Special Report

What It Costs to Retire in Every State

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1. Alabama
> Est. total retirement spending: $877,072 (3rd least)
> Avg. cost of living: 14.2% less than avg. (3rd lowest)
> Median monthly homeownership cost, pop. 65 & older: $358 (6th lowest)
> Pop. 65 & older: 17.4% (20th highest)

In Alabama, goods and services are about 14.2% cheaper than they are on average nationwide. Accounting for the state’s low cost of living, retirement-age residents spend an average of $43,089 annually. Applying this amount to average life expectancy at 65 in Alabama, and accounting for additional unforeseeable expenses that can occur during retirement, it costs $877,072 to retire comfortably in Alabama, about $243,300 less than the average cost nationwide.

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2. Alaska
> Est. total retirement spending: $1,159,339 (13th most)
> Avg. cost of living: 5.1% more than avg. (9th highest)
> Median monthly homeownership cost, pop. 65 & older: $536 (15th highest)
> Pop. 65 & older: 12.4% (2nd lowest)

In Alaska, a comfortable retirement for the average resident will cost $1,159,339 — about $39,000 more than the national average. The state’s higher than average projected retirement costs are partially due to the state’s high cost of living. Goods and services are about 5% more expensive in Alaska than they are nationwide, on average.

in Alaska, for example, the typical monthly housing expenses $536 among the 65 and older population without a mortgage, more than in most other states. Over the course of a year, this amounts to about $450 more in housing costs than the typical American retiree without a mortgage spends on housing.

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3. Arizona
> Est. total retirement spending: $1,117,884 (18th most)
> Avg. cost of living: 3.7% less than avg. (25th highest)
> Median monthly homeownership cost, pop. 65 & older: $419 (16th lowest)
> Pop. 65 & older: 18.0% (13th highest)

With a warm climate in much of the state, Arizona is an attractive place for many Americans to spend their golden years. Additionally, the cost of a comfortable retirement in Arizona is closely in line with the national average. Accounting for both cost of living and average life expectancy, the average American retiring in Arizona is projected to spend $1,117,884 — only about $2,500 more than the typical U.S. retiree.

Arizona’s population is older than that of the country on average. An estimated 18.0% of state residents are of retirement age, compared to 16.5% of all Americans.

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4. Arkansas
> Est. total retirement spending: $875,611 (2nd least)
> Avg. cost of living: 15.3% less than avg. (2nd lowest)
> Median monthly homeownership cost, pop. 65 & older: $348 (4th lowest)
> Pop. 65 & older: 17.4% (22nd highest)

Goods and services in Arkansas are about 15.3% less expensive than average. With a low cost of living, retirement is relatively affordable in the state. Accounting for average annual spending and cost of living, it would cost $875,611 to retire comfortably at age 65 in Arkansas, nearly a quarter of a million dollars less than the national average.

The low retirement costs in Arkansas are also a product of the state’s low life expectancy. On average, 65 year old Arkansas residents are expected to live another 17.9 years, while life expectancy for the typical 65 year old American is 19.4 years.

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5. California
> Est. total retirement spending: $1,391,547 (2nd most)
> Avg. cost of living: 16.4% more than avg. (2nd highest)
> Median monthly homeownership cost, pop. 65 & older: $588 (11th highest)
> Pop. 65 & older: 14.8% (6th lowest)

In California, goods and services are about 16.4% more expensive than average. With the second highest cost of living of any state, California is not a cheap place to retire. On average, a 65 year old will need about $1.4 million for a comfortable retirement, about $271,100 more than what the typical retiree nationwide will need and the second highest retirement cost of all states.

The high retirement costs in California are also attributable to the long average life expectancy in the state. At age 65, the typical Californian is expected to live another 20.7 years — over a year longer than the typical 65 year old American.