Many Americans nearing retirement and thinking about where they want to live focus on such things as cost of living, health care services and weather. A new study suggests they would be wise to look at other factors as well, as the most popular states for retirement may not be the best ones to meet their needs.
GOBankingRates analyzed the top 10 states where retirees relocate, according to a UnitedVanLines survey, and compared them with the other 40 states based on 11 factors to see how they stacked up.
These are the most popular states to retire: Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, South Carolina, Vermont and Wyoming.
It may come as a surprise that some of these states — Florida and South Carolina, for example — are not that affordable for retirees seeking a cheaper cost of living. Only Wyoming can count itself among the 10 least expensive states in the U.S.
“There are two distinct concepts related to the cost of living in retirement: How much money can you generate to fund your retirement, and how much money will you need to fund your retirement?” Greg Klingler, a certified financial planner and chartered federal benefits consultant at GEBA Wealth Management, said in a statement.
“Because the latter is directly attributed to the cost of living in your chosen retirement destination, where you plan to retire is one of the first and most important questions we, from a financial planning perspective, ask to get an accurate representation of your future budget.”
Costs and amenities can vary greatly between states, and a comfortable retirement involves more than just adding up the cost of housing and food.
Only four of the top 10 retiree destinations — Arizona, Idaho, New Mexico and Wyoming — rose above the median on GOBankingRates’ list in terms of costs for a comfortable retirement.
The best bargains were to be found in Wyoming and New Mexico, which ranked in the top 15 for lowest cost of living among U.S. states. No-go states were Vermont, Maine and Nevada, which fell in the bottom 15.
Retirees require more health care, and may eventually need to decide whether to age in place, move to an assisted living facility or enter a nursing home.
The analysis showed that those who will want quality care at home should avoid relocating to Vermont — which, at $5,148 a month, ranks No. 46 out of the 50 states for the cost of a home health aide — and Maine, which ranks in the bottom 10 with a monthly cost of $4,957.
Instead, they should look to New Mexico and South Carolina, which are the most affordable states in the top 10 when it comes to home health care, at an average monthly cost of $3,813 in each state.