The No. 1 state where older Americans are best positioned to retire, according to research

Moving to a lower-cost state could stretch your dollars further.


The ability to retire comfortably is partly tied to where you live. High-cost states may drain your reserve fund faster, while you could get by longer and for less money if you live somewhere cheaper.

Researchers at MagnifyMoney analyzed all 50 states and Washington, D.C., to find the places where Americans 65 and older are in the best financial position to leave the workforce. Using U.S. Census Bureau data, the site examined each state's poverty rate, share who spend a high portion of their income on housing, and the level of retirement income residents have.

Based on those parameters, Utah ranked No. 1 as the state where older adults are best positioned to retire. Less than a quarter of those 65 and up are housing cost–burdened, meaning their housing expenses outweigh their income. In the lowest-ranked state, California, 39% of older people struggle in that way.

Here are the top five states where retirees have the best financial outlook.     

1. Utah

Poverty rate: 6.2%     
Share who spend over 30% of income on housing: 24.5%  
Homeownership rate: 86.4% 
Rate of adults with retirement income: 64.5%                      
Overall score: 100

2. West Virginia

Poverty rate: 9.3%     
Share who spend over 30% of income on housing: 17.4%  
Homeownership rate: 85.2% 
Rate of adults with retirement income: 61.1%          
Overall score: 98.28 

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3. Wyoming

Poverty rate: 7.4%     
Share who spend over 30% of income on housing: 1.6%              
Homeownership rate: 84.7% 
Rate of adults with retirement income: 56.1%          
Overall score: 92.53

4. Iowa

Poverty rate: 7.4%
Share who spend over 30% of income on housing: 24.3%
Homeownership rate: 80.4%
Rate of adults with retirement income: 59.8%
Overall score: 86.78

5. Idaho

Poverty rate: 6.9%
Share who spend over 30% of income on housing: 25.6%  
Homeownership rate: 83.9%
Rate of adults with retirement income: 59.9%
Overall score: 83.33 

'It may be prudent to rethink where [you] plan to retire'

For people close to calling it quits, "it may be prudent to rethink where they plan to retire," Jonathan I. Shenkman, a financial advisor at Oppenheimer & Co, previously told Grow. Moving to a lower-cost state could mean your dollars stretch further in your golden years.

It's important to map out your retirement goals, no matter where you call home, says Maggie Gomez, a certified finical planner in Orlando, Florida. "Go through [your] spending and backtrack to get a clear idea of where your money is going. If you see that you overspent on Uber Eats, perhaps you can make a commitment to add a portion of that monthly expense to retirement savings."

Aim to set aside 10% to 15% of your income toward retirement, and make the most of tax breaks and matching contributions in your 401(k) or other workplace retirement account, experts suggest. Save any extra income you may find and see if you can contribute more toward catch-up retirement contributions, which could allow you to make up some savings ground. Many tax-advantaged vehicles have higher contribution limits for savers older than 50 years of age.

"It's the new look to maximize your retirement savings," Bankrate chief analyst Greg McBride told Grow recently. "Even if you don't have an employer-sponsored plan, you're eligible to contribute to an IRA. Utilizing any sort of tax-advantaged plan helps your savings grow."

It's not too late to boost your retirement savings

Wherever you decide to settle down, saving early on can set you up well for the future. Still, while time and compound interest work in favor of aspiring retirees, there are ways to boost your savings and trim your spending if you got a later start or haven't met your goal yet.

Amp up your income and cut costs if you can. Americans spend around $50,220 a year after they retire, notes the Bureau of Labor Statistics' latest Consumer Expenditure Survey. Picking up a side hustle and eliminating extraneous expenses could keep you afloat down the line.

Try out Grow's retirement calculator to get a sense of how much you may want to save.

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