Over 65 and single? You’re certainly not alone. According to the Pew Research Center, nearly half (49%) of women in this age range identify as single—either due to personal choice, the death of a spouse or divorce. So for all the single ladies out there, here’s a list of the top five places to retire solo on a monthly income of $2,500 or less.
Best for Mingling: Reno, Nevada
Once known as the divorce capital of the world (due to its reputation for providing quick and easy uncouplings), Reno is also the gateway to Lake Tahoe, one of the most popular recreation areas in the country. Although only about 15% of the city’s population is over the age of 65, there is plenty to do if you have free time, including visiting one of the city’s many casinos, where you’re sure to meet other retirees. If you prefer the great outdoors, Reno provides easy access to hiking trails in the nearby Sierra Nevada mountains as well as ski slopes and beaches around Lake Tahoe. According to the Census Bureau, the average cost of owning a home with a mortgage in Reno is $1,726 per month, and the average rent is $1,107 per month, which means your monthly budget of $2,500 will go a long way—with plenty of cash to spare on casino buffets, poker nights and the occasional live show at the Reno Philharmonic or the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts.
Best for Privacy: Asheville, North Carolina
Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains at the confluence of the Swannanoa and French Broad rivers, Asheville is a wonderful place to retire if you want to get a cabin in the woods while still having access to the best that civilization has to offer—including art galleries, boutiques and restaurants. Spend your days exploring the burgeoning arts and culinary scenes in the River Arts District, hiking to one of the region’s hundreds of beautiful waterfalls, taking a continuing education class at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute or visiting Biltmore Estate, the largest home in the United States (built by industrialist George W. Vanderbilt II in the 1890s). In Asheville, the average monthly cost of owning a home with a mortgage is $1,509, and the average monthly rent is $1,084.
Best for Luxury: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Welcoming millions of guests every summer, Myrtle Beach is also one of the more affordable beachfront cities in the United States. For roughly $1,600 a month, you can rent a studio in a luxury building with a pool, a coffee bar and a communal firepit that’s just a short drive to the beach. You’ll never get bored walking on the city’s boardwalk, which spans 1.2 miles and includes restaurants and shops, or going to the many festivals and events this city hosts throughout the year. Over 20% of the town’s 37,100 permanent residents are over the age of 65, and many of them live in the area’s more than 40 active adult communities, which offer amenities including pools, clubhouses and fitness centers. You can expect to pay $1,443 a month with a mortgage or $924 a month for rent. That leaves plenty of wiggle room in your budget for seafood dinners, trinkets from the boardwalk for the grandkids and rounds of golf at one of the area’s many courses.
Best for Friendship: Santa Fe, New Mexico
Situated 7,000 feet above sea level in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Santa Fe is one of the 246 cities designated by UNESCO as a Creative City, meaning it puts a strong emphasis on creativity and culture in its urban development. Today, the city houses more than 250 galleries, several historic museums (including the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum) and the New Mexico Museum of Art. Notable for its adobe-style architecture, which was used by indigenous inhabitants over one thousand years ago and later adopted by Spanish colonialists, the city is perfect for those who want to settle down in a Southwestern hub. But despite what many may think, Santa Fe isn’t high desert—residents (23% of whom are over the age of 65) experience all four seasons. You’ll even get snowfall in the winter! On average, you can expect to pay $1,539 a month with a mortgage or $1,125 for rent. There are also plenty of free community events at nonprofits like the Friendship Club of Santa Fe, or you can take continuing education courses at Santa Fe Community College. Just be aware that it might take you a few months to get used to the altitude, which is significant compared to many other cities in the United States.
Best for Romance: Miami, Florida
If you want a more diverse community that also caters to retirees, consider Miami, where 72.5% of the population is Hispanic or Latino, and 16.6% of people are over the age of 65. You will pay more for housing—with monthly mortgage costs averaging $2,043 and rents averaging $1,242—but you’ll get all the amenities a big, thriving city has to offer, including museums, top-rated restaurants, concerts, events and festivals. And of course, you’ll have access to 35 miles of white sand beaches and will enjoy warm weather year-round. If you’re in the market, you’ll have a good chance for romance as well. In the Miami metro area, 62% of women and 35% of men are unmarried. Dare we suggest taking a salsa class at one of the city’s many studios when you’re ready to put yourself out there?
Brienne Walsh is a writer based in Savannah, Georgia. She contributes to Forbes, Rangefinder and MarketWatch, among other publications.
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