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20 Best & Worst States for Military Retirees

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Military retirees are not like other retirees. First of all, they tend to be younger. The average age for a retired officer is 45.2, according to the Congressional Research Service. For enlisted personnel, the average retirement age is 41.4. That leaves plenty of time for them to keep working in other careers.

In addition to the unique benefits afforded servicemembers, they also feel the pinch of national policy changes more directly. With that in mind, WalletHub, an online resource to help consumers with financial decision making, set out to determine where military retirees fared the best and where they might be struggling.

The economic metrics used to determine the best and worst states include the state’s tax on military pensions, job opportunities for veterans, the concentration of bases, housing costs and the cost of living. Also included but at a lower weighting were state and local sales taxes, concentration of veteran-owned businesses and the volume of defense department contracts.

To determine the quality of life, WalletHub measured the number of veterans per 100 inhabitants, the concentration of VA administrative facilities and recreation or cultural establishments, the concentration of homeless veterans and, of course, the weather. The percentage of the population over 40 and the university system were also considered but were given less weight.

(Related: Top 15 Most Expensive States for Long-Term Care: 2014)

Finally, the quality of a state’s health care offerings was measured by the number of VA facilities and other hospitals, the concentration of doctors and the emotional health.

Maybe it’s fitting that Washington, D.C., is smack-dab in the middle of the ranking at 25 (although it did rate third for health care).

Best States for Military Retirees

Tulsa, Oklahoma skyline.

10. Maine

Economic Environment rank: 44

Quality of Life rank: 2

Health Care rank: 13

9. Oklahoma

Economic Environment rank: 2

Quality of Life rank: 14

Health Care rank: 18

Kansas road sign.

8. Kansas

Economic Environment rank: 4

Quality of Life rank: 22

Health Care rank: 6

7. Delaware

Economic Environment rank: 32

Quality of Life rank: 1

Health Care rank: 14

Valdez harbor, Alaska.

6. Alaska

Economic Environment rank: 6

Quality of Life rank: 15

Health Care rank: 11

5. Nebraska

Economic Environment rank: 14

Quality of Life rank: 12

Health Care rank: 2

Mount Rushmore in Keystone, S.D.

4. South Dakota

Economic Environment rank: 1

Quality of Life rank: 10

Health Care rank: 6 (Tied with Kansas)

3. Montana

Economic Environment rank: 17

Quality of Life rank: 5

Health Care rank: 4

Norris Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. (Photo: AP)

2. New Hampshire

Economic Environment rank: 29

Quality of Life rank: 4

Health Care rank: 1

1. Wyoming

Economic Environment rank: 4 (Tied with Kansas)

Quality of Life rank: 3

Health Care rank: 5

Worst States for Military Retirees

Aerial view of Little Rock. (Photo: AP)

42. Arkansas

Economic Environment rank: 36

Quality of Life rank: 36

Health Care rank: 38

43. Rhode Island

Economic Environment rank: 48

Quality of Life rank: 13

Health Care rank: 46

Downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan.

44. Oregon

Economic Environment rank: 43

Quality of Life rank: 41

Health Care rank: 23

45. Michigan

Economic Environment rank: 35

Quality of Life rank: 44

Health Care rank: 32

Philadelphia's Liberty Bell. (Photo: AP)

46. Pennsylvania

Economic Environment rank: 39

Quality of Life rank: 33

Health Care rank: 49

47. Illinois

Economic Environment rank: 34

Quality of Life rank: 50

Health Care rank: 24

Grand Canyon and Colorado River in Arizona. (Photo: AP)

48. Arizona

Economic Environment rank: 46

Quality of Life rank: 35

Health Care rank: 33

49. Indiana

Economic Environment rank: 40

Quality of Life rank: 48

Health Care rank: 41

Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA. (Photo: AP)

50. New York

Economic Environment rank: 50

Quality of Life rank: 47

Health Care rank: 17

51. California

Economic Environment rank: 51

Quality of Life rank: 34

Health Care rank: 25

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