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With its tropical climate and stunning natural beauty, Hawaii is a dream destination for many retirees. But its reputation as an expensive place to live gives some pause when considering retiring there on a fixed income.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: It is possible to live comfortably in Hawaii on Social Security, but it requires careful budgeting, cheap housing, and compromising on location. Retirees on Social Security alone generally need to look for more rural or cheaper outer island areas.

In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about retiring to Hawaii on Social Security, including average costs, best places to live, housing options, healthcare considerations, and tips for making the most of your fixed income in paradise.

Average Cost of Living in Hawaii for Retirees

Finance accounting budget strategy.

Retiring in Hawaii may sound like a dream come true with its stunning beaches, tropical climate, and vibrant culture.

However, before you start planning your move, it’s important to consider the average cost of living in Hawaii for retirees.

While the state offers many benefits, it also comes with a higher price tag compared to other states in the US.


Housing is one of the major expenses in Hawaii, with prices significantly higher than the national average. The median home value in Hawaii is around $660,000, which is almost double the national median.

Renting is also expensive, with the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Honolulu hovering around $2,000.

However, there are affordable housing options available, such as government-subsidized housing and senior communities.


The cost of groceries and dining out in Hawaii is higher than the national average. Imported goods and the high cost of transportation contribute to the increased prices.

However, you can save money by shopping at local farmers’ markets and focusing on locally sourced produce.

Additionally, cooking at home and limiting eating out can help you manage your food expenses.

Also read: Is There A Walmart In Hawaii?


Transportation costs can vary depending on where you live in Hawaii. If you choose to have a car, you’ll need to consider the higher gas prices and the potential for higher insurance rates.

On the other hand, public transportation options, such as buses, are available in major cities, which can help reduce transportation expenses.

Additionally, many retirees find that owning a bicycle or walking is a convenient and cost-effective way to get around.

Also read: Are Cars More Expensive In Hawaii?


Healthcare in Hawaii is generally of good quality, but it can be expensive.

Medicare is available for retirees over the age of 65, but it’s important to consider additional healthcare costs not covered by Medicare, such as prescription drugs and long-term care.

It’s advisable to research healthcare plans and consider supplemental insurance to ensure you have adequate coverage for your needs.


When it comes to entertainment, Hawaii offers a wide range of activities and attractions. From hiking trails to stunning beaches, there is no shortage of things to do.

However, it’s important to budget for these activities, as certain recreational options, such as golfing or water sports, can be expensive.

Consider exploring free or low-cost options, such as local festivals and community events, to enjoy the beauty and culture of Hawaii without breaking the bank.

While living on Social Security alone may be challenging in Hawaii, it is possible with careful budgeting and planning. It’s important to assess your financial situation and determine if Hawaii’s higher cost of living aligns with your retirement goals.

Consulting with a financial advisor can also provide valuable guidance in making informed decisions about your retirement plans.

For more information on the cost of living in Hawaii, you can visit the official website of the Hawaii State Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism.

Read more: 101 Free Things To Do In Kauai

Best Places to Live in Hawaii on Social Security

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If you are considering retiring to Hawaii and living on Social Security, you may be wondering if it is possible to afford the high cost of living.

While Hawaii is known for its breathtaking beauty and laid-back lifestyle, it is also notorious for its high prices.

However, there are still some great options for retirees on a fixed income. Here are the best places to live in Hawaii on Social Security:

Oahu (Honolulu County)

Oahu, home to the state capital Honolulu, offers a variety of affordable housing options for retirees.

While the cost of living may be higher compared to the mainland, there are still areas on the island where you can find reasonably priced homes or apartments.

Additionally, Oahu offers a wide range of amenities, including shopping centers, medical facilities, and recreational activities. It is also home to some of the best beaches in Hawaii, making it a great place to enjoy retirement.

Also read: Cheapest Grocery Stores In Oahu, Hawaii

Hawaii Island (Hawaii County)

Also known as the Big Island, Hawaii Island is the largest and most affordable of the Hawaiian Islands. With its diverse landscapes, including active volcanoes and lush rainforests, it offers a unique retirement experience.

The cost of living on the Big Island is generally lower compared to other islands, and there are plenty of affordable housing options available.

Additionally, the island offers a range of activities for retirees, such as hiking, golfing, and exploring the natural beauty of the island.


Maui is often considered one of the best places to live in Hawaii, and for good reason. With its stunning beaches, world-class resorts, and vibrant culture, it offers a high quality of life for retirees.

While the cost of living on Maui is higher compared to other islands, there are still affordable housing options available, especially in areas like Kihei and Kahului.

Maui also offers excellent healthcare facilities and a wide range of recreational activities, making it a great place for retirees to enjoy their golden years.


Kauai, also known as the Garden Isle, is a paradise for nature lovers. With its lush landscapes, stunning waterfalls, and pristine beaches, it offers a serene and peaceful retirement experience.

While the cost of living on Kauai may be higher compared to other islands, there are still affordable housing options available, especially in areas like Lihue and Kapaa.

Kauai also offers a range of recreational activities, such as hiking, snorkeling, and exploring the island’s natural beauty.


Lanai, the smallest inhabited island in Hawaii, offers a secluded and tranquil retirement experience. With its stunning beaches, luxury resorts, and championship golf courses, it is a paradise for relaxation.

While the cost of living on Lanai may be higher compared to other islands, there are still affordable housing options available. The island also offers a range of amenities, including shopping centers, restaurants, and medical facilities.


Molokai, known as the Friendly Isle, offers a laid-back and community-oriented retirement experience.

With its unspoiled landscapes, quiet beaches, and rich cultural heritage, it is a haven for those seeking a slower pace of life.

While the cost of living on Molokai may be higher compared to other islands, there are still affordable housing options available. The island also offers a range of amenities, including grocery stores, healthcare facilities, and recreational activities.

Living in Hawaii on Social Security may require some budgeting and careful planning, but it is definitely possible to enjoy a comfortable retirement in this tropical paradise.

Consider these best places to live in Hawaii on Social Security and start planning your dream retirement in the Aloha State!

Finding Affordable Housing on a Fixed Income

Living in Hawaii can be a dream come true for many people, but it’s no secret that the cost of living in paradise can be quite high.

For those relying solely on Social Security, finding affordable housing can be a challenge. However, with some careful planning and research, it is possible to find housing options that fit within your fixed income.


One option for affordable housing in Hawaii is to look for apartments. There are many apartment complexes throughout the islands that offer units at reasonable prices.

Some complexes may even have special programs or discounts for seniors or low-income individuals.

It’s important to do your research and visit different apartment complexes to find the best fit for your needs and budget.


Another housing option to consider is renting or purchasing a condo. Condos can provide a more affordable option compared to single-family homes.

They often come with amenities such as swimming pools, fitness centers, and security, making them an attractive choice for retirees.

It’s important to consider the monthly maintenance fees associated with owning a condo, as these can vary greatly depending on the property.

House Sharing

If you’re open to the idea of sharing a living space, house sharing can be a viable option. This involves renting a room or sharing a house with other individuals.

Not only can this help reduce housing costs, but it can also provide companionship and a sense of community.

There are websites and online communities dedicated to helping individuals find compatible housemates, making the process easier and safer.

Government Subsidized Housing

For those with lower incomes, government-subsidized housing programs may be available. These programs, such as Section 8, provide rental assistance to eligible individuals and families.

The Hawaii Public Housing Authority is responsible for administering these programs and can provide more information on eligibility and application processes.

It’s important to note that there may be waiting lists for these programs, so it’s best to apply as early as possible.

Making the Most of Your Social Security Benefits

Living in Hawaii can be a dream come true for many people, but it’s important to consider how to make the most of your Social Security benefits to ensure a comfortable lifestyle.

By implementing a few strategies, you can stretch your budget and enjoy everything the beautiful islands have to offer.

Use Direct Deposit

One of the easiest ways to manage your Social Security benefits is by signing up for direct deposit. This allows your monthly payment to be electronically transferred directly into your bank account, saving you time and effort.

With direct deposit, you don’t have to worry about lost or stolen checks, and you can access your funds immediately.

Look for Senior Discounts

Many businesses in Hawaii offer senior discounts to help retirees make their money go further. From restaurants and grocery stores to entertainment venues and transportation services, there are numerous opportunities to save.

Make sure to ask about senior discounts wherever you go, and you might be pleasantly surprised by the savings you can enjoy.

Consider a Roommate

Renting a place in Hawaii can be expensive, but one way to offset the cost is by considering a roommate. Sharing living expenses with someone can help you save a significant amount of money each month.

Not only will you split the rent and utilities, but you can also share the cost of groceries and other household items.

Plus, having a roommate can provide companionship and make the experience of living in Hawaii even more enjoyable.

Cook at Home

Although dining out in Hawaii can be tempting with its delicious cuisine, it can quickly add up and strain your budget.

By cooking at home, you not only save money but also have the opportunity to explore local markets and experiment with fresh, tropical ingredients.

Cooking at home can be a fun and rewarding way to immerse yourself in the local culture while staying within your budget.

Use Public Transportation

Instead of relying on a personal vehicle, consider using public transportation in Hawaii. The islands have an extensive bus system that can take you to most major destinations.

Using public transportation not only saves you money on gas and parking but also allows you to relax and enjoy the scenery without the stress of driving. Plus, it’s a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to a more sustainable environment.

Read more: Where To Buy Bus Pass In Honolulu

Find Free Entertainment

While Hawaii is known for its stunning beaches and outdoor activities, there are also plenty of free entertainment options available.

From hiking trails to public parks, you can enjoy the natural beauty of the islands without spending a dime.

Additionally, many community events and festivals offer free admission, allowing you to experience the local culture and have a great time without breaking the bank.

Living in Hawaii on Social Security is definitely possible with careful planning and budgeting.

By using direct deposit, taking advantage of senior discounts, considering a roommate, cooking at home, using public transportation, and finding free entertainment, you can make the most of your Social Security benefits and enjoy the incredible lifestyle that Hawaii has to offer.

Accessing Healthcare in Hawaii as a Senior

Accessing Healthcare in Hawaii as a Senior

As a senior living in Hawaii, it is important to understand the healthcare options available to you. Hawaii offers a range of healthcare services and programs specifically designed to meet the needs of seniors.

In this article, we will explore some of the key healthcare resources available to seniors in Hawaii.

Medicare Coverage

Medicare is a federal health insurance program that provides coverage for individuals aged 65 and older, as well as certain younger individuals with disabilities.

Medicare coverage in Hawaii includes hospital insurance (Part A), medical insurance (Part B), and prescription drug coverage (Part D).

It is important to note that Medicare coverage is not free, and seniors are responsible for paying premiums, deductibles, and co-payments.


Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that provides healthcare coverage to low-income individuals and families. In Hawaii, Medicaid is known as Med-QUEST and is administered by the Department of Human Services.

As a senior, you may be eligible for Medicaid if your income and assets meet certain criteria. Medicaid covers a wide range of healthcare services, including doctor visits, hospital stays, prescription drugs, and long-term care.

Affordable Care Act Plans

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) established health insurance marketplaces where individuals can purchase private health insurance plans.

These plans are often more affordable than traditional insurance options. In Hawaii, the health insurance marketplace is known as the Hawaii Health Connector.

Seniors who do not qualify for Medicare or Medicaid may be eligible for subsidies to help cover the cost of their health insurance through the marketplace.

Veterans Health Benefits

If you are a veteran, you may be eligible for health benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VA operates several healthcare facilities in Hawaii, including the Spark M. Matsunaga VA Medical Center in Honolulu.

Veterans can receive a range of healthcare services through the VA, including primary care, specialty care, mental health services, and prescription medications.

It is important to research and understand the specific eligibility requirements and coverage options for each of these healthcare programs.

Additionally, consulting with a healthcare professional or insurance specialist can help you navigate the process and find the best healthcare solution for your needs.

Also more: How To Live In Hawaii For Free


While living in Hawaii on Social Security alone presents some challenges, with careful planning it can be done.

Focusing your search on more affordable locations like Hilo or Kauai, utilizing subsidies and discounts, and sticking to a strict budget can allow you to make the most of your fixed income. Paradise may be closer than you think!

At the end of the day, Hawaii offers an unmatched quality of life for retirees who appreciate beach living, welcoming locals, and stunning scenery.

If you’re willing to make some compromises, the Hawaiian islands can still be within reach on modest Social Security income.

With an open mind and some resourcefulness, your golden years in paradise could become a reality.

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