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What City is the Cheapest Place to Retire?

Two states dominate a new ranking of cheapest U.S. cities for retirees

Cheapest Places to Retire
Birmingham, Ala. tops a new survey that ranks the cheapest places to retire in the U.S.
John Coletti/Getty Images

Looking to retire on the cheap? Head to Birmingham, Ala., which a new survey says is the least expensive place to retire in the United States.

The survey used cost criteria for groceries, housing, utilities, transportation and health care to rank America's 150 biggest cities according to affordability. It was conducted by GOBankingRates, a personal finance website.

Birmingham hit the No. 1 spot with its low health care and transportation costs and large inventory of affordable housing. Here are the poll's top 10 least expensive cities, with annual individual costs across the five categories.

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1. Birmingham, Ala.: $33,219

2. Detroit: $33,356

3. Jackson, Miss.: $33,676

4. Memphis, Tenn.: $33,859

5. Toledo, Ohio: $35,095

6. Brownsville, Texas: $35,461

7. Augusta, Ga.: $35,781

8. Cleveland: $36,056

9. Akron, Ohio: $36,147

10. Montgomery, Ala.: $36,971

Meanwhile, a separate study finds that boomers are optimistic about their retirement finances. The new survey by Allianz Life shows that 72 percent of boomers are confident that they have enough money saved for retirement. In a similar study in 2010, the company found only 57 percent of boomers felt good about their retirement savings. Back then half of the boomers surveyed were unsure when they could retire, or if they ever could.

According to Paul Kelash, Allianz Life vice president for consumer insights, the new survey results offer "encouraging news for boomers and prove that with proper focus and engagement, anyone can turn around a poor savings situation and start building for a successful retirement."

Go here to read the full list of the 50 cheapest places to retire.

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AARP Membership — $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal

Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP the Magazine.