Here are top 10 most retirement friendly states in the U.S.
That Florida is the No. 1 destination for Americans to retire, according to recent data collected by WalletHub, may not be a shock. Interestingly, though, the Sunshine State is followed closely by two lesser-known retirement destinations.
Researchers at the personal-finance website analyzed all 50 states using stats from the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and other entities. The analysis ranked locales on a 100-point scale across three metrics: affordability, quality of life, and health care.
Virginia and Colorado ranked second and third, just behind Florida, the research shows. Both outrank it when it comes to health care, and both have comparable costs of living.
Based on the WalletHub findings, here are the top 10 most retirement-friendly U.S. states, based on their overall score. Their state rankings in individual metrics including affordability, quality of life, and health care.
9. New Hampshire (tie)
Total score: 54.17
Quality of life: 2
Health care: 8
How much money do I need to start investing?
Many experts recommend the 50-30-20 rule. Learn more here.
9. Arizona (tie)
Total score: 54.17
Quality of life: 32
Health care: 24
Total score: 54.23
Quality of life: 20
Health care: 26
Total score: 54.44
Quality of life: 18
Health care: 31
6. North Dakota
Total score: 54.51
Quality of life: 16
Health care: 16
Total score: 55.85
Quality of life: 3
Health care: 1
Total score: 56.34
Quality of life: 35
Health care: 15
Total score: 59.27
Quality of life: 21
Health care: 4
Total score: 59.32
Quality of life: 7
Health care: 13
Total score: 59.41
Quality of life: 5
Health care: 27
Watch out for ‘additional surprises’ when considering where to retire
Retirement may mark the end of your career, but it’s not the end of financial security considerations. If you’re worried about having enough for the future, moving to a lower-cost state could help your money last.
In the top three states on the list, the lower cost of living is a big draw. In the popular retirement city of Orlando, Florida, for example, the cost of living is 5% lower than the national average. In Richmond, Virginia, it’s 4% lower, and in Colorado Springs, Colorado, costs are 6% lower.
Keep in mind, however, how your other expenses may change. While “the cost of living in Florida can be cheaper than where you’re coming from, “especially if you are moving from a high-cost area, say, New York City,” says John A. Kilpatrick, Ph.D., managing director at real estate company Greenfield Advisors, “the typical salaries are lower as well,” which could be a concern if you decide to keep working.
“Plus, there [could be] some additional surprises,” he adds.
For example, in Florida, “you have to own a car. If you are coming from an area where auto usage is uncommon, you are going to have quite a shock. Mass transit is almost unknown,” he says.
Home prices in Florida, as well as in Virginia and Colorado, are above the norm. Compared to the national average of $320,662, according to Zillow, Florida homes are a slightly higher $342,077, while homes in Virginia and Colorado average $348,835 and $536,839, respectively.
While taxes or other costs may be lower in one place than another, Marcia Socas, a real estate broker in Central Florida, previously told Grow, look at all “facets of your expenses,” in order to avoid “saving in one area and spending significantly more in another.”
Don’t forget about your quality of life
Being happy where you are is a big deal. Before committing to a new place, experts suggest you visit or rent for a while to see if you like it. The right choice takes research and includes many personal factors other than money, like proximity to family and friends.
Only you can determine the best retirement destination for you in terms of satisfaction.