Your retirement life is sacred ground. You know my favorite advice, to your dismay, is to work as long as you can and put off retirement. That doesn’t mean you need to give up your dreams. You just need to be creative. Can you do remote work? Wherever you choose to go, familiarize yourself with my Super States, rent for a year to make sure it’s a good fit, and downsize. Don’t worry the kids will visit.
Bankrate.com just came out with its annual ranking of the best places to retire, and you won’t be surprised by the top three. According to Bankrate.com, the best three states for retirement are:
According to Bankrate’s study, Georgia is the best state to retire, followed by Florida, Tennessee, Missouri and — surprisingly — Massachusetts. Maryland, on the other hand, held last place in our ranking. The state was dragged down by a lack of affordability and by mediocre scores on culture and weather.
Why should retirees pull the moving van off Interstate 75 and unpack in Georgia? Affordability is one big selling point. The state combines a low cost of living and a light tax burden to rank No. 3 in affordability.
Weather is another strong point. The state has an average annual temperature of 64 degrees, fifth-warmest in the nation. Earthquakes are rare, and tornado risk is about average. The one downside is hurricanes — Georgia’s small coastline puts it at risk of tropical cyclones.
Georgia places in the middle of the pack in our rankings of wellness and crime. The state’s only weak spot is in the culture category — the Peach State has one of the nation’s lowest percentages of over-65 residents, and it ranks near the bottom in arts and entertainment establishments per capita, based on a Bankrate analysis of Census data.
- Florida: The Sunshine State has long been a haven for retirees. If you like a warm climate, Florida has the second-hottest temps, right behind Hawaii. However, the high incidence of hurricanes and tornadoes hurts Florida’s weather ranking. The state scores well on culture (No. 15). If you’re looking for retirement-age friends, you’ll have a good chance of finding them in this state where 21 percent of the population is 65 and older. That’s the second-largest share of 65+ folks of any state, Census data show. And Florida finished so close to Georgia in our ranking that the results were nearly a draw.
- Tennessee: This state ranks No. 1 in affordability, thanks to the combination of below-average living costs and a small burden from local and state taxes. Tennessee’s weather also is near the head of the class. Its rankings in crime and wellness drag down its overall score.
These states should be no surprise to you. They are in one of America’s Growth Corridors, the top destination for Americans fleeing high taxation, high cost of living, and burdensome government regulations dictated by governors gone wild.
Action Line: If you want to enjoy your retirement in peace, without overburdensome government weighing on your life, consider my #1 Super State.