Another Top-10 List — Best States for Retirees

On June 15th of this year I summarized Kiplinger’s research of the Worst States for Retirees. This blog is the Best States for Retirees, again based on Kiplinger’s research utilizing an identical methodology to the former.

Where people retire will have economic implications on their incomes and ultimately lifestyle. Granted, family, friends and weather are also important issues. Household finances, however, will impact the economic comforts of retirees.

Kiplinger has evaluated and ranked the 10 best states in which to retire from a financial perspective. Factors included:

  • Average Health Care Costs – based on data from HealthView Services and includes Medicare, supplemental insurance, dental insurance and out-of-pocket costs for a 65-year old couple (both retired) expected to live to 87 and 89, husband and wife, respectively. This works out to an average $8,400 per person per year or $387,731 total in retirement per couple.
  • Ranking of state’s economic health by Mercatus Center at George Mason University, including revenue sources, debts, budgets, ability to fund pensions
  • Health of each state’s population aged 65 and up including 35 factors ranging from bad habits (smoking, for example) to hospital quality and home care nursing
  • Household incomes and poverty rates from U.S. Census Bureau plus other related demographic information

So where are 10 best states to retire according to Kiplinger?

7-1-16 table


To read the entire report of the 10 best states with state-specific details click

To read more on Kiplinger’s state tax ratings click

As said before, where one retires is not exclusively an economic issue. Family, weather, friends are often more important When, however, finances are considered, then some states can be financially challenging for retirees and others not so challenging.

Another stand-out metric, at least to me, was the cost of healthcare for retirees averaging $8,400 per person per year or $387,731 per couple over their entire retirement. In this top-10 group, only Florida exceeded this national average, and then only slightly.

What bothers me about this methodology, by ignoring climate and lifestyle factors, South Dakota becomes top-dog so-to-speak. Admittedly though, the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation forecasts that South Dakota will increase population by an average 0.86 percent per year from 2015 to 2020. That compares to the U.S. Census Bureau estimate of 0.82 percent growth per year for the entire country for the same period. Still, I do not see a mass migration to South Dakota just because of the financial positives for retirees.

For me, wherever I retire in the future will not have a state income tax. Some of the states even impose a state income tax on Social Security benefits. Be certain to read the details included in the Kiplinger article. Also high on my list is a state that is solvent and has sound fiscal policy allowing ongoing spending on infrastructure. Finally, having been raised on a ranch in Southwestern Colorado and feeding tons of hay in the winter at sub-zero temperatures, I also want to avoid any location that has material snow fall and cold. The ranch in the Texas Hill Country is looking pretty good right now for the future. No state income tax, no state deficit and pretty minimal snow and cold. But you do face comparably high property taxes and hot humid summers.

What state is on the top of your list?



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    South Dakota? Okay, well, after you see Rushmore, what do you do on the second day? Rough winters and old age don’t seem to go together.

    Florida I think for us. Probably the west coast. Florida is full of oddballs and even lots of crooks, but the zero state income tax, awesome beaches, warm ocean, and decent chance of the kid being able and willing to set up her life close are strong positives.

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