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50 Cheapest Places to Retire Across Middle America

Gabrielle Olya

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 50 Cheapest Places to Retire Across Middle America

Living along the coasts tends to come with higher living costs, so those looking to save money in retirement should consider moving to a landlocked state.

To determine the cheapest places to retire across Middle America — which for this study is defined as Midwestern states and other states with no coastline on the ocean — GOBankingRates analyzed the cost of groceries, healthcare, utilities, transportation, rent and the overall cost of living. Healthcare costs were weighted double because these costs are more significant for people of retirement age. To retire comfortably — in Middle America or elsewhere — retirees need to know how much retirement is going to cost.

51. Sterling Heights, Mich.

  • Median rent: $1,469

Sterling Heights is home to numerous parks, hiking and bike trails, community tennis courts and more, so it’s a good place for those seeking an active retirement. And Michigan is one of the best states to retire rich. The overall cost of living in the area is slightly below average, but the costs of utilities and transportation are above the national average.

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50. Boise, Idaho

  • Median rent: $1,332

Boise has a mild, four-season climate, outdoor activities, lots of dining options, and arts and cultural activities. The overall cost of living is slightly above the national average, but retirees will save on relatively inexpensive groceries and utilities. Overall, Idaho is another one of the best states to retire rich.

49. Colorado Springs, Colo.

  • Median rent: $1,535

There’s plenty to do and see in Colorado Springs, including train rides, museums, parks and a zoo. The highest living cost in the city is healthcare, which costs more than the national average. But groceries, utilities and transportation all have below-average costs. Overall, Colorado is one of the best states to retire rich.

48. Indianapolis

  • Median rent: $1,140

Racing fans can have a happy retirement in Indiana, and the city also offers fun for food lovers and history buffs. Healthcare costs are above average in Indianapolis, but overall the cost of living is low, which makes it one of the cheapest places to retire.

47. Warren, Mich.

  • Median rent: $1,219

Warren is currently undergoing a city-wide clean-up, so it’s becoming more and more of a place you’d want to spend the golden years of life in. The overall cost of living in Warren is low, although costs of utilities and transportation are slightly above the national average.

See: This Is How Much You Need to Survive Retirement in Your State

46. 45. Kansas City, Mo.

  • Median rent: $1,103

Kansas City is one of the most affordable cities for active retirees. It has a little something for everyone, whether your passion is art, shopping or sports. All living costs, with the exception of utilities, are below the national average in Kansas City.

45. Cincinnati

  • Median rent: $1,173

With theaters, a sports stadium, a thriving food scene and more, retirees won’t get bored in Cincinnati. Both the overall cost of living and utilities costs are below the national average, making Cincinnati one of the cheapest places to retire.

44. St. Louis

  • Median rent: $949

Each neighborhood in St. Louis has its own unique personality, so retirees can find an area within the city most suited to their wants and needs. Rent is relatively inexpensive in St. Louis, as is the overall cost of living, which makes it one of the cheapest places to retire.

43. Nampa, Idaho

  • Median rent: $1,157

Nampa is home to one of the top 10 pro rodeos, a bustling Main Street and a newly renovated shopping mall. The overall cost of living in Nampa is low, though healthcare and transportation costs are slightly above the national average. One downside of living there is that Idaho is one of the least tax-friendly states for retirees.

42. Peoria, Ill.

  • Median rent: $1,447

Located in the heart of Illinois, Peoria has arts, parks, golf courses and more. With the exception of transportation, all living costs in Peoria are below the national average.

Although Peoria is cheap, Illinois as a whole is one of the worst states to retire rich.

41. Rockford, Ill.

  • Median rent: $939

Groceries and utilities are both less expensive in Rockford — the City of Gardens and Rivers — than in the country as a whole. Compared to the other places on this list, it has the 10th-lowest overall cost of living.

Find: Great Places to Retire Where Rent Is Under $1,000 a Month

40. Independence, Mo.

  • Median rent: $985

Located east of Kansas City, Independence has lots of pioneer and Civil War-era history to explore. With the exception of utilities, all living costs in Independence are below the national average. However, Missouri is one of the least tax-friendly states for retirees.

39. Kansas City, Kan.

  • Median rent: $1,103

From NASCAR races to golf courses, there’s no shortage of things to do to fill your free time in Kansas City. Most living expenses are below the national average here. In fact, it’s one of the cities where your nest egg will stretch the furthest.

 

38. Bloomington, Ind.

  • Median rent: $1,319

Bloomington’s hills, forests and lakes provide a peaceful setting for retirement. The overall cost of living in Bloomington is below the national average, though healthcare and transportation costs are slightly above average. Indiana is one of the best states to retire rich, a separate GOBankingRates study found.

37. Lincoln, Neb.

  • Median rent: $1,308

With theaters, recreation areas and museums, there’s plenty for seniors to enjoy in Lincoln — which is another one of the cheapest places to retire. Utility costs are slightly above average in the Nebraska city, but all other living costs are below the national average.

36. Davenport, Iowa

  • Median rent: $1,092

Davenport is the third-largest city in Iowa and a great place for fans of live music. Healthcare costs here are on par with the national average, but overall the living costs are below average. Iowa is one of the best states to retire rich, a separate GOBankingRates study found.

35. Saginaw, Mich.

  • Median rent: $703

Saginaw — home to the nearly 10,000 acres of national wildlife refuge known as “The Flats” — has the second-lowest median rent and the fourth-lowest overall cost of living of all the places on this list. But Michigan is one of the least tax-friendly states for retirees, which is important to keep in mind when figuring out retirement finances.

34. Akron, Ohio

  • Median rent: $755

Akron has the fifth-cheapest median rent and the ninth-lowest overall cost of living of all the places on this list, and below-average healthcare and utilities costs as well. It’s one of the cheapest places to retire, and it’s home to gardens, national parks, live theater and other attractions.

33. Lansing, Mich.

  • Median rent: $883

Lansing is home to a variety of dining options, one-of-a-kind boutiques and world-class galleries. Lansing has the seventh-lowest overall cost of living, though healthcare costs are higher than the national average.

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32. Flint, Mich.

  • Median rent: $586

Flint has the lowest median rent — by far — of all of the places on this list. It also has the fifth-lowest overall cost of living. It’s home to Michigan’s largest county park system as well as golf courses and museums. 

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31. Toledo, Ohio

  • Median rent: $795

Toledo — home to a variety of performing arts and an “Ale Trail” for beer enthusiasts — has the sixth-lowest median rent and the sixth-lowest overall cost of living of all of the cities on this list. It’s one of the cheapest places to retire in the U.S.

30. Detroit

  • Median rent: $750

Detroit is one of the cheapest places to retire. It has the fourth-lowest median rent of all the places included in this list, and it also has the lowest overall cost of living. Fishing along the Detroit RiverFront or catching a Tigers game are just a couple of things you can do to fill your time here.

29. West Jordan, Utah

  • Median rent: $1,628

West Jordan is home to over 3,000 businesses, over 113,000 residents and 48 parks. Although the overall cost of living is above average in the city, groceries, healthcare and utilities costs are all below the average. A separate GOBankingRates study found that Utah is one of the best states to retire rich.

28. Provo, Utah

  • Median rent: $1,412

Get the amenities of a city but the convenience of being able to easily access national parks, canyon country, mountains and ski resorts when you live in Provo. The overall cost of living is slightly above the national average here, but groceries, healthcare and utilities are all below the average. Provo is the best place in Utah to live on a fixed income, a different GOBankingRates study found.

27. Lexington, Ky.

  • Median rent: $1,247

Lexington is one of the cheapest places to retire. All living costs — except healthcare — are below the national average in the city, which is known as the Horse Capital of the World because of its many horse farms.

26. Broken Arrow, Okla.

  • Median rent: $1,259

Attractions in Broken Arrow include the Rose District, the Performing Arts Center, the Warren Theatre and Bass Pro Shops. Transportation costs in the city are on par with the national average, but all other living costs in Broken Arrow are below average.

Consider Retiring Abroad: 50 Cheapest Countries to Retire In

25. Canton, Ohio

  • Median rent: $848

Canton is best known as the home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but there’s plenty of other things to explore there, from museums to parks to local restaurants. Transportation costs in Canton are slightly above the national average, but all other living costs are below-average, and it has the ninth-lowest median rent of all of the cities on this list.

24. Chattanooga, Tenn.

  • Median rent: $1,225

Chattanooga is located along the Tennessee River between the mountains of southeast Tennessee, so it’s a picturesque place to retire. And it’s affordable: groceries, healthcare, utilities and transportation all cost less than the national average. Overall, Chattanooga is one of the cheapest places to retire.

23. Columbus, Ohio

  • Median rent: $1,241

With museums, riverfront parks and an artisan food scene, Columbus is a great place to spend your retirement years. All living costs are below the national average in Columbus, which is one of the cheapest places to retire in the U.S. overall.

22. Grand Rapids, Mich.

  • Median rent: $1,241

Enjoy food, art, music and more — without having to spend a lot — in Grand Rapids. Groceries, healthcare and utility costs are all below the national average in the city, which is one of the cheapest places to retire.

21. Omaha, Neb.

  • Median rent: $1,320

Golf, shop and eat legendary steak in Omaha, which is an affordable city for those not ready to live a retiree lifestyle. All living costs in Omaha are below the national average, so you won’t have to feel guilty about making a steak dinner a regular part of your retired life.

20. Hamilton, Ohio

  • Median rent: $1,318

Hamilton is known as the City of Sculpture thanks to its thriving arts scene. All living costs are below the national average here.

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19. West Valley City, Utah

  • Median rent: $1,449

West Valley City is the second-largest city in Utah, and it’s become a center for business, recreation and entertainment. Groceries, healthcare and utilities are more affordable here than in the country as a whole. But Utah is one of the least tax-friendly states for retirees, a separate GOBankingRates study found.

18. Clarksville, Tenn.

  • Median rent: $1,059

With mild weather year-round, you can enjoy strolls along the RiverWalk, golfing and fishing most days in Clarksville. And groceries, utilities and transportation all cost less than the national average in the Southern city. Plus, Tennessee is one of the best states overall to retire rich.

17. Sioux Falls, S.D.

  • Median rent: $1,221

Sioux Falls gets its name from Falls Park, a natural beauty covering 123 acres. The city is also home to restaurants, shopping, entertainment and sports attractions. The costs of groceries, healthcare and transportation are all below the national average in Sioux Falls, which make it one of the cheapest places to retire.

16. Tulsa, Okla.

  • Median rent: $959

With theaters, casinos, sports stadiums, parks and golf courses, there’s always something to do in Tulsa. Groceries, healthcare and utilities are all cheaper in Tulsa than in most U.S. cities, which makes it one of the cheapest places to retire.

15. Little Rock, Ark.

  • Median rent: $1,054

Arkansas’ capital city offers a number of attractions and activities, and many of them are free, including several of its museums. Utilities in Little Rock are slightly above the national average, but you’ll save on groceries, healthcare and transportation. Overall, it’s the best place to in Arkansas to live on a fixed income.

14. Evansville, Ind.

  • Median rent: $909

Evansville has a downtown, arts district, Main Street area and events district, so there’s a little something for everyone. Groceries, healthcare and transportation costs are all below the national average in this city. And you’ll keep more of your money if you live there because Indiana is one of the most tax-friendly states for retirees.

13. Oklahoma City

  • Median rent: $1,085

Oklahoma City is best known for its horse shows and cowboy culture, so its an idyllic place for fans of the Western lifestyle to retire. Cost of living is low across the board in Oklahoma City, which makes it one of the best places to live on only a Social Security check.

12. Springfield, Mo.

  • Median rent: $838

Springfield — which is the best place in Missouri to live on a fixed income — has the eighth-lowest median rent of all of the places on this list. Located in the Ozarks, the city is the site of over 1,000 restaurants and unique shopping destinations.

11. Murfreesboro, Tenn.

  • Median rent: $1,429

Murfreesboro’s Main Street area is where you’ll find its cultural center, a library and numerous museums. The city has below-average living costs across the board, and utilities in particular are inexpensive here. Plus, Tennessee is one of the most tax-friendly states for retirees.

10. Wichita, Kan.

  • Median rent: $931

Stay active on the Arkansas River, visit the Tanganyika Wildlife Reserve or take in a musical theater show during your leisure time in Wichita. The cost of groceries is especially low in the city.

Even though Wichita is a cheap place to retire, Kansas as a whole is one of the worst states to retire rich.

9. Nashville, Tenn.

  • Median rent: $1,606

Enjoy live music and Southern cooking in Nashville, aka Music City. The overall cost of living is on par with the national average, but some expenses, like healthcare, are below average.

Look: Here Are the Best Countries to Retire in 2018

8. Fort Wayne, Ind.

  • Median rent: $1,043

Fort Wayne’s three rivers area is a hub of activity, whether you want to go for a leisurely walk or take a boat tour. Transportation costs here are slightly above the national average, but the overall living cost is below average. In fact, it’s one of the cheapest places to retire in all of America.

7. Dayton, Ohio

  • Median rent: $729

Dayton — known as the Birthplace of Aviation — has the third-cheapest median rent and the third-lowest overall cost of living of all of the cities on this list. But keep in mind that Ohio is one of the least tax-friendly states for retirees.

6. Louisville, Ky.

  • Median rent: $1,033

Louisville is home to Churchill Downs, the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, the Muhammad Ali Center — and bourbon. Even if you’re not a bourbon fan, everyone can enjoy the low living costs in the city, which make Louisville one of the cheapest places to retire.

5. Topeka, Kan.

  • Median rent: $920

A unique history and culture make Topeka a one-of-a-kind place to retire. It also has below-average living costs, and utilities are especially low. Topeka is also the best place in Kansas to live on a fixed income, according to a different GOBankingRates study.

4. Des Moines, Iowa

  • Median rent: $1,139

Des Moines is home to top attractions including the Iowa State Fair and Pappajohn Sculpture Park — and the cost of living is low there as well. Des Moines is the best place in Iowa to live on a fixed income, another GOBankingRates study found.

3. Norman, Okla.

  • Median rent: $1,188

Whether you want to use your retirement to get outside, try new restaurants, hear live music, catch a sporting event, shop local, see an exhibit or do all the above, you can accomplish that in Norman. Plus, the city has low living costs across the board.

Even though living costs are cheap in Norman, it’s important to note that Oklahoma is one of the least tax-friendly states for retirees.

2. Memphis, Tenn.

  • Median rent: $827

With the second-lowest overall cost of living and the seventh-lowest median rent of all the cities on this list, Memphis is the cheapest place to retire in Middle America. It’s also the fourth-cheapest place to retire overall. Not only is it affordable, but there’s plenty to do in Memphis with its vibrant history and lively music scene.

1. The Cheapest Places to Retire in Middle America

Retirement should be an enjoyable period of life, so it’s important to live in a place where there’s plenty to do, but where you won’t be financially struggling to get by. Those looking to retire someplace cheap should consider moving to Tennessee, which is home to three of the top 10 cheap places in Middle America: Memphis (No. 1), Nashville (No. 8) and Murfreesboro (No. 10).

Here’s a recap of the cities that rounded out the top 10:

  1. Memphis, Tenn.
  2. Norman, Okla.
  3. Des Moines, Iowa
  4. Topeka, Kan.
  5. Louisville, Ky.
  6. Dayton, Ohio
  7. Fort Wayne, Ind.
  8. Nashville, Tenn.
  9. Wichita, Kan.
  10. Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Click through to read more about the best cities to retire on a budget of $1,500 a month.

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Methodology: GOBankingRates defined “Middle America” as including all states within the Census Region called Midwest, plus several other states with no coastline on the ocean. To establish the list of cities, we started with the 150 largest cities in the country. Factors measured in the study include: (1) median monthly rent for a single-family residence, sourced from Zillow and representing prices for April 2018; (2) overall cost of living; (3) groceries index; (4) health cost index; (5) utilities cost index and (6) transportation cost index, all sourced from Sperling’s Best Places. Health cost index was weighted double due to healthcare costs being more significant for people of retirement age.