The Cost to Retire Happy Around The World

The Cost to Retire Happy

For millions of people around the world, retirement can feel like a lifetime away - but there comes a time when every 20-something year old will need to decide on a robust financial plan to truly prepare for a happy retirement. But just how much exactly do you need to retire happy?

A new study by Audley Villages has analysed the happiest cities in the world to reveal the key to a happy retirement. The study reveals the average length of retirement and life expectancy, unveiling how much cost of living and retirement savings has to do with the happiness level of your retirement.

 
 
 


Study Reveals the Happiest People in the World Retire With $288,240! 

cost to retire happy

Just how content are the world’s happiest retirees? Analysing the average savings needed by retirement in the top 10 happiest countries in the world, the study reveals you need to have $288,240.

With a score of 7.8 it is no surprise that Helsinki, Finland's capital, comes out as the happiest place to live out your retirement. You’d need to have $252,599 saved up by 65 to make this happen.

Following closely with a happiness index of 7.6 is Copenhagen and Geneva where you’d need $291,459 and a whopping $422,478 respectively to enjoy a happy later life.

If you’re looking for the cheapest city out of the top 10 cities to retire happy, head to Wellington where residents will need to have saved a more achievable $206,228 by 65.


This Is How Much You Need to Save and Earn to Retire in the Top 20 Happiest Cities

Rank

City

Average Life Expectancy

Average Retirement Savings

Annual Salary

Cost of Living

Happiness Index

1

Helsinki

81.7

$252,599

$36,192

$1,260

7.8

2

Copenhagen

80.8

$291,459

$44,491

$1,537

7.6

3

Geneva

83.4

$422,478

$77,175

$1,913

7.6

4

Reykjavik

82.9

$309,921

$35,744

$1,443

7.5

5

Oslo

82.3

$312,441

$40,919

$1,505

7.5

6

Amsterdam

82.1

$289,877

$41,151

$1,413

7.4

7

Stockholm

82.7

$277,280

$35,331

$1,305

7.4

8

Wellington

82.1

$206,228

$39,319

$1,005

7.3

9

Vienna

81.4

$238,453

$30,515

$1,212

7.3

10

Luxembourg

82.1

$281,665

$53,081

$1,373

7.2

11

Toronto

82.3

$208,227

$37,769

£1,003

7.2

12

Sydney

83.3

$291,545

$49,042

£1,328

7.2

13

London

81.2

$227,033

$43,266

$1,168

7.2

14

Jerusalem

82.8

$319,554

$27,988

$1,496

7.1

15

San José

80.1

$179,140

$10,164

$989

7.1

16

Dublin

82.1

$301,443

$35,607

$1,469

7.1

17

Berlin

81.2

$231,867

$34,914

$1,193

7.1

18

Washington DC

78.9

$237,086

$65,520

$1,421

6.9

19

Prague

79.2

$154,051

$15,869

$904

6.9

20

Brussels

81.5

$239,933

$33,640

$1,212

6.9

 


 Study Reveals the Top 10 Happiest US Cities Have $209,648 in Retirement Savings

Happiest Place to Retire

Planning on retiring in the US? To retire with the most savings head to Hawaii where America’s happiest residents (score of 6.8 out of 10) save up to $304,591 in retirement savings before 65. But beware, with a high monthly cost of living at $1,467, being savvy with managing your retirement fund is crucial in order to save responsibly.

Utah, Minnesota and North Dakota follow as the happiest states to retire in with average required retirement savings ranging between $182,810 to $239,599.

New Yorkers, notably with one of the highest average salaries in America, can expect to save up to $296,211 prior to retiring, however, with a high cost of living ($1,514) setting your priorities straight with savings in the city is crucial.

Analysing the top 10 overall happiest US states, retirees save on average $209,648 in order to retire happily - suggesting to retire happy here, you should aim to as well!


This Is How Much You Need to Save and Earn to Retire in the Top 25 Happiest US States

Rank

State

City

Average Life Expectancy

Average Retirement Savings

Annual Salary

Cost of Living

Happiness Index

1

Hawaii

Honolulu

82

$304,591

$40,989

$1,467

6.8

2

Utah

Salt Lake City

80

$182,810

$45,564

$1,022

6.8

3

Minnesota

Minneapolis

81

$239,599

$50,894

$1,256

6.7

4

North Dakota

Fargo

80

$186,664

$38,628

$1,044

6.6

5

California

Los Angeles

82

$254,841

$55,255

$1,279

6.3

6

Idaho

Boise

79

$169,455

$34,614

$988

6.3

7

Maryland

Baltimore

79

$198,214

$43,180

$1,171

6.2

8

Iowa

Des Moines

79

$180,688

$40,410

$1,046

6.1

9

South Dakota

Sioux Falls

79

$184,541

$42,228

$1,091

6.1

10

Nebraska

Omaha

80

$195,075

$39,351

$1,113

5.9

11

Wisconsin

Milwaukee

79

$216,261

$33,792

$1,252

5.9

12

Connecticut

Hartford

81

$230,717

$29,292

$1,209

5.8

13

New Jersey

Newark

80

$222,538

$42,501

$1,204

5.8

14

New York

New York City

81

$296,211

$68,459

$1,514

5.7

15

Virginia

Richmond

80

$186,754

$40,628

$1,073

5.7

16

Massachusetts

Boston

81

$248,617

$60,460

$1,337

5.7

17

Washington

Seattle

80

$258,343

$71,954

$1,398

5.6

18

Colorado

Denver

81

$221,902

$53,000

$1,193

5.5

19

Georgia

Atlanta

78

$187,186

$61,588

$1,219

5.5

20

North Carolina

Charlotte

78

$188,520

$50,117

$1,208

5.4

21

Arizona

Phoenix

80

$191,815

$43,005

$1,073

5.3

22

Texas

Houston

79

$180,068

$49,447

$1,064

5.3

23

Illinois

Chicago

79

$216,525

$51,054

$1,262

5.2

24

New Hampshire

Concord

80

$184,475

$34,667

$1,060

5.2

25

Kansas

Wichita

79

$162,096

$33,938

$1,001

5.2


Melbourne Revealed as the Best City in the World to Retire in, Followed by Rio de Janeiro and Helsinki

Best City to Retire 

When taking into account not only the happiest but the most affordable places to retire around the world, Melbourne came in first with an overall score of 6.6 out of 10 as a happy retirement destination.

In order to make the most of retirement in Australia, retirees will need an average of $250,829 in savings in order to have the happiest retirement in the world. Shockingly, this is also a whopping you would need $172,110 more in savings compared to second placed Rio de Janeiro, scoring a 6.6 out of 10 overall.

Helsinki, Sydney and Dubai follow to complete the top 5 with overall ratings ranging between 6.5 and 6.4. However, pensioners will need to have saved between $77,796 and $253,715 to be a happy retiree.

Moscow also ranks in at 10th place with a happiness score of 5.5 out of 10, but retirees here will only need about $63,852 in their piggy banks to a happy retirement in this capital city. London also ranks in at 17th place, with a score of 6.1 out of 10 residents here will need to earn at least $43,457 and save a minimum of $267,678 to make the most of retirement in the British English capital.


Top 25 Best International Cities for Retirement

Rank

City

Average Life Expectancy

Average Retirement Savings

Happiness Index

Annual Salary

Cost of Living

Overall Ranking

1

Melbourne

83.3

$249,906

7.2

$43,229

£875

6.6

2

Rio de Janeiro

75.7

$77,796

6.4

$4,189

£466

6.6

3

Helsinki

81.7

$253,715

7.8

$36,352

£974

6.5

4

Sydney

83.3

$273,433

7.2

$46,946

£958

6.4

5

Dubai

77.8

$176,990

6.8

$35,110

£886

6.4

6

Belfast

82.1

$208,806

7.1

$27,259

£783

6.4

7

Prague

79.2

$154,732

6.9

$15,939

£699

6.4

8

Luxembourg

82.1

$282,910

7.2

$53,315

£1,061

6.4

9

Berlin

81.2

$232,892

7.1

$35,069

£922

6.3

10

Moscow

72.4

$63,606

5.5

$10,880

£551

6.2

11

Bucharest

75.9

$103,230

6.1

$10,039

£607

6.2

12

Minsk

74.6

$70,137

5.5

$5,487

£468

6.2

13

Vilnius

75.7

$112,606

6.2

$13,643

£675

6.2

14

Vienna

81.4

$239,507

7.3

$30,650

£936

6.2

15

Edinburgh

81.2

$228,037

7.2

$28,925

£902

6.2

16

Manila

71.1

$61,212

6.0

$5,343

£643

6.1

17

London

81.2

$267,678

7.2

$43,457

£1,059

6.1

18

Warsaw

78.5

$137,280

6.2

$12,887

£652

6.1

19

Budapest

76.7

$116,499

6.0

$10,469

£638

6.1

20

Brussels

81.5

$240,993

6.9

$33,789

£936

6.0

21

Copenhagen

80.8

$292,747

7.6

$44,688

£1,188

6.0

22

Stockholm

82.7

$278,506

7.4

$35,487

£1,009

6.0

23

Amsterdam

82.1

$291,158

7.4

$41,333

£1,091

6.0

24

Kuala Lumpur

76.1

$108,216

5.4

$12,354

£625

5.8

25

Oslo

82.3

$313,822

7.5

$41,100

£1,163

5.8

 


Hong Kong Was Revealed as the Worst City to Be a Happy Retiree, With Residents Needing $336,469 Saved Before 65

The Worst City to Retire

The study revealed that Hong Kong is the worst capital city in the world to spend your retirement. Scoring only a 5.5 on the happiness index alongside an overall score of a disappointing 4.6, one would still need a shocking $336,469 in savings.

Tokyo, Japan doesn’t score much better with an overall score of 4.7 respectively whilst still having a high retirement price tag of $341,671. Following suit is Singapore with an overall score of 4.8 and a slightly better happiness rating of 6.4 which would set your savings back by $368,811.


Top 25 Worst International Cities for Retirement

Rank

City

Average Life Expectancy

Average Retirement Savings

Happiness Index

Annual Salary

Cost of Living

Overall Ranking

1

Hong Kong

84.7

$336,469

5.5

$35,846

£1,095

4.6

2

Tokyo

84.5

$341,671

5.9

$35,518

£1,123

4.7

3

Singapore

83.8

$368,811

6.4

$43,139

£1,258

4.8

4

Seoul

82.8

$293,225

5.9

$30,475

£1,056

5.0

5

Delhi

69.4

$42,959

3.6

$6,222

£626

5.0

6

Monaco

89.4

$520,963

6.7

$73,655

£1,369

5.0

7

Athens

82.1

$211,986

5.5

$11,108

£795

5.1

8

Rome

83.6

$287,137

6.4

$20,393

£990

5.1

9

Split

78.3

$164,942

5.5

$10,071

£795

5.3

10

Phnom Penh

69.6

$54,759

4.8

$3,538

£763

5.3

11

Mumbai

69.4

$29,623

3.6

$617

£432

5.3

12

Columbo

76.8

$95,773

4.3

$3,678

£520

5.3

13

Paris

82.5

$299,527

6.7

$35,133

£1,097

5.4

14

Tirana

77.8

$116,683

4.9

$5,191

£584

5.4

15

Lisbon

81.9

$200,382

5.9

$14,081

£760

5.5

16

Bangkok

76.9

$148,256

6.0

$8,738

£799

5.5

17

Karachi

67.1

$11,774

5.7

$2,513

£359

5.5

18

Marrakech

76.5

$106,470

5.1

$5,099

£593

5.6

19

Ho Chi Minh

75.3

$103,423

5.4

$4,851

£644

5.6

20

Dhaka

72.3

$64,093

4.8

$3,616

£563

5.6

21

Sofia

74.9

$98,283

5.1

$9,802

£636

5.6

22

Madrid

83.4

$240,611

6.4

$22,793

£838

5.7

23

Shanghai

76.1

$118,661

5.1

$17,892

£685

5.7

24

Kiev

72

$54,868

4.6

$6,660

£502

5.7

25

Istanbul

78.3

$105,087

5.1

$5,110

£506

5.8

 


Want to retire happy? Here are our top 10 tips:

You’ve reached retirement, but what now? You suddenly have all this time and freedom on your hands, but how can you make sure you make the most of it and, above all, retire happy? Here are our 10 tips on retiring happy in 2021.

1. Plan ahead
What do you want to do with your newly earned free time, where would you like to spend it and with whom? Starting retirement prepared with a clear plan in mind will not only help you ease into it, it will also prevent feeling overwhelmed and pressured with the abundance of time you suddenly have on your hands.

2. Take it slow
It will take some time to adjust to your new life. Give yourself the time to adapt to it and address the feelings that come with the situation. Don’t dive in head first with multiple volunteering positions, feeling pressured into ticking off a to-do list and having to fill in all the time you have immediately. Start small and enjoy your new found freedom.

3. Invest in —and keep up with— meaningful social connections
It doesn’t matter if you’re a lone wolf or a super social extrovert, meaningful relationships are important for everyone, also after retirement. It gives strength and provides happiness when you have people around you who you connect with. They’ll be there for advice, sharing of thoughts and dreams and can tag along with any plans you make. When progressing into retirement, it is possible to lose all your social connections in one go. It isn’t without reason that the value of a social environment is the number one reason for people to delay their retirement.

4. Create a bucket list
We all have dreams, but when life gets busy they can sometimes fade into the background. But having entered this new phase in your life, with more time on your hands and less worry on your mind, it’s time to let those dreams resurface. You’re never too old to fulfil them, right? Think about the things you have always wanted to do, make a list and take active steps to achieve them. Maybe plan that long trip abroad you’ve always wanted to make or take up photography.

5. Stay healthy and active
If you don’t have a go-to sport or physical activity yet, this would be a good moment to pick one. It’s not only good to keep your mind and body healthy, it can also be an excellent way of meeting new people.

6. Keep your mind young
An active mind will stay young and healthy. Master a new skill by enrolling in a course for example to become fluent in a new language, learn to play an instrument or keep up with technology.

7. Enjoy the little things
Nothing is as important as appreciating the small joys in life. They make us happy and let us thrive for a prosperous life; we’re thankful for them. These little things will be different for everybody, they can be anything. The laughter of your grandchildren during a day of babysitting them, feeling the sun on your face on a bright summer day or the smell of fresh coffee in the morning. Take moments to really be aware of these things and cherish them.

8. Enjoy being home
A vast majority of tips for a happy retirement will include the idea to travel. But being able to appreciate being home and enjoy your direct environment can be even more valuable. Enjoy sitting in the sun in your garden, go for a walk around the block with your dog (or the neighbours), read a book or invite a neighbour over for a cup ofpa tea. Perhaps there’s some work to be done in or around the house, this is the excellent time to roll up your sleeves and get it done.

9. Importance of structure
Of course you won’t stick to the same daily schedule as before, but it’s important to keep some structure in your life. Don’t sleep in too much or not on a daily basis, schedule weekly activities and tasks you want to get done, set appointments and try to stick to a fixed time for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

10. Speak up about it
Discuss the changes and your plans with your partner or other people close to you. They may have alternative ideas and may know you even better than you do yourself. Moreover, now that you are at home more often, things will also change in your joint rhythm. Now that you have entered this new phase, make sure that you think the same about how you plan your pension.

What is a retirement village?

With Audley you stay firmly in control, with complete freedom and independence to live the life you choose. You buy and own your own retirement home, in a beautiful and secure environment, and because it is your house, you don’t have to give up the things you love, including your pets.


Sources and Methodology

In order to calculate the cost of retirement happiness we took the happiest cities and countries and US states from the World Happiness Report, and analysed each city's monthly living costs, average salary, and average life expectancy to calculate the average retirement savings required. All costs shown are in USD.

To calculate the best and worst cities for retirement, we ranked the best cities based on these factors in a scored ranking of each data column to reveal the best overall cities when analysing both happiness and cost related metrics.

This study analysed over 56 countries and 50 US states. For the full research on all the cities, please get in touch.


Notes to Editors

If you’re interested in covering our study, we only ask to please refer back to this study with a link to this post.

PR contact: sarah.fleming@kaizen.co.uk

While the decision to move will always be a significant one, downsizing can be a sensible and positive move for many homeowners. As well as freeing those with larger properties from the responsibilities of high monthly outgoings and extensive upkeep, it can also release equity. Take a look at our downsizing guide for helpful tips and advice.