Retirement (/rəˈtī(ə)rmənt/) noun: the action or fact of leaving one’s job and ceasing to work.
While the definition of the word retirement means actually leaving your job, we at American Advisors Group know that word means so much more. We have firsthand experience with retirement of all types, and understand the various ways people plan and prepare for life after leaving the workforce.
The close relationship AAG has with our customers provides us with a deeper understanding of how retirement can look to different people. We wanted to give the rest of the country a peek behind the curtain to provide a better understanding of these retirement realities, and how they differ by state. To do this, we took data from a number of reliable sources, including the governmental census, AARP and companies that specialize in financial management. Here is what we found.
One of the more obvious realities of retirement is that it takes money to truly enjoy your time off. Many people spend decades saving up for the moment they leave the workforce, and a large number of employers include retirement funding programs in benefit packages. We know that saving for retirement is a decades-long process, and that living costs can sneak up on retirees once they are no longer drawing in their regular paycheck. Take a look at how people in different states stack up when it comes to saving for retirement.
The average retirement savings is high in the northeast, with Delaware in the top spot at $286,277, followed by Connecticut ($279,367) and New Jersey ($272,919). Out west, the average retirement savings is lower in states like Wyoming ($153,182), Oklahoma ($158,139) and Montana ($168,755) due to lower cost of living. Overall, the average retirement savings across all fifty states is approximately $218,181.
States in Retirement
While retirees typically migrate to warmer climates after leaving their jobs, we wanted to take a look at what states have the highest percentage of population at retirement age, and how that might affect the industry workforce.
The states that have the highest percentage of upcoming retirees are Georgia (19.9%), Maryland (19.4%) and Wisconsin (18.80%). States with the lowest number of retirees are Florida, Vermont and Alaska. While two of the countries’ biggest states, California and Texas, obviously have the largest populations, the percentage of the population in the workforce that is near retirement age is relatively low in comparison to other age groups. New York has 2.5M people in their workforce that are of retirement age, but it only makes up 15% of the population.
Retirement Hobbies & Volunteering
After leaving the workforce, many retirees find that they still need a daily purpose, namely volunteering for a local charity or organization. Looking at volunteer rates in the U.S., the top states for retirees to volunteer are Minnesota, Nebraska and Utah. States with the lowest retiree volunteers include Nevada, Hawaii and Louisiana. Whether it be spending time outdoors volunteering at local or National parks, tutoring children at your local school or lending your professional expertise to those in need, there are abundant volunteer opportunities for people that have left the workforce.
Many retirees also opt to take up a new hobby now that they have so much free time during the day. While some hobbies can be sedentary, including playing music, painting, knitting or cooking, it’s important to stay active in retirement, both physically and mentally. Activities like golf are good for the soul, and don’t put too much physical stress on the body. We wanted to take a look at how many golf courses there are, per state, as well as how many retirement-aged people there are in every state, allowing us to figure out how many retirees there are per course in every state. With these numbers in mind, below are the states where it’s the easiest, and hardest, to book a tee time.
Thanks to the abundance of golf courses in Florida, that state fares pretty well in this calculation despite its reputation for being home to many retirees, with there being just 1,133 retirement-aged people per course to compete with over fairway time. States with smaller retiree populations like North Dakota and Vermont also fare well here, as even though they do not have a plethora of courses they also don’t have a huge population of retirees competing for time on the links.
At American Advisors Group, we primarily hear concerns from retirees about their finances. Some worry if they’ve saved enough money to support their lifestyle after leaving the workforce, while others share that they stayed in the workforce longer to ensure financial security. Looking at the top concerns by those that are active in the workforce, we found that half of Americans say they are not saving money for retirement due to issues including mortgage payments, healthcare expenses, credit card debit and financially supporting their children. While we can’t help with kids that return to the nest, our reverse mortgage calculator can help you estimate the funds available to you, to help you build a more secure retirement.
Retirement takes different forms for different people, and despite this state-by-state analysis, people planning for life after work would do well to evaluate their options and make the choices that are best for their individual lifestyle and situation. Here at American Advisors Group, we want to help retirees and their families retire better, no matter what that looks like. Learn more about how AAG can help your family after you retire on our website.