You can quickly and significantly reduce your retirement costs by moving to a place with a lower cost of living. In these cities, a retiree could cover the median cost of five basic expenses -- housing, food, transportation, health care and utilities -- with less than $100 per day, or $36,500 per year, in retirement income, according to a U.S. News analysis of Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Consider these affordable places to retire:
Aurora has 97 parks and over 5,000 acres of open space for hiking, biking and fishing. The city has a low-cost day trip program for retirees and an affordable fitness club for seniors at the Aurora Center for Active Adults. Housing costs for retirees are $1,623 with a mortgage, $904 for renters and just $440 monthly with a paid-off house.
Located on the shore of Lake Erie, Cleveland's reasonable housing prices for retirees include a median of $1,278 monthly with a mortgage, $652 per month if you rent and $478 each month if you own a paid-off house. In addition to the bargain housing costs, you get a high quality of life. The Cleveland Clinic is a top-ranked hospital for geriatric care, and Case Western Reserve University has an audit program for senior citizens that permits those age 65 and older to take courses at a reduced tuition rate.
Dallas has many innovative programs specifically for retirees. The Senior Source manages its Retired Senior Volunteer Program, which helps connect seniors to volunteer opportunities that match their desires and talents. The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden holds weekly events specifically for people age 65 and older. Retiree renters in Dallas pay a median of $911 per month, while homeowners pay $1,544 monthly if they have a mortgage or $518 per month if they are mortgage-free.
Durham, North Carolina
Durham is the home of Duke University, which includes Duke University Hospital, and is one of the corners of the research triangle, known for its high-tech research and development. Median housing costs for older homeowners are $1,420 with a mortgage and $456 without one. Retiree renters pay a median of $857 in monthly housing costs.
Jacksonville provides pleasantly mild winters and is just a short drive from Atlantic Ocean beaches. But housing in Jacksonville costs far less than many other parts of Florida. Retirees age 65 and older pay a median of $910 monthly to rent an apartment in Jacksonville. That cost climbs to $1,340 among homeowners with a mortgage, but it drops to $433 for retirees who have paid off their house. There's also no state income tax in Florida.
Kansas City, Kansas
There are many ways to live on less money in Kansas City. Google Fiber built a pilot fiber optic network in Kansas City, and after a one-time $300 installation fee, basic broadband is free for up to seven years. The median housing cost for retirees is $1,388 with a mortgage, but that dips to $486 among people without a mortgage. The median rent is $772 per month.
Wisconsin's state capital is the home of the University of Wisconsin--Madison, where Wisconsin residents age 60 and older are eligible to audit classes for free. This college town is affordable for students as well as retirees. Housing costs $1,624 per month with a mortgage, but decreases to $622 once you pay off your home and $868 if you rent. There's also plenty of scenic beauty at five lakes that are popular for boating and recreation.
Those who dream of a retirement on the water have many options in Minneapolis, which offers access to a chain of lakes, the Mississippi River and the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway. Housing for retirees in the Minneapolis metro area, which includes St. Paul and Bloomington, costs a median of $1,594 per month with a mortgage, $520 with a mortgage-free home and $843 if you rent.
Arizona's state capital is among the sunniest places in the country and is known for its hot summers and mild winters. Whatever professional sport you enjoy, Phoenix is likely to have a nearby team to root for, perhaps including the Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Suns or Coyotes. Housing costs a median of $905 per month for renters and $1,330 for homeowners with a mortgage, but drops to just $392 for people who own their home mortgage-free.
Sports fans have many professional teams to choose from, including the Pirates, Steelers and Penguins. The UPMC-University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is ranked 11th in the country in geriatrics. But this city full of noteworthy museums and colleges continues to have affordable housing prices. The median monthly housing cost is $1,227 with a mortgage, $453 without a mortgage and $642 if you rent.
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