If You Had $1 Million … Would You Retire in New Jersey? Could You?
If you had a million bucks saved upon retirement, you'd be worse off in New Jersey than in 40 other states.
Comparing average expenses such as groceries, housing, utilities and health care, personal finance site GOBankingRates determined how long retirees could stretch out $1 million, depending on the state in which they live.
According to the analysis, the average retiree in New Jersey would take about 18 years and 6 months to burn through the million. Only nine states registered a length of time shorter than New Jersey's. Most states could make the million last at least 20 years; some could stretch the fortune to 25-plus years.
GOBankingRates said the average retirement age in America is 63, and the life expectancy for retirees is about 85, which means $1 million wouldn't cut it, at least in the Garden State.
"One of the realities is when people come into my office, one of the big conversations is whether they should retire in the state of New Jersey because it's so expensive," Ken Kamen, president of Mercadien Asset Management in Hamilton, told New Jersey 101.5. "If you look down south, the cost of living is a fraction of what it is here."
A million bucks would last the longest in Mississippi — 26 years and 4 months, according to the analysis. You'd also get at least 25 years of spending in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Michigan and Tennessee.
While the recommended retirement nest egg from AARP is $1 million, Kamen says everyone's number is different, based on their spending habits.
"It's important that everyone understand what it costs to be them on an annual basis," he said. "That's the beginning of backing into whether you need a million, half a million or 5 million."
As a general rule of thumb, Kamen says you should plan to spend no more than 4 percent of your savings each year in retirement. So if you have $1 million, about $40,000 can be spent annually.
"Try to enter retirement without any debt," he added. "Then all the money you're going to spend is on lifestyle, not paying old bills."
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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at email@example.com.