For middle-aged and older Americans pondering where they want to spend their golden years, many factors come into play, from available healthcare options to taxes and weather. So thorough, data-based reports that help winnow down options in one’s retirement research can be very helpful.
WalletHub’s 2023’s Best States to Retire list not only shares state rankings but also the factors it used to create its lineup.
The top five states to retire, according to the site, are Virginia, Florida, Colorado, Wyoming and Delaware, in that order. You can see the rest of the state rankings in WalletHub’s report.
WalletHub uses 47 “key indicators” in three areas — affordability, quality of life and healthcare — to calculate its rankings.
Affordability includes factors like adjusted cost of living, tax-friendliness, and the cost of in-home services and adult day care.
Quality-of-life factors include the risk of social isolation, elderly food insecurity, crime rates, access to public transportation, weather mildness, air and water quality, and the number of recreation venues, like museums, available. It even looked at the share of residents who like to do favors for their neighbors.
Healthcare factors include the number of adults fully vaccinated for COVID-19, the number of medical professionals and facilities per capita, those over 65 who are physically active, and life expectancy, among other metrics.
WalletHub also drew upon six experts in fields like aging and finance, who addressed questions like what common mistakes are made in planning for retirement and how recent inflation might affect people’s retirement plans.
“Retirement can be socially and sometimes financially isolating, some may realize that moving too far away from your social circle may be more costly emotionally and financially,” Tunde Odusami, an associate professor in finance at Widener University, told WalletHub.
And University of Florida professor Stephen Golant points out that family members are often the primary caregivers for the elderly.
“Consequently, retirees may want to tolerate a location with more expensive housing options and higher taxes because they can live close to a trusting and caring adult daughter, daughter-in-law, or son who can help them stay in their homes (age in place) despite their mobility or health problems,” Golant told WalletHub.
WalletHub’s list is one of the “best places to retire” lists that come out regularly.
Another recent retirement list, The Motley Fool’s “The Best States to Retire, Based on What People Really Want,” puts Ohio at the top of the rankings and has half of its top 10 states in the Midwest. Iowa, Minnesota, Florida and Nebraska round out the top five.
That list is based on a survey of 1,500 U.S. residents over 55 who reported that “high quality of life, low housing cost, high healthcare quality, reasonable healthcare costs, low crime rate, good public health, and low taxes were the highest-ranking factors” for them in considering where to retire.
Bankrate’s 2022 best and worst states for retirement list uses affordability, wellness, culture, weather and crime to make its list, weighing affordability as the biggest factor. Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio and Missouri are in its top five.
What’s the most important factor for you when considering retirement?