The Most Expensive States to Retire: How Much Do You Need?

According to a recent study by Northwestern Mutual, Americans need about $1.46 million to retire comfortably. That number could go up or down depending on where they plan to live post-retirement. Most often, people are advised to avoid living in expensive states, particularly if they don’t have a good retirement plan. Today, however, we’re looking at the opposite end of the spectrum. These are the most expensive states to retire within the US!


Na Pali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Shane Myers Photography

Perhaps the biggest surprise on the list! Most people would probably guess that California or New York are the most expensive states to retire in. However, it’s important to keep in mind that getting goods to the islands is quite a logistical miracle. This, of course, bumps the prices of everything in the area. According to experts, people need to have at least $2,051,077 in the bank to retire comfortably on the islands.


Boston, Massachusetts, USA historic skyline at dusk.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone

Massachusetts is maybe the second surprise on the list. It is considered the fourth most expensive state to live in, also coming out on top as the most expensive state to raise a family. Knowing all this, it makes sense that retiring here will also be a challenge. The only silver lining to this designation is that the average amount experts claim you need to have to retire in the US mainland is much lower than what you’d need in Hawaii. Massachusetts comes in second on this list with a total of $1,600,097.


Golden Gate Bridge at sunset seen from San Francisco beach, California.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Lucky-photographer

The housing market is a massive problem that people here contend with. California boasts many of the same things that a state like Florida uses to appeal to retirees. However, the state income tax issue keeps many people from moving to LA. Most of the folks who retire in this state already live here. To do so comfortably, you’re going to need to have about $1,432,425 in the bank.

New York

New York City skyline cityscape with Statue of Liberty over Hudson river.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / shutterupeire

Why is New York so low on this list? One of the reasons for this is probably the fact that retiring in Buffalo, for example, is not the same as doing so in NYC. The list takes into account an average of the cost of living in different parts of the state. Having said this, it’s fair to put an asterisk around the $1,289,325 average the experts are saying it takes to retire in New York. That amount may not be enough if you want to stay within the city.


Alaska whale playing in the sea.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Maridav

Alaska has some of the same logistical challenges as Hawaii, even though it has one of the busiest cargo airports in the world. These challenges naturally bump up the prices of certain goods and, therefore, the cost of living. You could live a very quiet retired life here with $1,287,880—almost the same as New York!


Seattle downtown skyline and Mt. Rainier, Washington.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / SCStock

Sticking with some of the sourcing issues, Washington locals may sometimes have an easier time finding certain items across the border in Canada. Being the state that’s furthest to the north on the West Coast comes with its set of challenges. Technically speaking, though, you can have a decent retirement here with less money than the national average. The number for Washington is $1,133,217.

Texas and Florida Didn’t Crack the Top 10

South Beach, Miami Beach. Florida.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Mia2you

There are a few other surprises on the top ten list of the most expensive states to retire. One of them is the fact that Vermont is actually more expensive than Texas. You could technically plan a similar retirement with a cabin on a large ranch if you have enough in the bank. Yet, in Texas, you’d be closer to the big city life if you wanted the best of both worlds. Florida is another populous US state that did not even crack the top 10 of the most expensive ones to retire in. With the aforementioned 1.46 million average savings in the bank, you should be able to live out a very comfortable retirement in both of these states!

Mario Perez

Author: Mario Perez


Mario is a seasoned journalist who’s worked with multiple publications over the years. He has a passion for looking for that story within the story itself. When he’s not actively looking for breaking news, he enjoys playing and watching sports.

Leave a Comment