Conventional wisdom for many Americans is to move away from cold weather and live out their senior years somewhere warm. However, retiring in a Midwestern state would be easier on the wallet, a new Bankrate study suggests.
In search of the best places for retirement, the personal finance website analyzed all 50 states on the basis of affordability, the cost and quality of health care, overall well-being, weather and crime. Iowa topped Bankrate’s list, with Missouri and Nebraska were among the top 10.
“Choosing where to retire is deeply personal, but Iowa’s affordable cost of living, inexpensive but high-quality health care and low crime make it a compelling option for retirees looking to stretch their retirement income in this economy,” Bankrate analyst Alex Gailey said in a statement.
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Southern states — including Florida, Mississippi and West Virginia — also ranked high on Bankrate’s list, mostly because of how affordable homes are in those locales compared to the national median. Coastal states — including Massachusetts, Washington, California, New York and Alaska — are the worst states for retirement, according to Bankrate.
Not only is Iowa is the sixth cheapest state to live in, Bankrate noted, pointing to data from the Council of Community and Economic Research, the Hawkeye State also doesn’t tax Social Security benefits, according to state law. That’s a huge benefit for Americans in retirement looking to keep more money in their pocket, especially at a time when inflation has soared.
“After battling elevated inflation over the last two years, relocating to find cheaper housing or a lower cost of living may be a good alternative for retirees who have tighter budgets but want to retire comfortably,” Gailey said.
Nest eggs for most fall way short of million-dollar goal
When and where Americans choose to spend their golden years may require even deeper thought as polls show that many estimate they’ll need savings of at least $1 million to retire comfortably. The national average for one person to live comfortably in retirement is around $967,000 in savings. Every retirement scenario is different, but that’s about $74,000 a year for the average American to live through retirement.
Although $1 million is the goal, scores of Americans are nowhere near that figure. The typical Gen-X household with a private retirement plan has $40,000 in savings, according to the National Institute on Retirement Security while baby boomers have a median retirement savings of $120,000, according to the Natixis Investment Managers. Millennials have a median account balance of $32,000.
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A lack of retirement readiness has implications for the nation as well, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts. About 56 million private-sector workers don’t have access to a retirement plan through their employers, feeding into a projected $1.3 trillion shortfall for state and federal governments through 2040, a new study found. For individuals and their families, location could have a large impact on their ability to enjoy life after work.
Here are the top 10 best states to retire in, according to Bankrate.
The top 10 worst states to retire are:
50. Alaska49. New York48. California47. Washington46. Massachusetts45. North Dakota44. Texas43. Colorado42. Maryland41. Louisiana
See the full list of Bankrate’s best and worst states for retirement here.