Best Midwest Cities to Retire on a Budget of $1,500 a Month

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You are preparing for your retirement and want to spend your golden years in the Midwest. However, you are more focused than ever on affordability as you will be living on a fixed income.

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As of April 2022, the average monthly Social Security benefit is $1,538.14, according to the Social Security Administration. However, a 2022 study by GOBankingRates found that the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the US is $1,927. Therefore, the importance of choosing your retirement destination wisely cannot be overstated.

Of course, rent isn’t the only monthly expense you’re facing. The average cost of groceries in the US is $4,942 a year – $411.83 monthly – and then you have an average of $5,177 in annual healthcare costs – $431.42 monthly. Add to that an average of $2,770.25 in monthly expenses, and you seriously must be living in a bank-friendly city.

Financial matters aside, you also want your new Midwest hometown to have a sizable percentage of residents in the 65 and older demographic. The US average is 16%, so keep that in mind.

Ready to find your ideal Midwest retirement home? Here’s a look at the top three cities to kick back, relax, and enjoy life in retirement on a budget of $1,500 a month.

Grand Forks, North Dakota

  • Monthly expenses: $1,506.82
  • Percentage of population aged 65 and over: 14%
  • Life quality: 74

Grand Forks is a great place to retire and has the highest score on this list. However, the city also has the highest average monthly grocery costs – $409.36, monthly healthcare costs – $415.45 – and average monthly expenses – $1,506.82. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment is in the middle of the three cities at an average of $682 per month.

If you’re a very social person, it’s worth noting that the percentage of Grand Forks’ population in the age group 65 and older is 14% — the only city on the list below the national average.

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Toledo, Ohio

  • Monthly expenses: $1,455.56
  • Percentage of population aged 65 and over: 17%
  • Life quality: 62

If you’re interested in Toledo, you’ll be pleased to know that the city has the lowest grocery costs on the list, averaging $371.89 per month. It ranks #2 in both average health care costs — $373.18 per month — and average monthly spend.

The savings could be lost on rent, however, as the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment is $710.50 — the highest of all three cities, but still well below the national average. Of course, it’s also worth noting that the percentage of the population aged 65 and over is above the national average, so making friends should be easy.

Akron, Ohio

  • Monthly expenses: $1,423.07
  • Percentage of population aged 65 and over: 18%
  • Life quality: 63

Akron is the #1 Midwest city to retire on a $1,500 budget. She has the lowest average one-bedroom apartment costs – $679.50 per month – average healthcare costs – $358.51 and average monthly expenses. The city has the second lowest average cost of groceries – $385.06 per month.

However, Akron also has the highest percentage of the population aged 65 and over on the list, meaning you’ll likely have plenty of opportunities to socialize.

More from GOBankingRates

Methodology: To find the best Midwest cities to retire on a monthly budget of $1,500 or less, GOBankingRates first used Zillow’s 2022 rental data to find Midwest cities that have one (1) average have a monthly rent of $750 or less.

GOBankingRates then used Sperling’s Best to determine the cost of living index for each city listed, looking at (2) food and (3) health index scores. Next, GOBankingRates used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2020 Consumer Expenditure Survey to determine the annual amount spent on both groceries (‘eating at home’) and healthcare costs for people aged 65 and over to find out how much a person This age group would spend monthly on food and health care in each city.

GOBankingRates then combined monthly housing, food and healthcare costs to find where in the Midwest a person age 65 and older could survive on $1,500 or less. To qualify for the study, 10% or more of the city’s population had to be over the age of 65, according to the Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey. All data was collected on May 31, 2022 and is current.


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