How much does it cost to retire on Cape Cod?

Taylor Swift, Meg Ryan, Harry Connick Jr., Dan Aykroyd, Tommy Hilfiger and JFK have all called Cape Cod home at one time or another. Patti Page sang about it, and he even has his own cocktail — if you’ve ever ordered a vodka cranberry, you’ve had a Cape Cod.

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The hook-shaped peninsula off Massachusetts stretches 40 miles out into the Atlantic Ocean and contains 62 miles of some of the country’s most coveted coastline. Lots of people flock there for vacation — the Cape Cod National Seashore drew 4.1 million visitors even in the pandemic year of 2020. But only a chosen few are living the dream of retiring to a seaside community that was once the playground of the Kennedys.

But before you dismiss the idea as a pipe dream, consider that living your golden years on Cape Cod might just be within your reach.

To figure out what it takes, GOBankingRates used data from HUD, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Sperling’s Best, and AreaVibes.

Because all of Cape Cod is in Barnstable County, there were several overlapping data points among the eight towns that appeared on the list. The average rent in 2022 for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,428 and the cost of healthcare is $4,364 per year, or $364 per month, across the board. That’s not bad, considering the national average for health care is $5,177 a year, or $431 a month. That leaves the cost of groceries, livability scores (higher is better), and combined monthly expenses as the only differentiators.

See how much it costs to live on Cape Cod. Bourne_Mass_iStock-1249841580

Thick headed

  • Monthly expenses: $2,232
  • Habitability score: 72

The average grocery bill costs Bourne residents $441 per month, or $5,288 per year. Although this is the lowest on the list, it is still 7% above the national average, which is $4,942 per year or $412 per month.

Take part in our survey: do you think you can retire at 65? Yarmouth_iStock-880305630


  • Monthly expenses: $2,233
  • Habitability score: 78

In Yarmouth, groceries cost a little more than in Bourne, but only about $10 a year. The annual total is $5,298, or $441 per month, about 7% more than the national average.



  • Monthly expenses: $2,237
  • Habitability score: 72

In Sandwich, the average supermarket bill is 8.1% higher than the national average, or $5,342 per year. This equates to $445 per month. Dennis_Mass_iStock-861482922


  • Monthly expenses: $2,237
  • Habitability score: 67

Residents of Dennis pay just a little more for groceries than their neighbors in Sandwich – $5,347 per year. This is 8.2% more than the national average. Barn table_iStock-1264371911

barn cowshed

  • Monthly expenses: $2,239
  • Habitability score: 66

In Barnstable, the cost of groceries climbs to 8.5% more than the national average. The annual total is $5,362, or $447 per month. Brewster_Mass_iStock-517305306


  • Monthly expenses: $2,241
  • Habitability score: 68

The average grocery bill in Brewster is $5,392 per year. That’s $449 per month, or 9.1% more than the national average. Falmouth_Mass_iStock-1264527387


  • Monthly expenses: $2,243
  • Habitability score: 71

Groceries cost 9.5% more in Falmouth than in the country as a whole. The average cost is $451 per month or $5,411 per year. Chatham_iStock-869367464


  • Monthly expenses: $2,260
  • Habitability score: 67

In all of Cape Cod, groceries are most expensive in Chatham, where the average annual bill is $5,614 ($468 per month). This is 13.6% more than the national average.

Methodology: To find the cost of retirement on Cape Cod, GOBankingRates first used housing and urban development data to find (1) FY 2022 Florida Fair Market Rent for a one-bedroom apartment, sourced from the Department American housing and urban development. GOBankingRates then used Sperling’s Best to find the cost of living index for each selected area, looking at (2) grocery and (3) healthcare index scores. Next, GOBankingRates used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2020 Consumer Expenditure Survey to find the amount of annual spending on groceries (“food at home”) and healthcare costs for seniors. 65 and older to determine how much a retired person could spend on groceries and health care on Cape Cod per month. GOBankingRates then added monthly housing, grocery, and healthcare costs to find the cost of retirement on Cape Cod. For a place to qualify for the study, it (4) must have a livability score of 65 or higher, from AreaVibes. All data was collected and updated on September 9, 2022.

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This article originally appeared on How much does it cost to retire on Cape Cod?

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