Find the right place for the retirement It can be a big decision – not only are the cost of living and quality of healthcare top of mind, but so are other practical factors like safety, luxury and weather.
To find out the best places to live in retirement, Bankrate A new study examined each of these factors, ranking all 50 US states.
In a perhaps surprising result, first place went to Iowa. “With its vast farmland, peaceful countryside, and friendly locals, Iowa offers a unique retirement experience for many Americans looking for a more relaxed, affordable lifestyle with access to the outdoors and communities in retirement.” The study said.
The Hawkeye State is particularly attractive for its affordability and low housing costs, as well as a community of fellow retirees with 20 percent of the state being at least 65 years old.
Delaware came in second, thanks to its low taxes and high-quality health care. Third place went to West Virginia, also buoyed by affordability and low taxes.
The top 10 is rounded out by Missouri, Mississippi, Wyoming, Pennsylvania, Florida, Hawaii and Nebraska.
While warm-weather getaways like Florida may seem like traditional retirement options, experts say some unexpected places may offer a better quality of life.
“It’s important for people to feel excited about the next chapter of life.” Kerry Hannona retirement expert who wrote “In Control at 50+: How to Succeed in the New World of Work“,” He said in a statement, which encourages Americans not to rule out places that may “seem unlikely.” She continued, “It’s a new adventure, and you really have to take the time to do the prep work financially and personally so you can make smart decisions.”
While enjoying the comforts of home may seem like an easier way to go, moving can actually have tremendous economic benefits. “Maybe you can sell your house and move to a less expensive part of the country, and you don’t have to get a mortgage,” Hannon said. “You’re not necessarily moving for the sunlight, but maybe for the health care costs.”
Alaska, on the other hand, took last place, mostly due to its difficult weather and high cost of living. The other four states at the bottom of the list were also states with high costs of living: New York, California, Washington, and Massachusetts.
To determine the ratings, Bankrate evaluated affordability at the highest level using data from the Council for Community and Economic Research, the Tax Foundation, and ATTOM Data Solutions. The next highest factor was overall well-being, using the Sharecare Community Well-Being Index figures. Health care was also measured using Census Bureau data, along with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Office of the Actuary and Commonwealth Fund statistics. Finally, weather results were obtained from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as well as earthquakes from the USGS, while crime data came from an FBI report.