How Much Money You Need to Retire Early in All 50 States

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Maybe all you need to retire early is a moving van.

The Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) movement has gained steam in recent years. But the most important number in FIRE culture — your annual expenses upon leaving the workforce — is a number that will vary widely from state to state. If you want to retire early in Hawaii, for example, you may need twice the annual budget you’d need in Illinois or North Carolina.

To reach FIRE, enthusiasts save disproportionately high percentages of their incomes. “FIRE helps people get intentional about what they want,” says Portia Jackson, CFP and founder of Wealthy and Fulfilled, a financial consulting company. “[The movement] can help you get intentional about saving and investing.” By saving 30%, 40%, or 50%+ of their monthly incomes, adherents reach partial or full retirement years or even decades ahead of schedule.

If you’ve thought about leaving the workforce before regular retirement age, the state you live in will significantly affect the FIRE number you need to reach. Here’s what a FIRE number is, along with how much it would cost to become work-optional in every state in America.

What Is a FIRE Number?

To start your financial independence journey, you first want to calculate your FIRE number, a wealth benchmark unique to your lifestyle goals. A simplified FIRE number formula is to multiply your annual expenses by 25; this will give you a minimum target of what you need to accumulate in today’s dollars to become work-optional without exhausting your investments.

FIRE Number = Annual Expenses X 25

“Expenses are everything [in FIRE],” says Steven Keys, who achieved lean FIRE at 29 years old with his wife, Lauren. “Many people will tell you that you can earn your way to FIRE. That’s not true if you don’t keep your expenses under control. Do what’s right for you and find ways to work what matters to you into your lifestyle without inflating your expenses.”

How Can I Retire Early?

To accelerate your early retirement and financial independence goals, focus on three things: increasing your income, lowering your expenses, and investing the difference.

By cutting expenses, you can pay off debt and free up extra money each month. 

To make more money, consider incorporating a profitable side hustle. Keeping expenses lower is essential, but making more money can speed up the time needed to reach a FIRE number. Some side hustles can be passive once set up. Widen the gap between income and expenses as much as you can, then invest the surplus in reliable investment vehicles, such as index funds or real estate.

“FIRE has changed our family’s life and given me true freedom,” says Dr. Lakisha Simmons, a professor who achieved FIRE in May of 2021 at 41 years old with $850,000 in investments and $50,000 in cash. “Believe that you can do it, create an investment plan, and reduce your expenses so that you can invest more.” 

Related: I Hit My FIRE Number at 41 as a College Professor. Here’s How I Saved $850,000 in Less Than Four Years to Retire Early as a Single Mother of Two

Methodology: How We Made This List

To calculate FIRE numbers by state, we first used a cost of living index published by World Population Review, a website that aggregates world population data. The index sets the cost of living in the United States at 100, then ranks states in relation to that number based on their average cost of living, using data reported by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics’ Consumer Expenditures report. For example, if it costs 10% above the national average to live in a certain state, the index for that state would be 110.

We took national average expenses in retirement, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and multiplied it by each state’s index to find that state’s average annual cost of living in retirement. Then, we multiplied that number by 25 to arrive at each state’s FIRE number.

Remember that everyone’s FIRE number will be different. The formula used to find a state’s FIRE number doesn’t factor in city living, number of children, or other lifestyle-specific expenses. The goal is to give you a baseline number you can then personalize to your lifestyle and finance goals.

The 10 States With the Highest Average FIRE Number

  1. Hawaii
  2. New York
  3. California
  4. Massachusetts
  5. Oregon
  6. Alaska
  7. Maryland
  8. Connecticut
  9. Rhode Island
  10. Vermont

The 10 States With the Lowest Average FIRE Number

  1. Mississippi
  2. Kansas
  3. Oklahoma
  4. Alabama
  5. Georgia
  6. Tennessee
  7. Missouri
  8. Iowa
  9. West Virginia
  10. Indiana

What You Need to Retire Early in All 50 States

(Click the state name to jump to that state’s suggested minimum FIRE number.)

AlabamaHawaiiMassachusettsNew MexicoSouth Dakota
AlaskaIdahoMichiganNew YorkTennessee
ArizonaIllinoisMinnesotaNorth CarolinaTexas
ArkansasIndianaMississippiNorth DakotaUtah
CaliforniaIowaMissouriOhioVermont
ColoradoKansasMontanaOklahomaVirginia
ConnecticutKentuckyNebraskaOregonWashington
DelawareLouisianaNevadaPennsylvaniaWest Virginia
FloridaMaineNew HampshireRhode IslandWisconsin
GeorgiaMarylandNew JerseySouth CarolinaWyoming

Alabama 

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $1,470,742.80

Alabama has the third-lowest cost of living in the U.S., according to the World Population Review. The cost of living index is 87.9, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $58,829.71.

Alaska 

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $2,126,637.20

Alaska has the sixth-highest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 127.1, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $85,065.49.

Arizona

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $1,726,742.40

Arizona has the 18th-highest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 103.2, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $69,069.70.

Arkansas

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $1,520,938.80

Arkansas has the 11th-lowest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 90.9, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $60,837.55.

California

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $2,379,290.40

California has the third-highest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 142.2, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $95,171.62.

Colorado

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $1,761,879.60

Colorado has the 17th-highest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 105.3, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $70,475.18.

Connecticut

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $2,034,611.20

Connecticut has the eighth-highest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 121.6, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $81,384.45.

Delaware

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $1,805,382.80 

Delaware has the 15th-highest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 107.9, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $72,215.31.

Florida

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $1,678,219.60

Florida has the 24th-highest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 100.3, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $67,128.78.

Georgia

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $1,485,801.60

Georgia has the fifth-lowest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 88.8, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $59,432.06.

Hawaii

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $3,234,295.60

Hawaii has the highest cost of living in America. The cost of living index is 193.3, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $129,371.82.

Idaho

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $1,708,337.20

Idaho has the 20th-highest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 102.1, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $68,333.49.

Illinois

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $1,577,827.60

Illinois has the 21st-lowest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 94.3, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $63,113.10.

Indiana

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $1,515,919.20

Indiana has the 10th-lowest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 90.6, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $60,636,77.

Iowa

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $1,504,206.80

Iowa has the eighth-lowest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 89.9, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $60,168.27.

Kansas

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $1,447,318.00

Kansas has the second-lowest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 86.5, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $57,892.72.

Kentucky

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $1,557,749.20

Kentucky has the 17th-lowest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 93.1, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $62,309.97.

Louisiana

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $1,556,076.00

Louisiana has the 16th-lowest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 93, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $62,243.04.

Maine

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $2,258,820.00

Maine has the 12th-highest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 115, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $90,352.80.

Maryland

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $2,074,768.00

Maryland has the sixth-highest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 124, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $82,990.72.

Massachusetts

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $2,258,820.00

Massachusetts has the fourth-highest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 135, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $90,352.80.

Michigan

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $1,527,631.60

Michigan has the 14th-lowest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 91.3, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $61,105.26.

Minnesota

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $1,673.200.00

Minnesota has the 25th-highest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 100, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $66,928.00.

Mississippi

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $1,393,775.60

Mississippi has the lowest cost of living in America. The cost of living index is 83.3, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $55,751.02.

Missouri

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $1,502,533.60

Missouri has the seventh-lowest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 89.8, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $60,101.34.

Montana

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $1,684,912.40

Montana has the 23rd-highest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 100.7, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $67,396.50.

Nebraska

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $1,567,788.40

Nebraska has the 19th-lowest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 93.7, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $62,711.54.

Nevada

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $1,778,611.60

Nevada has the 16th-highest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 106.3, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $71,144.46.

New Hampshire

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $1,838,846.80

New Hampshire has the 14th-highest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 109.9, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $73,553.87.

New Jersey

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $1,927,526.40

New Jersey has the 11th-highest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 115.2, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $77,101.06.

New Mexico

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $1,522,612.00

New Mexico has the 12th-lowest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 91, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $60,904.48.

New York

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $2,479,682.40

New York has the second-highest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 148.2, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $99,187.30.

North Carolina

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $1,601,252.40

North Carolina has the 22nd-lowest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 95.7, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $64,050.10.

North Dakota

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $1,643,082.40

North Dakota has the 24th-lowest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 98.2, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $65,723.30.

Ohio

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $1,527,631.60

Ohio has the 13th-lowest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 91.3, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $61,105.26.

Oklahoma

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $1,470,742.80

Oklahoma has the third-lowest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 87.9, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $58,829.71.

Oregon

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $2,176,833.20

Oregon has the fifth-highest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 130.1, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $87,073.33.

Pennsylvania

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $1,715,030.00

Pennsylvania has the 19th-highest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 102.5, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $68,601.20.

Rhode Island

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $1,960,990.40

Rhode Island has the 9th-highest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 117.2, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $78,439.62.

South Carolina

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $1,566,115.20

South Carolina has the 18th-lowest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 93.6, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $62,644.61.

South Dakota

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $1,689.932.00

South Dakota has the 22nd-highest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 101, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $67,597.28.

Tennessee

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $1,489.148.00 

Tennessee has the sixth-lowest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 89, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $59,565.92.

Texas

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $1,541,017.20

Texas has the 15th-lowest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 92.1, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $61,640.59.

Utah

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $1,656,468.00

Utah has the 25th-lowest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 99, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $66,258.72.

Vermont

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $1,957,644.00

Vermont has the 10th-highest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 117, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $78,305.76.

Virginia

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $1,703,317.60

Virginia has the 21st-highest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 101.8, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $68,132.70.

Washington

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $1,867,291.20

Washington has the 13th-highest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 111.6, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $74,691.25.

West Virginia

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $1,514,246.00

West Virginia has the ninth-lowest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 90.5, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $60,569.84.

Wisconsin

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $1,612,964.80

Wisconsin has the 23rd-lowest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 96.4, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $64,518.59.

Wyoming

Suggested minimum FIRE number: $1,577,827.60

Wyoming has the 20th-lowest cost of living in the U.S. The cost of living index is 94.3, and the average annual cost of living in retirement is $63,113.10. 

Start Your FIRE Journey Today

The FIRE numbers mentioned here give you a ballpark estimate of how much it would cost to live in various parts of America. But your true FIRE number is the one that includes the lifestyle you want to live, both now and in the future. Challenge yourself to calculate this number today so you can put your financial independence journey into motion.