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Great Advice From Our Experts

Retiring In Southern California

December 12th, 2019

Beautiful beaches, lush forests, and the best weather in the states, it’s no surprise that we here have earned the title of the Golden State (well and the actual gold). With all of the amenities one could want in their home state, it did not take long for California to become the most populated state in the country. What’s even more amazing is that southern California is the most populated area in the country at 24.12 million residents. As the law of supply and demand goes; if a lot of people want to live in California, it’s going to cost a lot to live in California. Retiring on the sunny West coast is not impossible, especially if you are currently a resident. This article will help you get a better scope on what it is like to retire in Southern California. 

First of all, we need to look at how much you are going to need to make it comfortably through retirement. California has a high quality of living, which comes with a high price. Newretirement.com put out numbers on the average annual income of American households based on age. The median for ages 60-64 is $63,919. This doesn’t seem like pennies, but unfortunately in California, the property is where your dollar begins to shrink in value. Phillip Reese of the Sacramento Bee stated that a California household would need to make about $78,000 a year to afford to live in California with the average middle priced home coming in at $393,000. 

 Smartasset.com estimated the average nest egg of savings that you would need to retire in multiple cityscapes across the country. Los Angeles was on the list with an average of $994,377 needed to retire in this city on savings and Social Security alone. A million dollars seems pretty steep for most pockets. However, Los Angeles was no. 10 out of 10 on Smartassets list of the most expensive cities in the U.S. to retire in (as far as how much you would need saved to live off savings and S.S. alone).  The average savings needed to retire in San Diego sits at $1,024,980, in Orange County it is a hefty $1,206,300. The top three cities on the list were San Fransisco with $1,487,718, Honolulu at $1,663,195, but New York, New York (Manhattan to be specific) reigns king at a whopping $2,250,845.  However, the city where you need the least amount of savings to retire is McAllen Texas coming in at $369,857. This is three times less than the amount needed to retire in Orange County, and a fraction of what would be needed to retire in Manhattan. Southern California is up there, but if you have been living here for most of your life you already have an advantage. Outside of housing and transportation, Southern California really isn’t the most expensive place to retire. In fact there are a lot of benefits to retiring in Southern California.  

Although California may not be the most tax friendly state. But there are definitely advantages to the Golden State that just can’t be beat. For one, the weather. The Mediterranean-type climate here in SoCal is friendly to everyone, but especially those with aging joints and bones, those who have arthritis, or those who just hate the cold. The weather alone is a good enough reason to move to the City of Angels. U.S. news ranked Los Angeles as the 4th best city to retire in in California. Barely missing the top spots simply due to the house market and transportation. The Culture and entertainment in the Los Angeles area is never ending and always alive. From sports, to arts, and dining with some of the best views in the country, LA is a paradise all its own.  

Not only does Southern California have the fun, there are also other more practical advantages to spending your golden years here. Outside of the healthy weather, Los Angeles is also one of the most health-conscious cities in the country. There is an abundance of fresh produce available all year round, as well as countless outdoor activities that can be done solo or in a group to stay active and outdoors. Which is easy to do when you aren’t interrupted by snow for half of the year. Speaking of health, Los Angeles has some of the best hospitals in the country with UCLA, USC, and Cedars – Sinai simply to name a few. And with such a large and diverse population, there are multiple different healthcare options.  

Overall, it is going to take a few more pennies to retire here than other places in the country. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways for you to maximize what you have and get ahead of the game here in SoCal. There are many ways you can leverage your savings so that you do not have to depend on the 4% rule and S.S. alone. Make your money work just as hard as you did to get it, to make sure that you live a comfortable retirement here in the Golden State. And there might not be that much elbow room on the road. But as a good friend once told me, “Do you know why there’s so much traffic in California…because it’s worth it.” Remember, Plan Smarter Live Better