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Ranking retirement planning

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Posted: 4 pm ET

Minneapolis tops the list of the nation's 30 largest metropolitan areas in terms of retirement readiness, according to a retirement planning survey released today by Ameriprise Financial.

The survey measured the likelihood of residents in each metro area to have considered how much money they'll need to save for retirement and how effective they say they have been so far in reaching that goal. The survey also asked whether respondents have considered what they'll do post-retirement and how confident they are in their overall ability to reach their retirement goals, both lifestyle and financial.

Minneapolis ranked third in preparation and No. 1 in confidence. Raleigh-Durham, N.C., which came in second overall, ranked No. 1 in preparation and third in confidence.

Craig Brimhall, vice president  of retirement wealth strategies for Ameriprise, points out that none of these metro areas were hard hit by the recession, plus both have high education levels, which may make residents more likely to understand the importance of preparing for retirement.

The cities at the bottom of the 30-city ranking were Los Angeles (last in preparation and last in confidence), Indianapolis (29th in preparation and 28th in confidence) and Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, Fla., (28th in preparation and 24th in confidence) have all suffered economic setbacks in the last five years.

Some of the cities in the middle have very mixed results, including Washington, D.C., which ranks sixth for preparation and 29th for confidence; and San Francisco, which had a preparation ranking of fourth and a confidence ranking of 18th. Brimhall speculates that a high cost of living discourages people.

But Brimhall says even considering the negative effects of high unemployment and a lousy housing market, it surprises him that so many people say they haven't made any effort to figure out how much money they'll need in retirement. "Of course, I'm in the business, but it seems so obvious that it's an important thing to do. When are they going to get around to it?" he says.

That's a good question. Does anybody have a good answer?

If you're interested in seeing where your metro ranks, here's the whole list:

  1. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn. -- Preparation ranking, 3; Confidence ranking, 1
  2. Raleigh-Durham, N.C. -- 1, 3
  3. Nashville, Tenn. -- 16, 2
  4. Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto, Calif. -- 5, 6
  5. Seattle-Tacoma, Wash. -- 10, 4
  6. San Diego -- 11, 5
  7. Hartford-New Haven, Conn. -- 7, 7
  8. Denver -- 9, 8
  9. Baltimore -- 2, 16
  10. Boston -- 8, 13
  11. Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas -- 17,9
  12. San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, Calif. -- 4, 18
  13. Chicago -- 18, 10
  14. Houston -- 13, 17
  15. Atlanta -- 12, 19
  16. Phoenix -- 14, 20
  17. St. Louis -- 25, 11
  18. Pittsburgh - 20, 21
  19. Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla. -- 27, 12
  20. Miami-Fort Lauderdale -- 24, 15
  21. Detroit -- 26, 14
  22. Philadelphia -- 23, 22
  23. Washington D.C. -- 6, 29
  24. Portland, Ore -- 15, 26
  25. Cleveland-Akron, Ohio -- 21, 23
  26. New York -- 22, 25
  27. Charlotte, N.C. -- 19, 27
  28. Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, Fla. -- 28, 24
  29. Indianapolis -- 29, 28
  30. Los Angeles -- 30, 30
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