Anyone planning to spend their golden years near Mount Rushmore is in luck as South Dakota was ranked the best state to retire, according to a new report by Bankrate.com.
Based on seven categories, South Dakota took the lead followed by Utah, Idaho, New Hampshire and Florida. Categories examined were: cost of living (weighted at 20%), taxes (20%), health care quality (15%), weather (15%), crime (10%), cultural vitality (10%) and wellbeing (10%).
For states with booming reverse mortgage activity, Colorado was ranked 17th from the top and Washington state fell closer to the bottom at 8th worst.
South Dakota enjoys no income taxes and, according to the Tax Foundation, is the second most tax-friendly state in the nation. Retirees hoping to enjoy nature have six national parks, like the Badlands, and more than 50 state parks and recreation areas. According to the report, it ranked “first in well-being, second in taxes, 10th in cultural vitality and 12th in health care quality.” Weather at 38th place was the only lower ranking.
“Yes, South Dakotans enjoy a low tax burden, but they are also more satisfied with their lives than anyone else,” said Bankrate.com analyst Taylor Tepper in a statement. ”They savor their day-to-day lives, feel financially secure, and have a strong sense of community. Residents in the other top states feel similarly. These attributes may better determine what makes for a satisfying retirement than, say, warm weather.”
Falling dead last was New York, with its multiple Achilles’ heels being cost of living, taxes, and health care quality. New Mexico and Maryland tied for second-worst.
Of the other popular retirement states, Hawaii ranked highly at 11th place, but Arizona was lower at number 29 and Nevada was even further down the list at 42nd place.
Warm weather and low taxes make Florida a standard retirement choice, but its health care ranking at 36th place pulled it to fifth place. Arizona was dragged down the list because of lower scores in cultural vitality and crime.
Written by Maggie Callahan