U.S. markets open in 2 hours 42 minutes
  • S&P Futures

    3,925.25
    +21.50 (+0.55%)
     
  • Dow Futures

    31,604.00
    +183.00 (+0.58%)
     
  • Nasdaq Futures

    12,099.25
    +58.75 (+0.49%)
     
  • Russell 2000 Futures

    1,783.00
    +13.20 (+0.75%)
     
  • Crude Oil

    111.43
    +1.86 (+1.70%)
     
  • Gold

    1,824.80
    0.00 (0.00%)
     
  • Silver

    21.25
    +0.08 (+0.36%)
     
  • EUR/USD

    1.0585
    -0.0001 (-0.01%)
     
  • 10-Yr Bond

    3.1940
    0.0000 (0.00%)
     
  • Vix

    26.96
    -0.27 (-0.99%)
     
  • GBP/USD

    1.2252
    -0.0018 (-0.14%)
     
  • USD/JPY

    136.1500
    +0.7040 (+0.52%)
     
  • BTC-USD

    21,044.59
    -392.66 (-1.83%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    458.71
    -3.09 (-0.67%)
     
  • FTSE 100

    7,347.26
    +88.94 (+1.23%)
     
  • Nikkei 225

    27,049.47
    +178.20 (+0.66%)
     

Best Places in Every State To Live on a Fixed Income

·14 min read
shapecharge / Getty Images
shapecharge / Getty Images

The average Social Security benefit for retired workers in 2017 was $1,369 per month. That comes out to $16,428 in annual benefits for a single person or $32,856 per year for a couple — about $25,000 less than the U.S. median household income of $57,617.

Living on a fixed income basically means you’re solely or almost entirely dependent on funds like Social Security, pensions and inheritance, with little to no flexibility in the amount you’re paid each month. Unstable costs, such as a volatile housing market, can be especially challenging to deal with on a fixed income.

See: Exactly How Much Savings You Need To Retire in Your State

If you rely mostly — or solely — on a fixed income, click through to see the best places to live in your state.

Last updated: Feb. 3, 2021

Devatur-Alabama
Devatur-Alabama

Alabama: Decatur

Alabama might be the best state to retire on a fixed income, especially if you want your retirement nest egg to stretch the furthest. Decatur has a stable housing market, making it a safe choice for those on a fixed income. Home values increased less than 5% year over year, while rents actually decreased. Additionally, homes are relatively affordable, with the median home value at $116,900.

alaska PALMER
alaska PALMER

Alaska: Palmer

Alaska is an income-tax-free state, making it one of the best places to retire on a fixed income. Home values in Palmer increased only about 2% year over year, but home prices are still relatively high compared with other cities on this list: The median home value is $252,400. But there is good news for renters, as the median rent decreased about 9% year over year.

Arizona: Sierra Vista
Arizona: Sierra Vista

Arizona: Sierra Vista

If you’re thinking of buying a home on a fixed income, consider Sierra Vista. Home values in Sierra Vista rose less than 1% year over year, which means the market there is less volatile than the state as a whole: Arizona’s home values increased about 7% over the same time period, according to Zillow.

Little Rock's downtown skyline with the Arkansas River in the foreground.
Little Rock's downtown skyline with the Arkansas River in the foreground.

Arkansas: Little Rock

Rent prices in Little Rock did not change at all year over year, and the current median rent is $1,003 per month. In fact, Little Rock is one of the cheapest places to rent, found a 2017 GOBankingRates study. Home values remained stable as well, with less than a 3% increase year over year.

Hanford-California
Hanford-California

California: Hanford

The median home value in California is $535,100, according to Zillow. But in Hanford, it’s significantly less at $191,200. Home values are rising about 7.5% year over year in the city.

Find Out: 13 Ways California Real Estate Differs From Every Other State

Fort-Collins-Colorado
Fort-Collins-Colorado

Colorado: Fort Collins

The median home price in Fort Collins is high — $369,100 — but the market is pretty stable, with only a 7% increase in home values year over year. Rent prices have remained stagnant, increasing less than 1% year over year.

Connecticut: New Haven
Connecticut: New Haven

Connecticut: New Haven

Real estate prices in New Haven increased only about 2%, which is good news for those on a fixed income. However, although rent decreased year over year, it’s still relatively expensive with the median monthly rent at $1,599.

Felton-Delawar
Felton-Delawar

Delaware: Felton

Delaware is one of the few states that doesn’t levy a state sales tax. It also does not tax Social Security benefits, which makes it one of the best places to retire in the U.S. In the last year, Felton home values rose about 2%, while rents decreased about 1%.

Old Main Street in downtown Bradenton, FL USA.
Old Main Street in downtown Bradenton, FL USA.

Florida: Bradenton

Home values are stable in Bradenton, with a median home value of $225,200 and a year-over-year increase of 2.5%. Rents are pretty much stagnant but still relatively high at a median of $1,626 per month.

Columbus Georgia
Columbus Georgia

Georgia: Columbus

Columbus is one of the best cities to retire on a budget of $1,000 a month, a previous GOBankingRates study found. The city has affordable housing for people on a fixed income: The median home price is $105,800, and values are stable, increasing about 4% year over year. Rent prices are also affordable, with a median cost of $896 per month, increasing less than 1% year over year.

Don’t Miss: Homes in These 25 Waterfront Cities Are a Total Steal

Hawaii: Hilo
Hawaii: Hilo

Hawaii: Hilo

Hilo’s median home value rose less than 1% year over year, but its current level is already $336,900. That is the second-highest home value in the study. And rents increased by much more in the last year, about 12% to $1,685.

However, the city is the best place for people on a fixed income to live in Hawaii because it’s affordable compared with the state as a whole: The statewide median home value is $628,600, and values increased about 7% year over year, according to Zillow.

Twin-Falls-Idaho
Twin-Falls-Idaho

Idaho: Twin Falls

In Twin Falls, home values increased about 6% in the last year, while rent increased about 4.5%. The median home value is now $158,200, which is $49,400 less than the national median.

Illinois: Champaign-Urbana
Illinois: Champaign-Urbana

Illinois: Champaign-Urbana

The median home value in Champaign-Urbana is roughly $76,500 cheaper than the U.S. median home value, making homeownership a little more accessible for people who live on a fixed income.

Angola-Indiana
Angola-Indiana

Indiana: Angola

Angola has a steady housing market, with home prices increasing about 2% year over year. And rent prices have also remained stable, with about a 1% increase year over year — good news for renters living on a fixed income.

Des Moines skyline view with Downtown Des Moines, elevated view.
Des Moines skyline view with Downtown Des Moines, elevated view.

Iowa: Des Moines

Des Moines has stable housing and rental markets: Home values increased about 2% year over year, and rent prices increased about 1%. The median home value in the city is $174,100.

Kansas: Topeka
Kansas: Topeka

Kansas: Topeka

Topeka has some of the most affordable housing of any of the cities in this study: The median home value is $105,600, and the median rent is $943.

Danville-Kentucky
Danville-Kentucky

Kentucky: Danville

Danville is a good place for renters on a fixed income to live: The median rent is $896, and rent prices increased less than 1% over the last year. Homes are affordable too, with the median price at $111,500.

Louisiana: Lafayette
Louisiana: Lafayette

Louisiana: Lafayette

Home values in Lafayette have remained steady, with a 2% increase over the last year, while rent decreased almost 3%. Median rent in the city is $1,186.

11683, Augusta, Horizontal, Maine, North America, States, USA, america
11683, Augusta, Horizontal, Maine, North America, States, USA, america

Maine: Augusta

Home values in Augusta increased about 11% over the last year, but with a median home price of $146,100, homes there are still much more affordable than the national median of $207,600. And rent prices are actually decreasing: They went down almost 3% year over year.

Maryland: Hagerstown
Maryland: Hagerstown

Maryland: Hagerstown

Home prices in Hagerstown increased about 5.5% year over year, and the median home value is $172,300. Rent costs remained about the same over the last year, with the median rent at $1,194.

Massachusetts-Worcester
Massachusetts-Worcester

Massachusetts: Worcester

The median home value in Worcester is $258,600. Although this is about the national median value, it’s much less than the median home price in the state of Massachusetts as a whole, which is $388,300, according to Zillow. Home values in the city increased about 6% year over year.

Midland-Michigan
Midland-Michigan

Michigan: Midland

Rent in Midland decreased almost 6% year over year, now at $1,021. Home values increased about 1%, and the median home value is now $130,100.

Mankato is a city in Blue Earth, Nicollet, and Le Sueur counties in the State of Minnesota.
Mankato is a city in Blue Earth, Nicollet, and Le Sueur counties in the State of Minnesota.

Minnesota: Mankato

People on a fixed income can benefit from Mankato’s stable housing market: Home values increased about 2% year over year. Rent decreased slightly, and is now $1,318.

Find Out: 50 Cities Where It’s Cheaper To Buy a Home Than Rent

Mississippi-Tupelo
Mississippi-Tupelo

Mississippi: Tupelo

The median home price in Tupelo is $114,000 — $93,600 less than the national median, which can help those on a fixed income be able to afford housing. Home values rose about 2% year over year.

The historic section of Springfield, Missouri
The historic section of Springfield, Missouri

Missouri: Springfield

Home and rent prices are both below the national median in Springfield: The median home value in the city is $123,300, and rent is $833. Not only does Springfield have the cheapest rent of all the cities included in this study, but the prices are stagnant too: They increased less than 1% over the last year, which is helpful for renters on a fixed income.

Don’t Miss: The Best Neighborhoods To Retire in Across America

Montana: Great Falls
Montana: Great Falls

Montana: Great Falls

Renters with a fixed income in Great Falls shouldn’t have to worry too much about rent hikes: Prices went up less than 2% in the last year. The median rent price in Great Falls is $1,197.

Nebraska: North Platte
Nebraska: North Platte

Nebraska: North Platte

Housing costs in North Platte are at 68% of the U.S. median. Home values showed a 2% growth year over year, but North Platte’s median home value of $141,500 is over $66,000 less than the U.S. median.

Nevada: Elko
Nevada: Elko

Nevada: Elko

Rental costs in Elko increased about 2% year over year, but they decreased about 3% in the previous quarter, which could make rent more affordable for those earning a fixed income.

Berlin-New-Hampshire
Berlin-New-Hampshire

New Hampshire: Berlin

New Hampshire is the best state — in terms of income levels, safety and other quality-of-life factors — if you want to create a richer life for your family. And home prices in Berlin are nearly 60% cheaper than the national median.

Absecon-New-Jersey
Absecon-New-Jersey

New Jersey: Absecon

The median home price in New Jersey is $313,200, according to Zillow, while in Absecon it is $159,300. Home values in the city have remained stagnant, but rent is actually becoming more affordable: Rent prices decreased about 1% over the last year.

Albuquerque downtown skyline with the Sandia Mountains and clouds in the background.
Albuquerque downtown skyline with the Sandia Mountains and clouds in the background.

New Mexico: Albuquerque

Albuquerque is one of the best places to live on a budget, a previous GOBankingRates study found. Fixed-income residents in Albuquerque don’t have to worry about a volatile housing market: The year-over-year change in home values was about 4%. And rent prices have remained steady, with an increase of less than 1% over the last year.

Corning-New-York
Corning-New-York

New York: Corning

Corning’s median home value of $89,500 is the least compared to all of the cities in this study, and values have remained stable, with an increase of less than 1% over the last year. Corning is also a good city for renters living on a fixed income, as rent prices decreased 3% over the last year.

North Carolina: Fayetteville
North Carolina: Fayetteville

North Carolina: Fayetteville

Home values are rising while rents are dropping in Fayetteville, a 3% increase year over year versus a decrease of 1%, respectively. With a median rent of $883, Fayetteville ranks among the cheapest cities in the study to rent.

North Dakota: Fargo
North Dakota: Fargo

North Dakota: Fargo

Home values in Fargo increased about 2% over the last year. The rent is stable with just a 1% increase, with a median rent of $1,349 per month.

Port-Clinton-Ohio
Port-Clinton-Ohio

Ohio: Port Clinton

The median monthly rent in Port Clinton is $1,168, which is higher than the national median — but it’s decreasing. Rent prices dropped more than 1% in the city over the last year.

Elk-City-Oklahoma
Elk-City-Oklahoma

Oklahoma: Elk City

Elk City is one of the most affordable cities included in this study. The median home value is $93,300, and the median monthly rent is $856. And rent is decreasing, with nearly a 3% decrease in the last year.

La-Grande-Oregon
La-Grande-Oregon

Oregon: La Grande

The median home price in Oregon is $323,200, according to Zillow, but in La Grande it’s only $171,200, making it an affordable option for Oregon residents who earn a fixed income. The market is stable, with a 3% year-over-year increase in home values.

Williamsport-Pennsylvania
Williamsport-Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania: Williamsport

Rents in Williamsport dropped about 4% over the last year, bringing them to an affordable $974 per month. And the median home value in the city is $62,500 less than the national median.

Rhode Island: Providence
Rhode Island: Providence

Rhode Island: Providence

New England can be fairly pricey in certain locations. Fortunately for Providence residents, the housing market is relatively stable, with a 7.5% year-over-year increase in home values, which is less than the statewide increase of 9%, and only a 3% year-over-year increase in rent costs.

Columbia South Carolina skyliine at dusk
Columbia South Carolina skyliine at dusk

South Carolina: Columbia

South Carolina doesn’t tax Social Security benefits, according to SmartAsset. And the average effective property tax rate is only 0.57%, one of the lowest in the country, according to Tax Foundation. Columbia is the best place in the state for people on a fixed income because home prices are relatively affordable, with the median home value at $127,400. The housing market is also stable, with a 3% year-over-year increase.

South-Dakota-Rapid-City
South-Dakota-Rapid-City

South Dakota: Rapid City

Rent is decreasing in Rapid City, and the median rent is now $1,270. Meanwhile, home values are rising. The year-over-year increase in home values was about 5%.

Morristown-Tennessee.JPG
Morristown-Tennessee.JPG

Tennessee: Morristown

People living on fixed incomes can benefit from the low volatility and steady growth of home values in Morristown. The metro area’s median home value rose less than 3% year over year. Another money-saver for fixed-income residents is rent cost. The median rent in Morristown increased year over year from 2017 but is still below $1,000.

College-Station-Texas
College-Station-Texas

Texas: College Station

College Station’s relatively low housing costs could be beneficial to someone on a fixed income. Home values crept up by about 2% year over year, while rents got cheaper.

Texas is one of the handful of U.S. states that don’t have a state income tax. Nor does it tax Social Security benefits. However, Texas has a notable drawback: It has the nation’s sixth-highest property tax rate.

Provo Utah downtown street
Provo Utah downtown street

Utah: Provo

Although both the median home value and rent cost are relatively high in Provo, it seems that rent prices have started to take a dip. They dropped 0.30% over the last quarter.

Downtown Rutland, Vermont.
Downtown Rutland, Vermont.

Vermont: Rutland

The median home price in Rutland is almost $50,000 less than the national median, and the housing market is stable, making it a safe place for someone on a fixed income to buy a home. Home values increased 2% year over year.

Lynchburg, Virginia
Lynchburg, Virginia

Virginia: Lynchburg

The median home value in Lynchburg is almost $100,000 less than the statewide median, making it an affordable option for those wishing to live in Virginia on a fixed income. It’s also a stable housing market: Values increased about 3% over the last year.

November sunrise over the Wenatchee Valley looking north from Saddle Rock.
November sunrise over the Wenatchee Valley looking north from Saddle Rock.

Washington: Wenatchee

Home values are on the rise in Wenatchee, increasing about 7% year over year to a current median of $290,700. Rents, however, have been on the decline, with the median rent decreasing almost 4% to $1,531 per month.

"A view on Parkersburg, West Virginia from a nearby hill".
"A view on Parkersburg, West Virginia from a nearby hill".

West Virginia: Parkersburg

Home prices in Parkersburg are among the lowest compared with the other cities in this study, with the median home value at $104,500. Rent is also among the cheapest at $860 per month, and prices decreased both year over year and quarter over quarter.

Watertown-Wisconsin
Watertown-Wisconsin

Wisconsin: Watertown

Home values in Watertown rose 2.5% over the last year. Rising home values can help retirees on fixed incomes, especially if prolonged costs wipe out retirement savings, leaving your home as your only financial asset.

Riverton-Wyoming
Riverton-Wyoming

Wyoming: Riverton

Home values in Riverton are increasing, while rent costs are decreasing. Rents dropped 6% over the last year, bringing the median rent price down to an affordable $1,021.

More From GOBankingRates

Methodology: GOBankingRates identified the three cities in each state with the smallest percentages of (1) Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI) for (a) quarter-over-quarter changes and (b) year-over-year changes; and (2) Zillow Rent Index (ZRI) for (a) quarter-over-quarter changes and (b) year-over-year changes, based on Zillow’s data as of the end of January 2018. These factors were chosen because changes in home values serve as a proxy for measuring the volatility of a housing market, with large increases posing a threat to those living on fixed incomes, while a negative change in value means money is being lost in depreciating house values. Decreasing rental prices benefit a household on a fixed income. Each city was scored and ranked based on home value and rental score, with the top city named the best city in the state.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Best Places in Every State To Live on a Fixed Income