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You’ll Never Be Able To Afford Retirement in These Cities — So Look Here Instead

Shutterstock.com
Shutterstock.com

Frequently, the top locations on people's lists of potential cities to live out their golden years don't have a lot of crossover with America's most affordable cities, leaving plenty of people struggling with the decision between retiring where and how they want and having to make painful cuts to their lifestyle.

Retirement at Any Age: Get Retirement Tips That Fit Every Stage of Life
See: 5 Things You Must Do When Your Savings Reach $50,000

However, while your first choice might be prohibitively expensive, a new study from GOBankingRates dug deep into the numbers to give you some much more affordable options when you're considering where to retire. Considering the median listing price for a home and the average expenditures for someone 65 and older, the study has identified which of the country's cheapest places to live also offer a similar lifestyle to the pricier options that might spring to mind first.

So, before you immediately assume that you'll need to work into your 70s to afford the retirement you want, you might find that these cheap places to retire have everything you want at a much lower price, giving you more financial flexibility and an easier time making ends meet on a fixed income. As you'll see, it doesn't necessarily take a lot to retire in a great city.

ventdusud / Getty Images/iStockphoto
ventdusud / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Don't Retire In Miami, Florida
Miami has long been one of America's best-known cities — gaining fame for its active nightlife and large Cuban-American community, among others. However, making this city your home in retirement comes at a steep cost, with the median list price for a house reaching $560,169 and the average annual expenditure for seniors is at $81,919.87.

jmsilva / Getty Images/iStockphoto
jmsilva / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Instead, Choose Hialeah, Florida
Nearby Miami is Hialeah, a community where the median list price is $444,133 and the cost of living is $77,167.98 for senior citizens. If you're interested in a South Florida retirement but don't want to pay Miami prices, this could be your ticket.Take Our Poll: Are You Struggling To Keep Up With Your Utility Bills?

Melpomenem / iStock.com
Melpomenem / iStock.com

Don't Retire In Los Angeles, California
The City of Angels offers nice weather year-round and a wide variety of amenities. However, America's second-largest city is also among its most expensive. The median list price for a home is close to $1 million and the cost of living for ages 65 and older households is $117,927.14

Shutterstock.com
Shutterstock.com

Instead, Choose San Bernardino, California
Good thing nearby San Bernardino offers many of the same benefits at a fraction of the price. The median home list price of $463,783.00 is an astonishing $509,045 less than Los Angeles and the average senior spends less than $44,000 a year living there. Throw in a variety of options for local theater and closer access to Lake Arrowhead, Big Bear and Joshua Tree National Park and this could be a paradise for nature lovers looking to spend less.

Shutterstock.com
Shutterstock.com

Don't Retire In Oakland, California
The cost of living anywhere in the San Francisco Bay Area has been spiraling out of control in recent years. While Oakland might be the retirement spot of your dreams, the median list price of $955,409.00 is followed by an average cost of living for residents 65 and over that is over $118,000. All told, for most Americans, retiring in Oakland is either well out of reach or would require major compromises elsewhere.

jmoor17 / Getty Images
jmoor17 / Getty Images

Instead, Choose Modesto, California
Instead of Oakland, consider the inland city of Modesto, the inspiration for the George Lucas classic "American Graffiti" and a haven for classic car lovers who want to live a short drive from both the mountains and the beach. Modesto's median list price — $450,204.00 — is less than half that of Oakland, the average cost of living for seniors is nearly $77,000.

holbox / Shutterstock.com
holbox / Shutterstock.com

Don't Retire In Naples, Florida
Deciding to retire in Florida is a cliche for a reason: The Sunshine State has a lot to offer people in retirement. As such, it's understandable that retirement in Naples would stand out as a goal for many. Unfortunately, you might not have such a sunny disposition when you get done shelling out $635,982 for a home based on the median list price.

Shutterstock.com
Shutterstock.com

Instead, Choose St. Petersburg, Florida
St. Petersburg could offer you the retirement on Florida's west coast that you want at a price you can afford. You'll be nearby to Clearwater Beach with a median list price of $373,773.00 - that's $262,000 under that of Naples. That amount would cover several years' worth of expenses.

Steve Cukrov / Shutterstock.com
Steve Cukrov / Shutterstock.com

Don't Retire in Santa Ana, California
Santa Ana might be best known for its association with the Santa Ana winds, but it also has a lot to offer potential retirees. However, that would mean entering a blazing inferno of a housing market where the median list price is $788,712.00 and the average annual expenditure for those who are 65 and older is just $4,000 shy of $100,000.

jezdicek / iStock.com
jezdicek / iStock.com

Instead, Choose Henderson, Nevada
Meanwhile, Henderson across the border in Nevada could be your lower-cost alternative to retiring in Santa Ana. Directly adjacent to Las Vegas and all of the amenities it has to offer, the median list price for a home there is $513,542.00, and in addition to saving over $275,000 on a house, you'll be saving on your annual costs as well: The average annual expenditure for those 65 and older is over $21,000 a year lower.

Davel5957 / iStock.com
Davel5957 / iStock.com

Don't Retire In Anaheim, California
Anaheim is located just south of Los Angeles and is home to Disneyland, making it a potentially attractive spot for plenty of retirees. However, some of the costs of living there will make you think you've wandered into the park without realizing it. The average annual expenditure for senior citizens is over $100,000, while the median list price comes in at $877,761.

MaxFX / Getty Images/iStockphoto
MaxFX / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Instead, Choose Las Vegas, Nevada
Instead of Disneyland, opt for Las Vegas — the Disneyland for adults. Aside from all of the shows, gambling and restaurants the city is famous for, the median list price for a home is almost exactly half that of Anaheim. And while you might be worried about the casinos eating into your spending allowance, it's worth noting that the average for annual expenditures in Las Vegas is just under $75,000 a year — meaning you'll be saving almost $25,000 a year on basic necessities in Sin City.

Shutterstock.com
Shutterstock.com

Don't Retire In San Francisco, California
If you want to spend your golden years in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge, be prepared to pay, well, golden prices. The median list price for a home is a mind-boggling $1.53 million and paying out that small fortune will only secure the privilege of paying another fortune for expenses as the average senior spends over $164,000 a year.

Shutterstock.com
Shutterstock.com

Instead, Choose Sacramento, California
California's state capital is just inland of San Francisco and offers a cost of living that's much more in line with what most people can sustain in their retirement. Sacramento's median list price of $503,651 is about a quarter of San Francisco's, and you'll then be able to keep saving in a city where the average senior spends $81,384.45. All this comes with a crime rate that's close to half that of San Francisco and a restaurant scene that helped the city win the title of America's Farm-to-Fork Capital.

Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com
Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com

Don't Retire In Riverside, California
Riverside is one of the largest cities in Southern California's inland empire, and it could be just the place to retire to enjoy California's year-round sunshine and warm weather. Unfortunately, you wouldn't be the first person with that idea. The average price of a home is $632,436.00 and the average annual expenditure for retirees is $89,750.45.

Spondylolithesis / Getty Images
Spondylolithesis / Getty Images

Instead, Choose Fresno, California
If it's warm weather and sunshine you crave, it's worth noting that Fresno, in California's central valley is just as temperate as Riverside. And if that isn't a big deal to you, the over $256,000 you'll save buying a home or more than $20,000 a year in expenses should be anything but. And with seven stadiums to satisfy your various sports cravings, the annual Woodward Shakespeare Festival, and the unique Forestiere Underground Gardens, there shouldn't be a shortage of fun ways to spend that money you're saving.

NicolasMcComber / Getty Images/iStockphoto
NicolasMcComber / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Don't Retire In San Jose, California
San Jose currently sits in the middle of the tech-driven housing bubble of the San Francisco Bay Area, meaning that the decision to retire there is going to come with pretty significant costs. While not quite San Francisco-level bad, it's not far behind, with the median list price of $1,385,280 and average annual expenses of $143,895.20, probably means it's not a realistic destination for most retirees.

Shutterstock.com
Shutterstock.com

Instead, Choose Stockton, California
Stockton, however, is just a 90-minute drive from San Jose but offers a cost of living that's actually realistic for someone on a fixed budget. The median list price of $454,453.00 is less than a third of San Jose's while the average annual expenditure for those ages 65 and older of $77,368.77 is almost half that of the pricier burg.

Andrew Zarivny / Shutterstock.com
Andrew Zarivny / Shutterstock.com

Don't Retire In Denver, Colorado
While some might want to live near the water in retirement, plenty of others will find the mountains are more their speed. But if you're hoping to find a place in Denver to spend your retirement, you might want to reconsider: The median list price in the Mile High City is $640,554.00 with another $85,533.98 in average annual expenditures.

Arina P Habich / Shutterstock.com
Arina P Habich / Shutterstock.com

Instead, Choose Aurora, Colorado
But why set yourself up in pricey Denver when Aurora — which borders it to the east — is another option for retirement in the Rocky Mountains that won't hurt your wallet in quite the same way. The median list price is just $514,449. Though the average expenditures are the same, you'll save over $126,000 on the cost of a home. Meanwhile, the "Gateway to the Rockies" is close enough that you can likely enjoy almost all of the same amenities with a lower mortgage.

RyanCSlimakPhoto / Getty Images/iStockphoto
RyanCSlimakPhoto / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Don't Retire In Seattle, Washington
If you don't mind the rain, the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest can be downright breathtaking. However, if that and a love for coffee have you circling Seattle in red as your destination in retirement, you should know that it comes at a steep cost. The median listing price for a home is just $56,000 away from $1 million, while the average retiree spends over $112,000 a year.

gregobagel / Getty Images
gregobagel / Getty Images

Instead, Choose Spokane, Washington
Retiring by the ocean is a dream plenty of people harbor, but life by the Pacific Ocean in Long Beach might mean having to figure out how to live at low tide, so to speak. The median listing price of $808,501.00 is a nonstarter for many, and even those who can afford it might still find themselves struggling to come up with $106,482.45— the city's average annual expenditure for someone over 65 — every year thereafter after blowing their budget on such a pricey home.

Ron_Thomas / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Ron_Thomas / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Don't Retire In Long Beach, California
Retiring by the ocean is a dream plenty of people harbor, but life by the Pacific Ocean in Long Beach might mean having to figure out how to live at low tide, so to speak. The median listing price of $808,501.00 is a nonstarter for many, and even those who can afford it might still find themselves struggling to come up with $106,482.45— the city's average annual expenditure for someone over 65 — every year thereafter after blowing their budget on such a pricey home.

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Instead, Choose Corpus Christi, Texas
If it's a retirement by the seaside that has you looking forward to your last day of work, Corpus Christi on Texas' gulf coast could be the affordable option that makes that possible. The median list price in the city is $219,190.00, and the nearly $600,000 you'll save by not buying in Long Beach will stretch that much further in a city where the average retiree shells out just $56,018.74 in expenses each year.

Art Wager / Getty Images
Art Wager / Getty Images

Don't Retire In Honolulu, Hawaii
Plenty of people want to retire to Hawaii because... well, the reasons for that should be obvious. If you've haven't been there yet, visit Hawaii and you should be able to figure it out. Of course, the only issue is that this island paradise comes with some positively outrageous prices to match. The $881,579 that a median home lists at is paired with an average annual expenditure for seniors that hits over $113,000 a year.

ESB Professional / Shutterstock.com
ESB Professional / Shutterstock.com

Instead, Choose Tampa, Florida
Once again, swapping the Pacific for the Gulf of Mexico can mean living near water without having to suffer through the sort of high prices that tend to follow the swankiest beachside towns. Tampa's median list price of $422,079 puts it within reach for many retirees while the annual expenditures of nearly $70,000 means you'll be able to save over $43,000 every single year just on your cost of living — money you can spend at places like ZooTampa, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay or The Florida Aquarium.

Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Don't Retire In San Diego, California
San Diego is an ideal city for retirement in many ways, boasting sunshine and ocean access that will keep retirees warm, tan and having fun well into their golden years. Of course, the prices might mean you'll be warm, tan and flat broke. The median list price for a home in this Southern California locale is $968,370 and you'll still need over $107,000 a year just to cover basic expenses.

Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Instead, Choose Jacksonville, Florida
If you're okay with swapping the Pacific time zone for Eastern, Jacksonville might be the better option for you. Jacksonville touts itself as among America's top 20 art destinations, has the largest urban park system in the country and features 1,100 miles of navigable water between its 22 miles of beaches and the beautiful St. Johns River. And all that comes at a major discount compared to San Diego, with the price of your home coming in at over $655,000 lower and a year's worth of expenses running you around $63,000 on average.

4kodiak / iStock.com
4kodiak / iStock.com

Don't Retire In Reno, Nevada
The biggest little city in the world might seem like a great place to retire... until you see the biggest little costs in the world that come with that plan. Reno's median list price for a house is $568,103.00, and you'll also need to shell out over $80,000 every year thereafter to cover expenses, on average.

turtix / Shutterstock.com
turtix / Shutterstock.com

Instead, Choose Albuquerque, New Mexico
As desert cities go, Albuquerque might be the ideal opportunity to avoid the Reno real estate market's pricey options. Albuquerque boasts a thriving art scene, the National Hispanic Cultural Center and the National Institute of Flamenco in addition to an array of options for traditional New Mexican cuisine. Despite all this, the median list price in Albuquerque is a mere $315,965 and the average annual expenditure is $60,770.62 — giving you plenty of spare cash to enjoy your Flamenco lessons and stuffed sopapillas.More From GOBankingRatesThe Downsides of Retirement That Nobody Talks About
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5 Things You Must Do When Your Savings Reach $50,000
9 Best Money Moves You Should Make This Week
Jordan Rosenfeld contributed to the reporting for this article.Methodology: For this piece GOBankingRates examined (1) Zillow median home listing price data by select city. Next, GOBankingRates (2) used the average cost of living index in those selected cities, as sourced by Sperling's Best; and (3) data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 Consumer Expenditure Survey to find annual expenditure amounts to determine how much a retired person might spend in each city monthly. All data was collected and is up to date as of September 28, 2022.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: You’ll Never Be Able To Afford Retirement in These Cities — So Look Here Instead