This article takes a look at the 18 best Southern cities to retire on a budget of $1,500 a month. If you wish to skip our detailed analysis on budgeted retirement living in Southern America, you may go to 5 Best Southern Cities to Retire on a Budget of $1,500 a Month.
A Grand and a Half in Retirement
Beaches, golf courses, volunteering in the community, taking up a new hobby, reconnecting with old friends and spending time with family – these are the answers that people give when asked about how they would like to spend their retirement years.
Now imagine this – you’re 70 years old, living on $1,500 a month with rent, utilities, medical bills, and groceries to take care of. For most places in the US, living on a grand and a half does not come easy, and unless spent smartly it doesn’t include a lot of beaches or golfing. In fact, findings by the Bureau of Labor Statistics state that the average expenditure of Americans aged 65 and over is $4,345 a month – a $2,800 disparity from the $1,500 a month that many Americans are tasked with surviving on.
Studies by the Center for Retirement Research found that the average retired American household goes through spending cuts of 1.5-1.6% per retirement year. It’s a common belief that people spend less when retired – they eat out less, don’t shop as much, and spend less on commute. So, if Americans really are decreasing their retirement spending, then where does over $4,000 a month go?
“While maintaining steady consumption may seem intuitive, little research has focused on longer periods of consumption in retirement . Most previous studies have looked at the change at retirement, finding a sharp post-retirement drop as retirees consume less than they did while working”
Anqi Chen, Assistant Director of Savings Research, Center for Retirement Research and Alicia Munnell, Director, Center for Retirement Research
Healthcare costs are a big culprit. Figures from Fidelity Investments’ Retiree Healthcare Cost Estimate state that America’s average retired couple will spend $315,000 on healthcare expenses over the course of their retirement. If this figure seems daunting, then the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ decision to raise Medicare Part B premiums by 6% in 2024 is another step in that direction. Couple this with increasing food costs – the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index report states that food costs saw a 2.7% increase over the December 2022 and December 2023 period – and it’s not hard to believe that retirees are forced to spend more than just a $1000 every month.
The problem arises not when costs are high, but when they exceed what is in the bank. A study by Transamerica found that about 56% of Americans are retiring sooner than they had planned. While early retirement can lead to a fulfilling retirement period, that is the only the case when the decision to retire is voluntary, and for these 56%, it is not. So, why do people retire earlier than they would have liked?
One prominent reason is the US economy’s staggering layoffs. 2024 has already seen close to 30,000 job cuts – and counting – at companies such as eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), SAP SE (NYSE:SAP), PayPal Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:PYPL), and Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG). The future is not favorable either. While companies such as Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) may have already laid off hundreds of employees, this is not the end of the road.
Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) CEO Sundar Pichai has hinted in an internal memo that employees should expect further job cuts.
“We have ambitious goals and will be investing in our big priorities this year. The reality is that to create the capacity for this investment, we have to make tough choices”
Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google
If companies such as SAP SE (NYSE: SAP), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), and eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY) follow suit, even more American retirees can be left without adequate retirement savings. Faced with these unpreventable circumstances, many Americans are planning to spend less during their retirement years, as low as $1,500 a month. While a difficult feat, this is not impossible – but it certainly does require smart spending. As a result, many US retirees opt for a retirement abroad as they venture to the most affordable places to retire in the world. However, some retirees prefer to stay close to home, and they simply make a move across states to search for cheap and beautiful places to retire in the US.
To know more about the best Southern cities to retire on a budget of $1,500 a month, read below.
To compile this list of the 18 best Southern cities to…