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

by Clark Penney
September 2018

Cypress Wealth Services
In a recent report created by Merrill Edge, more than half of the survey respondents didn't think they would need more than $1 million to carry them through retirement.[1] For many people, $1 million seems like a fortune. But when you divide that amount up over a twenty-to-thirty-year retirement period, it no longer seems as exorbitant. Then, when you factor in inflation, increased housing costs, longer life expectancies, and costly medical needs, that $1 million may run out even quicker than you think.

Along with considering your lifestyle needs and retirement dreams, where you choose to reside in retirement will affect the longevity of your money. As you can imagine, $1 million in New York City won’t get you as far as it would in Topeka, Kansas. The two questions to ask are, just how long will your retirement nest egg last based on where you live, and how much of a difference is there between the different states?

Thanks to an extensive report compiled by GOBankingRates[2], we can start to plan for that. 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:

50. 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 any other state.

49. 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.

48. 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 is lower than many states, other costs of living make up for it.

47. New York
How long $1 million will last: 17 years, 1 month
Utility costs 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.  

46. 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.

45. Connecticut
How long $1 million will last: 17 years, 4 months
Connecticut is almost identical to Massachusetts in terms of cost of living, especially when it comes to healthcare. Connecticut has the fifth highest healthcare costs in the country. 

44. Maryland
How long $1 million will last: 17 years, 4 months
It is 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.

43. 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.

42. 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 it’s housing and utilities that put this state within the top 10 most expensive places to live.

41. New Jersey
How long $1 million will last: 18 years, 6 months
Housing in New Jersey, along with utilities, makes this one of the more expensive states in which to retire.

40. 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.

39. 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.

38. 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.

37. 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.

36. 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.

35. 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.

34. Virginia
How long $1 million will last: 22 years
Virginia ranks well in transportation, with the eighth lowest expenses nationwide. And while utilities and healthcare rank average, housing is what can cost above average.

33. 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.

32. Nevada
How long $1 million will last: 22 years
Nevada ranks similarly to Colorado, especially when it comes to low utility costs. However, housing, healthcare, and transportation costs are far above average.

31. 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.

30. Florida
How long $1 million will last: 22 years, 4 months
Along with expensive grocery costs, housing, transportation, and utility costs are all above average. However, Floridians save in healthcare costs.

29. 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 are above the national average, residents pay less for transportation (the fifth cheapest of all states).

28. 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.

27. 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.

26. 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.

25. 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.

24. 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. 

23. 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.

22. 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.

21. West Virginia
How long $1 million will last: 23 years, 6 months
Only grocery bills are slightly above average. Housing, healthcare, and utility costs are all below average.

20. 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! Grocery and utility costs are slightly above the national average, but housing costs are far below average, as are the other categories.

19. Kentucky
How long $1 million will last: 23 years, 8 months
Housing is particularly inexpensive in Kentucky, as are groceries and healthcare costs.

18. 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 healthcare.

17. 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.

16. 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.

15. Louisiana
How long $1 million will last: 23 years, 10 months
Louisiana ranks slightly below the national average for all cost-of-living categories, with housing ranking significantly below the national average.

14. 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, utilities, healthcare, and groceries are all below average in expenses.

13. Iowa
How long $1 million will last: 24 years, 3 month
Healthcare and transportation costs hover around the national average, but inexpensive housing and groceries make this an affordable state for retirees.

12. 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.

11. 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.

10. Alabama
How long $1 million will last: 24 years, 9 months
Alabama makes it into the top 10 with lower-than-average healthcare costs and housing.

9. 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.

8. 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.

7. 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.

6. 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.

 

5. Tennessee
How long $1 million will last: 25 years
The standout category for Tennessee is housing costs, which are lower than most states.

4. Michigan
How long $1 million will last: 25 years
While healthcare and utilities fall below the national average cost, the greatest advantage is housing.

3. 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.

2. 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’s 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.

Do you have questions about your retirement savings and how long $1 million could last based on your lifestyle needs? Contact us today at 760.834.7250.  We’d be happy to help you find peace of mind for your golden years.

About Cypress Wealth Services

Cypress Wealth Services (CWS) is an independent Registered Investment Advisory (RIA) firm that provides proactive financial advice and investment management for high net worth families, business owners, and institutions. Cypress Wealth Services is comprised of professionals with diverse backgrounds and extensive experience, qualifications and is uniquely qualified to serve a broad range of client needs. CWS’s experience and expertise have been the foundation for their proactive client service process and client Standard of Care. CWS’s multi-generational approach focuses on efficiently protecting and growing wealth while providing proactive financial advice as a client moves through each new stage of life. With offices in Palm Desert, CA and Anchorage, AK, the firm serves clients across the country. For more information: visit  www.CypressWS.com or call 760.834.7250.