You might think that a state’s weather would be a key attraction for retirees, but Bankrate.com’s new ranking of the best states for retirement shows that other factors make a bigger difference.
“You need a sophisticated understanding of what will make you happy in retirement,” according to Bankrate analyst Taylor Tepper.
People in these states “savor their day-to-day lives, feel financially secure and have a strong sense of community,” Tepper said. “These attributes may better determine what makes for a satisfying retirement than, say, warm weather.”
Bankrate constructed its rankings by examining seven categories pertinent to retirees, weighting those rankings based on the importance given to them by respondents to the firm’s 2017 survey: cost of living (20%), taxes (20%), health care quality (15%), weather (15%), crime (10%), cultural vitality (10%) and well-being (10%).
The survey found that 47% of Americans would consider moving when they retire.
Well-being encompassed how people felt about their community, friends, health and general purpose.
While taxes and cost of living were the most important factors, Tepper said, “people shouldn’t discount things like culture or even their sense of community. You don’t become a different person just because you turn 65.”
Citing recent research, he said, “It’s vital to have strong relationships with your friends and spouse and spend your money on leisure activities that bring you joy.”
The best states for retirement generally scored relatively well on cost of living and taxes but tended to move up or down based on their ranking in other categories.
For example, one popular warm-weather destination with low taxes had a relatively high crime rate and a subpar grade for health care, while a cold-weather state scored well on crime, health care and well-being.
Check out the gallery to see Bankrate’s 12 best states for retirement.