Report: The Most Realistic Retirement Ages in the 10 Most Populous States

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Many Americans see retirement as a predetermined milestone. But, your circumstances — including where you live — may factor into the realistic age when you can expect to quit working.

A report from finance site shows the realistic retirement ages for residents in every state. The list can be used as a barometer to see how much you need to save before you can retire comfortably.

Do You Know the Realistic Retirement Age in Your State?

To find out the most realistic retirement age in each state, GoBankingRates used its own data in concert with that of the Census Bureau and based it on the following assumptions:

  • Employment began at age 22.
  • “Workers followed the 50/30/20 rule — allocating 50% of personal income to necessities, 30% to wants and 20% to savings.”
  • Of the 20% put toward savings, “14% was put in a typical savings account and 6% was put into a 401(k) with a 50% employer match (up to 3%)” and an average annual return of 5%.

Let’s look at the most realistic retirement age state by state. For our purposes, we’ve sourced only the top 10 most populous states, according to U.S. Census data taken in 2022:


  • Realistic retirement age: 66
  • How much savings you need to retire: $1,678,882
  • Total savings at 66: $1,687,854


  • Realistic retirement age: 56
  • How much savings you need to retire: $895,029
  • Total savings at 56: $909,165


  • Realistic retirement age: 63
  • How much savings you need to retire: $1,074,046
  • Total savings at 63: $1,095,684

New York

  • Realistic retirement age: 68
  • How much savings you need to retire: $1,625,003
  • Total savings at 68: $1,631,225


  • Realistic retirement age: 57
  • How much savings you need to retire: $994,097
  • Total savings at 57: $1,024,444


  • Realistic retirement age: 53
  • How much savings you need to retire: $896,767
  • Total savings at 53: $927,403


  • Realistic retirement age: 58
  • How much savings you need to retire: $884,601
  • Total savings at 58: $924,423


  • Realistic retirement age: 56
  • How much savings you need to retire: $827,246
  • Total savings at 56: $829,490

North Carolina

  • Realistic retirement age: 59
  • How much savings you need to retire: $950,646
  • Total savings at 59: $969,234


  • Realistic retirement age: 57
  • How much savings you need to retire: $889,815
  • Total savings at 57: $909,639

See for the full list of states.

What Age Should You Retire?

Regardless of when you think you should retire, money expert Clark Howard wants you to consider an age that allows you to maximize your Social Security benefits.

Even though he’s already eligible, Clark is waiting until he turns 70 before he starts collecting Social Security. If your circumstances allow, he suggests that you follow suit.

His reasoning is that any extra money we earn while we delay Social Security can help offset some of the expenses we are sure to accrue as we age such as inflation, market uncertainty and a greater need for health care.

“The odds overwhelmingly show that a lot of us are going to live a lot longer than we thought,” Clark says. “So the best time to take Social Security is to wait as long as you possibly can.”

Final Thoughts

The thought of retirement should bring to mind easiness and relaxation — not financial woes. If you’re concerned about whether you’ll have enough money to live comfortably once you stop working, plan ahead by taking advantage of:

  • Any retirement accounts like a Roth individual retirement account, aka, Roth IRA.
  • A Health Savings Account (HSA).
  • A 401(k) if your job offers it.

To gauge how your future looks, estimate your Social Security benefits and see if there’s room for improvement.