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Is $1 Million Enough for Retirement in America?



Retirement Savings in America

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Is $1 Million Enough for Retirement in America?

The average American needs their retirement savings to last them 14 to 17 years. With this in mind, is $1 million in savings enough for the average retiree?

Ultimately, it depends on where you live, since the average cost of living varies across the country. This graphic, using data compiled by shows how many years $1 million in retirement savings lasts in the top 50 most populated U.S. cities.

Editor’s note: As one user rightly pointed out, this analysis doesn’t take into account interest earned on the $1 million. With that in consideration, the above calculations could be seen as very conservative figures.

How Long $1 Million Would Last in 50 Cities

To compile this data, GOBankingRates calculated the average expenditures of people aged 65 or older in each city, using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and cost-of-living indices from Sperling’s Best Places.

That figure was then reduced to account for average Social Security income. Then, GOBankingRates divided the one million by each city’s final figure to calculate how many years $1 million would last in each place.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, San Francisco, California came in as the most expensive city on the list. $1 million in retirement savings lasts approximately eight years in San Francisco, which is about half the time that the typical American needs their retirement funds to last.

CityHow long $1 would last (years)Cost-of-living IndexAnnual expenditures
(after using annual Social Security)
Memphis, TN45.376$22,043
El Paso, TX40.381.4$24,789
Wichita, KS39.782.1$25,145
Tulsa, OK38.883.2$25,705
Indianapolis, IN38.683.5$25,857
Milwaukee, WI37.684.9$26,569
Oklahoma City, OK37.385.4$26,824
Columbus, OH37.285.5$26,875
Kansas City, MO36.786.2$27,231
Detroit, MI35.887.6$27,943
Baltimore, MD35.388.2$28,248
Louisville, KY35.388.4$28,349
San Antonio, TX34.489.7$29,011
Omaha, NE34.389.8$29,062
Albuquerque, NM33.691.1$29,723
Tucson, AZ33.391.6$29,977
Jacksonville, FL32.393.5$30,943
New Orleans, LA30.896.3$32,367
Houston, TX30.896.5$32,469
Charlotte, NC29.698.9$33,690
Forth Worth, TX29.399.8$34,148
Arlington, TX28.8100.6$34,554
Philadelphia, PA28.6101.2$34,860
Nashville, TN28.5101.4$34,961
Dallas, TX28.4101.6$35,063
Raleigh, NC28.2102.3$35,419
Fresno, CA28.1102.6$35,572
Phoenix, AZ27.6103.7$36,131
Mesa, AZ27.4104.2$36,385
Colorado Springs, CO27.3104.5$36,538
Virginia Beach, VA26.9105.6$37,097
Minneapolis, MN26.6106.5$37,555
Chicago, IL26.4106.9$37,759
Atlanta, GA26.3107.5$38,064
Las Vegas, NV24.8111.6$40,149
Sacramento, CA22.9118.2$43,506
Austin, TX22.7119.3$44,065
Miami, FL21.7123.1$45,998
Denver, CO20.4128.7$48,846
Portland, OR20.0130.8$49,914
Washington, D.C.16.4152.1$60,747
San Diego, CA15.4160.1$64,816
Long Beach, CA15.3160.4$64,969
Boston, MA15.1162.4$65,986
Seattle. WA14.0172.3$71,021
Los Angeles, CA13.9173.3$71,530
Oakland, CA13.8174.4$72,089
New York, NY12.7187.2$78,599
San Jose, CA10.8214.5$92,484
San Francisco, CA8.3269.3$120,355

A big factor in San Francisco’s high cost of living is its housing costs. According to Sperlings Best Places, housing in San Francisco is almost 6x more expensive than the national average and 3.6x more expensive than in the overall state of California.

Four of the top five most expensive cities on the list are in California, with New York City being the only outlier. NYC is the third most expensive city on the ranking, with $1 million expected to last a retiree about 12.7 years.

On the other end of the spectrum, $1 million in retirement would last 45.3 years in Memphis, Tennessee. That’s about 37 years longer than it would last in San Francisco. In Memphis, housing costs are about 2.7x lower than the national average, with other expenses like groceries, health, and utilities well below the national average as well.

Retirement, Who?

Regardless of where you live, it’s helpful to start planning for retirement sooner rather than later. But according to a recent survey, only 41% of women and 58% of men are actively saving for retirement.

However, for some, COVID-19 has been the financial wake-up call they needed to start planning for the future. In fact, in the same survey, 70% of respondents claimed the pandemic has “caused them to pay more attention to their long-term finances.”

This is good news, considering that people are living longer than they used to, meaning their funds need to last longer in general (or people need to retire later in life). Although, as the data in this graphic suggests, where you live will greatly influence how much you actually need.

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Personal Finance

Mapped: Federal Tax Paid Per Capita Across Canada

We show which provinces and territories pay the most and least tax after adjusting for the number of tax filers in each jurisdiction.



A Canadian map of federal tax paid per capita with the values for BC, Alberta, NWT, Ontario and Quebec as question marks



The following content is sponsored by Fidelity Investments

Mapped: Federal Tax Paid Per Capita Across Canada

Which parts of Canada pay the most personal tax? In 2021, according to the latest available data, people in Ontario paid by far the greatest share: 42% of the total. Of course, Ontario is also the most populated province.

But if we look at which parts of the country paid the most and least taxes on a per capita basis, the picture looks different. In this graphic from Fidelity Investments, we show the amount paid per tax filer for each province and territory.

A Breakdown of Tax Per Person

We took the total personal federal tax paid in each province according to 2021 tax filing data from the Canada Revenue Agency. We then divided the total tax paid by the number of people filing taxes in the province. Below, we rank the provinces and territories from least to most taxes on this basis.

Province or TerritoryFederal Tax Paid Per Person
New Brunswick$4,186
Prince Edward Island$4,491
Nova Scotia$4,708
Newfoundland and Labrador$5,033
British Columbia$6,828
Northwest Territories$7,876
All of Canada$6,368

All of Canada is calculated as the total federal taxes paid in Canada divided by the total number of tax filers in Canada.

New Brunswick paid the least taxes on a per capita basis. Within the province, 13% of people worked in retail jobs, the highest proportion nationally. Retail positions in New Brunswick earned $34,000 annually on average. As a whole, 71% of people in New Brunswick earned less than $49,000 per year.

The Highest Taxes Per Capita

The Northwest Territories (NWT) paid the most taxes relative to the number of tax filers. Public administration workers made up nearly a quarter of tax filers, four times the national share of 6%. These workers, which include local, provincial, federal, and aboriginal government employees, had an average annual income of $120,000 in the NWT.

Additionally, the territory also had a relatively high proportion of people working in mining, who earned $221,000 a year on average.

However, it’s important to note that the NWT faces a high cost of living. On average, households in the capital city of Yellowknife paid 28% more for food and 47% more for shelter than the average Canadian household in 2021.

On a per person basis, Ontario paid the third highest taxes in Canada. The province had the highest proportion of finance and insurance workers, who earned $106,000 annually.

Reducing Your Taxes

Generally, a higher income leads to higher taxes. However, you can explore allowable deductions such as RRSP contributions to save more of your money.

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Use Fidelity’s income tax calculator to quickly estimate your taxes.

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