Whether you are 25 or 55, your retirement should always be something you keep in mind whenever you make major decisions. One of the biggest retirement planning decisions you will make is where you wish to live out your “Golden Years.” For some people, the thought of moving from where they spent their working years is not even a remote consideration. For others, they are counting the years, months, and then days until they can move to paradise and enjoy their retirement years. So where, exactly, is paradise? Places like Florida and Arizona are what come to most people’s minds when they think of the most popular retirement destinations. If you are one of those people, you might be surprised to learn that New Hampshire is actually the number one ranked retirement spot according to a recent survey.
That’s right, despite the cold, harsh winters, the State of New Hampshire beat out the Sunshine State along with numerous other warmer destinations to garner the number one spot on Bankrate.com’s survey of the best places to retire. According to the personal finance website Bankrate.com, Colorado, Maine, Iowa and Minnesota take the remaining top five spots for the best retirement locations. At this point, you are undoubtedly wondering how five states with cold, harsh winters managed to land the top five spots. The survey suggests that weather isn’t as important as many of us thought it was to would be retirees.
Instead, participants in the survey, who are all non-retired U.S. adults, indicated that financial and lifestyle categories matter the most. Of the categories ranked in the survey, from most to least important, the categories were: cost of living, healthcare quality, crime, cultural vitality, weather, taxes, senior citizens’ well-being and the prevalence of other seniors. New Hampshire, it turned out, ranked in the top five in three of the categories — well-being (second-best), crime (third-lowest) and healthcare quality (fourth-best). In addition, the state performed well in most of the other categories except, of course, the weather.
“What people think they want in retirement may not end up being what serves them best over the long run,” said Claes Bell, a Bankrate.com analyst. “It’s about a lot more than sunny skies, beaches and golf courses. As you get older, practical considerations like health care, taxes and proximity to family and friends become much more important.” Clearly, those practical considerations outweighed things such as sunny skies and beach views for the survey participants.
Will you actually relocate when your retire though? People often talk about moving to their dream location when they retire, but how many actually do relocate when the time comes? According to the Bankrate survey, attitudes about relocating are directly tied to where you are in your lifespan. Younger survey takers were much more likely to consider packing up and moving when the time comes to retire. Overall, about half of all American adults would consider relocating when they retire; however, the numbers fluctuate significantly among the age groups. More than half of millennials, 58 percent, expressed their desire to move, while 46 percent of Gen Xers said the same. It appears that as people get older, and closer to retirement age, the thought of picking up and moving sounds less appealing than it did when they were younger. Only 37 percent of Baby Boomers and 12 percent of the Silent Generation said they’d move to a new city after retirement. The reasons for the change in heart typically focus on the desire to remain near children and grandchildren and the simple fact that building a new life in a new city or state may not be as easy at age 65 as it would have been at age 35.
So where does this leave the quintessential retirement destination such as Florida and Arizona? They are unlikely to completely fall out of favor with the retirement crowd anytime in the near future; however, before you gear your retirement planning toward a move to one of these states, make sure you do your homework. In Bankrate’s survey, well-known retirement destinations such as Florida, Arizona, and Nevada didn’t fare as well as the colder states cited in the report in several important categories. Arizona, which ranked 12th among all states, failed to make the top in seven of the eight categories observed. Moreover, Florida ranked 17th among the states, failing to crack the top 10 in any of the categories except for the prevalence of other seniors. Finally, Nevada was among the worst states to retire in the U.S., ranking 44th. It has the nation’s worst health care quality and the fourth-highest crime rate, which outweighed its favorable weather and low taxes, the report said. Rounding out the worst states for retirees, according to the survey, are Alaska, West Virginia, Arkansas, New Mexico, and Louisiana.
For more information, please download out FREE estate planning worksheet. If you have additional questions or concerns about retirement planning, contact the experienced New Hampshire retirement attorneys at DeBruyckere Law Offices by calling (603) 894-4141 or (978) 969-0331 to schedule an appointment.