10 best (and worst) places to retire if you have no savings

When it comes to saving for retirement, many Americans have a lot of catching up to do. A GOBankingRates survey found that 40% of adults have less than $300 saved, which isn’t enough to live comfortably for even one year in retirement. Or is it?

If you have little to no savings and will likely have to rely on Social Security benefits, don’t assume that you won’t be able to have a comfortable retirement. There are places in the U.S. where you can get by without much in retirement savings.

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To identify those places, GOBankingRates analyzed the 300 largest cities in the U.S. and narrowed the list to 150 cities with a large population of adults ages 65 and older. These cities were then ranked based on the following factors:

  • Average home price, sourced from Zillow

  • Annual expenditures

  • Violent crimes per 1,000 people

  • Whether the state taxes Social Security benefits, sourced from the AARP

  • Whether retirement income is taxed

  • Annual healthcare costs

  • Annual homemaker services costs

  • Annual home health aide costs

From that list we pulled the top 10 best places to retire, and the bottom 10 worst places to retire. On the whole, the best places to retire with no savings tend to be more affordable and relatively safe, and they have larger populations of older adults. The worst places for retirement tend to have a more expensive cost of living or other strikes against them, such as high crime rates.

10 Best Places To Retire With No Savings
Affordability is the key reason that these cities are the top 10 places to retire if you have no savings. Almost all have an average home price under $200,000. Plus, retirees can hang on to more of their income in these places because, with the exception of two cities in West Virginia and one in New Mexico, Social Security income isn’t taxed.

10. Lewiston, Pennsylvania
Percentage of population 65 and older: 22%
Average home price: $134,250
Annual expenditures: $17,392.68
Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 31.94
Tax on Social Security: No
Retirement income taxed: No
Annual healthcare cost: $19,500
Annual homemaker services cost: $59,488
Annual home health aide cost: $59,488

9. Harrison, Arkansas
Percentage of population 65 and older: 22%
Average home price: $152,728
Annual expenditures: $15,787.52
Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 21.65
Tax on Social Security: No
Retirement income taxed: Yes
Annual healthcare cost: $20,800
Annual homemaker services cost: $50,222
Annual home health aide cost: $50,336

8. Freeport, Illinois
Percentage of population 65 and older: 23%
Average home price: $106,480.33
Annual expenditures: $18,730.85
Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 20.94
Tax on Social Security: No
Retirement income taxed: No
Annual healthcare cost: $22,620
Annual homemaker services cost: $64,064
Annual home health aide cost: $64,064

7. Warren, Pennsylvania
Percentage of population 65 and older: 23%
Average home price: $108,551.67
Annual expenditures: $18,252.07
Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 26.16
Tax on Social Security: No
Retirement income taxed: No
Annual healthcare cost: $19,500
Annual homemaker services cost: $59,488
Annual home health aide cost: $59,488

6. Oil City, Pennsylvania
Percentage of population 65 and older: 23%
Average home price: $103,719
Annual expenditures: $18,045.65
Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 16.85
Tax on Social Security: No
Retirement income taxed: No
Annual healthcare cost: $19,500
Annual homemaker services cost: $59,488
Annual home health aide cost: $59,488

5. Johnstown, Pennsylvania
Percentage of population 65 and older: 23%
Average home price: $100,759
Annual expenditures: $15,613.34
Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 52.96
Tax on Social Security: No
Retirement income taxed: No
Annual healthcare cost: $19,500
Annual homemaker services cost: $59,488
Annual home health aide cost: $59,488

4. Martinsville, Virginia
Percentage of population 65 and older: 23%
Average home price: $98,798.67
Annual expenditures: $17,654.86
Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 28.4
Tax on Social Security: No
Retirement income taxed: Yes
Annual healthcare cost: $20,280
Annual homemaker services cost: $57,200
Annual home health aide cost: $57,200

3. Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina
Percentage of population 65 and older: 22%
Average home price: $92,265.67
Annual expenditures: $17,608.51
Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 49.05
Tax on Social Security: No
Retirement income taxed: Yes
Annual healthcare cost: $14,365
Annual homemaker services cost: $52,624
Annual home health aide cost: $52,624

2. Weirton, West Virginia
Percentage of population 65 and older: 22%
Average home price: $105,358
Annual expenditures: $17,458.56
Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 1.88
Tax on Social Security: Yes
Retirement income taxed: Yes
Annual healthcare cost: $13,000
Annual homemaker services cost: $42,328
Annual home health aide cost: $42,900

1. Bluefield, West Virginia
Percentage of population 65 and older: 22%
Average home price: $94,766
Annual expenditures: $17,737.75
Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 16.77
Tax on Social Security: Yes
Retirement income taxed: Yes
Annual healthcare cost: $13,000
Annual homemaker services cost: $42,328
Annual home health aide cost: $42,900

10 Worst Places To Retire With No Savings
These 10 places are not such great cities to retire if you have no savings. Most of these cities have home prices that range from $400,000 on the low side to almost $900,000 on the high end. While many of these cities do not tax Social Security benefits, most of them do tax retirement income.Additionally, the safety in these cities varies wildly, and the annual costs of services and expenditures remain on the high end.

10. Medford, Oregon
Percentage of population 65 and older: 22%
Average home price: $431,182
Annual expenditures: $18,270.07
Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 46.88
Tax on Social Security: No
Retirement income taxed: Yes
Annual healthcare cost: $31,850
Annual homemaker services cost: $72,072
Annual home health aide cost: $73,216

9. Brookings, Oregon
Percentage of population 65 and older: 34%
Average home price: $427,599.67
Annual expenditures: $17,650.96
Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 18.53
Tax on Social Security: No
Retirement income taxed: Yes
Annual healthcare cost: $31,850
Annual homemaker services cost: $72,072
Annual home health aide cost: $73,216

8. Grants Pass, Oregon
Percentage of population 65 and older: 26%
Average home price: $415,667.33
Annual expenditures: $18,701.72
Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 33.45
Tax on Social Security: No
Retirement income taxed: Yes
Annual healthcare cost: $31,850
Annual homemaker services cost: $72,072
Annual home health aide cost: $73,216

7. Fredericksburg, Texas
Percentage of population 65 and older: 29%
Average home price: $467,014
Annual expenditures: $17,425.40
Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 10.94
Tax on Social Security: No
Retirement income taxed: No
Annual healthcare cost: $9,230
Annual homemaker services cost: $54,912
Annual home health aide cost: $54,912

6. Laconia, New Hampshire
Percentage of population 65 and older: 22%
Average home price: $405,711.33
Annual expenditures: $18,648.20
Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 30.7
Tax on Social Security: No
Retirement income taxed: No
Annual healthcare cost: $22,100
Annual homemaker services cost: $72,072
Annual home health aide cost: $74,360

5. Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Percentage of population 65 and older: 26%
Average home price: $450,442.33
Annual expenditures: $17,723.20
Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 23.18
Tax on Social Security: No
Retirement income taxed: Yes
Annual healthcare cost: $16,900
Annual homemaker services cost: $53,196
Annual home health aide cost: $53,768

4. Sonora, California
Percentage of population 65 and older: 26%
Average home price: $400,879
Annual expenditures: $17,497.90
Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 60.36
Tax on Social Security: No
Retirement income taxed: Yes
Annual healthcare cost: $22,100
Annual homemaker services cost: $73,216
Annual home health aide cost: $73,216

3. North Port, Florida
Percentage of population 65 and older: 32%
Average home price: $436,056
Annual expenditures: $18,483.37
Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 11.66
Tax on Social Security: No
Retirement income taxed: No
Annual healthcare cost: $18,200
Annual homemaker services cost: $57,200
Annual home health aide cost: $57,200

2. Easton, Maryland
Percentage of population 65 and older: 29%
Average home price: $418,056.67
Annual expenditures: $17,066.98
Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 18.77
Tax on Social Security: No
Retirement income taxed: Yes
Annual healthcare cost: $23,140
Annual homemaker services cost: $61,776
Annual home health aide cost: $61,776

1. Montrose, California
Percentage of population 65 and older: 24%
Average home price: $385,110.33
Annual expenditures: $16,015.42
Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 32.87
Tax on Social Security: Yes
Retirement income taxed: Yes
Annual healthcare cost: $23,400
Annual homemaker services cost: $76,648
Annual home health aide cost: $76,648
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Methodology: For this piece, GOBankingRates first found (1) the 100 towns or cities with the highest percentage of its population aged 65 years and older, as sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau 2020 American Community Survey. GOBankingRates analyzed those 100 cities across the following factors: (2) violent and property crimes per 1,000 residents, sourced from NeighborhoodScout; (3) the average 2022 median list price of a single family home in each city, as sourced from Zillow. GOBankingRates then took the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey’s 2020 annual expenditures for consumers 65 years and older for Groceries (“food at home”), Healthcare, Utilities (“utilities, fuels and public services”), and Transportation (gas, other fuels & motor oils” + ” other vehicle expenses”). These annual expenditures were then factored out for each city using Sperling’s Best Places Cost of Living Indices and combined to give a (4) total annual Cost of Living Expenditure for each city; (5) taxes on Social Security benefits and (6) retirement income, sourced from AARP. (7) The annual cost of an adult day health care service on the state level, (8) the annual cost of homemaker services on the state level, and (9) the annual cost of a home health aide on the state level were all sourced from Genworth’s annual Cost of Care Survey. These nine factors were then compiled and scored, with a lower score being better. All research was conducted and up to date on May 4, 2022.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 10 Best (and Worst) Places To Retire If You Have No Savings

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