One of the biggest concerns for an aging Baby Boomer generation is where they should live once they retire. Using data from Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and other sources, Bankrate recently ranked all 50 U.S. states from best to worst for retirees.
Bankrate considered a wide range of variables, including cost of living, quality of health care, taxes, crime and overall well-being. The single common thread among the top 10 states on Bankrate’s list is cost of living. All 10 of the top names have a cost of living below the national average.
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Perhaps it comes as no surprise that the stressful and expensive city environment in New York makes it the worst state in which to retire. However, stereotypical retirement destinations Hawaii and Florida also came in surprisingly low in Bankrate’s list.
“Sure, it’s nice to escape frosty winters and feel that famous Florida sunshine, but beach weather isn’t the only thing retirees are looking for these days,” Bankrate’s Corie Hengst explains. “They also want a place where they can stretch their retirement savings and maintain a great quality of life.”
Traditional retirement states Florida and Hawaii came in 28th and 45th, respectively, in the list. Arizona, another popular retirement destination, fared a bit better by coming in at 9th place.
Best of the Best
Virginia was the fifth best retirement state in the country. The state’s low cost of living and low crime rate were two of its biggest strengths. In fact, its violent crime rate is now the fifth lowest in the country. The state also scored well on health care and weather.
Utah ranked as the fourth best retirement destination in the U.S. The state’s strengths include beautiful weather and high marks for personal well-being of its residents. Utah’s stunning national parks, lakes, mountains and canyons offer an exceptional opportunity for retirees to explore the natural beauty of the state. Even in Utah’s biggest city, Salt Lake City, average rent of $894 per month is well below the national average of $945.
Colorado also ranks near the top in terms of weather and personal well-being. Denver enjoys more than 300 days of sunshine per year. Much like Utah, Colorado offers a range of retirement activities, including golfing, skiing, museums and a number of spectacular parks and attractions. Finally, Colorado’s relatively low 8.9% tax burden means that retirees can get the most out of their money.
- South Dakota
Speaking of taxes, at a rate of only 7.1%, South Dakota has one of the lowest tax burdens in the country for retirees. In addition to its low taxes, South Dakota also scores highly on personal well-being. Although winters can be cold, the state gets an above-average amount of sunshine and sports some of the most spectacular scenery on the country.
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Wyoming tops Bankrate’s list of the best places to retire. Wyoming is among the best states in the country when it comes to crime rate, tax rate and personal well-being of its residents. Retirees enjoy plenty of sunshine and low humidity in the summer, as well as breathtaking destinations such as Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park and the Devils Tower National Monument.