Personal Finance

How long $1 million in retirement lasts in cities across the U.S.

Key Points
  • A new report measures how far $1 million in savings could go in cities across the country.
  • Those dollars will stretch the farthest in Memphis, Tennessee. But in New York and San Francisco, that's only enough for about 10 years.
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Six ways to start saving for retirement

Having $1 million in the bank has often been considered the gold standard of retirement savings.

In some places, that kind of stash can stretch over 40 years. But in higher-priced cities, it may only last a decade — or less. 

Considering that Americans, as a whole, aren't saving nearly enough for retirement, GoBankingRates measured how far $1 million in savings could go in cities across the country by comparing average expenses for people age 65 and older, including groceries, housing, utilities, transportation and health care.

The personal finance site then ranked the 50 biggest cities based on data from the Labor Department's 2018 Consumer Expenditure Survey and cost of living indices from Sperling's Best Places.

Overall, dollars stretched the farthest in cities like Memphis, Tennessee; El Paso, Texas; and Wichita, Kansas, where annual expenditures were around $40,000 a year.

However, retirees could blow through $1 million considerably faster in hot spots such as New York, San Jose and San Francisco, where it costs upward of $100,000 a year just to get by.

More from Personal Finance:
Retiring early? These 10 cities could be your best bet
The 10 safest countries for retirement 
The best places in the U.S. to buy a vacation home

On average, Americans believe they need as much as $1.7 million to retire, according to a separate survey from Charles Schwab, which looked at 1,000 401(k) plan participants nationwide.

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