A significant number of Americans rely on their Social Security benefits as their sole or primary source of income.
While that may seem like a startling statistic, it is not as bad as it may sound — depending on where you live.
When it comes to Social Security and retirement, the cost of living can mean the difference between living comfortably and stretching every dollar.
According to data provided by the Social Security Administration, 45% of single beneficiaries and 21% of married couples rely on their benefits for 90% of their income.
The average monthly benefit is $1,543 monthly or about $18,500 annually. And a married couple can earn $37,000 annually.
If you qualify for full retirement age benefits, the monthly benefit is $3,895. That equates to $46,740 annually or $93,480 for a qualifying couple.
A retired couple living below their means on $37,000 to $93,480 annually can live comfortably in these three American cities.
Augusta, Georgia is located on the northeastern border of the state bordering South Carolina. It has a population of 200,000 and is located about 150 west of the state capital Atlanta.
Augusta is a college town and a hot spot for amateur and professional golfers. Any person aged 62 or older in Georgia can attend any university free of charge.
The average rent and mortgage in Augusta are just under $800 for a one-bedroom. The average cost of a home is about $150,000.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Grand Rapids, Michigan is located in the southwestern portion of the lower peninsula of the state. It is 157 miles to the west of Detroit.
About 202,700 people live in Grand Rapids. The city is known for its Dutch cultural influences, its art and culture scene, and its scenic outdoors. It was once also the furniture capital of the country.
The average cost of a studio or one-bedroom apartment is around $800. A monthly mortgage here is about $1,000. The average price of a home is $240,000.
Pittsburgh is located in the southwestern section of the state. It is 300 miles west of Philadelphia on the southeastern side of the state. Pittsburgh has a population of 303,000.
Pittsburgh is known as the “City of Bridges.” In fact, it has 446 bridges, more than any other city in the world. Ketchup and the Big Mac sandwich were created in Pittsburgh, a it a die-hard sports town, home to various storied franchises in hockey, football and baseball.
A one-bedroom apartment costs about $700. A three-bedroom apartment would cost less than $1,200. The average mortgage is $1,440. And the average price of a home is $225,000.