Is southwest Ohio a good place to retire?

Cincy, Dayton make list of places where expenditures are less than $3K a month.

In a recent article by, 21 cities in Ohio were named the best cities to retire on $3,000 or less per month on a top 100 list. Cincinnati came in right at No. 100, and Dayton made the list at No. 39.

According to the article, which includes groceries, healthcare, housing, utilities, transportation and miscellaneous expenses in its calculations, the total expenditures for a year in Dayton is $21,442.32. That equates to $1,786.86 per month. One other city in the Miami Valley made the list, which was Miamisburg with total expenditures of $2,197.89 per month.

Cincinnatians have expenditures of $26,746 a year, the list says. That’s $2,229 per moth.

The Midwest is typically known to be a less expensive place to live on average, so that might be why so many Ohio cities made the list. According to Barbara Erbe, assistant professor of economics and personal finance at Sinclair College, anyone retiring needs to start saving early because Social Security payments may not cover the monthly expenses.

“Ideally you start [saving] when you’re young,” Erbe said. “It’s important because as a country we’ve switched from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan. If people aren’t contributing to their own 401K plan or Roth IRA plan then they’re most likely not going to have enough to meet their monthly requirements.”

Erbe suggests a company includes a 401K match, anyone thinking about retiring should take advantage of the full match. There are also many Roth IRA plans with low advising fees that would be a good place to invest some money. If a person doesn’t have a lot saved for retirement, Erbe has a few suggestions.

“Work with someone on a budget,” Erbe said. “Figure out if you need to your their Social Security benefit now or wait until you’re 70 and get the fullest benefit. Each year you delay after age 62 your increase your amount by about 8%.”

People are living longer now and the instability of the Social Security system are things to think about when retiring. Also, the cost of taking care of aging parents and even older children who move back home has become financial strains.

As for living in Southwest Ohio for retirement, there are quite a few people that love living here, and not just for the cheaper cost of living. Stephanie Putnam, 69, of Kettering, said that she planned to live in the region for retirement due to her children and grandchildren living here. She said she is very happy being retired here.

“I have found many activities to keep me active and have met many new friends since I retired,” Putnam said. “The local recreation centers are fantastic for offering a multitude of activities and the arts offerings in Dayton rival Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland. I am able to travel a couple of times a year and not worry about finances.”

Putnam said she was financially prepared when she retired. She had a pension, but she also became more involved with investments after retirement to support her income in the future if needed. The investments have given her piece of mind, but she said that it’s a lot more than just money to think about when retiring.

“Make sure you are emotionally ready by thinking about things that interest you,” Putnam said. “You need to have a plan or you may become bored or even go back to work. It took me the first month of retirement to realize I needed more structure to my days. Joining the Kettering Recreation Center and meeting friends provided that structure. Retirement is the best.”

Obviously, there are many more things than finances to think about when deciding where to retire. Family, friends and activities must be considered. Erbe said that the region is a good place to retire if people have lived here and been happy. However, she has some advice for people who might move away.

“I would recommend if they are going to move …that they go try out that area first,” Erbe said. “Rent for a month or two because something might have looked good when they visited, but not quite as great on a daily basis. They might not mind the traffic when they were on vacation, but do you want to deal with it daily? Even the weather should be considered.”

Number out of 100Ohio cityMonthly expenditures

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