10 Best Places in Minnesota for a Couple To Live on Only a Social Security Check

As a retirement destination, the state of Minnesota doesn’t hit the mark on a couple of frequently held criteria.

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Retirees tend to favor year-round warm climates. Minnesota’s winters are famously frigid.

Retirees prefer states tax structures friendly to them. Minnesota taxes most forms of retirement income, including Social Security retirement benefits.

On the brighter side, if you enjoy four-season living and can manage those taxes, the North Star State does offer: a relatively low cost of living, low crime rates overall and natural beauty, including — famously — a LOT of lakes.

For a sense of that low cost of living, check out GOBankingRates’ list of the top 10 Minnesota cities for retired couples living only on Social Security checks. According to the Social Security administration, these couples get a combined monthly benefit of about $3,580 on average. The 10 cities in our list below all fit well within that price range — and offer some solid livability scores.

To compile our list, GOBankingRates blended data from AreaVibes, Zillow, the U.S. Census, Sperling’s Best Places, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can read our full methodology at the end of the story.

But first, here is our top-10 countdown of Minnesota cities for Social Security-only couples.

Welcome-Minnesota-iStock-508789795

10. Mound

  • Average rent: $1,245.69
  • Average total monthly cost of living: $2,939.40
  • Livability score: 82

Mound may not sound like much based on its name, but it does offer a respectable livability score and a sub-$3,000 average monthly cost of living for retired couples. This city of roughly 9,400 residents is located about 20 miles west of Minneapolis. In addition to easy access to the big city, Mound boasts six different lakes, 32 parks and 311 dock sites.

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Bloomington Minnesota

9. Bloomington

  • Average rent: $1,120.31
  • Average total monthly cost of living: $2,775.34
  • Livability score: 74

Bloomington may be best known as home to the massive Mall of America, the largest mall in the country and one of the largest in the world. Located just south of Minneapolis, Bloomington has a population of 90,000. It’s tied for the lowest livability score in our top 10, but Bloomington does boast nearly 100 parks and numerous lakes.

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Minneapolis and Stone Arch Bridge at Sunrise.

8. Shakopee

  • Average rent: $1,369.53
  • Average total monthly cost of living: $3,011.96
  • Livability score: 87

You’ll find Shakopee about 25 miles southwest of Minneapolis. Home to about 12,000 residents in 1990, Shakopee has grown to roughly 44,000 today — though less than 10% of the population is age 65 and older. Attractions include the Canterbury Park horse racetrack and the Valleyfair amusement park. Money magazine named Shakopee one its top 50 places to live in the U.S. in 2020.

Owatonna is a small Town in Southern Minnesota.

7. Owatonna

  • Average rent: $1,325.00
  • Average total monthly cost of living: $2,876.15
  • Livability score: 74

Located about an hour south of Minneapolis by car, Owatonna offers retired couples sub-$3,000 monthly average living costs. Though tied for the lowest livability score on our list, Owatonna features a downtown with numerous historic buildings and sites, the Steele County Fairgrounds and other attractions. A retired couple can expect to pay about $390 a month for groceries and $335 a month for utilities here.

Springtime Sunset over Downtown Minneapolis, St Anthony Falls and Mississippi River - Aerial Shot.

6. Saint Anthony

  • Average rent: $1,275.00
  • Average total monthly cost of living: $2,926.21
  • Livability score: 79

Sometimes referred to as “St. Anthony Village” or just “The Village,” St. Anthony is just northeast of downtown Minneapolis and just northwest of downtown St. Paul. In addition to proximity to those cities, St. Anthony offers easy access to Silver Lake and numerous bike trails and parks. It’s a popular place for retirees, with about 24% of its roughly 9,000 residents aged 65 and older.

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AUSTIN, MINNESOTA - JUNE 21, 2017: The Paramount Theater.

5. Austin

  • Average rent: $1,362.64
  • Average total monthly cost of living: $2,889.24
  • Livability score: 77

The birthplace of NFL legend John Madden, Austin is located in southeast Minnesota — about 12 miles north of the Iowa state line. Austin is also home to Hormel Foods and the SPAM Museum, as well as the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center and numerous opportunities for outdoor recreation. Retired couples may enjoy low grocery costs — about $373 a month.

Aerial View of Downtown St.

4. Sartell

  • Average rent: $1,218.03
  • Average total monthly cost of living: $2,807.23
  • Livability score: 82

Sartell is a Mississippi River town located just northwest of St. Cloud. It features 28 parks, two golf courses and a farmers’ market, among other attractions. Sartell’s population is roughly 20,000. A retired couple can expect to pay $400 a month for groceries on average.

City Hall, Fergus Falls, Minnesota, USA.

3. Fergus Falls

  • Average rent: $1,600.00
  • Average total monthly cost of living: $3,066.97
  • Livability score: 80

More than a quarter of Fergus Falls’ 14,000 residents are age 65 or older, the highest percentage in our top 10 list. Fergus Falls also tops our list in average monthly rent and average monthly cost of living. Located in west-central Minnesota in between St. Cloud and Fargo, North Dakota, Fergus Falls offers easy access to the Central Lake State, Otter Tail River State and North Country trails.

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The waters of the Mississippi River flow briskly over the Coon Rapids Dam just outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota on a sunny summer day with blue skies and white clouds.

2. Coon Rapids

  • Average rent: $610.00
  • Average total monthly cost of living: $2,284.94
  • Livability score: 84

This northern Minneapolis suburb manages to blend one of the highest livability scores in our list with (by far) the least expensive average monthly rent and total living costs for retired couples. Costs for groceries, healthcare, utilities and transportation aren’t that different than those of the other cities in our top 10, but an average monthly rent of only $610 puts Coon Rapids in a class by itself. Other draws include highly rated Mercy Hospital, two regional parks, the Bunker Hills Golf Club and nearly 50 parks.

Rochester Minnesota

1. Rochester

  • Average rent: $1,100.49
  • Average total monthly cost of living: $2,715.17
  • Livability score: 91

Rochester tops Coon Rapids — and the rest of the cities in our top 10 — on livability with a strong score of 91 from AreaVibes. It’s also attractive to retired couples on tight budgets for financial reasons, with an average monthly rent of about $1,100 and average total monthly living costs just over $2,700.

Located in southeast Minnesota, Rochester is home to the famed Mayo Clinic, by far the largest employer in the city. Rochester also offers dozens of parks, four public golf courses and multiple historic buildings and sites. Roughly 120,000 people call Rochester home.

Methodology: To find the best places in Minnesota for a couple to live on only Social Security checks, GOBankingRates analyzed the cities in Minnesota across a variety of factors including total population and population aged 65 and over (both sourced from US Census American Consumer Survey), cost-of-living indexes for groceries, healthcare, utilities and transportation (all sourced from Sperling’s BestPlaces), monthly rental cost as sourced from the Zillow Observed Rental Index, national average expenditure cost as sourced from Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey, livability scores as sourced from AreaVibes, and the average monthly Social Security benefits as sourced from the Social Security Administration. The cost-of-living indexes for each city were multiplied by the national average expenditure cost to find the average expenditure costs for each city. The expenditure costs for each city were added to the average rental cost to find the total monthly cost needed to live in each city. The average Social Security benefits were doubled to find the average needed for a couple, and all cities above the average monthly Social Security benefits were removed. The total population was scored and weighted at 0.75, percent population 65 and over was scored and weighted at 0.75, livability index was scored and weighted at 1.50, the rental cost was scored and weighted at 1, the expenditure cost was scored and weighted at 1, and the total monthly cost was scored and weighted at 1.25. All the scores were added together and sorted to show the best places in Minnesota for a couple to live on only Social Security checks. All data was collected and is up to date as of November 7th, 2023.

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 10 Best Places in Minnesota for a Couple To Live on Only a Social Security Check

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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