Hawaii, Iowa Top List of Best Retirement States

The size and growth of the senior population, economic factors and crime were some of the key five categories used to rank Hawaii as the No. 1 and Iowa as the No. 2 states to retire in based on the latest findings from MoneyRates.com.

Weather and life expectancy at age 65 were also considered for the ranking of the best and worst states to retire in 2014, according to MoneyRates.com recent study, which ranked Alaska at the bottom of the list.

“You might not expect to see Hawaii and Iowa listed side by side,” writes Richard Barrington, senior financial analyst for MoneyRates.com, noting that while Iowa did not excel in any one category, it was well above average in four out of the five. “Its strongest suit was low crime rates, with a combination of low property and violent crime rates placing Iowa in the top 10 nationally in that overall category.”


Top Five States To Retire

While Hawaii scored well for its climate, the category in which Hawaii ranked No. 1 out of all 50 states was life expectancy for people at age 65 today.

“There is just something about the place that agrees with people,” Barrington says. “One caution is that Hawaii has the highest cost of living of all 50 states, but it does somewhat offset that by having the lowest property taxes as a percentage of property value.”


Rounding out the list of the top five states to retire in are Idaho, Florida and Vermont, respectively.

Florida is a shoe-in for most retiring Americans, boasting the highest percentage of its population age 65 or older of any state.

“Obviously, the climate is also a plus, but choose your neighborhood carefully,” Barrington warns. “Florida is one of the 10 worst states for crime.”

Worst Five States To Retire 

While some might assume Alaska’s ranking as the worst state to retire is attributed to its cold climate, it’s actually the state’s economy and low population of those 65 and older that catapults the state to last place.

“Alaska has a high cost of living and a weak job market — a bad combination,” Barrington says. “But those are just some of the problems, as Alaska ranked below average in every category in this study.”

Alaska is preceded by Louisiana, Tennessee, Illinois and Nevada, respectively, as the worst five states to retire.

And, the combination of a weak job market and high property taxes put Illinois in the bottom 10 for economic factors.

“If you are wondering how the job market affects people who are retired, keep in mind that more and more older Americans are taking part-time jobs these days, plus living in an economically disadvantaged area is unpleasant whether you are looking for work or not,” Barrington says.

Overall, Barrington says, retirees live in states that both rate as the best and worst for seniors.

“And no doubt many of them enjoy life there,” he says. “However, if you are considering relocating, the above may just give you a timely warning about what to look out for before you settle on one of these states.”

Access the 50-state list here.

Written by Cassandra Dowell

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