With all the doom and gloom surrounding retirement these days — projections of savings shortfalls in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, particularly for women, and widespread pessimism among workers concerning their own financial stability in retirement — the place one chooses to retire is perhaps becoming more important than ever.
To that end, Bankrate.com took a long hard look at every state in the Union, considering such factors as cost of living, tax rates, well-being, health care, climate and crime rate.
Then, as it does every year, Bankrate.com ranked them from 1 to 50, so that interested parties can pick and choose among them if considering a relocation once they leave the job.
Last week we looked at Bankrate.com’s 10 best states; this week we look at those unlucky places that finished at the bottom of the rankings: the 10 worst states to retire, as measured by data from the following sources: the Agency for Health care Research and Quality; Healthways; the Council for Community and Economic Research; the FBI; the Tax Foundation; and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
If you need cheering up after reading this list of bottom finishers — maybe you already live in one of them? — you can always head over to our 10 best to see where the grass might be greener.
A high cost of living and high tax rates will take a toll on retirees’ budgets, as will housing prices: a home in Bethesda, for instance, will cost you more than twice what you’d pay according to the national average.
The tax rates for 2012, the latest data released by the Tax Foundation, ranked seventh highest in the country — a big bite out of anybody’s retirement income.
Then there’s the crime rate, with the violent crime rate coming in at 10th highest in the country. Suddenly all those scenic coastal activities don’t seem quite so appealing…
The Constitution State is expensive to live in, with both cost of living and taxes eating away at income — both retirees’ and those still on an active payroll.
In fact, income taxes and property taxes both rank second highest in the country, which will put a damper on your next skiing trip in the Constitution State.
Gas and housing are expensive, too, although in its defense Connecticut made the top 20 in the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.
Were you really considering moving so close to the North Pole?
If so, bring plenty of cash, because the cost of living in the Last Frontier is high — so much has to be transported to the state from elsewhere. Housing’s not cheap, either, although the state is definitely tax friendly — no state sales or individual income tax.
Then there’s weather. Bitter temperatures in the winter and cool summers (although if you think an average high of 78 degrees is great for a day at the beach, you may come out all right) could crimp your outdoor activities.
And then there’s crime — Alaska has the highest violent crime rate in the country. Maybe it’s all that staying indoors when it’s too cold to go out?
You could be singing the blues instead of belting out Broadway tunes if you choose the Sooner State — and sooner rather than later, if you get sick.
Oklahoma’s health care system came in at the very bottom in the country, according to the Agency for Health care Research and Quality, which cited high hospital admissions for asthma and diabetes.
The state’s crime rate is also not one to boast about, landing it in the top 20 in the country, with above-national-average rates of rape and burglary.
In addition, Oklahoma ranked third from the bottom on the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being index, with residents giving the state very low marks for feeling an overall sense of purpose in their lives, and for liking their community and feeling engaged in it.
Okay, so it’s gorgeous. But it’s also expensive.
And unless you’re retiring with a bucketload of money, you might come to regret choosing Pacific tradewinds and quiet lagoons with sandy beaches.
It’s not just the cost of living — remember, anything not made here has to be brought in, which adds to the cost — it’s the tax level, with an individual income tax rate, at 11 percent, as the second highest in the country.
Then again, some things are just worth the money. Hawaii does, after all, soothe the spirit; in fact, the state took the highest score in the country for personal well-being from Gallup-Healthways.