Special Report

What It Costs to Retire Comfortably in Every State

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26. Montana
> Est. total retirement spending: $1,009,549 (16th least)
> Avg. cost of living: 6.7% less than avg. (25th lowest)
> Avg. monthly homeownership cost for senior citizens: $441 (19th lowest)
> Pop. 65 and older: 18.8% (5th highest)

Montana has a relatively large elderly population. Some 18.8% of state residents are 65 or older, the fifth largest share among states. Based on the average spending of Americans in that age group, adjusted for Montana’s cost of living, and accounting for life expectancy, state residents can expect to spend about $1 million to through retirement to live comfortably — slightly less than average.

For many however, Social Security and savings are not enough to live comfortably into old age. In Montana, about 38.1% of retirement age households are still earning a wage or salary.

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27. Nebraska
> Est. total retirement spending: $1,015,545 (18th least)
> Avg. cost of living: 10.5% less than avg. (13th lowest)
> Avg. monthly homeownership cost for senior citizens: $509 (18th highest)
> Pop. 65 and older: 15.8% (17th lowest)

Thanks in part to a low cost of living — 10.5% less than the national average — retirement is less expensive in Nebraska than it is in most other states. The average life expectancy in Nebraska past age 65 is 19.4 years to 84.4, in line with the national average. Living comfortably in the state over that period will cost an estimated $1,015,545, compared to a national average of $1,134,687. Despite the lower retirement cost, just 15.8% of Nebraska’s population are 65 and older, a smaller share than in most states.

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28. Nevada
> Est. total retirement spending: $1,077,806 (25th most)
> Avg. cost of living: 2.5% less than avg. (20th highest)
> Avg. monthly homeownership cost for senior citizens: $412 (16th lowest)
> Pop. 65 and older: 15.7% (15th lowest)

With a warm climate, Nevada may be an ideal destination for many Americans to retire. Retirement is also somewhat less expensive in the state than it is on average across the United States. Based on Nevada’s average life expectancy at age 65 of nearly 19 years to 83.9 years and a lower than average cost of living, state retirees would need to spend $1,077,806 from age 65 onward to live comfortably, about $57,000 less than the national average.

Still, just 15.7% of Nevada residents are of retirement age, a smaller share than in most states.

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29. New Hampshire
> Est. total retirement spending: $1,190,368 (12th most)
> Avg. cost of living: +6.0% more than avg. (9th highest)
> Avg. monthly homeownership cost for senior citizens: $784 (4th highest)
> Pop. 65 and older: 18.1% (9th highest)

New Hampshire has a higher cost of living than most states, notably due to higher costs for housing and services. But seniors in the state appear to be more likely than most to be relatively financially secure, as just 5.5% of residents 65 and older live in poverty, compared to the national poverty rate for the age group of 9.4%. This is at least partially due to the fact that a relatively high 42.6% of households 65 and older continue to earn wages.

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30. New Jersey
> Est. total retirement spending: $1,367,800 (4th most)
> Avg. cost of living: +15.2% more than avg. (4th highest)
> Avg. monthly homeownership cost for senior citizens: $986 (the highest)
> Pop. 65 and older: 16.1% (21st lowest)

Life expectancy at age 65 in New Jersey is over 20 years to 85.3 years, nearly a year longer than average. Additionally, goods and services are about 15.2% more expensive than they are on average nationwide. As a result, retirement is expensive in the Garden State. New Jersey residents looking to live comfortably should expect to spend about $1.4 million after age 65, more than in all but three states.

The high costs likely help explain why so many retirement-age New Jersey residents continue to work. Among 65 and older households in the state, 42.1% are still earning salaries or wages, well above the national average of 38.0%.