Workers on the verge of retirement in Minneapolis and St. Paul are the most prepared to retire, while those residing in Los Angeles are the least, according to a recent Ameriprise Financial and Harris Interactive survey. The online survey of 10,028 adults ages 40 to 75 in 30 metropolitan areas took into account financial preparations, such as savings habits and retirement needs calculations. Personal plans, including specific retirement activities, and the level of confidence workers feel about achieving their retirement goals were also weighted in the ranking.
Including both financial and personal measures led to some surprising rankings. For example, in Washington, D.C., which was ranked 23 out of 30, 80 percent of the residents surveyed are setting aside money for retirement, which is second only to the top-ranked Minneapolis-St. Paul area. However, the lack of confidence residents expressed about their ability to retire led to a low ranking for the nation’s capital. Some 40 percent of Washington, D.C. residents expressed pessimistic (or perhaps realistic) feelings about their ability to retire.
In many of the lowest ranked cities more immediate financial concerns seem to be taking precedence over retirement planning. In Los Angeles, more than a third (36 percent) of those surveyed say they’ve experienced a career set-back or layoff in the past 18 months. And many Indianapolis residents (31 percent) say the economy has impacted their retirement plans.
Here’s a look at how older workers are preparing for retirement in the top ranked cities.
1. Minneapolis-St. Paul. Most Twin City residents (83 percent) are currently saving for retirement, compared to 69 percent among all the survey participants. Nearly half (48 percent) of those surveyed report feeling on track for retirement and 71 percent plan to stay in the area after retirement.
2. Raleigh-Durham. Most Raleigh and Durham residents consider themselves retirement savers (79 percent). However, what boosted this metropolitan area to the number two spot was the significant number of people (80 percent) who are planning the activities they would like to pursue in retirement. One popular planned activity is going back to college. Some 12 percent of those surveyed plan to continue their education during retirement at the area’s many colleges and universities.
3. Nashville. The Music City ranks third primarily because of their confidence about their ability to retire. Half of those surveyed feel that they are on track to retire comfortably. However, the typical survey respondent is only planning to live 17 years in retirement, far less than the 30 years many financial advisers recommend that healthy retirees plan for.
4. Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto. Over a third (39 percent) of Sacramento-area residents have determined the amount of income they will need to achieve their retirement goals, compared to 25 percent of individuals nationwide. Almost all the older workers in California’s state capital area (86 percent) have an idea of what activities they would like to pursue in retirement.
5. Seattle-Tacoma. Emerald City residents are the most likely in the country to have a written plan for retirement. Many Seattle-Tacoma residents (38 percent) report that they’ve calculated the amount of income they will need in retirement and 31 percent have determined how much they need to save each year to reach their retirement goal.
6. San Diego. Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of people in this sunny California city say they feel optimistic about their ability to retire. Most San Diego residents on the verge of retirement (64 percent) plan to stay in town after they exit the workforce, but many are also planning to travel (38 percent).
7. Hartford-New Haven. Most of these New England residents say they have set aside money for retirement (77 percent) and many people have even consulted a financial professional for advice (35 percent). However, other cities are ranked above New Haven and Hartford because only half of residents have a plan for how to spend their time in retirement and 45 percent of the survey respondents plan to leave town upon retirement.
8. Denver. Most Mile-High City residents are saving for retirement (77 percent) and utilizing employer-sponsored retirement accounts (64 percent). Travel is a popular planned retirement activity (35 percent).
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9. Baltimore. Many Baltimore residents say the economy has pushed back their retirement date and that they plan to leave town upon retirement (46 percent). However, most survey respondents (83 percent) have taken steps to prepare for their planned exit.
10. Boston. Bostonians have generally set aside at least some money for retirement (76 percent). Many residents have determined the amount of income they will need in retirement (35 percent) and gotten financial advice from a professional (32 percent).