How Long Will $1 Million Last In Retirement?

$1 Million used to be the ultimate retirement portfolio benchmark for successful Americans. Being a millionaire brought status as well as the peace of mind of knowing that you could look forward to a comfortable retirement lifestyle with all the trimmings. Is that still true?

We ran a series of hypothetical calculations to illustrate how long an average American retiree could expect their million-dollar portfolio to last in each state. Let's take a look...

Roll over each state Scroll below to see How long the average $1 Million Portfolio would last at 3%, 5%, and 7% growth*

How long will $1 last

*Annual withdrawal amount is calculated by multiplying the 2016 BLS average annual expenditures for age 65 years and older by the 2017 Council for Community & Economic Research Cost of Living Index for each state. Calculations assume that interest is compounded once annually immediately after annual withdrawal. Calculations assume annual inflation rate of 3% and annual portfolio growth rates of 3%, 5%, and 7%, respectively. Taxes and fees are excluded. This hypothetical examples is for informational use only and does not illustrate any specific product or investment. Past performance is no indication of future results.

What's Missing From This Picture?

These hypothetical examples leave out a lot of critical details that will impact your own retirement timeline. Here are a few:

Your expenses aren't average

The expenditures used in the calculation are just averages. Depending on where you live and the lifestyle you lead, you could spend more or less than your state's average. That's why getting a personal retirement income analysis is so important.

There's no fun stuff

The expenses used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to construct an "average" lifestyle are also fairly conservative and don't include discretionary stuff like travel, gifts, or entertainment. A custom analysis would be based around your current and future expected expenses, including the fun stuff.

Growth is never stable

This is a big one. These calculations were run assuming that a $1 million portfolio would grow at a stable annual rate. You already know that investments can experience drastically different performance from one year to the next. That's why it's critical to build an income plan that can respond to ups and downs in portfolio value.

Top Retirement Expenses in America

Here are some of the biggest expenses you're going to want to include in your retirement preparations.


Healthcare will be a large expense for most retirees, especially those who retire early or live to an advanced age.

Long-Term Care

LTC is one of the biggest unknowns and can become an account buster if you or your spouse require in-home or nursing home care.


Tax laws changed in 2017 and they will likely change again in the future. Successful Americans may find themselves footing a larger share of the bill than they expect during retirement.


How you do plan to live in retirement? Will you travel? Care for elderly parents or your children? Will you maintain multiple homes? Don't miss out on your dreams because you fear you can't afford them.

Surprised by what you learned? Everyone's retirement journey looks different and the averages leave out a lot of detail.

Financial Lesson: A Cool Million Just Isn't What It Used To Be

Were you shocked by how little $1 million can last in some places? Or how long in others? It certainly illustrates what a difference cost of living can make to your finances.

Bottom line: This infographic is a useful starting point. The personal timeline for your retirement portfolio depends on your answers to questions like:

  • What will your lifestyle cost each year?
  • How much will your portfolio grow over time?
  • What will inflation look like?
  • How much will you pay in taxes, healthcare, and other major expenses?

You need personalized answers to these questions. If you haven't gotten them already, I can help. As a financial professional, I have the tools needed to answer the big question:

Is your portfolio enough to fund your retirement?

If you're not 100% sure, give my office a call to schedule a complimentary, no-strings-attached retirement readiness review.

Thanks for reading,

Clint Haynes, CFP®
NextGen Wealth
(816) 287-4780