Retirement planning has become an increasingly crucial aspect of our lives, as the financial landscape continues to evolve. It’s no secret that relying solely on a single Social Security check can be an uphill battle, regardless of your location. As of July 2023, the Social Security Administration (SSA) reported that the average retirement benefit stands at $1,790.56 per month. However, this amount barely scratches the surface when it comes to covering the ever-rising costs of living. In fact, the average monthly rent in the United States soared to $2,038 in July 2023.
With these scenarios, selecting a low-cost-of-living place in the United States can be a prudent choice. This decision can significantly impact your overall financial well-being and quality of life during your retirement years. Well, we’ve researched and found the top 5 places you might avoid if you live on Social Security retirement money, for their cost-of-living.
Georgia Places You Want to Avoid if You Live on Social Security Retirement
The first place you’re going to want to avoid, if you reside in Georgia, because of its high costs in general, is McDonough, Atlanta. While other places may be much more expensive in some ways overall, it’s still expensive for those living on a single Social Security check, and it has a comparatively lower livability index (we’ll talk about this concept later) than other places in the US, just 59 out of 100. The average first rent is $2,065, and the total cost of living per month is about $3,439.06.
In the state of Georgia there is also the city of Canton, where the average rent is $2,146, and the monthly cost of living is $3,524.15. The livability index is 62 out of 100, not high enough to make it an attractive option for retirees. How about Buford? Nice place, a small-town charm and an active artistic scene. But, here’s a catch: the average monthly rent there is around $2,288, and the monthly total cost of living is $3,649.52. A little bit high for a livability index of 68, ain’t it?.
Cumming is another city you might want to reconsider if you’re thinking about living there only on your Social Security check, because it’s not gonna be enough. The place boasts a vibrant blend of recreational opportunities and natural beauty, primarily attributed to its proximity to Lake Lanier, Sawnee Mountain, and The Big Creek Greenway. However, the cost of living down there is quite high. The average monthly rent stands at $2,401, while the monthly total cost of living averages around $3,760.02. This higher-than-average cost of living might pose challenges, particularly for seniors with limited financial resources.
Johns Creek, situated in North Fulton County, Georgia, may not be the ideal destination for retirees relying solely on Social Security retirement benefits to make ends meet. With an average monthly rent of $2,593 and a total monthly cost of living amounting to $3,983.39, this affluent Atlanta suburb poses financial challenges for those on a fixed income.
The livability index for Johns Creek stands at 65, indicating that while it offers certain amenities and advantages, the cost of residing in this area can be a significant concern for retirees. The city proudly touts itself as “an affluent Atlanta suburb on the rise,” a description that may deter retirees looking to stretch their retirement funds.
The high rental prices and overall living expenses in Johns Creek are more in line with the financial capacities of young families and working professionals. Retirees on Social Security may find it challenging to maintain a comfortable and sustainable lifestyle in this upscale community.
What Is the Livability Index, and How Is This Determined in the US?
The Livability Index is a comprehensive measure used in the United States to assess the overall quality of life and the desirability of living in a particular area. It takes into account various factors that impact the well-being of residents, such as housing affordability, education, healthcare, employment opportunities, safety, and access to amenities and services.
This index takes into account affordability of housing, rental costs, and home prices in a given area. It also considers the quality of schools and access to educational institutions. Access to quality healthcare services, medical facilities, and the overall health of the community are important factors. Low healthcare costs and good health outcomes contribute positively to the index.
The availability of job opportunities, unemployment rates, and the median income in the area are considered, as well as the crime rates, the presence of law enforcement, and overall safety.