What is the Top State for Retirement?

Retirement-life-1385597“How do you choose where to retire?”

People nearing or just beginning their retirement may have plenty of life experience under their belts, but many are enjoying at least one brand-new feeling: a sense of freedom. At 60, the majority of people shift from saying where they live is determined by their responsibilities—like family and work obligations—to saying they’re free to live wherever they’d like. That’s according to a survey by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave, a research firm focused on the aging population. Many retirees do actually relocate. A total of 64% have moved or anticipate moving in retirement.

Kiplinger says, in its article “The 20 Best States for Your Retirement,” that many factors come into play— such as proximity to family and weather preferences.  However, the article leaves personal preferences out; focusing on the financial angle.

All 50 states are ranked for retirement based on quantitative factors, determining that the best states for retirees will have low living costs and lesser tax burdens, and quality health care options. Kiplinger also sought out states that are healthy—both economically (with well-balanced state budgets) and physically (with a fit and active senior population). They also looked at states with relatively prosperous residents age 65 and over.

The rankings can be seen from the link to the article (above), but here are the factors that should be considered when making decisions on where to relocate:

  • Taxes on retirees, based on Kiplinger’s Retiree Tax Map, which divides states into five categories: Most Tax Friendly, Tax Friendly, Mixed, Not Tax Friendly and Least Tax Friendly;
  • The state’s cost-of-living, with data provided by Sperling’s Best Places. That includes overall costs—across all age groups—for housing, food and groceries, transportation, utilities, health care and miscellaneous expenses;
  • The average health care costs in retirement from HealthView Services. This includes Medicare, supplemental insurance, dental insurance, and out-of-pocket costs for a 65-year-old couple who are both retired and are expected to live to 87 (husband) and 89 (wife);
  • The rankings of each state’s economic health from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. These are based on various factors such as state governments’ revenue sources, debts, budgets, and abilities to fund pensions, health-care benefits and other services;
  • The rankings of the health of each state’s population of residents 65 and over from the United Health Foundation. These are based on 34 factors, ranging from residents’ bad habits to the quality of hospital and nursing home care available in the state;
  • Household incomes and poverty rates from the U.S. Census Bureau; and
  • Population data, including the percentage of the population that is age 65 and older, from the Census Bureau. Note that these statistics are highlighted in the rankings for the readers’ benefit, but weren’t factors in Kiplinger’s methodology for ranking the states.

Reference: Kiplinger (May 10, 2018) “The 20 Best States for Your Retirement”