Finding space in your budget to save and invest isn't easy for everyone. As such, plenty of Americans are facing a retirement where their only source of funds is a monthly check from the Social Security Administration.
Still, living on a fixed income doesn't mean you have to miss out on a satisfying retirement. In the right place, you might discover that you can stretch your budget further and spend your golden years enjoying yourself. To help you find such a place, a GOBankingRates study identified American cities where you can realistically retire on a budget of $1,500 a month.
The study took the cost-of-living index from Sperling's Best Places and applied it to customer expenditure data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to find the average cost of living in the given city. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in each city was also sourced from ApartmentList. Locations that fell below a certain livability score on AreaVibes or had a below-average portion of the population above 65 were eliminated, and only the places offering the best combination of bills under $1,500 and strong livability for seniors were left.
Total monthly expenditures: $1,401.23
Livability score: 60
The average monthly rent in Cleveland is $616 -- the lowest of the cities on the list. However, the average monthly cost of groceries, $327.56, is the second-lowest of the cities included here.
Grand Forks, North Dakota
Total monthly expenditures: $1,548.14
Livability score: 74
In Grand Forks, retirees can expect to spend a bundle on healthcare. The average monthly rent falls at $535.11 and the city features the most affordable monthly grocery costs on this list at $348.23. Grand Forks, a city with a population of 56,588 people, has the highest livability index on this list at 74.
Lake Charles, Louisiana
Total monthly expenditures: $1,597.32
Livability score: 70
Located along Interstate 10 between Houston and New Orleans, Lake Charles offers plenty of things for retirees to do, from enjoying museums to water activities to wildlife experiences. Lake Charles features the highest monthly rent on this list, as one bedroom falls at $731 and pricy healthcare fees of $540.66 a month.
Total monthly expenditures: $1,614.86
Livability score: 72
Midland, a city in between Fort Worth and El Paso, has a steep monthly healthcare average of $562.33. With grocery costs for this city falling at $340.52, and a livability index of 72, Midland is a prime contender for the best city to retire in on a budget.
Total monthly expenditures: $1,621.00
Livability score: 61
Retirees who settle in Topeka will find it affordable, as well as a great place to make friends. People ages 65 or older make up over 18% of the city's population. Rent averages $720 per month but healthcare costs are $572.34 a month -- the highest in the study.
Total monthly expenditures: $1,623.55
Livability score: 60
Wichita, in Kansas, also known as the "Air Capital of the World" is recognized as the birthplace of Pizza Hut and the White Castle fast-food chain. With the highest average monthly rent on the list at $723, retirees should have a few dollars to spare for food. Social butterflies will also enjoy this city as over 14% of the city's population is over 65.
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Jami Farkas contributed to the reporting for this article.
For this study, GOBankingRates found the best cities to retire on a budget of $1,500 dollars or less. GOBankingRates used ApartmentList April 2022 data to find every city in the U.S. that has an (1) average 2022 monthly rent of $750 dollars or less 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 and (3) 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 $1,500 or less. In order for a city to be qualified for the study, it had to have a livabilty score of 60 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. All data was collected on and up to date as of June 8, 2022.
This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Best Cities To Retire on a Budget of $1,500 a Month