures: $47,560
  • Percent of seniors: 14.1%
  • Livability score: 66
  • Median home value: $160,000
  • Taxes: Kentucky exempts Social Security benefits from state income taxes.

Photo: Joe Hendrickson / Shutterstock

28. Lincoln, Neb.
28. Lincoln, Neb.

28. Lincoln, Neb.

  • Total annual expenditures: $47,560
  • Percent of seniors: 12.5%
  • Livability score: 81
  • Median home value: $182,800, same as median sale price
  • Taxes: Nebraska is one of Kiplinger's 10 least tax-friendly states for retirees.

Photo: Victor Wong / Shutterstock

29. San Antonio
29. San Antonio

29. San Antonio

  • Total annual expenditures: $48,056
  • Percent of seniors: 11.6%
  • Livability score: 80
  • Median home value: $176,800
  • Taxes: Texas has no state income tax.

Above, a parade before the San Antonio rodeo.

Photo: Kelly vanDellen / Shutterstock

30. Spokane, Wash.
30. Spokane, Wash.

30. Spokane, Wash.

  • Total annual expenditures: $48,056
  • Percent of seniors: 14.5%
  • Livability score: 69
  • Median home value: $211,800 (median sale price: $217,100)
  • Taxes: Washington has no state income tax.

Visit GoBankingRates for more details on their methodology, and to see all 50 cities.

Photo: Shutterstock

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