Many retirees look forward to spending their golden years in a log cabin retreat or relaxing by the ocean. But, if you are thinking of relocating when you retire, you better think about more than your view. A new study on the best state to retire in 2021 might have you rethinking your plans.
“While climate was one of the factors we looked at, from day to day, there is a lot more to a safe and happy retirement than whether or not it’s warm outside,” said Richard Barrington, Senior Financial Analyst for MoneyRates and the study’s author.
Barrington stressed that there is more for retirees than Florida and Arizona, which are often considered traditional retiree destinations. He also noted that general impressions don’t tell the entire story. It may surprise you that the study found that, as of now, Iowa and West Virginia are the most attractive states in the US to retire to.
“It pays to look at the data [because] you might overlook some good possibilities,” he said. “You might miss some of the potential drawbacks.”
MoneyRates evaluated the country’s best states for retirees for the 10th year in a row using 10 data sets across four major categories: economic factors (cost of living, property taxes, and unemployment), crime and safety (violent and property crime rates), lifestyle factors (older population and average temperatures), and health care conditions (nursing facility capability, life expectancy, and health care costs).
There are trade-offs for every location. Also, Barrington said selecting a retirement destination ultimately comes down to personal priorities, concerns, and circumstances.
Which is the best state to retire?
Tied for number one, Iowa and West Virginia might not come to the top of mind for retirement havens, but both score exceptionally high in a variety of cost-related factors — an appealing trait for financially-conscious retirees.
Iowa offers retirees a strong economy, boasting the third-lowest unemployment rate in the country. This may appeal to seniors looking for part-time work after they’ve retired from their primary career. The Hawkeye State also has an extensive nursing care facility network with large capacities to support the state’s older population.
West Virginia leads in affordability with its overall cost of living — 9.1% below the national average — and the third-lowest healthcare costs in the country. Residents in the Mountain State also have the benefit of the fifth-lowest average property tax burden in the country.
Arkansas and Mississippi (tied for No. 3); Florida and Kentucky (tied for No. 5); Connecticut (No. 7); Missouri (No. 8), and Alabama and Rhode Island (tied for No. 9) to round out the top 10.
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