How Long $1 Million in Retirement Savings Will Last in These 20 Major US Cities
The amount of $1 million can seem pretty hefty to the average American, but it’s actually the minimum financial experts suggest you have in retirement funds by the time you stop working and settle into your golden years. However, $1 million can go either very far or not far at all depending on where you live.
In order to find out how long $1 million will last in America’s biggest cities, GOBankingRates sourced the 50 biggest cities from the 2021 American Community Survey and then broke down the average annual expenditures for people 65 and older, sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2021 Consumer Expenditure Survey data. These key categories include: housing, groceries, utilities, transportation and healthcare.
Here, you’ll find that places like the West Coast, especially California, and the Pacific Northwest are not great places to make your retirement money last the longest. Instead, the Midwest and the South will let you stretch your dollars the furthest. Of the 50 cities we studied, here are the 10 cities where $1 million will last the shortest amount of time, followed by the 10 cities where $1 million will last the longest.
- Annual expenditures: $127,224.04
- How long $1 million will last: 7 years 10 months 9 days
San Francisco leads the way with the “worst” cities to retire in, in terms of making your nest egg go far. You’ll get less than eight years here out of a $1 million nest egg. The biggest chunk of change will go to housing, which is $52,392.03 per year on average. However, all costs are higher in San Fran than anywhere else on this list.
San Jose, California
- Annual expenditures: $112,103.15
- How long $1 million will last: 8 years 11 months 1 days
There’s no surprise that this Silicon Valley suburb is also a pricey place to retire. Naturally, housing is also high here, at $44,508.30 per year, but utilities are not cheap either, at $7,571.31 per year.
- Annual expenditures: $92,028.87
- How long $1 million will last: 10 years 10 months 13 days
If you notice a theme, it’s that California cities are expensive places to retire. Housing alone runs $32,885.24 per year in Oakland, and utilities and healthcare are $8,211.04 and $5,161.57 respectively.
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- Annual expenditures: $91,872.44
- How long $1 million will last: 10 years 10 months 16 days
Los Angeles is another big California city where you’ll want to reconsider retiring. Healthcare is $6,782.26 per year and utilities are $6,327.00.
New York City
- Annual expenditures: $87,909.73
- How long $1 million will last: 11 years 4 months 18 days
The Big Apple also makes it onto the “pricey places to retire” side of this list. Big city living comes at a price, including $23,298.04 in annual housing costs. Utilities are $8,970.28 per year, transportation is $5,901.11 per year and healthcare is $7,430.53 per year.
- Annual expenditures: $87,492.60
- How long $1 million will last: 11 years 5 months 5 days
The Pacific Northwest isn’t much cheaper, especially Seattle, which draws a large number of tech companies. Housing is $30,319.65 annually, and utilities are $6,200.46.
- Annual expenditures: $83,634.16
- How long $1 million will last: 11 years 11 months 16 days
Another California city finds its way in this list, though Southern California seems to be slightly less expensive than the northern part. Annual housing costs are $28,917.41, utilities are $6,256.70, and healthcare is $4,931.81.
Long Beach, California
- Annual expenditures: $82,956.33
- How long $1 million will last: 12 years 0 months 18 days
In Long Beach, a coveted California beach town, $1 million won’t even get you much past twelve years in retirement. Here, the highest annual expenses aside from housing are healthcare at $6,478.64 per year, and utilities at $6,095.01.
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- Annual expenditures: $79,984.29
- How long $1 million will last: 12 years 5 months 30 days
This New England city may be cheaper than those in California and New York, but not by much. In addition to housing costs, residents pay an average of $5,407.75 annually for healthcare and $6,305.91 for utilities.
- Annual expenditures: $78,524.35
- How long $1 million will last: 12 years 8 months 22 days
There may be a lot of rich history in the District of Columbia, but you need to be rich to retire here, as well. Annual grocery costs run around $5,131.08, healthcare is $5,551.36 and utilities are $6,713.65.
Kansas City, Missouri
- Annual expenditures: $45,831.94
- How long $1 million will last: 21 years 9 months 25 days
Kansas city marks the start of the “best” places to retire on this list. Here, your $1 million will last nearly twice as long as it would in Washington, D.C. Annual housing here is only $6,959.29, though utilities are actually a bigger expenditure at $7,191.69.
- Annual expenditures: $45,049.82
- How long $1 million will last: 22 years 2 months 13 days
Columbus also has stunningly low annual housing costs at $7,333.22, with utilities and groceries being the biggest expenditures at $6,291.85 and $4,443.04 respectively.
- Annual expenditures: $44,267.71
- How long $1 million will last: 22 years 7 months 2 days
In Indianapolis, you can expect to pay more in utilities at $7,051.09 than you will in housing costs, which are $6,512.65. Groceries are the next biggest expense at $4,209.19.
- Annual expenditures: $44,163.43
- How long $1 million will last: 22 years 7 months 21 days
In Milwaukee, housing costs are $5,785.56 per year, groceries are $4,177.71 and healthcare is $4,189.16.
- Annual expenditures: $44,007.00
- How long $1 million will last: 22 years 8 months 19 days
In Oklahoma City, the three biggest expenditures in order are utilities at $7,465.86 housing at $5,879.04 and groceries at $4,258.66.
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- Annual expenditures: $42,964.18
- How long $1 million will last: 23 years 3 months 12 days
In Tulsa, utilities are also the biggest expenditure at $7,269.02, followed by housing at $5,359.69, and groceries at $4,267.65.
El Paso, Texas
- Annual expenditures: $42,755.62
- How long $1 million will last: 23 years 4 months 22 days
In El Paso, you can really enjoy your golden years with $1 million in savings, getting to nearly 24 years. Your biggest expense here annually will be utilities at $6,769.89. Housing is just $5,775.17.
- Annual expenditures: $42,547.06
- How long $1 million will last: 23 years 6 months 1 days
The Midwest is another great place to retire. In Wichita, utilities are also the biggest annual expenditure, at $7,233.87, with housing following behind at $5,723.24. You’ll pay $4,272.15 for groceries, as well.
- Annual expenditures: $40,409.28
- How long $1 million will last: 24 years 8 months 29 days
Leave it to the South to make a happy and affordable place for retirees. You can get very close to 25 years of retirement out of $1 million in Memphis, with the biggest annual expenditure being utilities at $6,805.04.
- Annual expenditures: $37,697.94
- How long $1 million will last: 26 years 6 months 12 days
Cleveland, Ohio, takes the top spot, as your $1 million in retirement will last you over 26 years. Here, the three biggest expenditures are utilities at $5,820.84, groceries at $4,204.70, and transportation at $3,721.03. Housing is the lowest of the five key expenditures, at at mere $2,451.33 annually.
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Methodology: In order to find how long $1,000,000 will last in America’s biggest cities, GOBankingRates first found the 50 biggest cities in terms of total houseolds as sourced from the 2021 American Community Survey. Then GOBankingRates found (1) the national average annual expenditures for people 65 and older, sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2021 Consumer Expenditure Survey data. Then, GOBankingRates created (2) city level annual expenditure estimates by multiplying the national figure by each city’s overall cost of living index score from Sperling’s Best Places. Finally, GOBankingRates found (3) how many years $1,000,000 will last in each state by dividing $1,000,000 by each state’s average annual expenditures estimate. All 50 cities were then ranked with No. 1 being the city where $1,000,000 will last the longest and No. 50 being the city where it will run out most quickly. GOBankingRates provided supplemental information on the average annual cost of groceries, housing, utilities, transportation, and healthcare for people 65 and older in each state by again using Sperling’s Best Placescost o living indices for each category to factor out national estimates from the CEX. All data was collected on and up to date as of March 28, 2023.