Special Report

What It Costs to Retire Comfortably in Every State

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46. Virginia
> Est. total retirement spending: $1,164,487 (14th most)
> Avg. cost of living: 2.1% more than avg.
> Avg. monthly homeownership cost for senior citizens: $476 (24th highest)
> Pop. 65 and older: 15.5% (11th lowest)

Virginia is a relatively expensive state to retire, with a total estimated spending for a comfortable retirement of $1.16 million. Despite this fact, a below-average share of state residents continue to work after reaching retirement age. Those who do tend to be paid relatively well — senior households earning wages in the state have an average income of $67,522, the eighth highest figure among states.

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47. Washington
> Est. total retirement spending: $1,238,423 (8th most)
> Avg. cost of living: 6.4% more than avg.
> Avg. monthly homeownership cost for senior citizens: $594 (10th highest)
> Pop. 65 and older: 15.4% (9th lowest)

The estimated cost for a comfortable retirement in Washington state is $1,238,423, the eighth highest of any state. The higher retirement costs are attributable to both the state’s higher average cost of living and higher life expectancy at age 65.

Despite the higher retirement costs, savings and Social Security appear to be enough for a large share of the state’s 65 and older population in retirement. Just 35.8% of the retirement-age demographic in the state are working, below the 38.0% national average.

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48. West Virginia
> Est. total retirement spending: $890,495 (2nd least)
> Avg. cost of living: 13.0% less than avg.
> Avg. monthly homeownership cost for senior citizens: $317 (the lowest)
> Pop. 65 and older: 20.0% (3rd highest)

A comfortable retirement in West Virginia will cost an estimated $890,495, the second least of any state and well below the $1.1 million national average. The state’s low cost of living — 13.0% less than the national average — partially explains why. Still, the lower total retirement cost is also attributable to West Virginia’s low life expectancy. Life expectancy for 65 year old residents in the state is just 17.5 years to 82.5 years, about two years below the national average.

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49. Wisconsin
> Est. total retirement spending: $1,064,664 (23rd least)
> Avg. cost of living: 7.6% less than avg.
> Avg. monthly homeownership cost for senior citizens: $529 (13th highest)
> Pop. 65 and older: 17.0% (18th highest)

Goods and services in Wisconsin are less expensive than in most other states, costing 7.6% less than the U.S. average. Life expectancy for state residents who reach 65 is 19.7 years to age 84.7, roughly in line with the national life expectancy at 65 of 19.4 years. The result is that the expected lifetime retirement costs in the state are slightly below that of the nation.

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50. Wyoming
> Est. total retirement spending: $1,069,085 (24th least)
> Avg. cost of living: 4.8% less than avg.
> Avg. monthly homeownership cost for senior citizens: $413 (17th lowest)
> Pop. 65 and older: 16.7% (23rd highest)

The estimated cost of comfortably living one’s retirement years in Wyoming is $1,069,085 — about $65,600 less than the average cost nationwide. Still, Wyoming residents are more likely than average to have to work into retirement age. Of the state’s 65 and older population, 42.0% are earning a wage or salary, the 12th highest share among states and well above the 38.0% national rate.

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