U.S. Markets closed

States Where Your Retirement Will Cost Less Than $45,000 a Year

Grace Lin

If you’re thinking about relocating to somewhere cheaper in retirement, you’re not alone — many Americans lack sufficient retirement savings to afford the cost of living in their home states after their working years are over. Moving to a more cost-effective area can help stretch your funds further in retirement, alleviating some uncertainty about your financial future.

To help you choose the perfect place to retire, GOBankingRates evaluated all 50 states and determined where you can live out your golden years for less than $45,000 annually. The study analyzed factors like groceries, housing, utilities, transportation, healthcare and the overall cost-of-living index in each state, all of which contribute heavily to your yearly expenses in retirement. These indices were then multiplied by the average annual expenditures of Americans aged 65 and older, which provided the final ranking of the top 26 states. The figures quoted in this article are per household. The most recent Census lists the average number of people per household as 2.5. To prepare for retirement, take a look at places to live that will cost you less than $45,000 annually.

Last updated: Feb. 3, 2019

26. South Carolina

Annual Expenditure: $44,978

It’s not difficult to see why South Carolina is one of the 10 best states to retire rich. The annual housing bill in the Palmetto State is $13,853, which is 12.8 percent cheaper than the national average.

25. West Virginia

Annual Expenditure: $44,292

West Virginia is one of the states where many people have less than $10,000 saved for retirement. Luckily, annual expenditures fall below the U.S. mean in every category except for groceries, which exceed the average by a mere 3.1 percent.

24. Illinois

Annual Expenditure: $44,246

Illinois is a state where you can maximize your retirement benefits. Healthcare, utilities, housing and groceries are all less expensive in Illinois compared to the rest of America, making it one of the cheapest places to retire.

23. Utah

Annual Expenditure: $44,200

You don’t have to stay too busy when you reach retirement age in the Beehive State. Utah’s cost of living comes in at 3.4 percent below the U.S. average, which could contribute to why it’s one of the states where it’s easiest to save $1 million for retirement.

22. Wisconsin

Annual Expenditure: $44,063

Although healthcare is 16.1 percent more expensive in Wisconsin, housing helps make up for it — at $13,964, residents can reap a 12.1 percent savings compared to the rest of the U.S.

21. Arizona

Annual Expenditure: $43,285

Arizona is one of the best states for taxes in retirement, which is also conducive to its lower cost of living. In the Grand Canyon State, only utilities cost more than the national average.

20. North Carolina

Annual Expenditure: $42,965

You can boost your retirement savings by choosing to live in a state like North Carolina. Healthcare might cost 7 percent more compared to the rest of the U.S., but housing is an enticing 17.3 percent cheaper.

19. Louisiana

Annual Expenditure: $42,736

Louisiana is one of the 20 states where your $1 million nest egg will last the longest. Housing is nearly 15 percent cheaper compared to the rest of America, and you can save more than 10 percent on utilities. Louisiana’s cost of living is lower than the national average by 6.6 percent.

18. Nebraska

Annual Expenditure: $42,736

Nebraska is one of the 10 least tax-friendly states for retirees, but only transportation and healthcare costs exceed the national mean — and not by much. Prospective residents can save on groceries, housing and utilities.

17. New Mexico

Annual Expenditure: $42,507

Though the costs of groceries and healthcare are higher than the U.S. mean, residents of the Land of Enchantment can find savings in housing and utilities, which are more affordable by 17.6 percent and 10.8 percent, respectively.

16. Idaho

Annual Expenditure: $42,416

Idaho’s cost of living beats the U.S. mean by 7.3 percent. But watch out for hidden expenses in retirement — transportation and healthcare both cost slightly more in this state.

15. Ohio

Annual Expenditure: $42,416

Moving to Ohio could be a brilliant solution for your retirement plan. Housing costs clock in at $12,105, which is a noteworthy 23.8 percent cheaper than the national average.

14. Kentucky

Annual Expenditure: $42,370

Grocery costs in Kentucky are lower than the national average by almost 10 percent. It gets even better: Housing is cheaper by nearly 20 percent, which can help stretch your retirement fund further.

13. Iowa

Annual Expenditure: $42,050

Iowa ranks among the top 20 states for retirees, partly because its housing costs beat the U.S. average by 21.1 percent. The remaining cost-of-living categories also fall below the national mean, which should factor into the best retirement plans.

12. Indiana

Annual Expenditure: $41,867

Retirees in this state pay 21.1 percent less for housing, as well as 9 percent less for groceries compared to the rest of the U.S. Indiana is also home to several of the best cities to live on Social Security.

11. Wyoming

Annual Expenditure: $41,821

Though grocery costs exceed the national average by 5.7 percent, retirees can secure housing and utilities for less in Wyoming — 18.1 percent and 7.5 percent, respectively — compared to the rest of the country.

10. Texas

Annual Expenditure: $41,775

Residents of the Lone Star State pay slightly above the U.S. mean for utilities but fork over the second-least amount of money for groceries.

As you plan for your golden years, keep in mind that moving to a different state can help. But depending on the type of goals you have, saving $1 million might not be enough for your retirement dreams.

9. Georgia

Annual Expenditure: $41,546

Housing costs in Georgia come in at $11,899, which is fifth-best in the nation and 25.1 percent below the U.S. average. That might be why you can find luxurious retirement communities in the Peach State.

8. Kansas

Annual Expenditure: $40,952

Kansas is one of the states where your Social Security check goes the furthest, which is a serious consideration when you’re deciding where to retire. Both grocery and housing costs are relatively cheap at $3,271 and $12,105, respectively.

7. Tennessee

Annual Expenditure: $40,906

At $6,208, Tennessee’s transportation costs are the third-least expensive in America; residents can expect savings of 8.9 percent. Tennessee is also one of the cheapest places to retire across Middle America.

6. Missouri

Annual Expenditure: $40,677

Though the cost of utilities in Missouri hovers around the national mean, housing expenses in the Show-Me State are the third-cheapest in the U.S. at $11,597, which is 27 percent lower than average.

5. Alabama

Annual Expenditure: $40,631

Alabama is worthy of serious consideration in your retirement planning because its healthcare costs are the lowest in the nation at $5,149 annually. Alabama’s cost of living is 11.2 percent below the U.S. mean.

4. Arkansas

Annual Expenditure: $40,631

Arkansas is one of the most affordable places to live because it has the second-least expensive healthcare costs as well as the fifth-cheapest transportation costs, which can help make your retirement savings last longer.

3. Michigan

Annual Expenditure: $40,586

Though its transportation costs are squarely in line with the U.S. average, Michigan boasts the cheapest annual grocery bill in the U.S. Housing also presents the opportunity for real savings, as Michigan’s housing costs are among the 10 cheapest in America.

2. Oklahoma

Annual Expenditure: $40,403

At $6,187, transportation costs are the second-lowest in Oklahoma compared to the rest of the country. It’s also one of the top five states where $500,000 lasts the longest in retirement.

1. Mississippi

Annual Expenditure: $38,435

Early retirement might be possible in Mississippi, the state where retirees spend the least each year. Housing, in particular, is a steal at $10,882, which is a staggering 31.5 percent below the national average.

States Where Your Retirement Will Cost Less Than $45,000 a Year

The best places to retire on less than $45,000 per year are all located in the South and the Midwest. Mississippi and Oklahoma — both Southern states — captured the No. 1 and No. 2 spots, respectively. In the Midwest, Michigan earned No. 3 in our rankings. Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Kansas, Georgia and Texas filled out the remaining top 10 states where your retirement will cost the least each year.

Rounding out the bottom of the rankings are Hawaii, California and New York. These three are the only states where your retirement will cost over $60,000 per year. In fact, Hawaii is the lone state to break $65,000 in annual expenditures, and it does so by a wide margin — over $20,000. You’ll spend nearly $50,000 more each year to make the jump from No. 1 Mississippi to dead-last Hawaii, where it costs retirees a whopping $85,243 each year.

Click through to see if you can pass this tricky retirement quiz.

More on Retirement Planning

Methodology: To determine the states where it costs $45,000 or less to retire, GOBankingRates analyzed all 50 states in terms of the following factors: (1) overall cost-of-living index, (2) grocery cost of living, (3) housing cost of living, (4) utilities cost of living, (5) transportation cost of living and (6) health cost of living, all sourced from the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center. These indices were then multiplied by the average annual expenditures of an American aged 65 and older, sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: States Where Your Retirement Will Cost Less Than $45,000 a Year