New Data Shows East Coast Is The Best Coast – For Retirement Readiness

in Personal Capital News by

It’s National Save For Retirement Week, and in the spirit of retirement readiness we decided to find out just how prepared Americans are. With Personal Capital’s newly launched, interactive Retirement Readiness Map, we’ll tell you where your state stacks up in retirement readiness.


To create the map, we collected data* from real Personal Capital users across the country, who are preparing for retirement with our Retirement Planner tool. The darker the state is on the map, the more retirement savings users have.

Our #1 takeaway from the study was that when it comes to saving for retirement, planning ahead is your best friend. Our data shows that user who have used Personal Capital’s Retirement Planner have saved, on average, 75% more than users who haven’t. You’re ready to give it a try now too, aren’t you?

As you’ll see in the map, we also made some other very interesting retirement trend discoveries:

The East Coast Rules In Retirement Saving

Our data shows that the East Coast is the most retirement ready region in the US. To highlight a few top savers – Delaware is the #1 most prepared, Connecticut is the #2 most prepared, and New Jersey is the #3 most prepared. California, on the other hand, falls far behind – landing at #20 overall.

East Coasters are also the most focused on funding education goals – New Jersey, Massachusetts and New York rank as the top 3 savers for education expenses. Average savings for a 4-year education by New Jersey, Massachusetts and New York are $199,039, compared to California at #5 with an average of $174,684.

Millennials Pave A New Path Of Financial Priorities

It’s no secret that today’s Millennials are facing a boatload of financial challenges, but we also discovered that their financial plans in general are quite different from those of their parents.

As Bill Harris noted, “Millennials face significant financial challenges, but they’re also carving a new path for themselves. Our data shows that Millennials plan to work fewer years and spend less money on major purchases like owning a home, while at the same time they plan to donate more to charity than other generations.”

On average, Millennials only plan to spend $142,274 on a home purchase – much less than Gen Xers planning to spend $686,739. But when it comes to vacationing, Millennials have $325,357 of vacation plans by retirement. And, Millennials who expect an inheritance hope it will amount to an average of $1.06 million. Another factor that differentiates Millennials from other generations is hopes for fewer working years – they plan to work 15 years on average, and saving $445,687 for retirement.

Track how your savings align with your retirement goals in real time.

University & Charity Costs Take Priority

In addition to retirement savings, education and giving to charity are top priorities for savers. Education is the #1 savings goal for the majority of Personal Capital users – 60% plan to save $149,956 on average for the 4-year expense. Charity is the #3 savings goal for Personal Capital users, who hope to spend $345,772 on charitable gifts over the next 35 years. Millennials are the most giving generation, allocating $382,485 to give to charity.

How To Get Retirement Ready

So, what is your state of retirement readiness? If you want get on top of your retirement readiness game, start with a retirement plan. And should you need a hand, our team of expert Advisors is ready to help here.

See How Retirement Ready Your State Is

*To obtain this data, Personal Capital analyzed the retirement accounts of dashboard users on a completely anonymized basis. Retirement savings figures were compiled from 134,022 Personal Capital users. Goal data was compiled from the 8,028 users who set them in Personal Capital’s Retirement Planner tool. Goals are presented in Personal Capital’s app as projections of future income or expenditures. For the amounts listed, Personal Capital multiplied the yearly value of the goal times the number of years entered to get the total value. Averages were then computed on top of that across all of Personal Capital users. Generations are defined as: Baby Boomers, year of birth between 1943 and 1964; Generation X, year of birth between 1965 and 1979; Millennials, year of birth between 1980 and 2000.

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Marianne Ahlmann

Marianne Ahlmann

Marianne is Communications and Content Manager at Personal Capital.


  1. Karen

    It’s hard for me to take this article/study seriously when it claims that baby boomers are people born between 1925 and 1964. The baby boom occurred after WWII.
    Also, when you fail to qualify your findings by pointing out that the data used to come up with these results is not a random sampling taken from a substantial group but from your own members.
    I like the idea for a study that would accurately portray the information that led to your claims and wish someone would undertake such a study and account for differences in cost of living by region, state, and even city and be based on a true random sample of a large enough group to have credence. I suppose it’s possible that this ‘study’ is meant to be taken as seriously as a Facebook quiz and meant to be fun and entertaining. I that’s the case, you should say so.

    • Stephanie&David

      Thank you for your comment. I noticed that they also didn’t seem to think that the part of the country between the Blue Ridge and the Rocky Mountains counted.

    • Tom

      That is a widely accepted definition of baby boomers.

      • Jim

        They noticed their error on the birth years of boomers and fixed it.
        You can tell poorly written content marketing when they mention, and link to, the sponsoring company 4 times in the first three paragraphs.
        Way before I was even a little impressed by their ‘research’, they are thinking I’m already interested in the tools. Too much unbelievable nonsense in your findings. Not credible.

      • Anonymous

        Actually the baby boomer generations are those born between 1946 and 1964.

      • Philip Mathews

        Ah, no. Baby Boomers refers to the demographic group born between 1946 and 1964.

      • Michael Gumbko

        Baby boomers have always been between 1946 and 1964.

      • James

        Baby boomers by definition is a generation of roughly 20 years 1945 -1964 that is the widely accepted number

      • Hell_on_wheelz

        The Depression Era
        Born: 1912-1921

        World War II (or Greatest Generation)
        Born: 1922 to 1927

        Post-War Cohort (or SIlent Generation)
        Born: 1928-1945

        Boomers I or The Baby Boomers
        Born: 1946-1954

        Boomers II or Generation Jones (or Baby Busters)
        Born: 1955-1965

        Generation X
        Born: 1966-1976

        Generation Y, Echo Boomers or Millenniums
        Born: 1977-1994

        Generation Z
        Born: 1995-2012

    • Chico

      I love that you spent that much time deconstructing an article from a random internet site.

      The comment below about geography is correct.

    • Donna

      Actually the article said Baby Boomers were 1943 – 1964, which is the standard for that model. What was more interesting to me is that Millennials are expecting to pay $142,300ish for a home. So I would like to know where they’re looking, because while they may be young, it never appeared that they were brain dead. Methinks this “Poll” is really an advertisement in sheep’s clothing.

      • Lyndsey

        I’m a millennial and I paid 130k for my home – not all of us live in crazy expensive real estate markets. And those that do can find good deals or maybe live in something other than a non-traditional single family home.

  2. Bob

    I simply can not believe the old South and Southwest are more prepared than other areas of the USA. Your information states folks who use your planning tool, but does not say if they THEMSELVES are retired at the point of survey. Many retirees still use such tools to keep an eye on duration of savings and a “checkup” from now to then.

    I suspect the deeper blue of the South and Southwest is due to Union households MOVING post retirement to the sunbelt and warmer climates. Right to Work (for less) states rarely give employees enough discretionary income to be THAT prepared for retirement.


  3. Lucas

    Interesting map. Was anything done to stratify the data, particularly by age? I’m curious if the states with the higher savings my just have older populations. I’m also curious how I stack up to my state’s average, but it’s hard to know since I don’t know if I’m older or younger than the average saver in your data set.

  4. Don Jaeger`

    Interesting to note that the so called “Red States” are lacking. I thought it was the Republicans who “planned ahead” so that they would not have to rely on the government to help them out during retirement years!

    • Eric

      The people in the “blue” states don’t need to save for retirement because they all have ridiculous government or union pensions that they didn’t earn or pay for themselves. The people in the red states have to save for their own retirements and pay for the pensions of the low skilled and lazy government workers.

      • bblehman

        This proves that people must have the government save for them. The average joe can not be trusted to do for himself.

        • Retireman

          The government should stay out, even when people can be trusted to do it themselves. Social Security is an excellent example of how the government will screw it up worse then the individuals themselves.

      • lydia

        Well this blue state has a varied track record. Most of us in the private sector that worked for companies that started after 401k plans did not have rich benefit packages except for the executives and we often had mediocre health plans and dental plans even working at health insurance companies.. Since there were many mergers and acquisitions beginning and throughout the 90s and recently, unless one worked for a company headquartered back east chances are you would work for more than one employer due to lay offs, mergers etc. The man who wrote IRC code for 401(k) stated on NPR recently that he meant these plans to be an adjunct to social security and pensions but of course it became a way to get rid of defined benefit plans altogether by substituting the 401k plan.. So no, only those that work for the government who have state pensions AND 403b plans with unions that have negotiated full pay and benefits after 30 years of service with retirement as early as age 50 and utilities and older old school companies have pensions ( but can’t retire at 50 generally without full pay and full benefits). Private industry has or is getting rid rich plans for future retirees. . Many companies during the recession with rich benefits plans laid off employees at 18 or 19 years both in utiities and high tech companies with great pensions and benefits right before employees became eligible for retirement. to get rid of future obligations. Saw that happen a lot. during the recession and even early in the recovery. Shed those future obligations for shareholder value!

      • Toni

        Excuse me? I paid 8.5% of my income for the last 28 years into my government pension – which has now been cut. I paid into 40 full social security quarters prior to joining public service – which has now been eliminated by my government pension. I’ve taken over 60 furlough days and have gone at least 8 years without a salary increase. I worked hard for every meager penny. Get your head out of the sand if you think a government pension is a handout.

        • deleted

          So true…great response.

        • Lorena Kovach

          Whooptee do. You paid a whole whopping 40 quarters into social security, a pittance. Social Security is set up to pay out the highest return to people (like you) who paid the least into it. Read up on it. You’ll still get something, just not the huge return you were hoping for relative to the small amount you paid into the system. It’s eminently fair so stop your whining.

      • Anonymous

        In fairness, the pension program was a promise to the employees when they joined up. At the time many chose lower pay considering the pension benefit that was a part of the deal they signed up for. They worked for and counted on the pension, it was not a handout. And in fairness, not all government workers are lazy even though many may be. So pulling a pension is not much different than the way our government is treating social security benefits.

        • Lorena Kovach

          Sorry, but it’s VERY different. If you’re pulling in a government pension you had the option of retiring MUCH earlier than the rest of us. When you die your spouse will have survivor benefits, even if she has her own pension. When me or my husband dies, the other gets nothing because we both worked and made roughly the same amount of money. You probably have much better medical benefits than the rest of us. And I don’t buy for one second that government workers are paid less than the private sector. Studies show they’re paid more.

      • Ray

        What an idiotic generalized comment. People like you give real conservatives, who know how to properly budget, invest and create financial independence a bad name. Okay, like anyone receiving a pension is living this lazy wealthy lifestyle? Please tell more oh wise one, lol.

    • Gregg

      Don – they will be the ones not begging the government to cover them.

  5. Wayne Laflamme

    I was born in 1945 and I’m not a baby boomer that started in 1946 after the war,Duh.

  6. MakemeLaugh

    I have to admire the optimism of the Millenials in this survery. They expect 1 million as an inheritence! And to only work 15 years before retirement. That’s funny, and ridiculous. Although some might be able to do that, the majority will not even be close, they will work closer to 30 years and will see an inheritence under $100,000. Maybe those members are part of some particular subset, such as trust fund babies?

  7. alexandria

    Agreed. Boomers are after WWII, starting around 1944 or so. They also have Boomers spanning 40 years and the others only 10 or 20 years. Strange data. The East Coast has higher paying jobs, which explains the larger savings account. Dumb article.

  8. Patrick Hart

    I am disappointed in this study, the people surveyed, the results, and then the connections made because of these results. How many people in each state were surveyed? Is this an accurate reflection of the population. The Midwest wasn’t touched on at all in the article. I find it strange that North Dakota, with a booming oil economy, a stable farm economy is ranked severely low.

    More than anything else, I am concerned that the link that got me here wasn’t labeled “sponsored content.” This obviously has an objective.

  9. Owen

    Were the numbers used at each state normalized against anything? For example, how do the wages in DE (#1) vs MT (#49) compare? Simply reporting the net balance without normalizing data makes the ranks meaningless. How about ranking states based on which one is savings the largest percentage of income? Or which state, given the average cost of living, has citizens with the likely longest time of being financially solvent?

  10. Brad

    Median retirement savings would be more telling. The average retirement savings is likely inflated due to a small number of high net worth individuals. Could you please give us some info about median retirement savings?

  11. Mitch

    This seems to be more of an ad for their services than a realistic report. For instance I know a lot about the state of Maine. They rate it in the 75% group. Maine is a “taker” state with little industry and a whole lot of welfare. The state has been on the downhill for the last 40 years. The largest employer in the state is the government. With an aging population, no job growth and little opportunity how is it possible that it ranks in the 75% readiness. It clearly does not. The reason I say this more like an add for their services is that I think it is meant to panic the readers into making them think that everyone around them is prepared for retirement and you as the reader it not. Therefore you should contact them for their retirement planning services. Always be leery of a “sponsored” article. 9.9 out of 10 it is only an advertisement

  12. Steve

    Good luck to those Millennials. I thought the same thing when I was their age…except I never thought I would receive an inheritance.

  13. mary

    Interesting that Millennials plan to only work for 15 years – LOL – but expect an inheritance!! Ahh – the entitlement generation. We’ve told our kids to not expect anything but if it’s left over it’s theirs. We are also some of the unfortunate people that have NO real pension coming in. When the Government came up with the 401K plans, doing away with company pensions and putting the control of retirement savings onto the individual workers, they touted it as a great thing. But, they didn’t do away with the pensions plans for themselves or other government workers. They knew it was BS from the start! So, some people have been deemed worthy of guaranteed, government pensions funded by the tax payers and other got screwed. Especially when you consider that the government had a role in the housing market crash and makes policy that adversely affects the stock market.

  14. Bob Wilson

    Where did some people get the idea that government workers and others with pensions did not pay into those plans? It was normal for government workers to pay 6 to 8 percent and more into their pension and pay union dues, out of their gross pay. Some also paid another 6% into social security and more into medicare, employment taxes, state and local taxes plus federal tax rates of from 15 to 28%. Most people out of high school and college could qualify for a government job. Stop whining and go apply and take a test. See how easy it is to work there. Be lazy and see how long they keep you around.

  15. ramon uy

    I earn mine truthfully work for it nothing is free!!!!!!!!

  16. Felix

    Most Investment companies draw those beautiful pies and charts. It is up to them to sell their products.
    At the end of the day, they will tell you : We can not make any promises on the final outcome, we do not have a crystal ball. Which is a fair statement.
    I failed to see it. Not much is explain as it is most needed, about the tax consequences of any investments.
    As much as it is a good thing to have a qualified Financial Institution to invest and to nurture your investments, it is very important their guide in fee expenses, taxes, timing etc. I would like you to tell more about these subjects or where to find more reading material in this regard . Thanks,

  17. Ben

    I would preferred a metric where a ration of savings to cost of living index is used. Comparing savings needed for NYC and a small town in North Dakota is pretty shallow analysis in my mind. Secondly, there are no pensions used in this. Did you convert the annual pension amount into an equivalent sum of money?

  18. steve

    This is stupid unless they adjust dollars for region. I live in Idaho and am well to do with $40,000 income. In Ct, I an a broke pauper… My $400,000 house in rural upstate NY costs me $16,000 a year in taxes. In VA same $400,000 house costs me $600-$700,000. Taxes only $2-$3,000 a year. My living costs for housing, mortgage plus taxes maybe the same but in VA I buying an asset while in NY I am just paying taxes.

    Point is simply regions change needs for life style, costs maybe the same but value for costs differ. Needs to plan different cause some expenses stay after mortgages paid and and others don’t

  19. Tim

    The scariest thing about these numbers is that they are all woefully insufficient to retire. Regardless of where the information came from.

  20. Jerry

    “University & Charity Costs Take Priority” Until your personal retirement future is set, why would you donate anything significant to charities? Especially when most of those working at the charities in management are making $100K – 750K a year?

  21. Bill

    This study is not of much value because (apparently) age of the members is not a consideration. If the top savers have accumulated $200,000, that’s great if they are 35, not so great if they are 60.

  22. Employment News in India

    Good information to know and right to the point. Thanks for this well written post, i’ll follow up for more updates if you keep posting them
    Employment News in India


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