Personal Finance

Why this US city is the worst place for you to retire

Key Points
  • The Bay Area has it all in terms of high property taxes, health-care costs and living expenses.
  • The median list price of a home in San Francisco is $1.19 million.
  • The most affordable locale is Fort Wayne, Indiana.
San Francisco is great for a visit, but don’t plan on retiring there

Come to San Francisco for the scenery, just don't plan on retiring there.

That's because it's the worst city in the country to retire if you'd like to keep more of your cash in your pocket, according to an analysis from GoBankingRates.

The personal finance website looked at major cities in all 50 states, ranking them based on property taxes, state levies on retirement benefits, health care costs and the average retirement benefits check from Social Security.

In particular, San Francisco residents are facing high living costs: The median list price of a home is $1.19 million. The average property tax bill is also on the hefty side: $9,137, GoBankingRates found.

The average monthly Social Security benefit clocks in at $1,387 for San Francisco residents.

"When you've saved so much for retirement, the key thing that will hurt your savings is where you decide to live," said Sydney Champion, deputy editor of GoBankingRates.

In this case, real estate — particularly home prices and high property taxes — made several metro areas in the Golden State too expensive.

Fremont, San Jose and Irvine rounded out the top four worst cities for retirees, according to GoBankingRates.

See below.

"Many of these cities have really high housing prices," Champion said. "If you rented out a home instead, that might be a smarter bet to live there."

Other costly cities include Honolulu; New York; Oakland, California; Los Angeles; Seattle and San Diego.

On the other hand, retirees hoping to stretch their dollars should look no further than Fort Wayne, Indiana, which GoBankingRates deemed to be the best city for wealthy retirees.

There, the median list price for a home is just under $150,000 and the average property tax bill tallied up to $947, the personal finance website found.

Retirees there on average collect a slightly larger Social Security check, compared with their counterparts in the Bay Area: $1,462 each month.

"If you're retiring and you want to relocate, go to a place that's friendly for your savings and avoid buying a new home that you'll have to keep paying for," Champion said. "If possible, sell, downsize and rent."

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