50 U.S. States Ranked By How Attractive They Are for Retirement. There Are Some Big Surprises on the List

50 U.S. States Ranked By How Attractive They Are for Retirement. There Are Some Big Surprises on the List

This is an amazingly honest advertising slogan, and I salute the state for its candor. But honestly, it's probably not for me -- despite the fact

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This is an amazingly honest advertising slogan, and I salute the state for its candor.

But honestly, it’s probably not for me — despite the fact that a new study says it’s a truly great state to retire in..

If you’re expecting to see Florida and Arizona at the top of the list: Nope. Nebraska is number 1. 

Here’s where all 50 states fared on the list. I guarantee you’ll be surprised.

Top Tier:    (1-4) Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, South Dakota

All four of these are big surprises, at least from an anecdotal point of view. Ask most people to name an older person living in #1 Nebraska, and they’d possibly answer Warren Buffett, who is anything but retired. 

Individual state superlatives here include Missouri, which comes in as the #1 most affordable state in which to retire, plus Nebraska and South Dakota, which come in 8th and 10th for wellness. 

Giant drawback: If your goal is to make money, retire, and kick back on a beach, there ain’t no beach in these states.

Rest of the top 10:  (5-10) Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, Kansas, Montana, Hawaii

The scandal of this entire ranking is that Hawaii isn’t somehow number-1. It’s where I plan to retire, for sure. (This is how we learn if my wife reads my articles, by the way.) However, despite being #1 for weather, #9 for wellness and #9 for culture, it’s #45 for affordability. So maybe that’s an issue.

Florida is #5 overall, which is not a big surprise to anyone who has spent time in Florida, even though it’s actually right in the middle of the country for affordability, at #25. 

The B+s: (11-19) Arkansas, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Vermont, New Hampshire, Alabama, Texas, Idaho, and Mississippi

These states all have strong quantifiable characteristics. 

Vermont and New Hampshire are tied for the least crime in the country, rank #1 and #3 for wellness, and rank #3 and #4 for culture. But as someone who spends a lot of time in New Hampshire I can tell you: they get very cold.

As for southern states like Alabama and Arkansas: I can see the appeal from a weather and cost of living standpoint. Texas is probably insulted to be included in a category with any other state.

The “Oh, do you have family there?” states:  (20-30) Wyoming, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Michigan, West Virginia, Ohio, Rhode Island, Georgia, Indiana, Connecticut

This is the middle of the pack, and again, some surprises. I actually grew up in two of these states and then lived in a third (Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut), so I feel like a bit of an expert. I will say, Rhode Island does sure seem to have a lot of retired people.

Superlatives include Michigan somehow winding up as the #1 most affordable state in the U.S. for retirees according to Bankrate. Indiana is ranked third, and Ohio is fifth. 

Also, Massachusetts is ranked fourth for wellness and ninth for culture. 

Overall however, I suspect people who pick these states to retire in likely have ties already. It’s just that they don’t choose to leave.

The ‘Thank God for Maryland states’ (#41 to 50) Maine, Delaware, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Utah, Louisiana, New Mexico, Arizona, Virginia, Minnesota

What’s fascinating about this part of the list is that, so often, when we look at lists of the happiest or healthiest states, we find some of the states that are down here toward the end of the list for retirees.

Minnesota, especially, and Colorado. 

Maine ranks first for culture and third for low crime. Arizona ranks 10th for weather. (But it’s a dry heat, they say.)  

The bottom quint:  (41 to 50) South Carolina, New Jersey, California, Oregon, Nevada, Washington, Illinois, Alaska, New York

Cost of living just kills several of these states at the end of the list, which makes it challenging for many retirees.

Anyway, that’s why people apparently would want to avoid retiring in New Jersey (48th least affordable), California (49th least affordable), or New York (least affordable state for retirement among the 40 states).

Also interesting is the inclusion of states that many people might like to visit in retirement, which apparently don’t make great candidates for places to actually live in retirement: Alaska and Nevada, plus maybe Oregon especially.

And Maryland, poor Maryland, ranks dead last out of the 50 states as a retirement destination. Blame it on the poor rankings for affordability (47), culture (42), crime (33) or wellness (37). 

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

This article is from Inc.com

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