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How Long Will Your Retirement Savings Last In Each Of The 50 States?

| October 05, 2018
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If you had to take a wild guess, how much money do you think you will need to have a comfortable retirement? If you guessed $1 million, you are on the same page as more than half of Americans who responded to a survey conducted by Merrill Edge. (1) Having a $1 million savings for retirement sounds like a lot, but how long will that amount really last? When you factor in inflation, increased housing costs, longer life expectancies, and costly medical needs, $1 million may not be enough for the retirement you dream of.

Along with considering your lifestyle needs and retirement dreams, your place of residence plays a significant role in how far your money will stretch. As you can imagine, $1 million in New York City won’t get you as far as it would in Topeka, Kansas. The question is, just how long will your retirement fund last based on where you live, and how big of a difference can there be?

Thanks to an extensive report compiled by GOBankingRates, (2) we can begin to understand the answer and start planning. By determining the average total expenditures for people ages 65 and older, then multiplying them by the cost of living index in each state, the report found the average expenditure cost for each state to determine how many years $1 million will last the average retiree.

Here’s a comprehensive ranking from worst to best:

  1. Hawaii

How long $1 million will last: 11 years, 11 months

Hawaii is the most expensive for several reasons. The cost of groceries, housing, and spending are higher than in any other state.

  1. California

How long $1 million will last: 16 years, 5 months

Real estate in California is expensive. While some costs are lower than Hawaii, your retirement fund may not last as long as you’d think.

  1. Alaska

How long $1 million will last: 17 years

What makes Alaska particularly expensive is its grocery bill, which is only second to Hawaii. While housing costs are lower than many states, other costs of living make up for it.

  1. New York

How long $1 million will last: 17 years, 1 month

Utilities are lower in New York than other states, but groceries, housing, and transportation make this state one of the most expensive in which to live.

  1. Massachusetts

How long $1 million will last: 17 years, 4 months

Healthcare costs are higher in Massachusetts than all but two other states in the U.S., and only three states pay higher utility bills. As a result, Massachusetts comes with a high cost of living.

  1. Connecticut

How long $1 million will last: 17 years, 4 months

Connecticut is almost identical to Massachusetts in terms of costs of living, especially when it comes to healthcare. Connecticut has the fifth highest healthcare costs in the country.

  1. Maryland

How long $1 million will last: 17 years, 4 months

It’s housing that’s particularly expensive in Maryland, with the fourth highest housing costs in the country. Transportation is also more expensive, contributing to high cost-of-living expenses.

  1. Oregon

How long $1 million will last: 17 years, 7 months

Housing and grocery bills are higher in Oregon than many states, which contribute to the high costs. However, eastern Oregon is considerably less expensive than the western and Portland areas.

  1. Rhode Island

How long $1 million will last: 18 years, 2 months

Most expenses in Rhode Island are comparable to the rest of the country, but its housing and utilities put this state within the top 10 most expensive places to live.

  1. New Jersey

How long $1 million will last: 18 years, 6 months

Housing in New Jersey, along with utilities, make this one of the more expensive states in which to retire.

  1. Vermont

How long $1 million will last: 18 years, 7 months

While healthcare costs are only slightly above average compared to the rest of the country, housing, utilities, and many other costs of living are much higher here.

  1. New Hampshire

How long $1 million will last: 19 years

New Hampshire retirees can expect utilities and grocery bills that are much higher than the national average.

  1. Maine

How long $1 million will last: 19 years, 6 months

While grocery costs are slightly below the national average, many other expenses are above average, including housing and utilities.

  1. Washington

How long $1 million will last: 21 years, 1 month

Utility costs in Washington are significantly below the national average. However, housing and other costs will take a bite out of your retirement fund each year.

  1. Delaware

How long $1 million will last: 21 years, 10 months

You can expect to find housing, healthcare, and transportation costs below the national average, but pricey groceries and utilities bring up annual costs of living.

  1. Pennsylvania

How long $1 million will last: 21 years, 11 months

Healthcare costs are lower here than all but three states, but housing and utilities bring this state up to 16th place for the most expensive states for retirees.

  1. Virginia

How long $1 million will last: 22 years

Virginia ranks well in transportation, with the eighth lowest expenses nationwide. And while utility and healthcare costs rank average, housing is what can cost above average.

  1. Colorado

How long $1 million will last: 22 years

Housing and healthcare costs are above the national average, but utilities, transportation, and groceries, among other necessities, are cheaper than average.

  1. Nevada

How long $1 million will last: 22 years

Nevada ranks similarly to Colorado, especially when it comes to low utilities. However, housing, healthcare, and transportation costs are far above average.

  1. South Carolina

How long $1 million will last: 22 years, 3 months

South Carolina has some of the most expensive utilities nationwide, and while grocery bills and healthcare are also above average, housing and transportation costs fall below average.

  1. Florida

How long $1 million will last: 22 years, 4 months

Along with expensive grocery costs, the cost of housing, transportation, and utilities are all above average. However, Floridians save in healthcare costs.

  1. South Dakota

How long $1 million will last: 22 years, 4 months

The cost of living in South Dakota is just slightly above the national average. And while housing costs above the national average, residents pay less for transportation (the fifth cheapest of all states).

  1. Minnesota

How long $1 million will last: 22 years, 6 months

Similar to South Dakota, Minnesota is just slightly above average for groceries, transportation, and healthcare costs. But residents can save when it comes to utilities and housing.

  1. North Dakota

How long $1 million will last: 22 years, 7 months

Healthcare costs and groceries can be more expensive than the average state, but residents will save in utilities and housing.

  1. Montana

How long $1 million will last: 22 years, 10 months

Utilities in Montana are the cheapest in the country, while groceries and healthcare costs are in line with the national average.

  1. Illinois

How long $1 million will last: 23 years, 1 month

Coming in at the middle, Illinois retirees will save in terms of healthcare, housing, and groceries, but can expect to pay above the national average for transportation and utilities.

  1. Arizona

How long $1 million will last: 23 years, 2 months

While groceries are more expensive than the national average, housing, utilities, transportation, and healthcare costs are all below average.

  1. Wisconsin

How long $1 million will last: 23 years, 3 months

Healthcare, utilities, and transportation costs are all higher than the national average, but residents will save considerably when it comes to housing.

  1. New Mexico

How long $1 million will last: 23 years, 3 months

New Mexico is almost identical to Wisconsin in terms of annual costs. Utilities, housing, and grocery costs are all below average, but healthcare and transportation costs are slightly above the national average.

  1. West Virginia

How long $1 million will last: 23 years, 6 months

Only the costs of groceries is slightly above average. The cost of housing, healthcare, and utilities is all below average.

  1. Wyoming

How long $1 million will last: 23 years, 8 months

We’ve officially reached the top 20 least expensive states for living in retirement! The cost of groceries and utilities is slightly above the national average, but housing costs are far below average, as are the other categories.

  1. Kentucky

How long $1 million will last: 23 years, 8 months

Housing is particularly inexpensive in Kentucky, as are groceries and healthcare costs.

  1. North Carolina

How long $1 million will last: 23 years, 8 months

North Carolina is cheaper than average for housing, transportation, utilities, and groceries. The only category where it ranks slightly above average is the cost of healthcare.

  1. Utah

How long $1 million will last: 23 years, 10 months

Along with the third lowest utility rates in the country, Utah is also known for inexpensive housing. Groceries is the only category where Utah ranks slightly higher than the national average.

  1. Nebraska

How long $1 million will last: 23 years, 10 months

Other than transportation, Nebraska living costs are all below average, including housing, utilities, groceries, and healthcare.

  1. Louisiana

How long $1 million will last: 23 years, 10 months

Louisiana ranks slightly below the national average for all categories, with the cost of housing ranking significantly below the national average.

  1. Ohio

How long $1 million will last: 24 years, 2 months

Ohio has the second lowest annual housing costs across the nation. While transportation is slightly above average, the cost of utilities, healthcare, and groceries is all below average in expenses.

  1. Iowa

How long $1 million will last: 24 years, 3 months

Healthcare and transportation costs hover around the national average, but inexpensive housing and groceries make this an affordable state for retirees.

  1. Kansas

How long $1 million will last: 24 years, 7 months

Other than housing, which is the ninth lowest cost in the nation, transportation, healthcare, groceries, and utilities are in line with the national average cost.

  1. Idaho

How long $1 million will last: 24 years, 8 months

While transportation costs are slightly above average, all other categories rank below the national average, especially when it comes to housing.

  1. Alabama

How long $1 million will last: 24 years, 9 months

Alabama makes it into the top 10 with lower-than-average costs for healthcare and housing.

  1. Indiana

How long $1 million will last: 24 years, 9 months

In Indiana, all living expenses fall below the national average, especially when it comes to housing costs.

  1. Texas

How long $1 million will last: 24 years, 9 months

One of the largest states in the country comes with some of the lowest living expenses. Groceries and housing are fairly inexpensive, and utilities, healthcare, and transportation all cost less than the national average.

  1. Missouri

How long $1 million will last: 24 years, 10 months

Utilities may cost slightly more than the national average, but housing is the fourth cheapest in the country.

  1. Georgia

How long $1 million will last: 24 years, 11 months

Living expenses in Georgia all fall below the national average, especially when it comes to housing.

These final five states make it possible for retirees to potentially enjoy 25 years in retirement with a $1 million fund.

  1. Tennessee

How long $1 million will last: 25 years

The standout category for Tennessee is housing, which is lower than most states.

  1. Michigan

How long $1 million will last: 25 years

While healthcare and utilities fall below the national average cost, the greatest advantage is housing.

  1. Oklahoma

How long $1 million will last: 25 years, 2 months

All major living costs fall below the national average in Oklahoma, making it easier for retirees to stretch their dollar.

  1. Arkansas

How long $1 million will last: 25 years, 6 months

As the second cheapest state in terms of cost of living, healthcare costs are the second lowest in the country, and groceries are the fourth lowest.

  1. Mississippi

How long $1 million will last: 26 years, 4 months

Mississippi ranks as the least expensive state to live in, requiring only an average of $37,964 per year for living expenses (compared to $83,000 for Hawaii, the most expensive state).

What Do I Do Next?

Between Hawaii and Mississippi, there is more than a 14-year difference in the length of time that your $1 million retirement fund will last. This significant difference means your retirement account could last almost twice as long in some states than others! These figures go to show just how important it is to address average housing costs in your state when calculating how much you’ll need in retirement.

At Harbor Wealth Management, we apply our experience and seasoned perspective to help you build sophisticated strategies that integrate all aspects of your financial life. If you have questions about your retirement savings and how long $1 million could potentially last for you based on your lifestyle needs, send me an email at jeremys@myharborwm.com or call my office at 985-605-7185, and I’d be happy to review your current plans and help you prepare for your golden years.

About Jeremy Smith

With nearly two decades of experience in the financial services industry, Jeremy Smith serves as a dedicated and knowledgeable financial advisor and the founder of Harbor Wealth Management. He specializes in serving retirees, pre-retirees, small business owners, and widows, providing a comprehensive array of investment management and financial planning services. Jeremy aims to serve his clients as a financial guide who is here for their every need, helping families find lasting plans so they can focus on what matters most to them. To learn more about Jeremy, visit www.myharborwm.com or connect with him on LinkedIn. You can reach Jeremy directly at jeremys@myharborwm.com or by calling his office at 985-605-7185.

Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a registered investment advisor.  Member FINRA/SIPC.

The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. You should discuss your specific situation with the appropriate professional.

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(1) https://olui2.fs.ml.com/Publish/Content/application/pdf/GWMOL/Merrill_Edge_Report_Spring_2018.pdf

(2) https://www.gobankingrates.com/investing/how-long-million-last-retirement-state/2/

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