Retirement costs vary widely across the U.S.

A retired couple might get by comfortably on just $36,000 a year in one state while in another the same standard of living costs as much as $56,000.

24/7 Wall St. ranked the states where a financially comfortable retirement is more possible and least possible. Below are the criteria it used.

(Photos: Shutterstock)

10. North Dakota.

Estimated annual retirement costs: $39,470 │ Avg. annual earnings for 65+ households: $19,205 (2nd lowest)

Avg. annual homeownership costs for seniors: $14,292 (23rd lowest) │ Pct. residents 65+: 14.9 percent (9th lowest)

Photo: Northeastern North Dakota

9. Mississippi.

Estimated annual retirement costs: $39,139 │ Avg. annual earnings for 65+ households: $23,196 (15th lowest)

Avg. annual homeownership costs for seniors: $11,280 (3rd lowest) │ Pct. residents 65+: 15.6 percent (20th lowest)

Photo: Biloxi, Mississippi

8. Idaho.

Estimated annual retirement costs: $39,099 │ Avg. annual earnings for 65+ households: $24,868 (23rd lowest)

Avg. annual homeownership costs for seniors: $13,332 (13th lowest) │ Pct. residents 65+: 15.3 percent (14th lowest)

Photo: Boise, Idaho

7. Nevada.

Estimated annual retirement costs: $39,043 │ Avg. annual earnings for 65+ households: $29,038 (12th highest)

Avg. annual homeownership costs for seniors: $15,156 (24th highest) │ Pct. residents 65+: 15.3 percent (15th lowest)

Photo: Mesquite, Nevada

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6. Indiana.

Estimated annual retirement costs: $37,874 │ Avg. annual earnings for 65+ households: $19,728 (3rd lowest)

Avg. annual homeownership costs for seniors: $11,436 (4th lowest) │ Pct. residents 65+: 15.4 percent (16th lowest)

Photo: Eagle Creek Park in Indiana

5. Michigan.

Estimated annual retirement costs: $37,844 │ Avg. annual earnings for 65+ households: $23,394 (16th lowest)

Avg. annual homeownership costs for seniors: $13,572 (15th lowest) │ Pct. residents 65+: 16.7 percent (15th highest)

Photo: Sleeping Bear Dunes in Michigan

4. Ohio.

Estimated annual retirement costs: $36,767 │ Avg. annual earnings for 65+ households: $25,388 (25th highest)

Avg. annual homeownership costs for seniors: $12,864 (10th lowest) │ Pct. residents 65+: 16.6 percent (18th highest)

Photo: Wildwood Preserve in Toledo, Ohio

3. Kentucky.

Estimated annual retirement costs: $36,680 │ Avg. annual earnings for 65+ households: $22,698 (10th lowest)

Avg. annual homeownership costs for seniors: $11,832 (5th lowest) │ Pct. residents 65+: 15.9 percent (24th lowest)

Photo: Cumberland Falls in Kentucky

2. New Mexico.

Estimated annual retirement costs: $36,628 │ Avg. annual earnings for 65+ households: $29,384 (11th highest)

Avg. annual homeownership costs for seniors: $14,280 (22nd lowest) │ Pct. residents 65+: 16.8 percent (13th highest)

Photo: Rio Grande with Albuquerque, New Mexico

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1. Arkansas.

Estimated annual retirement costs: $36,378 │ Avg. annual earnings for 65+ households: $22,276 (8th lowest)

Avg. annual homeownership costs for seniors: $11,112 (2nd lowest) │ Pct. residents 65+: 16.5 percent (19th highest)

Photo: Little Rock, Arkansas

(Related: 10 Riskiest States for Seniors)

 

If you have the luxury to choose the state in which you’ll retire, you might also be looking for a place where you can be financially comfortable on the least amount of money.

The difference in cost to retire varies widely across states, says 24/7 Wall St., with a retired couple able to get by comfortably on just $36,000 a year in one state while in another the same standard of living costs as much as $56,000.

Depending on the cash you’ve got to see you through retirement, location can make a vast difference. Do you have a pension? Or are you going to be relying on Social Security, whatever you’ve got stashed in a 401(k), or some other source of money? Do you have investments? A state’s tax structure will also determine whether they’ll take a bite out of whatever you do have, and that can add up to a lot over the years.

Of course, there are plenty of other factors to consider—whether you’re able to afford a relocation in the first place is one of them, as well as whether such a move will take you farther away from family, medical specialists or other people or activities that are important to your life.

So just because it can be cheaper to live in one place than it is in another doesn’t necessarily mean you should call the movers and start packing. Instead, cost is just one factor in deciding the best site for your retirement home—albeit a very important one.

That said, 24/7 Wall St. took a look at annual expenses at the state level from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2017 Consumer Expenditure Survey. It also reviewed data from the Economic Policy Institute’s Family Budget Calculator for a couple 65 or older with no dependents—that calculates how much income a family needs for “a modest yet adequate standard of living at the metropolitan level.”

With all that in hand, it then used the Consumer Expenditure Survey’s differences in budgetary needs between the average American and residents 65 and over to calculate the average annual retirement costs by state.

The slides above show the 10 states in which the financial cost of reasonable comfort is the lowest.

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