People considering retirement often worry about when to do it — especially if they’re concerned the money they’ve saved and invested won’t be enough. But where to retire can also be an important financial question.
The latest numbers on rent costs in 150 of the largest U.S. cities shine some light on that issue.
Where Your Social Security Check Can Cover Rent
GOBankingRates, a personal finance website, has just released a study that ranks cities by how affordable rent is there.
The average monthly Social Security benefit for a retired worker in 2022 is $1,657. GOBankingRates found the average rent in the United States during 2021 was $1,309. Clearly, those numbers don’t play nicely together.
If you want to be able to live the most comfortable retirement on Social Security alone, you may want to consider moving to one of these cities. Note that these prices are for one-bedroom apartments, and the cities are listed in no particular order.
- Median rent: $644
- Amount you’d have left over after paying for rent: $1,013
- Median rent: $780
- Amount you’d have left over after paying for rent: $877
- Median rent: $715
- Amount you’d have left over after paying for rent: $942
Lake Charles, Louisiana
- Median rent: $622
- Amount you’d have left over after paying for rent: $1,035
Des Moines, Iowa
- Median rent: $729
- Amount you’d have left over after paying for rent: $928
- Median rent: $800
- Amount you’d have left over after paying for rent: $857
Fort Wayne, Indiana
- Median rent: $718
- Amount you’d have left over after paying for rent: $939
St. Charles, Missouri
- Median rent: $831
- Amount you’d have left over after pyhing for rent: $826
- Median rent: $786
- Amount you’d have left over after paying for rent: $871
Rock Springs, Wyoming
- Median rent: $692
- Amount you’d have left over after pahing fo rent: $965
To determine these cities, GOBankingRates says it used Apartment List’s 2021 rental data to find each city’s overall estimated typical rent price for a one-bedroom.
If this list has you thinking about moving to a new city once you retire, money expert Clark Howard believes you should think about renting first as a trial run in a new place.
“One of my key rules is you should always rent first for six months, a year or even two years if you’re thinking about relocating for retirement,” Clark says. “If it turns out that you don’t like it, at least you’re not all-in owning a home that you’ve now got to get rid of.”
But picking a place to retire is about more than just dollars and cents, according to Clark. There’s also the question of friends and family to consider.
“If you go move somewhere else that’s thousands of miles away from close family, it could be isolating and lonely,” Clark says. “Are you going to be able to establish a network of friends in your new destination?”
Meanwhile, you’ve also got to consider the cost, accessibility and quality of health care if you’re going to be moving to a new area.
So there’s a lot to think about on multiple fronts. Hopefully, this article gets you started thinking along the lines that make sense for your life in retirement.