Study: Retirement in Florida a best bet

If you’re contemplating retirement, a national study says you won’t need to travel far to get the most bang for your buck.


Florida came out on top of the heap. The study, however, reminded us that the question of when to retire could be as important as where. But that’s another story.

It also tells us that fully 30 percent of near retirement aged adults have saved zero money for retirement. And even in the more affordable areas of the country, Social Security will replace only about 40 percent of the average worker’s earnings.

The study compared 41 key indicators in all 50 states of what it calls retirement-friendliness.

Florida wound up on top with a total score of 66.79 — scoring first in affordability, 5th in quality of life and 20th in health care ranking.

The numbers skew quite a bit down the line. For instance, Colorado ranked second overall with an affordability ranking of 23, a quality of life ranking of 8th and a health care ranking of 2nd.

South Dakota, Iowa, Virginia, Wyoming, New Hampshire, Idaho, Utah and Arizona rounded out the top 10 states.

Conversely, Kentucky scored 50th — 38th in affordability, 47th for quality of life and 47th in its health care ranking. New Jersey, Rhode Island, Mississippi, Arkansas, West Virginia, Louisiana, New Mexico, Hawaii, Alabama and New York rounded out the bottom 10.

The affordability rankings were based on several categories, including adjusted cost of living, general tax friendliness on pensions and Social Security income, tax friendliness on inheritance taxes, annual cost of in-home services, annual cost of adult day care and the share of adults aged 65 and older who could not afford a doctor visit.

The lowest cost of living states were Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, Tennessee and Oklahoma. We wondered if SEC bowl game appearances football had anything to do with that paring. Highest cost of living was Massachusetts, New York, Alaska, California and Hawaii.

Alaska came out on top of the highest percentage of the workforce aged 65 and older. Interestingly Florida was ranked 47th in that category, but first in the highest percentage of population aged 65 or older — and Alaska was dead last. It seems somewhat non sequitur.

Hawaii came out on top for the highest life expectancy, followed by Minnesota, California, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Mississippi ranked dead last (pardon the pun) with Alabama, Louisiana, West Virginia and Oklahoma coming in behind.

New Hampshire took the top spot for lowest property crime rate, followed by New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and Maine.

New Mexico had the highest incidence of property crime, followed by Washington (surprise?) Alaska, Louisiana and Arkansas.

So it looks like Floridians may reap the best retirement outcomes by staying put.

We’d like to see another version of this study, weighing the categories in terms of the country’s new tax package.

Eye-opening might be an understatement.