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How Long Does $1 Million Last In Retirement In San Diego?

The San Diego skyline is pictured in this undated photo.
Milan Kovacevic
The San Diego skyline is pictured in this undated photo.

Smart Asset looked at how long a million dollars would last a retiree in various cities around the country, and ranked them accordingly. San Diego was not at the top of those rankings.

Researchers came up with an average cost of living for each city by adding up how much someone would need for housing, food, healthcare, utility and transportation expenses for a year.

Based on those numbers, McAllen, Texas was at the top of the list. The study found that a retiree there with a million dollars saved up can enjoy 42 work-free years. In San Diego, a million dollars will last you less than twenty years.


Seth Kaplowitz is an attorney and finance lecturer at San Diego State University. He said housing costs in the region make it a challenging place to retire, but said some people are willing to pay for the privilege.

"People are paying for the luxury of living in San Diego. Between property taxes and state income tax, and just the general cost of survival, it's really a luxury to be able to choose to live in San Diego. To me, it's the closest thing to living in Bali in the continental United States," Kaplowitz said.

Retirees coming to San Diego, or residents who are already here and want to stay after they retire, may have to live more modestly than they would in other cities. Or they can get creative. Perhaps live in nearby, but less expensive Tijuana.

Or do as some people that Kaplowitz knows do, and live as an ex-pat in another country, where the cost of living is lower, and when you are stateside, see if you kids will put you up.

"They get together with their children and they get a granny flat that they have a place to come to when they're in the states but they're dollar just goes further when they're not in the states," he said.


Kaplowitz warns that if you have not started planing and saving for retirement, you should start now.

"If you haven't prepared for it, you're going to be working a long time," he said.

Thinking of retiring in San Diego?