New York City
"The biggest expense in this city is rent," says Grace Weaver, a 91-year-old New York City native who has lived in the same apartment building for more than 50 years. "I have a rent-stabilized apartment, so I pay less than $1,000. If it weren't for that, I couldn't live here."
Thanks to a pension Weaver describes as "decent" and such investments as tax-free municipal bonds, Weaver says her retirement has been relatively comfortable, although she has always been frugal. She shops in thrift stores, including the one in midtown where she volunteers three days a week. "You can retire very well in New York City. There are lots of free and cheap things to do, with the museums, theater and movies." Weaver adds that life in New York City can be cheaper than in other parts of the country, thanks to public transport. "I've never had a need for a car, and that saves me hundreds of dollars on insurance, gas, parking, maintenance -- plus the car itself," she says.
Although the cost of some things in Manhattan are higher than in the rest of the country -- for example, one doctor's visit costs $163 on average in New York City, well above the national average -- Weaver believes it's cheaper there than in Florida. "Plus, who wants to deal with the heat and humidity?" Weaver asks.