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Here are the states with the highest and lowest average retirement savings

Select looks at retirement savings by state from Empower app's user data.

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Where you live can have a significant impact on just how much money you can afford to set aside for your retirement savings each month.

While many financial experts will recommend you save anywhere from 10 to 20% of your income for retirement, the reality is most people have competing expenses that make it difficult.

Empower (formerly Personal Capital), an investing and budgeting app, looked at the average retirement savings of its 2.8 million dashboard users, and found that savers in certain regions of the U.S. save more than those in other areas. For example, East Coasters seem to be tucking away more funds for their nonworking years than those on the West Coast. In fact, four of the top five states with the highest retirement balances are all on the East Coast.

Of course, it's important to consider the various economic factors that affect how much someone can save in one state versus another. These influences include a state's median wages, its tax burdens and the overall cost of living.

Below, Select looks at the five states with the highest and lowest retirement balances from Empower's user data.

You can find an interactive map of each state's average retirement balance here.

Top 5 states with the highest retirement balances

Here are the top fives states, according to Empower's 2021 data.

  1. Connecticut: average retirement savings of $523,568
  2. New Hampshire: $494,562
  3. New Jersey: $489,664
  4. Alaska: $489,070
  5. Virginia: $468,579

Alaska is the only Western state on the top five list. Along with New Hampshire, it's one of the most tax-friendly states in the U.S.

According to a 2020 Statista report, these five states with the highest retirement balances also share some of the highest ratio of millionaire households per capita in the country, which undoubtedly helps boost the overall average of their retirement savings. New Jersey ranks the highest with 9.76% of households holding over $1 million in assets.

None of the top five states with the highest cost of living made this ranking: Hawaii, Washington D.C., California, Oregon and New York.

Bottom 5 states with the lowest retirement balances

Here are the bottom fives states, according to Empower's 2021 data.

  1. Utah: average retirement savings of $300,392
  2. North Dakota: $310,766
  3. Washington D.C.: $325,671
  4. Oklahoma: $340,389
  5. Mississippi: $340,894

While both Oklahoma and Mississippi are two states with some of the lowest cost of living in the U.S., they also have low median wages, so saving for retirement may not be a possibility for many families.

How to track your own retirement savings

Tracking your retirement savings can help you know if you're on schedule to retire according to plan.

Empower is a free investing and budgeting app that provides users with a dashboard interface that allows them to see all their financial data and net worth in one place.

Users also get access to a free retirement planner tool where they can enter their retirement goals, such as what age they plan to retire and when they want to start taking Social Security. The tool will then look at their current savings to see if they're on track to achieve their retirement goals.

You can read Select's full review of Empower here.


On Empower's secure site
  • Cost

    App is free, but users have option to add investment management services for 0.89% of their money (for accounts under $1 million)

  • Standout features

    A budgeting app and investment tool that tracks both your spending and your wealth

  • Categorizes your expenses

    Yes, but users can modify

  • Links to accounts

    Yes, bank and credit cards, as well as IRAs, 401(k)s, mortgages and loans

  • Availability

    Offered in both the App Store (for iOS) and on Google Play (for Android)

  • Security features

    Data encryption, fraud protection and strong user authentication

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Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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