gmtoday_small.gif

 


$1 million in retirement savings might run out before you do

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

April 30, 2018


If you could retire with $1 million, would you rather move to a city where your money lasts longer, or would you choose for a place with more activities, access to more services — and a higher cost?

If the city you choose is Fort Lauderdale, you can expect easy access to an active, urban lifestyle with highly rated restaurants, a popular beach, an international airport and cruise port, performing arts centers and weekly cultural events.

But be careful — your $1 million might be spent before you die, a recent study by financial planning website SmartAsset.com found.

In a ranking of how long $1 million in savings will last in retirement, Fort Lauderdale came in dead last — 25.2 years — among 11 Florida cities, the study found.

Your million would even last slightly longer, 25.9 years, in Miami, the site said.

The website recently ranked 11 urban areas in Florida — and 261 total across the United States — using average spending numbers for housing, food, health care, utilities, transportation and miscellaneous expenses for households 65 and older as reported in 2016, in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent Consumer Expenditure Survey. It then ran the 261 urban areas through the Council for Community and Economic Research’s Cost of Living Index calculator.

SmartAsset assumed the $1 million would grow 2 percent a year, "reflecting the typical return on a conservative investment portfolio," according to spokesman Steve Sabato. The site then divided $1 million by the spending sum for each urban area to determine how long the nest egg would last in each urban area in the study.

Not all popular retirement destinations were included. In Florida, the study did not include West Palm Beach, Melbourne, the Keys, or any city in the Panhandle. Fort Lauderdale, as defined by the Council for Community and Economic Research, includes all of Broward County, and Miami includes all of Miami-Dade County.

Of the 11 urban areas compared in Florida, $1 million lasts longest in Palm Coast, suburb between St. Augustine and Daytona Beach in the northeastern part of the state. Your money should last 32.5 years there.

Palm Coast is followed by Tampa (32 years), Orlando, (31.6 years), Jacksonville (31.1 years), Daytona Beach (30.7 years), Vero Beach (29.9 years), Cape Coral (29.8 years), Gainesville (29.4 years), and Sarasota (27.3 years). Miami and Fort Lauderdale round out the list.

Of the 261 areas ranked nationwide, the study found $1 million would last longest, 42.3 years, in McAllen, Texas, about 9 miles from the Mexican border and 60 miles northwest of Brownsville, Texas. Fort Lauderdale ranked 222.

The $1 million lasted the shortest number of years in New York City, 12.5 years. Rounding out the bottom five, in reverse order, was Honolulu (14.8 years), San Francisco (15.9 years), Seattle (18.7 years), and Boston (18.7 years).

Housing costs played a predominant role in the number of years $1 million can last. Fort Lauderdale ranked 244th in affordability of housing costs, estimated at $13,272 a year. Miami ranked 228th in this category, estimated at $11,438 a year.

On the bright side, Fort Lauderdale ranked 104th or health-care costs, meaning retirees in 157 other cities can expect to pay more for health care. Miami was 165th.

So do the study’s findings signal an end to Fort Lauderdale as a retirement destination? Not necessarily, say local financial planners.

"Based on where we’re attracting people from, the cost of retirement in Fort Lauderdale is not that high," said Mike Ross, a certified financial planner with Financial Connection Inc. in Boca Raton and a director on the board of the Financial Planning Association of South Florida. Ross said most of his clients who retire here are well-off northeasterners who choose the region because they prefer the pace and can handle the cost.

Not many of his clients would choose to retire in a place like The Villages, a preplanned retirement development in the middle of the state, he said.

"They would ultimately feel isolated in a place like that." For these retirees, living in Fort Lauderdale "comes with a cost," Ross said. "But it’s not New York cost. And it’s not Boston cost."

Meanwhile, an increasing number of Broward County residents are looking elsewhere to retire, both to make their dollars last longer and because they desire a slower pace, said Matt Saneholtz, senior financial adviser and co-owner of Tobias Financial Advisors in Plantation. Saneholtz said he works with local clients interested in moving to North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and northern Florida.

Some are sick of the region’s congestion, threat of hurricanes and high price of property insurance, Saneholtz said. "It’s not the sleepy Fort Lauderdale that it used to be," he said.

––––

U.S. cities where $1 million lasts longest in retirement

1. McAllen, Texas — 42.3 years

2. Harlingen, Texas — 39.5 years

3. Richmond, Ind. — 39.3 years

4. Kalamazoo, Mich. — 38.1 years

5. Cleveland, Ohio — 37.4 years

6. Martinsville, Va. — 37.1 years

7. Knoxville, Tenn. — 36.7 years

8. Ashland, Ohio — 36.6 years

9. Jonesboro, Ark. — 36.6 years

10. Norman, Okla. — 36.5 years

U.S. cities where $1 million is spent fastest in retirement

1. New York, N.Y. — 12.5 years

2. Honolulu, Hawaii — 14.8 years

3. San Francisco, Calif. — 15.9 years

4. Seattle, Wash. — 18.7 years

5. Boston, Mass. — 18.7 years

6. Orange, Calif. — 18.8 years

7. Hilo, Hawaii — 18.9 years

8. Stamford, Conn. — 19.3 years

9. Washington, Va. — 19.4 years

10. Kodiak, Alaska — 19.7 years

Source: SmartAsset.com

———