10 cities where your Social Security check can cover housing costs

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Retired couple
Image Credit: Dreamstime

The question of where to retire is as big of a question mark for people as the question of when to retire when thinking about Social Security and housing.

But now new numbers about median rent costs in 300 of the largest U.S. cities shine some light on the answers to that question.

Low-rent cities where you won’t blow all of your Social Security check

GoBankingRates is out with a new study that names 25 cities where your Social Security check alone will cover the rent.

Now, you may balk at the idea of renting in retirement. In theory, you should hopefully own your own home when you call it quits at work. But maybe you either never bought or you’re downsizing now that you’re an empty-nester. So, the idea of renting actually is appealing to a lot of retirees.

In fact, if you’re thinking about relocating for retirement, money expert Clark Howard believes you should think about renting first as a trial run of 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.”

Meanwhile, the average monthly Social Security benefit for a retired worker is $1,461, according to the Social Security Administration. Yet GoBankingRates found the average rent in the U.S. is $1,622. Clearly those number 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:

The ‘Amount you’d have left over after paying for rent’ is based on the average monthly Social Security benefit for a retired worker in the U.S.

10. Toledo, Ohio

A View of the Toledo, Ohio skyline

  • Average rent: $795
  • Amount you’d have left over after paying for rent: $666

9. Akron, Ohio

A Street scene with old Civic Theater in Akron, Ohio

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  • Average rent: $779
  • Amount you’d have left over after paying for rent: $682

8. South Bend, Indiana

Farmer standing in front of corn barn in South Bend, IN

  • Average rent: $768.90
  • Amount you’d have left over after paying for rent: $692.10

7. Dayton, Ohio

The streets and buildings of Dayton Ohio only have a few travelers early Sunday morning Mad River flowing by

  • Average rent: $760
  • Amount you’d have left over after paying for rent: $701

6. Evansville, Indiana

old post office in evansville indiana

  • Average rent: $755.80
  • Amount you’d have left over after paying for rent: $705.20

5. Shreveport, Louisiana

Shreveport Lousiana Cityscape

  • Average rent: $753
  • Amount you’d have left over after paying for rent: $708

4. Fort Wayne, Indiana

Allen County Courthouse, Fort Wayne, Indiana

  • Average rent: $745
  • Amount you’d have left over after paying for rent: $716

3. Canton, Ohio

NFL hall of fame in canton ohio

  • Average rent: $709
  • Amount you’d have left over after paying for rent: $752

2. Saginaw, Michigan

saginaw michigan street scene

  • Average rent: $700
  • Amount you’d have left over after paying for rent: $761

1. Flint, Michigan

flint michigan street scene

  • Average rent: $673
  • Amount you’d have left over after paying for rent: $788

Final thought

Picking a place to retire is more than just about the dollars and cents of it when it comes to Social Security and housing, 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?”

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If you can’t establish a network, you risk bringing on a whole host of health issues and financial ones, too. We’ve all heard the horror stories about financial abuse of the elderly and vulnerable.

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 right lines that make sense for your life.

More retirement stories on Clark.com

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