Best Places to Retire: Latest MoneyRates.com Survey Ranks Top States
Best States for Retirement 2011
The MoneyRates.com ranking of the best–and worst–states for retirement is back.
Your best place to retire depends on highly personal factors. You care about proximity of friends and family, cultural and natural attractions or maybe the presence of a favorite professional sports team. While no single set of factors can capture the diversity of individual preferences,
MoneyRates.com’s data-based ranking can give you a place to start.
This year, we took input from our readers to determine how different ranking factors should be weighted. MoneyRates.com ran a poll asking readers how important four major factors–economic indicators, climate, life expectancy and crime rates–should be in the retirement location decision. The results of that poll formed the basis for this year’s rankings.
Based on reader responses, economics determined 47 percent of a state’s final score, climate accounted for 33 percent, life expectancy determined 12 percent and crime accounted for 8 percent. Here are the 10 states that came out on top.
No. 2: Kentucky
Why it’s in the top 10: Though life expectancy is low, Kentucky scored above-average in all other categories. The Bluegrass State’s economic factors make it attractive to seniors with fixed incomes.
Economic factors: Kentucky tied with Iowa for the third-best score in this category. Unemployment is a bit high, but cost of living and tax burdens are among the lowest in the U.S.
Climate: Kentucky enjoys a moderate climate, which helped it to an above-average score in this category.
Life expectancy: At 75.2, this is one of America’s lowest, making life expectancy Kentucky’s only below-average category.
Crime: Violent and property crime rates are both below average in Kentucky.
About the rankings
MoneyRates.com evaluated states based on four major categories:
- Economics. This category included several factors. The state’s cost of living is a key consideration for retirees who often have their wealth in conservative investments and savings accounts. Tax rates were also part of this ranking–both general income and retirement income tax rates, since many retirees have both. Unemployment was also included as an important indicator of the overall economic health of an area. With more and more seniors continuing to work at least part-time, this factor is a relevant consideration even when choosing a retirement destination.
- Climate. There are warm-weather people and there are cold-weather people, but most seem to like moderation. A state’s climate score was based on the deviation of monthly temperatures from 68 degrees. The lower the deviation, the higher the ranking for the state.
- Life expectancy. While a number of factors, from genetics to lifelong habits, go into determining life expectancy, it is also an indicator of the health of an area’s environment and the quality of the medical care available.
- Crime. Both violent and property crimes were measured and ranked, and then those rankings were combined to come up with an overall crime rating.
In contrast to the best states for retirement, what are the states you might want to avoid? See our 10 worst states for retirement. Don’t see your state among the best or worst? Find out where your state ranks in the full 50-state list of the MoneyRates.com Best States for Retirement.