What Makes South Bend, Indiana an Affordable Place to Retire?

Notably, South Bend is home to the University of Notre Dame, but there\'s so much more to this affordable city.

Recognized by 55places as No. 8 on a list of the most affordable retirement destinations of 2019, South Bend, Indiana has been a consistently popular retirement spot thanks to its extremely low entry point and its exceptionally low cost of living. Indiana’s fourth-largest city by population, retirees enjoy South Bend for a number of reasons, including its low taxes, variety of recreational activities, as well as its unique small-town atmosphere.

Read on below to hear more on what makes South Bend stand out in the crowd.

Low Cost of Living

One aspect of what makes South Bend an affordable place to live is the fact that within the state of Indiana, there are no taxes imposed on Social Security. Social Security is exempted from state income tax while property taxes are low overall. The average property tax rate is 0.87 percent, meaning that residents can enjoy a lower cost of living in the state compared to other areas of the country.

The average income of residents in South Bend is $34,656 while the average for a home is just $69,400. South Bend’s low cost will be of interest to retirees especially. Not having to worry about spending nearly as much as they would in other areas, retirees in South Bend will be in a better position to spend their retirement money in the ways they see fit, whether that includes going on vacations or dining at some nearby Chicago’s Michelin-starred restaurants.

South Bend 55+ Communities

In terms of actual retirement communities in South Bend, there are a few options to consider. One is Stonebridge Villas at Edison Lakes, a community of just 96 resale homes that range in price from the mid $200s to $300s. The community features everything from a clubhouse for social events, a fitness center, as well as a backdrop filled with scenic ponds, making the community a sight to explore.

Plenty to Do


Low cost of living aside, there are also a number of affordable entertainment options to explore in South Bend. South Bend is a true college town and is perhaps best known for its association with the University of Notre Dame. The university’s football program, in particular, is nationally recognized, making it essential to visit a few games during the autumn season. Participating and cheering with fellow residents for the Fighting Irish is an experience unique to South Bend and is something that should not be missed.

Even if football isn’t your favorite sporting event, there’s a number of other sporting events in the area, including men’s and women’s soccer, lacrosse, basketball, and baseball. Baseball fans will want to check out a South Bend Cubs (formerly Silver Hawks) game, a minor league affiliate of the Chicago Cubs.


Other highlights of South Bend include the Studebaker National Museum, which houses a famous collection of classic and vintage automobiles, wagons, carriages, and military vehicles of significance to American history. The museum shares an entrance with The History Museum, meaning visitors and history buffs will have much to see and learn inside.


Across the city, residents can also find entertainment venues like the Morris Performing Arts Center, a historic 2,500-seat space that hosts a number of concerts and events throughout the year, the Potawatomi Zoo, which is Indiana’s oldest animal park, as well as St. Patrick’s Country Park, which is the perfect space for nature lovers.

The area offers an abundance of wooded trails for running and morning walks, as well as riverfront activities. All options are considerably low cost. In terms of dining, the city is filled with many popular options, including Irish pubs and a chocolate cafe, which is especially popular with residents.

Of course, if looking to get out of the city for a day, there are a number of nearby destinations to visit as well. Both just two hours away from South Bend, Chicago and Indianapolis each feature world class and an endless supply of entertainment and dining options to explore and make for ideal day trips.

A college town at heart with perks of everything a city has to offer, it is not hard to see what makes South Bend, Indiana an affordable and popular place to retire.

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