Statistics from the US Social Security Administration show that upward of 84 percent of retirees in the United States qualify for Social Security payments and for most – 61 percent – those payments make up at least half of their income. In fact, for a third of retirees, Social Security is their only major source of income in retirement.
It’s no news flash that living on a Social Security can be tough, considering that the average monthly SS payment was $1,341 as of January 2016. For a married couple, both receiving SS checks, that means an average combined retirement income of just $32,184, adjusted for inflation each year.
The good news is that there are ways to help stretch that benefit much further – including choosing the right locale to spend your golden years. A recent US News analysis of 104 major metropolitan areas, using data from the US Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics, found that couples receiving average SS payments would have enough money to cover all the basics – housing, food, transportation, health care and utilities – in two-thirds of major cities.
But covering the basics doesn’t necessarily mean a high quality of life. To help pinpoint areas that offer the best chances for a safe, comfortable and happy abode, researchers dug deeper into a myriad of quality-of-life factors including crime rates, access to health care and recreation opportunities. Their efforts revealed the top 10 recommendations for retirement living on SS benefits:
- Boise, Idaho: Low housing costs, beautiful 25-mile greenbelt and senior discounts to the Boise Art Museum, Zoo Boise, Bogus Basin ski area and many Boise State sporting events.
- Cape Coral, Florida: Affordable waterfront property, mild winters and no state income tax.
- Colorado Springs, Colorado: Breathtaking mountain views for bargain-basement costs if you’ve paid off your mortgage.
- Dayton, Ohio: One of the best spots for access to health care, and US Air Force retirees love the National Aviation Hall of Fame and the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park.
- Grand Rapids, Michigan: Relatively low housing costs, a booming healthcare industry and an impressive arts scene.
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Another great spot for relatively low housing costs, plus the nation’s 12th ranked best hospital (UPMC Shadyside) and a sports fan’s paradise.
- Richmond, Virginia: Several well-regarded hospitals and a favorite, lower-cost spot for retirees jettisoning northern Virginia and the Washington, DC area.
- Rochester, New York: Low housing costs, a highly rated hospital (Strong Memorial Hospital) and several major colleges for retirees who’d like to return to studies. Granted, the winters can be tough, but you’ll love celebrating the arrival of springtime at the annual Lilac Festival.
- San Antonio, Texas: Low housing costs for renters and no state income tax. Plus, it’s a pure delight for history buffs.
- Spokane, Washington: A top spot for active retirees who love the outdoors.
If you’re a retiree looking to move to or from the Washington DC metro area, McKendree Moving & Storage can help with special services and rates tailored for seniors. Call 800-530-2626 to schedule a consultation today.