cities your Social Security check pays rent

The question where retiring is a great one for people as much as when retire when thinking about Social Security and housing. But the amount of median rental costs in 150 of America’s largest cities shed light on the answers to those questions.

Where the amount of your social security check can cover rent

GOBankingRates, a personal finance website, has published a study that rates cities based on how affordable the rent is there. The average monthly Social Security benefit for a retired worker was $ 1,544 at the end of 2020, according to the Social Security Administration. GoBankingRates found the median income in the United States for the same period and it was $ 1,622. Clearly, these numbers don’t look good together. If you want to be able to live the most comfortable retirement with just Social Security, you may want to consider moving to one of those cities.


10. Des Moines, Iowa

  • Median rent: $ 856
  • Amount you would have after paying rent: $ 688

9. Detroit, Michigan

  • Median rent: $ 916
  • Amount you would have after paying rent $ 628

2. Toledo, Ohio

Moving boxes in apartment
  • Median rent: $ 786
  • Amount you’d have left over after paying for rent: $ 758

1. Cleveland, Ohio

  • Median rent: $ 773
  • Amount you would have after paying rent: $ 771

To determine these rankings, GoBakingRates says it used rental data from Apartment List’s October 2020 to find estimated total apartment rental prices for each city ranging from the size of a studio to something that is three-quarters. Then, rate the cities based on their combined scores.

Final notes

Moving boxes

If this list got you thinking about relocating for retirement, finance expert Clark Howard thinks you should focus on renting first as proof of a new place. “One of the many keys is that you should always first rent for six months, a year, or even two if you’re thinking of moving for retirement,” Clark says. “If it turns out that you don’t like it, at least you don’t own a home that you now have to get rid of.” Picking a place to retire is more than just dollars and cents when it comes to Social Security and housing, according to Clark.

There is also the question of friends and family at stake. “If you are moving to another place that is thousands of miles away from close family, it could be isolated and lonely,” Clark says. “Will you be able to establish a network of friends in your new destination?” In the meantime, also consider the cost, accessibility, and quality of health care if you are moving to that area. So there is a lot to think about. Fortunately, this article gives you a starting point to think about, along with the right directions that give your life meaning.

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