This State Tops the List for Retirement Bliss in 2019

One state trumps the rest based on affordability, quality of life and health care. But does it make sense to relocate for your golden years?

This State Tops the List for Retirement Bliss in 2019 Photo by TeodorLazarev / Shutterstock.com

The world may change, but at least one thing remains the same: Florida is still the top-ranked destination for retirees.

The perennial retirement favorite Sunshine State earned an overall score of 65.6 out of a possible 100 in terms of how retirement-friendly it is, according to a recent analysis by WalletHub.

In determining its rankings, WalletHub weighed 46 retirement-related factors centered on affordability, quality of life and health care.

Some of those factors include:

  • General cost of living
  • Tax friendliness
  • Share of the population that is age 65 and older
  • Mildness of weather
  • Physicians and dentists per capita

The states that made the top 10 — and their overall scores — are:

  1. Florida: 65.6 out of 100
  2. South Dakota: 63.72
  3. Colorado: 62.19
  4. New Hampshire: 61.8
  5. Virginia: 60.82
  6. Utah: 60.73
  7. Iowa: 60.41
  8. Wyoming: 60.13
  9. Pennsylvania: 59.94
  10. Minnesota: 59.88

Should you move during retirement?

Florida’s ranking at the top of the list of retirement destinations should be no surprise, considering that WalletHub found it’s more affordable to live in the Sunshine State than any other U.S. state. Finding an inexpensive place to live is a key consideration for many retirees, especially those living on fixed incomes.

Terri Holbrook, a lecturer in the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin, told WalletHub that such retirees need to carefully plan how they will spend money in retirement, saying:

“Develop a budget. Know exactly what inflows you have each month from pensions, Social Security, investments, etc. Do not count on stock market gains to fund basic living expenses.”

Of course, trading winter coats and snowflakes for flip-flops and pink flamingos might not make sense for everyone.

As we have reported in the past, staying put is often less costly than moving to a new location for your golden years.

Zillow says closing costs typically average 2 to 5 percent of your purchase price, adding thousands of dollars to your costs of buying a home in a new location, as we report in “7 Great Reasons Not to Move After You Retire.”

The article continues:

“And those costs don’t include the price of moving your belongings halfway across the country. Plus, unless you are paying cash, you likely will need a mortgage loan. Rates on such loans fell to historic lows during the Great Recession, but they have risen quite a bit since then — and may continue to do so. That means your next loan could be more expensive than your current one.”

So, before you pick up stakes, be sure to read “Don’t Retire Until You Answer These 4 Questions.”

If you carefully weigh all the pros and cons and still decide that moving is the right decision, weigh your options by reading “The 25 Best Places in the U.S. to Retire in 2019.”

And if you are adventurous enough to take relocation to the next level, check out “5 Overseas Cities Where You Can Retire on Less Than $37,000 a Year.”

Where do you plan to retire? Let us know in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Chris Kissell
Chris Kissell
I am the founder of Words At Work, LLC, a writing, editing and consulting company based in Colorado. In the past, I worked as senior editor at Bankrate and senior managing editor ... More

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