Special Report

What It Costs to Retire Comfortably in Every State

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.