Retirement living: Here’s what it costs to retire comfortably in every state – USA TODAY

Posted: August 23, 2020 at 10:58 pm


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Michael B. Sauter, 24/7 Wall Street Published 7:00 a.m. ET Aug. 17, 2020

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One of the reasons that many Americans get up and go to work every day is to put some money away for retirement. While Social Security payments can be a helpful financial foundation in retirement, it is often not enough to cover anything but the most basic expenditures, especially in the uncertain financial times wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.

Based on average annual spending for American seniors and the national average life expectancy at age 65 of 19.4 years, the average American will spend about $987,000 from retirement age on. And those hoping for a more comfortable and financially secure retirement should plan on saving a little more.

Of course, both cost of living and life expectancy vary considerably by state and so, too, does the cost of retirement. Using the average annual spending of Americans 65 and older adjusted at the state level for cost of living and life expectancy 24/7 Wall St. calculated what it will cost to retire comfortably in each state. All data used in the ranking came from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, an independent global health research center at the University of Washington.

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One of the best ways to prepare financially is through retirement-specific accounts, such as IRAs or 401(k)s. These types of funds offer special tax benefits and often come with employer matches. Those who fail to save enough and take advantage of options like these or draw from them before they hit retirement age may have to work past age 65 in order to pay the bills. Here is what you can do if COVID-19 is threatening your retirement.

Just how much one needs to save to comfortably meet expected spending from age 65 on depends on a number of factors. Many who work in the public sector, for example, may benefit in retirement from regular pension payments, in addition to Social Security. The amount of these pension payments vary by state and employer. Even in some of the most expensive places to retire, state subsidies can help finance the cost of retirement. These are the states spending the most to fund their residents' retirement.

Alabama.(Photo: Sean Pavone / Getty Images)

1. Alabama

Est. total retirement spending: $894,461 (3rd least)

Avg. cost of living: 13.6% less than avg. (3rd lowest)

Avg. monthly homeownership cost for senior citizens: $357 (6th lowest)

Pop. 65 and older: 17.0% (18th highest)

In Alabama, residents need an average of about $894,000 to live out their retirement years in relative comfort below the national average of about $1.1 million. Retirees in Alabama need less retirement savings because of both lower average life expectancy and lower cost of living.

Life expectancy at age 65 in the state is 17.7 years, nearly two years below the national average. Additionally, goods and services are about 14% less expensive on average in Alabama than they are nationwide.

2. Alaska

Est. total retirement spending: $1,170,763 (13th most)

Avg. cost of living: +4.8% more than avg. (10th highest)

Avg. monthly homeownership cost for senior citizens: $504 (19th highest)

Pop. 65 and older: 11.9% (2nd lowest)

Retirees need to save an estimated average of nearly $1.2 million to live out their years in comfort in Alaska. The estimated need for retirement savings in the state is higher than in most states due in large part to the high cost of living in the state. Goods and services are 4.8% more expensive across Alaska on average than they are nationwide. Even without a mortgage, home ownership costs an average of $504 a month among the retirement age population, more than in all but a handful of states.

3. Arizona

Est. total retirement spending: $1,134,482 (18th most)

Avg. cost of living: 3.5% less than avg. (25th highest)

Avg. monthly homeownership cost for senior citizens: $410 (15th lowest)

Pop. 65 and older: 17.6% (11th highest)

With a warm climate and a relatively low cost of living, Arizona is an ideal state for many Americans to retire. Of the state's population, 17.6% of residents are 65 or older, compared to 16.0% of the total U.S. population.

The estimated average savings necessary for a comfortable retirement in Arizona is $1.1 million, more than in most states. This is due in large part to the high life expectancy in the state. Those who are 65 years old in Arizona are expected to live an additional 20 years on average, almost a year longer than the national average.

4. Arkansas

Est. total retirement spending: $893,051 (2nd least)

Avg. cost of living: 14.7% less than avg. (the lowest)

Avg. monthly homeownership cost for senior citizens: $355 (4th lowest)

Pop. 65 and older: 16.8% (22nd highest)

Arkansas is one of only 13 states where residents can retire and live comfortably while spending less than $1 million. This is due to the state's low cost of living and low life expectancy. Goods and services in Arkansas are 14.7% less expensive than they are nationwide, on average, and those who are 65 can expect to live to 82.9, on average, below the 84.4 year national average life expectancy at 65.

5. California

Est. total retirement spending: $1,397,174 (3rd most)

Avg. cost of living: +15.4% more than avg. (3rd highest)

Avg. monthly homeownership cost for senior citizens: $567 (11th highest)

Pop. 65 and older: 14.3% (6th lowest)

California has one of the highest costs of living of any state in the country as well as one of the highest life expectancies. Goods and services are 15.4% more expensive in California on average than they are nationwide, and average life expectancy at age 65 in the state is 85.7 years, nearly a year and a half longer than national average.

As a result, for a comfortable retirement in the state, residents would need an average of about $1.4 million in savings, more than in every other state apart from Hawaii and New York.

6. Colorado

Est. total retirement spending: $1,192,006 (11th most)

Avg. cost of living: +1.9% more than avg. (13th highest)

Avg. monthly homeownership cost for senior citizens: $459 (23rd lowest)

Pop. 65 and older: 14.2% (5th lowest)

The average Colorado retiree would need about $1.2 million in savings to live comfortably, which is higher than in 39 states. The relatively high cost of living in the state may help explain why so many Colorado senior citizens continue to work after the traditional retirement age. Among the state's senior households, 41.5% have wage earnings, compared to the national share of 38.0% of senior households.

7. Connecticut

Est. total retirement spending: $1,265,959 (6th most)

Avg. cost of living: +6.1% more than avg. (8th highest)

Avg. monthly homeownership cost for senior citizens: $870 (2nd highest)

Pop. 65 and older: 17.2% (15th highest)

Housing costs are high for senior citizens living in Connecticut. The average monthly cost of homeownership among the 65 and older population is $870 without a mortgage and $1,481 with the second and 13th highest costs, respectively, among states.

Partially as a result, retirement is more expensive in Connecticut than in most other states. Living comfortably for the 20.4 years Connecticut residents live, on average, after age 65, costs an estimated $1.3 million average, more than in all but five other states.

8. Delaware

Est. total retirement spending: $1,121,070 (19th most)

Avg. cost of living: 1.2% less than avg. (18th highest)

Avg. monthly homeownership cost for senior citizens: $451 (20th lowest)

Pop. 65 and older: 18.7% (6th highest)

For those who reach age 65 in Delaware, the average life expectancy is 84.4 years. Living out those years in relative comfort will cost an estimated $1.1 million on average roughly in line with the national average cost of retirement.

9. Florida

Est. total retirement spending: $1,194,451 (9th most)

Avg. cost of living: +0.6% more than avg. (15th highest)

Avg. monthly homeownership cost for senior citizens: $494 (21st highest)

Pop. 65 and older: 20.5% (2nd highest)

Florida's warm climate makes it an ideal location for many Americans to retire. In fact, more than one in every five residents of the Sunshine State are 65 or older, the second largest share of any state in the country. Residents who are 65 in the state are expected to live to an average of just over 85, about a year longer than the national average.

Due in part to the higher life expectancy, the estimated retirement costs in Florida are $1,194,451, greater than the $1,134,687 national average.

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Georgia.(Photo: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images)

10. Georgia

Est. total retirement spending: $1,006,303 (15th least)

Avg. cost of living: 7.0% less than avg. (24th lowest)

Avg. monthly homeownership cost for senior citizens: $400 (12th lowest)

Pop. 65 and older: 13.8% (4th lowest)

The average life expectancy for Georgia residents at age 65 is 83.5 years, about a year shy of the national average. Additionally, goods and services are 7.0% less expensive in Georgia than they are nationwide. As a result, the average estimated cost of a comfortable retirement in the state is just over $1 million slightly below the $1.1 million average nationwide.

11. Hawaii

Est. total retirement spending: $1,485,123 (the most)

Avg. cost of living: +18.1% more than avg. (the highest)

Avg. monthly homeownership cost for senior citizens: $518 (16th highest)

Pop. 65 and older: 18.4% (7th highest)

While Hawaii's warm climate may make it an ideal state for many Americans to retire in, it is also the most expensive state in the country in which to retire. Goods and services in Hawaii are 18.1% more expensive than they are nationwide, on average. Life expectancy at 65 is also longer than average in Hawaii. As a result, retirees in the state can expect to need about $1.5 million to live out their golden years in comfort, well above the $1.1 million national average.

12. Idaho

Est. total retirement spending: $1,049,585 (23rd least)

Avg. cost of living: 7.5% less than avg. (22nd lowest)

Avg. monthly homeownership cost for senior citizens: $364 (7th lowest)

Pop. 65 and older: 15.9% (20th lowest)

Those who retire in Idaho can expect to spend less to live comfortably than those who retire in most other states. Due in part to Idaho's lower than average cost of living particularly the state's low housing costs retirees will spend an estimated average of $1,049,585 to live comfortably. That is about $85,000 less than the national average, even though life expectancy at age 65 in Idaho is the same as it is nationwide.

13. Illinois

Est. total retirement spending: $1,118,865 (20th most)

Avg. cost of living: 1.9% less than avg. (19th highest)

Avg. monthly homeownership cost for senior citizens: $609 (9th highest)

Pop. 65 and older: 15.6% (12th lowest)

Retiring comfortably in Illinois today would require an estimated $1.1 million, in line with the national average. Though the overall cost of living across the state is less than average, housing costs are relatively high. The average monthly cost of homeownership for state residents of retirement age is $609 without a mortgage and $1,458 with a mortgage, ninth highest and 14th highest among states, respectively.

14. Indiana

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Retirement living: Here's what it costs to retire comfortably in every state - USA TODAY

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August 23rd, 2020 at 10:58 pm

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