20 Best Florida Cities To Retire on $3,000 a Month
For many retirees, Florida is a desirable place to live. Between the warm weather, pleasant beaches and multitude of retiree-oriented activities, plenty of Florida cities have high livability scores.
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However, many also have costs that may be out of reach for the average senior. For example, across America, the average monthly costs are $315 for utilities, $350 for healthcare, $556 for groceries and $1,405 for a one-bedroom apartment. Combined, these average costs total $2,626, meaning in many cities across the country, including in Florida, costs run much higher.
To help find Florida cities that are great places to live but also relatively affordable, GOBankingRates analyzed data from Sperling's Best and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine the average cost for utilities, healthcare, groceries and one-bedroom rents in cities throughout Florida. Cities were then ranked based on their total costs in these four categories, the percent of the population that was 65 and older and the cities' livability scores, as determined by AreaVibes.
Cities with fewer than 10% of their populations comprised of those 65 and older and with livability scores below 65 were excluded. Here are the final results of the study, ranked in reverse order from 20 to 1, with the No. 1 city being the best Florida city to retire on $3,000 per month.
20. Deerfield Beach
Monthly expenditures: $2,648
% of population 65 and older: 22.7%
Deerfield Beach sneaks into the top 20 Florida cities to live on $3,000 due to its overall average cost structure, coupled with a high percentage of seniors. Neither one-bedroom rents, healthcare, grocery nor utility costs are more than 4% above or below the national average.
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19. Fort Myers
Monthly expenditures: $2,592
% of population 65 and older: 22.2%
Fort Myers has lower-than-average rents and utility costs, but it's tripped up by exceedingly high healthcare costs -- the most expensive of any city in the top 20. At an average cost of $652 per month, you'll be paying over 17% more than the national average for your healthcare.
18. Coconut Creek
Monthly expenditures: $3,242
% of population 65 and older: 17.9%
Coconut Creek is one of the four Florida cities in the top 20 that technically cost more than $3,000 per month on average. However, an extraordinarily high livability score and a higher-than-average percentage of the population 65 and older make it an attractive place for seniors. The city does have lower-than-average utility and healthcare costs, helping to contribute to its favorable ranking.
17. Boca Raton
Monthly expenditures: $3,321
% of population 65 and older: 27.3%
Boca Raton has an outstanding livability score, but you're going to pay the price to live there. Factors such as exceedingly high one-bedroom rents of over $2,000 per month and grocery costs more than 10% above the national average technically push the city out of the "$3,000 per month" category. Yet, many seniors feel that the benefits outweigh the costs in this city, as a whopping 27.3% of the population is age 65 or older.
Monthly expenditures: $2,785
% of population 65 and older: 24.9%
Much lower-than-average healthcare costs are likely a large reason that such a large percentage of Bradenton's population is age 65 and older. At $515 per month, you'll be paying 7.4% less than the national average for your healthcare costs in the city.
Monthly expenditures: $2,578
% of population 65 and older: 22.8%
Clearwater has below-average rents, but its other costs are above average. Healthcare, utilities and groceries will cost you 1.4%, 4.9% and 5.1% above the national average, respectively. A high percentage of senior residents helps pull up the city's ranking.
14. Panama City Beach
Monthly expenditures: $2,330
% of population 65 and older: 16.7%
Panama City Beach is a great place to live if you're looking for cheap rent. The average one-bedroom apartment costs just $1,099 per month, about 22% below the national average. Just watch out for your utility cost, which runs nearly 6% above the national average.
Monthly expenditures: $2,648
% of population 65 and older: 28%
Utilities are particularly inexpensive in Sarasota, running 5.8% below the national average, the lowest in the top 20. But just like in most Florida cities, groceries are a bit costly, at $373 per month, or 6.5% above average. One-bedroom rents are about average, while healthcare runs 2.4% below the national average.
12. Pembroke Pines
Monthly expenditures: $2,967
% of population 65 and older: 18.4%
Pembroke Pines has a higher-than-average senior population and a top livability score. The city would likely rank in the top 10 if it had lower one-bedroom rent and grocery expenses, which run 24.1% and 7.7% above average, respectively.
Monthly expenditures: $2,808
% of population 65 and older: 14%
Maitland's livability score is off the chart, at 87. However, a few factors drag the city's overall score down. First, Maitland has a below-average percentage of senior residents, along with slightly above-average costs for utilities and groceries. But the biggest culprit may be one-bedroom rents, which at $1,585 are about 13% above the national average.
Monthly expenditures: $2,383
% of population 65 and older: 20.9%
A high percentage of senior residents and low costs across the board push Melbourne into the top 10, even though its livability score -- while good -- is well below the highest ones in the top 20. Only groceries cost more than the national average, although that is merely a technicality -- costs are just 0.1% above the national average.
Monthly expenditures: $2,642
% of population 65 and older: 15.3%
Even though Casselberry has a high livability score, its ranking is dragged down by a below-average percentage of seniors living there. If that is of less consequence to you, you might enjoy the city's below-average costs for healthcare and utilities. One-bedroom rents and grocery costs are near the national average as well.
Monthly expenditures: $2,759
% of population 65 and older: 19.3%
Healthcare and utility costs run 3.2% and 2.9% below average in Sunrise, making it an attractive place for seniors to live. It also has a very high livability score. Rents and grocery costs, however, do run above national averages, by 10.2% and 4.4%, respectively.
7. Altamonte Springs
Monthly expenditures: $2,545
% of population 65 and older: 14.6%
With the exception of utility costs, which run 3.1% above the national average, Altamonte Springs qualifies as a low-cost city, with one-bedroom rents, groceries and healthcare all costing less than the national average. The city also boasts one of the highest livability scores on the list.
6. Lake Mary
Monthly expenditures: $3,042
% of population 65 and older: 19.9%
Lake Mary doesn't technically qualify as a city that seniors can live on for $3,000, as average monthly expenditures are just slightly over this level. The big culprit here is the high rent for a one-bedroom apartment, at a whopping $1,821 per month. But the city also boasts the highest livability score on the list, at a whopping 89. If you can negotiate your rent down or find an apartment that rents for a bit less, you can keep your total expenditures below $3,000.
5. Palm Bay
Monthly expenditures: $2,369
% of population 65 and older: 18.8%
Rents in Palm Bay are among the lowest on the list, at just $1,189 for a one-bedroom apartment. Groceries, healthcare and utility costs are also all below the national average, making Palm Bay the only city on the entire list that can make that claim.
4. Winter Garden
Monthly expenditures: $2,339
% of population 65 and older: 14.1%
Monthly expenditures in Winter Garden are among the lowest of any city in the top 20. Coupled with an extraordinarily high livability score of 85, Winter Garden is one of the best cities in all of Florida for a retiree to live on $3,000 per month.
Monthly expenditures: $2,401
% of population 65 and older: 22.2%
If you have just $3,000 to spare for your monthly expenditures in Lakeland, don't fret -- you'll still end the month with about $600 left for other costs. A large number of seniors and a very high livability score make the city a contender for the top prize.
Monthly expenditures: $2,637
% of population 65 and older: 26.3%
Utility and grocery costs run slightly high in Largo, at 5.2% and 4.4% above the national average, respectively. Otherwise, the city would be a strong contender for the overall No. 1 ranking in Florida, as it boasts a very high livability score and a large number of seniors.
1. Port Orange
Monthly expenditures: $2,497
% of population 65 and older: 24.6%
Port Orange is a clear winner in terms of places in Florida to live for retirees, as attested to by the high percentage of seniors living there. One of the best livability scores in the entire nation, coupled with a very low cost for monthly expenditures, pushes the city to the top of the pack.
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Methodology: For this study, GOBankingRates found the best cities in Florida to retire on $3,000 dollars or less. GOBankingRates used ApartmentList June 2022 data to find the fifty cheapest cities in Florida in terms of (1) average 2022 monthly rent for a 1 bedroom apartment. GOBankingRates then used Sperling's Best to find the cost of living index for every city on the list, looking at (2) grocery, (3) utilities and (4) healthcare index scores. Next, GOBankingRates used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2020 Consumer Expenditure Survey to find the annual expenditure amount for both grocery ("food at home") and healthcare costs for people aged 65 and older in order to find how much a person 65 and over would spend on groceries and healthcare in each city on a monthly basis. GOBankingRates then added monthly housing, grocery and healthcare costs together to find where a person 65 and older could survive on $3,000 or less. In order for a city to be qualified for the study, it had to have a livabilty score of 65 or higher as sourced from AreaVibes and its population had to be 10% or more over the age of 65 according to the Census Bureau's 2020 American Community Survey. For final rankings all qualified cities were ranked by (5) total monthly expenditures, (6) % of population over 65 and (7) livability with the lowest score being best. Factor (7) was weighted 1.5x. All data was collected on and up to date as of July 27, 2022.
This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 20 Best Florida Cities To Retire on $3,000 a Month