“Best small towns to retire in Florida”
Even if you’re on a tight budget, Florida has plenty of attractive locations if your retirement picture includes warm days and breezy nights spent watching the sun set along the shore. A TalkFinance24 analysis revealed 10 beach cities to retire in Florida where you can live on less than $2,500 per month, taking into account the price of renting a one-bedroom apartment, groceries, utilities, and healthcare in areas that are popular with retirees. With a national average cost of living of $2,626 a month, Florida provides some affordable areas that are also stunning.
Best Small Towns To Retire In Florida On a Monthly Budget Of $2,500
For this study, we identified the best small towns to retire in Florida, retirement cities with a monthly income of $2,500 or less. The 30 cheapest cities in Florida in terms of (1) average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment were identified using data from ApartmentList. The cost-of-living index for each city on the list was then determined using Sperling’s Best Places by looking at (2) grocery, (3) utility, and (4) healthcare index scores.
Then, we determined the annual expenditure amount for both grocery (or “food at home”) and healthcare costs for people 65 and older using information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2020 Consumer Expenditure Survey in order to determine how much a person in that age group would spend on groceries and healthcare in each city on a monthly basis. We then calculated the amount that a person 65 years of age or older might survive on each month by adding up the costs of housing, food, and healthcare.
A community needed to have a livability score of 65 or above, as determined by AreaVibes, and a population of 10% or more people over the age of 65, as determined by the 2020 American Community Survey conducted by the Census Bureau. With the lowest score being the best, all eligible cities were rated according to (5) total monthly expenses, (6) percentage of residents over 65, and (7) livability for the final rankings. The weight for factor (7) was 1.5x. Which cities in the Sunshine State should you consider if you’re getting near to retirement age? Try these first ten best small towns to retire in Florida.
The 10 Best Cities in Florida to Retire on $2,500 Per Month
•Spending each month: $2,469
•Population 65 and older as a percentage: 12.4%
The average price of a one-bedroom apartment in the city that is less than 15 miles from Walt Disney World is $1,255, which is $150 cheaper than the national average. Despite the fact that the proportion of seniors 65 and older is the second-lowest on the list, many of them can be found at Disney, whether they’re reliving their youth or enjoying time with their grandchildren.
•Spending each month: $2,489
•Population 65 and older as a percentage: 12.8%
The Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens are located in Sanford, which is midway between the popular tourist sites of Orlando and Daytona Beach. Although the city’s people spend less per month than the national average ($2,489 vs. $2,626 on groceries), its yearly grocery costs are equal to the national average ($4,204), making it one of the best cities to retire in Florida.
•Spending each month: $2,393
•Population 65 and older as a percentage: 13.8%
Jacksonville, the only Florida city on this list of the best small towns to retire in Florida with an NFL team, shares the second-lowest monthly grocery cost of $348 with Gainesville. Jacksonville, the largest city in the state with around 955,000 residents, has the second-lowest livability rating on the list at 69. However, the area’s attractions, such as St. Johns Town Center and the NFL’s Jaguars, contribute to its allure. Jacksonville is the Florida city with the most coastline.
•Spending each month: $2,262
•Population 65 and older as a percentage: 11.3%
The University of Florida’s campus has the lowest one-bedroom apartment average price on the list of the best cities to retire in Florida at $1,015, over $400 less than the national average. Gainesville has the lowest cost of living in Florida, averaging $2,262 per month, and has the lowest percentage of residents 65 and older (11.3). This figure is nearly $400 less than the national average.
6. Panama City Beach
•Spending each month: $2,330
•Population 65 and older as a percentage: 16.7%
Although Panama City Beach only boasts 12,000 full-time residents, the stunning sugar-white sand beaches are a major magnet for tourists. The highest monthly expense in that area is for utilities ($334), but the low rent ($1,099) for a one-bedroom apartment more than makes up for it. Rounding up the list of the best small towns to retire in Florida.
•Spending each month: $2,383
•Population 65 and older as a percentage: 20.9%
Melbourne is one of four cities on this list of the best small towns to retire in Florida with an average monthly rent of $1,201 for a one-bedroom flat, making it more expensive to live there. Melbourne makes up for it, though, with cheap utility costs and a city that is tied for having the lowest healthcare costs on the list. Along Florida’s Space Coast, where 20.9% of the population is 65 or over, you should have no trouble finding fellow retirees to socialize with.
4. Palm Bay
•Spending each month: $2,369
•Population 65 and older as a percentage: 18.8%
Palm Bay, a reasonable alternative for seniors in Florida, is located along the Atlantic Ocean about south of Melbourne. Rent ($1,189 on average per month), groceries, healthcare, and utilities are all less expensive than the national average. If you’re a retiree who enjoys being outside, Palm Bay has plenty of places to exercise and ride a bike in addition to the beaches and golf.
3. Winter Garden
•Expenditures per month: $2,339
•14.1% of the population is 65 years or older.
If you move to Winter Garden to retire, expect a lot of visits. The distance from downtown Orlando, where the grandchildren and great-grandchildren may visit all the theme parks, is only 14 miles. The second-highest livability rating on this list of the best small towns to retire in Florida, at 85, highlights how much there is to do in Winter Garden, which is well-known for its renowned monthly farmers market and cultural activities.
•Expenditures each month: $2,401
•Population 65 and older as a percentage: 22.2%
Baseball fans will enjoy Lakeland’s rich sporting heritage because it has hosted the Detroit Tigers’ spring training since 1934, the longest partnership in the sport between a team and a spring host city. Despite the fact that groceries in Lakeland average $360 per month, which is more expensive than all but one of the other cities on the list of the best small towns to retire in Florida, it is still less expensive to eat at home than to splurge on ballpark food.
1. Port Orange
•Spending each month: $2,497
•24.6% of the population is 65 years old or older.
With an 87% livability score and lots of activities for seniors 65 and older, Port Orange, which is situated south of Daytona Beach on Florida’s Atlantic coast, appears to be a retiree’s paradise. There are many parks where you may go for walks, relax by the water, or visit historical places like the Dunlawton Sugar Mill Gardens. The average cost of an apartment in Port Orange is nearly $1,300 per month, making it the most expensive city on the list of the best cities to retire in Florida. Nearly 25% of its residents are 65 years of age or older. At such rate, retirees will have plenty of opportunities to participate in organized activities and make new acquaintances.