Americans in These States Are Not Saving Enough For Retirement

Whether it’s in mutual funds, bonds, or a sock under your bed — please, please don’t let it be in a sock under your bed — the data shows that many of us aren’t thinking nearly as much about our retirement accounts as we should be. Though it’s true that retirement will bring some discounts and perks, too many Americans will still find those years to be anything but golden. 

In fact, residents of some states don’t have nearly enough in their retirement accounts for the costs they’ll face upon retiring, including housing, healthcare, gas, and groceries. Read it, weep, and then do better, America.

15. Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh skyline
Pittsburgh, PA | f11photo/iStock/Getty Images
  • Average retirement savings: $237,754
  • Annual cost of a comfortable retirement: $51,108
  • How long savings will last: 4.7 years

It may seem like a lot of money, but when you consider that the expected length of retirement is approaching twenty years, you’ll realize the average Pennsylvanian only has about a quarter of those years covered. Retirees can at least be thankful they live in a state around the middle of the pack for retirement costs. But it does get worse: nearly one-third of residents in the state reported having less than $10,000 saved.

Next: People in this state can retire comfortably for a few years, at least

14. Connecticut

Hartford skyline
Hartford, CT | Michael King/iStock/Getty Images
  • Average retirement savings: $279,367
  • Annual cost of a comfortable retirement: $60,621
  • How long savings will last: 4.6 years

While the amount of retirement savings varies greatly among Connecticut residents, too many have saved far too little. Helping to bring down that average is the approximately 24% who have saved nothing at all for retirement. In fact, Connecticut ranks second among all the states for number of residents who have saved nothing for retirement. Unfortunately for them, it’s also among the most expensive states in which to retire.

Next: Save more, Jersey shore

13. New Jersey

Downtown Jersey City
Jersey City | Ultima_Gaina/iStock/Getty Images
  • Average retirement savings: $272,919
  • Annual cost of a comfortable retirement: $61,215
  • How long savings will last: 4.5 years

While they’re doing better than other states in terms of raw savings, Jersey residents are going to be hit by retirement costs nearly 20% higher than states like Pennsylvania, thus wiping out whatever slight advantage they may have had. In good — or bad — news, they have the second lowest percentage of people who reported no savings at all. So overall there’s less variety across the board and more of the population is in the same, ill-equipped boat.

Next:  Good morning, Baltimore? Not in retirement

12. Maryland

Downtown Baltimore
Baltimore, MD | Sean Pavone/iStock/Getty Images
  • Average retirement savings: $244,690
  • Annual cost of a comfortable retirement: $55,935
  • How long savings will last: 4.4 years

Like New Jersey, Maryland is another state where the slightly higher than average savings is nowhere near enough to make up for the higher retirement costs — especially in housing. Like Connecticut, though, there’s also a wide disparity among residents, meaning the high end is high, and the low end is very low. On the bright side, Maryland is still doing far better than their neighbors — more on that later.

Next: Golden State woes

11. California

Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge | bluejayphoto/iStock/Getty Images
  • Average retirement savings: $227,290
  • Annual cost of a comfortable retirement: $52,284
  • How long savings will last: 4.3 years

Forget about tech money and Beverly Hills glamour: nearly 37% of Californians have less than $10,000 saved for retirement. Even if you aren’t in one of the most expensive parts of the state like the Bay Area, Los Angeles, or San Diego, you still aren’t going to have enough to cover much of your retirement costs. But, hey, at least the beaches are free!

Next: Ill-prepared in the midwest

10. Illinois

Chicago skyline
Chicago | JaySi/iStock/Getty Images
  • Average retirement savings: $223,238
  • Annual cost of a comfortable retirement: $52,215
  • How long savings will last: 4.3 years

The Land of Lincoln could use a few more pennies in their piggy banks.  While they’re actually doing better than the national average in terms of those with savings, they’ve still made the top ten with regard to the worst prepared states overall. And with the cost of a comfortable retirement, even $500,000 would last less than ten years in the state.

Next: Sin City’s sin?  Not saving for retirement

9. Nevada

Vegas strip
Las Vegas | f11photo/iStock/Getty Images
  • Average retirement savings: $183, 946
  • Annual cost of a comfortable retirement: $45,221
  • How long savings will last: 4.1 years

Even if the average resident doubled their savings on the tables in Vegas, they still wouldn’t have enough to cover even half of their expected retirement years. Not to mention the 20% who have saved nothing — zero doesn’t multiply very well. Unfortunately for residents, the relatively low retirement costs aren’t enough to make up for those short accounts.

Next: Mountains, marijuana, and measly retirement accounts

8. Colorado

Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park | SeanXu/iStock/Getty Images
  • Average retirement savings: $213,406
  • Annual cost of a comfortable retirement: $53,310
  • How long savings will last: 4 years

Thanks to the high cost of housing in Colorado, the state is among the more expensive places to retire, but its residents are woefully unprepared for those expenses. Contributing to their low average savings figure are the nearly 30% who have less than $10,000 saved. For the record, that $10,000 would last just a couple months of a comfortable retirement here.

Next: Not so evergreen

7. Washington

Seattle skyline
Seattle | Sean Pavone/iStock/Getty Images
  • Average retirement savings: $209,783
  • Annual cost of a comfortable retirement: $53,653
  • How long savings will last: 3.9 years

Congratulations, Washington, you’re the first state on this list whose average savings won’t last even a full four years of retirement. Given that Washington is one of seven states with no income tax, you might think that would mean residents have more money to save, but apparently not.  Around one in four reported less than $10,000 in their retirement accounts.

Next: Great faces, great places, and empty account spaces

6. South Dakota

Rapid City, SD
Mount Rushmore | khyim/iStock/Getty Images
  • Average retirement savings: $183,225
  • Annual cost of a comfortable retirement: $49,344
  • How long savings will last: 3.7 years

Setting an unfortunate record among states, nearly one in three South Dakotans has saved nothing for retirement. While the cost of living there may be low, it isn’t that low. As another state with no income tax, it makes you wonder where that money is going. Maybe residents will get lucky, though, and more gold will be found in the Black Hills. Fingers crossed.

Next: Massive shortcomings in Massachusetts

5. Massachusetts

Statue in a garden
Boston Public Garden | Sean Pavone/iStock/Getty Images
  • Average retirement savings: $241,143
  • Annual cost of a comfortable retirement: $64,976
  • How long savings will last: 3.7 years

If you’re considering shipping up to Boston, you might want to think again. Massachusetts is second only to D.C. in terms of the most expensive places to retire in the United States. It’s yet another state with a large disparity among residents, but, with averages like this, that still means there are very few who are going to actually be prepared.

Next: Empire state of mind, pauper state of savings

4. New York

Manahattan
Empire State Building | Shooter_Sam/iStock/Getty Images
  • Average retirement savings: $207,889
  • Annual cost of a comfortable retirement: $58,633
  • How long savings will last: 3.5 years
Empire State Building as seen from Rooftop of Rockefeller Building

More than a quarter of New Yorkers have less than $10,000 saved for retirement. It’s understandable that the high cost of living there would mean residents have little left over for saving, but there’s even more bad news. The state as a whole isn’t going to become any more affordable after retirement, and it will still likely be home to one of the most expensive metro areas in the country.

Next: Montana, mo’ problems

3. Montana

A river in a national park in Montana
Glacier National Park | Matt Anderson/iStock/Getty Images
  • Average retirement savings: $168,755
  • Annual cost of a comfortable retirement: $51,505
  • How long savings will last: 3.3 years

A whopping 37% of residents in Montana have saved less than $10,000 for retirement. What may be even more surprising, though, is that Montana ranks among the top half of states for estimated retirement costs thanks to their high spending on gas and groceries. You don’t have to be a math expert to see that will cause some major problems in later years.

Next: Why oh why, Wyoming

2. Wyoming

Sunrise on the Grand Teton mountains
Grand Teton mountains | skiserge1/iStock/Getty Images
  • Average retirement savings: $153,182
  • Annual cost of a comfortable retirement: $50,409
  • How long savings will last: 3 years

In Wyoming, 10% of the state’s population reported having nothing at all saved for retirement. Even if they didn’t have some of the highest spending in the country on gas and groceries like Montana — which they do — residents would still be in trouble. As it is, though, the average savings will last a paltry three years. Maybe that’s why cowboys don’t retire. 

Next: Taxation without representation or retirement savings

1. District of Columbia

The Capitol building
Washington, DC | f11photo/iStock/Getty Images
  • Average retirement savings: $177,865
  • Annual cost of a comfortable retirement: $71,054
  • How long savings will last: 2.5 years

Poor D.C. Not even a state and they’re still ranked the worst for retirement preparedness. Low savings, including 18% of the population with nothing saved, and the highest spending in the country on healthcare, housing, and groceries means the average resident will be able to pay for only 2.5 years of retirement. Those 4.7 years in Pennsylvania are looking pretty good right about now.