The best places to retire across the Midwest

  • Affordability, not weather, makes for a successful retirement destination.
  • In a new ranking of the places to retire across Middle America, Memphis, Tennessee, comes out on top.

For those with little or no savings, a lack of planning coupled with a longer life expectancy, has destroyed any retirement expectations. However, there is still hope.

In a new ranking of the best places to retire, GoBankingRates compared the cost of living, rent, transportation, utilities, groceries and health care in the largest 150 cities in the country.

Then, the personal finance website narrowed the scope to include only Midwestern states to determine the 50 most affordable urban areas across Middle America.

Top 10 cities where your retirement dollars will stretch the furthest:
1. Memphis, Tennessee
2. Norman, Oklahoma
3. Des Moines, Iowa
4. Topeka, Kansas
5. Louisville, Kentucky
6. Dayton, Ohio
7. Fort Wayne, Indiana
8. Nashville, Tennessee
9. Wichita, Kansas
10. Murfreesboro, Tennessee

While none of these destinations has an ocean view — so forget sunny Florida — they are all much less expensive than retirement "hot spots" like Miami or New York. That goes a long way, considering that Americans with retirement savings have an average of only $84,821 stashed away, according to a recent Northwestern Mutual study.

In the top spot was Memphis, Tennessee, where the average rent on a single-family home is just $827 a month and health-care costs are among the lowest in the nation.

BB King's Company Store and music venues in legendary Beale Street entertainment district of Memphis, Tennessee, USA.
Tim Graham | Getty Images
BB King's Company Store and music venues in legendary Beale Street entertainment district of Memphis, Tennessee, USA.

A separate report by GoBankingRates compared average expenses for people age 65 and older, including groceries, housing, utilities, transportation and health care, in every state to come up with how long a nest egg of $1 million would really last during retirement.

Similarly, dollars stretched the furthest in southern Midwest states like Mississippi, Oklahoma and Arkansas where retirees could live a life of leisure for a quarter of a century.