Real State

What’s the Best State to Retire In? (Hint: It’s Not Florida.)

If you’re approaching retirement, there are important real estate decisions to make. Living on a fixed income often influences a move, but that’s not the only thing to consider.

A new study from Bankrate scored all 50 U.S. states in five separate categories to determine which were the best (and worst) to retire in. The affordability category carried the most weight — 40 percent of each state’s score. The cost and quality of health care was worth 20 percent. The well-being category, measuring opportunities for recreation, the number of older adults per capita and other data, accounted for 25 percent. Weather was worth 10 percent, and crime rate 5 percent.

Who needs warm weather all year round? Topping the list for best retirement state was Iowa, which finished third in affordability and 11th in health care. Next came Delaware, where residents pay a bit more (18th in affordability), but are still happier than most (second in well-being). West Virginia, the most affordable U.S. state, ranked third, followed by Missouri (fifth most affordable) and Mississippi (second most affordable, seventh best for weather).

In case you’re wondering, the retirement mecca of Florida finished eighth overall, with third-place scores in both the well-being and weather categories.

The bottom five states in the study begin with Massachusetts, the third least affordable state. Washington was weighed down by its 47th-place finish for affordability, though it was second in the health care category. They were followed by California (second least affordable) and New York (lowest for affordability, no surprise). And bringing up the rear was Alaska, perhaps our most naturally beautiful state, which nevertheless was dragged down by its brutal winter weather and a low score for crime rate.

Your journey is personal, of course, so comb the Bankrate study for the lifestyle metrics that mean the most to you. And, maybe, take a cue from New Yorkers: Even with a 49th-place overall finish, New Yorkers were found to be enjoying life just fine (the state ranked fourth in well-being). Maybe money can buy happiness after all.

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