Not saving enough money for retirement can make it hard to live out your golden years in peace. But even if you do stash away a comfortable amount for the future, other factors play a role in how long your reserve fund will last, including the place you call home.
Researchers at GOBankingRates found the 50 U.S. cities with the greatest population of Americans ages 65 and older, based on data from the United States Census Bureau. They then used Zillow to analyze the average year-over-year change in home value and pinpointed places where other retiree costs are rising, including Social Security taxes and the cost of living overall.
"The location you select for retirement is important to your overall happiness, but it's also critical to how long your [money] lasts," says Bankrate chief analyst Greg McBride. "The high-cost areas will deplete your savings much faster than a lower-cost location."
Here are the 10 popular U.S. cities among retirees that are increasingly expensive.
10. Largo, Florida
9. La Quinta, California
8. Prescott, Arizona
7. Georgetown, Texas
6. Apache Junction, Arizona
5. Lake Havasu City, Arizona
4. Prescott Valley, Arizona
3. Palm Springs, California
2. Walnut Creek, California
1. Rancho Palos Verdes, California
Cities in California, Arizona, and Texas represent 90% of the top 10. That's partly because of the nice weather those locales offer, but also since they were already hotspots. "Housing, home prices, and housing costs are already very high in California, and they've been rising at a breakneck pace," McBride says.
Where you retire will have a significant impact on what you spend. On average, Americans shell out around $50,220 a year after leaving the workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Expenditure Survey.
Video by Stephen Parkhurst
Deciding to move to a lower-cost destination could help you save.
"If you had a high-paying job in New York or L.A. and planned to stay in the area during your retirement," Jonathan I. Shenkman, an accredited investment fiduciary and financial advisor at Oppenheimer & Co, previously told Grow, choosing a "location where the cost of living is substantially lower can still make retiring feasible, without having to work longer or save more."
Put between 10% to 20% of your monthly income in a 401(k), Roth IRA, or a traditional IRA, if you can, experts say. Any contribution can help thanks to the power of compound interest.
"Utilize your tax-advantaged retirement savings options. If you have an employer-sponsored plan, you can contribute by a payroll deduction, and your employer oftentimes will match some of the funds that you're putting in, giving you free money," says McBride.
Focus on increasing your income while cutting costs if you need more cash for the future. You could pick up a side hustle and put anything extra you earn toward your retirement goal. And if you're truly considering a move, keep your quality of life in mind, McBride says, "whether it's access to family, recreational pursuits — whatever you're going for, you'll want to evaluate that very closely."
Though your location will have an influence on how much you spend postwork, he adds, it's wise to consider factors outside of just finances. Experts suggest you rent for a while first in the place you're eyeing to see if it's a fit, or get familiar with the area by visiting.
Your dollars may stretch further in one city over another, but your happiness with your decision goes a long way, too.
More from Grow: