We admit that we enjoy reading all those “Best Places to Retire” lists that pop up on websites and in publications every week. Usually the lists are based on one single factor – cost of living, or weather, or housing prices. We’ve seen “top ten” lists that claim to include Best Small Towns, Best Big Cities, Best States for Low Taxes or Best Access to Health Care. But what’s your best place to retire?
As usual, the answer is, “It depends.”
This feature on the CNBC.com website intrigued us, and you can click on the link to read it. It’s called, “Can’t decide where to retire? This may help.” CNBC collaborated with Bankrate.com to come up with not one but several lists of top states for retirees based on a number of different factors, because no single list can possibly please everyone’s taste. In the words of the CNBC article, “What’s important to you, let’s say, like nice weather, may not matter to someone else. While looking at a general list may be useful to narrow potential locations, ultimately there’s no single place that works best for everyone.”
CNBC and Bankrate.com considered five overall factors important to retirees: health care, taxes, cost of living, crime rates, and weather. The article lists the top five states in each category, and as you scan the list you’ll find some surprises. One thing we noticed was that Washington and Oregon didn’t make any of the top five lists, and California appeared on only one: weather.
The first category, health care, is vitally important for seniors, say the experts, because too often retirees fail to adequately plan for rising health care costs. The CNBC article ranked states based on rates of disease prevention plus the opinions of citizens in each state, and found that New Hampshire tops the list. Wisconsin and Maine came in second and third. Surprisingly we saw no western state on the list.
What about taxes? It’s true that Washington is one of seven states with no income tax, but in these states, as we know, citizens generally pay other taxes that more than make up the difference. These are typically high sales taxes (Washington and Nevada are examples) or high property taxes (Texas). The list of states with the most advantageous tax rates overall includes Alaska, South Dakota and Wyoming, with Tennessee and Texas rounding out the top five.
The CNBC article goes on to list states with lowest overall cost of living (Mississippi, Idaho and Indiana are the top three), lowest crime rate (the safest states are Vermont, Idaho and Maine) and – a highly subjective category – best weather. Here the states that win the sweepstakes for most sunshine, lowest humidity, and lowest number of “extreme” days are New Mexico, California, Colorado, Nevada and Arizona.
While it’s fun to fantasize about where you’d love to live in retirement, the fact is that planning for your retirement future is no fantasy – it’s serious business. Fortunately we’re here to assist you. At Aging Options we have helped thousands of people get their retirement plans on track by working with them to develop what we call a LifePlan. We’ll help you consider your future health care needs, your housing options, and your financial plans. We’ll work with you to put your legal affairs in order and we’ll assist you in creating a solid communication plan with your family to help avoid future conflict. The bottom line is that you’ll approach retirement with confidence and peace of mind.
The best way to begin is by attending one of our free LifePlanning Seminars, held frequently in locations all around the Puget Sound region. Click on the Upcoming Events tab on this website. There you’ll find all the dates and times, and you can register for the seminar that works for you. Not only will you find this seminar highly enjoyable, but you’ll come away with valuable information to help you plan for a happier, more secure future – no matter where you decide to retire!
It will be our pleasure to work with you.
(originally reported at www.cnbc.com)