This year's MoneyRates.com Best States to Retire list includes some traditional warm-weather havens, such as Hawaii, California and Florida. But you may be surprised to see a few off-the-beaten-path locales in the top 10 too. For instance, have you considered South Dakota for your retirement? While MoneyRates.com recognizes that much of what marks a good place for retirement is subjective -- family and friends, cultural attractions, natural beauty -- there are plenty of objective, quantifiable factors to examine too. Knowing how a state performs in certain measures is important before you choose it for your retirement, and that's precisely what these rankings are about.
What matters to retireesHere are the factors MoneyRates.com used to determine its third-annual lists of best and worst states to retire:
- Senior population growth. This is a new factor in the study this year. MoneyRates.com measured which states had the fastest growth rate in their 65-and-over populations between the 2000 and 2010 census reports. People tend to vote with their feet, and states that are rapidly attracting seniors must have some appealing retirement characteristics. Conversely, those that have seen little or no growth in their senior populations may be lacking in this respect.
- Economic conditions. Seniors are greatly impacted by issues such as property taxes and the cost of living, and with more seniors choosing to work part-time, even unemployment is an important issue. MoneyRates.com included a combination of these economic factors in its study.
- Crime rate. Personal security is a vital issue for seniors, so MoneyRates.com factored in both violent and property crime rates.
- Climate. MoneyRates.com looked at which states had the least monthly variations from a moderate 68 degree temperature.
- Life expectancy. Life expectancy captures a number of issues of interest to seniors, from quality of health care to environmental conditions. To make this factor especially relevant to seniors, MoneyRates.com used each state's life expectancy for people at age 65 today.