Friday, November 12, 2010

The Best and Worst Places to Retire

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

As I nudge ever closer to my retirement years, I am prone to contemplating just where I should spend those golden times.  I would like someplace where the weather isn't bitterly cold or continuously wet, a location where my meager savings and retirement checks will stretch as far as humanly possible, an area where I will be relatively safe, someplace with good doctors and easy access to health care, an area that values education and educated people, and someplace where the politicians aren't all bordering on being sociopaths.  Taking all of those criteria into account and overlaying them across a map of the United States, the best retirement option for me becomes obvious:  Europe!

But for those of us destined to spend our final impoverished days in America, Money Magazine has done the research for us.  That esteemed publication has just released lists of the ten best and worst places to retire in America.  They base their findings on economic factors, climate, crime rate, and life expectancy.  I found some of their results to be surprising.

According to Money Magazine, the ten worst states to retire in are:  10.  Arkansas (whose border is within 3 miles of my little farm in the Ozarks), 9. Missouri (where I own property and have family), 8. North Carolina (I always thought I would love to retire in the Blue Ridge Mountains, perhaps near Asheville), 7. Ohio (you can have it), 6. Tennessee (been there, done that), 5.  Maryland (talked my way out of a traffic ticket there once), 4. South Carolina  (Jim DeMint - 'nuff said), 3. Alaska (I don't want to have to worry about whack jobs flying overhead shooting elk from helicopters), 2. Michigan (where the best employment opportunities seem to be in criminal endeavors), and, the worst state for retirement...1. Nevada (where it would be way too easy to blow a meager pension on the slots or at the blackjack tables).

Nevada was at the bottom of the chart because its cost of living is high - 105% of the national average, unemployment is high at 14.3%, and it has the third highest violent crime rate in the nation along with the 13th highest property crime rate.  It's life expectancy is a low 75.8 years.  It doesn't sound like the sort of place where an old person could rest easy at night.

At the other end of the spectrum, the good end, the top ten states for retirement according to Money Magazine are:  10.  Idaho (Idaho!  I guess the Mormons and militias take care of their own!), 9. Vermont (maple syrup and common sense), 8. Connecticut (New York City's bedroom), 7. Utah (again with the Mormons and militias!), 6. Virginia (with lots of battlefields and historic trails for old people to walk), 5. Iowa (corn and beef, beef and corn), 4. North Dakota (frigid temps but life expectancy is is 78.3 years - and crime is almost non-existent), 3. South Dakota (low cost of living, low unemployment, and, like its neighbor to the north, crime is almost non-existent), 2. Hawaii (expensive, but it is paradise, after all), and the best state for retirement...1. New Hampshire (where it may be colder than hell in the winter, but the locals can stay home by the fire because there is nothing to do in town anyway).

The cost of living in New Hampshire is 89 percent  of the national average.  It is 48th in the nation in both violent crime and property crime, and the life expectancy is 78.3 years - a full two-and-one-half years longer than the average life span of Nevadans.

All things considered, most people tend to wind up close to home, where family is near and where they feel comfortable.  Straying too far from home during the closing pages of one's life would be about as silly as moving overseas after the age of sixty!


Reed said...

The worst place to retire is Nevada...figures.

Mandy said...

Do you know where I can find a link to that Money Magazine article online? Thanks for the info!


Pa Rock's Ramble said...

Mandy, Here is the link for the piece on the best places to retire. If you go there, it will provide a link on the worst places to retire.

Rocky Macy