The movie “Field of Dreams” once posed the question: Is Iowa heaven? While it may not be heavenly, a recent study by BankRate has crowned Iowa as the best state to retire in, dethroning Florida from its long-held top spot. Iowa excelled in various areas including affordability, low crime rates, and high-quality, affordable healthcare.
According to BankRate analyst Alex Gailey, it’s crucial not to overlook unlikely retirement destinations. The economy has undergone significant changes, and long-term inflation has had a profound impact on retirement plans. More than half of working Americans feel financially behind on their retirement goals, making affordability a key consideration, particularly for those living on a fixed income.
Iowa, which ranked 14th in the previous year’s study, has not only climbed to the top position this year but has also earned impressive rankings in terms of cost of living, state health system performance, healthcare costs per capita, population density of adults aged 65 and older, and combined state and local sales tax rates.
Joining Iowa in the top five are Delaware, West Virginia, Missouri, and Mississippi. Gailey highlights that Florida, Georgia, and Arizona no longer dominate the highest ranks due to soaring living costs and an increasingly competitive housing market in these states. As a result, they have become unaffordable for many retirees. Florida, for example, dropped to eighth place this year from its previous first-place ranking.
While the top-ranking states provide an excellent starting point for soon-to-be retirees and current retirees searching for new locations, Gailey recommends exploring different options. The Midwest and South offer more affordable living compared to the higher cost of living in the Northeast and West. Therefore, those looking to make the most of their retirement funds may want to consider these regions.
If you desire scenic views, low taxes, proximity to a major airport, and diverse outdoor living, BankRate’s study can point you in the right direction. You can also explore new updates that provide results by county and allow filtering by political climate and snowfall levels. By carefully considering these factors, you can make an informed decision about the ideal place to spend your golden years.
Retiring in Your Dream Location
Retirement is a deeply personal journey, and your choices will depend on your unique circumstances. While affordability may not play a significant role if you have a paid-off home in an expensive area, it could be a deciding factor if you sell your property and relocate to a lower-cost region. The key is to find what works best for you.
According to a recent study by BankRate, different states excel in various aspects relevant to retirees. For affordability, West Virginia takes the crown, while Colorado ranks highest in terms of quality and cost of healthcare. Hawaii boasts the best well-being and weather conditions, while New Hampshire shines as the state with the least crime rate.
Climate change was not explicitly considered in the study, but weather patterns and natural disasters were taken into account. These factors held a 10% weight in the study. However, the most influential factor, carrying a weight of 40%, was affordability.
On the other side of the spectrum, Alaska ranks at the bottom for retirees. It struggled with unfavorable weather, high crime rates, unaffordability, subpar quality and cost of healthcare, and poor well-being. New York, California, Washington, and Massachusetts also found themselves at the bottom of the list.
The geographical divide is evident in the overall rankings. The top five states for retirees are situated in the Midwest and the South, while the bottom five are clustered in the Northeast and the West. These disparities primarily stem from differences in the cost of living.
Gailey, a spokesperson for BankRate, acknowledges that many Americans find a comfortable retirement seemingly out of reach. If you are considering a late-life relocation to lower your cost of living during retirement, these rankings can provide valuable insights.