Personal Finance

These are the best — and most affordable — suburbs for retirement

Key Points
  • Affordability, not weather, makes for a successful retirement destination.
  • But why not have both? In a new report on how much it costs to live in the best suburbs for retirees, some of the least expensive places to retire were also in the country’s most desirable southern suburbs.
Sun City NW of Phoenix Arizona. A community dedicated to a more leisurely lifestyle and unending choices of recreation for the retired, active adult. An artificial lake and waterfront houses.
Matt Mawson | Moment | Getty Images

When it comes to living the lifestyle they imagined, today's retirees often have to make some sacrifices. But it doesn't have to be that way.

According to a new report, some of the best places to retire are also the most affordable, which means that it is possible to enjoy your golden years in sunny Florida or Arizona and still live well within your means.

First, GOBankingRates came up with a list of the best suburbs for retirees, which looked at neighborhoods with at least 1,000 households and ranked them based on taxes, living expenses, retirement income and livability.

Then, accounting for rent, utilities, groceries and health-care expenses, the personal finance site found the overall annual income needed to live there.

In the end, some of the best places to retire were also some of the most affordable.

Capturing the top spot was Sun City, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix, which has an average monthly rent of $1,196 and the lowest cost of living overall. The total annual income needed to retire there, also factoring in groceries, transportation, healthcare and utilities, is just $33,926.

That goes a long way, considering that Americans with retirement savings have an average of only $84,821 stashed away, according to a separate Northwestern Mutual study.

In fact, that's more than enough to afford every one of the top spots.

Here's exactly how much you'll need in the top 10 suburbs for retirees:

1. Sun City, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix
Total annual income required: $33,926
2. Fairfield Harbour, North Carolina, a suburb of New Bern
Total annual income required: $34,319
3. Green Valley, Arizona, a suburb of Tucson
Total annual income required: $34,353
4. Timber Pines, Florida, a suburb of Tampa
Total annual income required: $35,142
5. Sunset Beach, North Carolina, a suburb of Myrtle Beach
Total annual income required: $35,219
6. Mesquite, Nevada, a suburb of Las Vegas
Total annual income required: $35,718
7. Bermuda Run, North Carolina, a suburb of Winston-Salem
Total annual income required: $36,138
8. Sappington, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis
Total annual income required: $36,162
9. Lady Lake, Florida, a suburb of Orlando
Total annual income required: $37,021
10. Pecan Plantation, Texas, a suburb of Dallas
Total annual income required: $37,340

(The study was conducted before rising flood waters from storm Florence threatened communities across the Carolinas, including Fairfield Harbour and Sunset Beach.)

An earlier 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, thanks to a low cost of living and plenty of affordable housing, dollars stretched the furthest in southern Midwest states such as Mississippi, Oklahoma and Arkansas, where retirees could live a life of leisure for a quarter of a century.

WATCH: This is how long $1 million will last in retirement

This is how long $1 million will last in retirement
This is how long $1 million will last in retirement

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