A big decision U.S. military personnel face in preparing for retirement is where in the country to settle down. They must consider how state tax policies on military benefits vary, the relative friendliness of different job markets and other socioeconomic factors.
In its annual study released this week, WalletHub, a personal finance website, identified the places most and least able to provide veterans a comfortable retirement.
Researchers compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia using 29 metrics across three dimensions:
- economic environment, including state taxes on military pensions, overall tax-friendliness and job opportunities for veterans;
- quality of life, including the share of residents who are veterans and the rates of veteran homelessness and use of SNAP benefits; and
- health care, including the availability and quality of VA hospitals.
They graded each metric on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most favorable conditions for military retirees.
They then determined each state’s and the District’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score and used the resulting scores to rank-order the sample.
See the gallery for the WalletHub’s 12 worst states for military retirees.