Is Florida Really the Most Desirable for Retirees?

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Published by Debra TaylorCPA/PFS, CDFA, JD | April 28, 2016

Two weeks ago, we discussed tax rates across America.  Your taxes can vary drastically from state to state, and often can be the deciding factor in a taxpayer’s place of residence.  However, tax rates are only one factor of many that affect pre-retirees and retirees alike when it comes to deciding where to live in retirement.

Many factors affect the desirability of living in certain states over others.  The research team at LPL Financial created the “Retirement Environment Index,” which ranks the attractiveness of US States as a retirement destination.  The Index evaluates each state on six key factors: financial, healthcare, housing, community quality of life, employment, and education.

What did the data reveal?  On a regional level, the Midwest had an average ranking of 15th and the West had an average ranking of 35th, with the South and Northeast falling somewhere in between.  More specifically, the Midwest and South ranked best in the financial and housing categories, while the Northeast and West lead in all six categories.  But no state scored well in every category, nor did any state score poorly in every category.  Ultimately, the Index made clear that the decision of where to retire is based on individual factors.

That being said, not surprisingly, for a long time Florida has been a big winner for retirees and pre-retirees alike.  But the data shows that Florida may, in fact, not be the best option.  Although Florida tops the list for retirees (over the age of 65), Maine (remarkably) is a very close second, and West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Vermont don’t fall far behind.  These results tell us one thing for sure… contrary to popular belief, weather is not a dominating factor for retirees.  Of these five top states, only Florida has a warm climate.  All in all, taking into account all factors, Florida ranks at 39th for Retirement Environment.  This proves that Florida is not necessarily the best place to retire, though many have labeled it so.

The lesson here?  While Florida is very appealing, it’s worth looking into various factors (not just weather and cost of living) when deciding where to retire.

If you have any questions about retirement or wish to make an appointment, please call our office.

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