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The Best Places To Retire If You Can’t Save $1 Million

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Nowadays, it’s generally accepted that $1 million is the ideal amount to save for retirement. But if you’re not on track to retire a millionaire, you’re not alone.

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In a recent study, GOBankingRates looked at the cost of living in America’s major cities and calculated how long a nest egg of $650,000, $750,000 and $850,000 would last in each. This study also takes into account the cities’ livability scores and the percentage of the population age 65 and older. With these factors combined, we found some of the best places to retire in the U.S. for those who didn’t save $1 million.

Last updated: August 9, 2021

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10. Des Moines, Iowa

  • How long $850K will last: 20.8 years
  • How long $750K will last: 18.4 years
  • How long $650K will last: 15.9 years
  • Livability score: 78
  • Percent of seniors 65 and older: 14%

AreaVibes gave Des Moines high scores for its available amenities and housing, which are important factors to think about when deciding where to retire. With an average annual expenditure of $40,778 for seniors, $650,000 in retirement savings will last over 15 years in this capital city.

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9. Montgomery, Alabama

  • How long $850K will last: 22.3 years
  • How long $750K will last: 19.7 years
  • How long $650K will last: 17.1 years
  • Livability score: 61
  • Percent of seniors 65 and older: 15.2%

There’s always something fun for retirees to do in Montgomery. Local events include cruises, comedy shows, concerts and film screenings. Seniors can expect to spend $38,066 on annual expenditures in the Southern city.

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8. Shreveport, Louisiana

  • How long $850K will last: 21.8 years
  • How long $750K will last: 19.3 years
  • How long $650K will last: 16.7 years
  • Livability score: 66
  • Percent of seniors 65 and older: 16.6%

Those retiring to Shreveport can expect to spend $38,920 on living expenses each year. So seniors with a savings of $650,000 can afford at least 16 years in this historic city.

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7. Birmingham, Alabama

  • How long $850K will last: 22.8 years
  • How long $750K will last: 20.2 years
  • How long $650K will last: 17.5 years
  • Livability score: 62
  • Percent of seniors 65 and older: 15.5%

Seniors can expect to spend an average $37,213 for every year they live in Birmingham. Having $750,000 in retirement savings should have retirees set for 20 years.

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6. Cleveland, Ohio

  • How long $850K will last: 23.3 years
  • How long $750K will last: 20.6 years
  • How long $650K will last: 17.8 years
  • Livability score: 62
  • Percent of seniors 65 and older: 14.2%

Seniors living in Cleveland will have an average annual expenditure of $36,459. Having $650,000 in retirement savings can last nearly 18 years in Cleveland.

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5. Fort Wayne, Indiana

  • How long $850K will last: 21.5 years
  • How long $750K will last: 18.9 years
  • How long $650K will last: 16.4 years
  • Livability score: 80
  • Percent of seniors 65 and older: 14.4%

Fort Wayne scored a top mark for its local amenities, and a high score for affordability as well, according to AreaVibes ratings. The average annual expenditure for seniors is $39.623.

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4. Amarillo, Texas

  • How long $850K will last: 21.1 years
  • How long $750K will last: 18.6 years
  • How long $650K will last: 16.2 years
  • Livability score: 81
  • Percent of seniors 65 and older: 15.6%

Amarillo ranks highly for livability thanks to its local amenities and low cost of living, according to AreaVibes scores. Seniors should expect to spend $40,226 a year to cover living costs, which means an $850,000 retirement nest egg would last over 20 years.

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3. Toledo, Ohio

  • How long $850K will last: 23.3 years
  • How long $750K will last: 20.5 years
  • How long $650K will last: 17.8 years
  • Livability score: 63
  • Percent of seniors 65 and older: 15.1%

The average annual expenditure for seniors living in Toledo is $36,509. That means having $750,000 saved in a retirement fund can last for over 20 years.

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2. Akron, Ohio

  • How long $850K will last: 24.4 years
  • How long $750K will last: 21.5 years
  • How long $650K will last: 18.6 years
  • Livability score: 65
  • Percent of seniors 65 and older: 15.2%

With an average annual expenditure for seniors of $34,902, a retirement nest egg of less than $1 million will stretch far in Akron.

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1. Brownsville, Texas

  • How long $850K will last: 24.1 years
  • How long $750K will last: 21.2 years
  • How long $650K will last: 18.4 years
  • Livability score: 76
  • Percent of seniors 65 and older: 12.7%

AreaVibes gave the city top scores for its low cost of living — $35,304 a year for seniors — wide array of available amenities and pleasant weather.

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Methodology: GOBankingRates determined the top 30 cities to retire if you didn’t save a $1 million by analyzing the 150 largest U.S. cities according the 2019 American Community Survey along the following factors: (1) average annual expenditure for an American aged 65 and older, $50,220, sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2019 Consumer Expenditure Survey (latest data available); this was multiplied by each city’s (2) cost of living index, sourced from Sperling’s Best Places on November 23, 2020; (3) number of years that $650,000 would last in retirement; (4) number of years that $750,000 would last in retirement; (5) number of years that $850,000 would last in retirement. Livabilty scores from AreaVibes are included and they taken into account dozens of characteristics in 7 different categories including nearby amenities, cost of living, crime rates, education, employment, housing and weather. Percent of seniors was also included from the 2019 American Community survey. All factors are given a score with annual expenditures being weighted 3 times as much because that data points determines how long each given amount will last in retirement. All data was collected on and up to date as of Nov.23, 2020.

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