Recently, I ran across an article about the best (and worst) states for retirement. It caught my attention because the “best” state turned out to be …. Nebraska! Many would be surprised at this. After all, who would retire in such a cold place in the middle of the country? Actually, I was not at all surprised. I was born in Lincoln, Nebraska and spent the first twelve years of my life there. I still visit relatives in the Cornhusker state and enjoy the wonderful people, slower pace and beautiful scenery the state has to offer.
But, even though I may not have been surprised, I’m sure many were. How did Nebraska end up at the top of the list? The answer is that it all has to do with the criteria used to come up with this particular list. This study looked at affordability, crime rate, culture, weather and wellness as its metrics. Weather was obviously a shortcoming for the Cornhusker state, but other factors swamped this. In particular, Nebraska scored very high on affordability, crime rate and wellness (measured by access to quality healthcare). The other states rounding out the top five were Iowa, Missouri, South Dakota and Florida. The only predictable state here is the Sunshine state. The others are all decidedly in the heartland and ranked high on the list for the same reasons Nebraska did.
And, what was at the bottom of the list? New York was number 49 and Maryland number 50 for exactly the same reasons the others were at the top. Affordability was a major factor in the low scores for these states.
Why is any of this important? Deciding where to live in retirement is one of the critical choices you will make when planning this phase of your life. Your decision criteria will very likely have location of family and loved ones at the very top of your list. However, the way you set your other priorities (affordability, lifestyle, access to healthcare, etc.) will have a huge impact on how you assess your options and may lead you to some unexpected choices. Nearly four in ten retirees say they’ve moved at least once since retiring according to a 2018 survey by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies.
It is critical to evaluate all of this when looking at where you would like to live during retirement. You may decide to stay where you are but many will want to at least evaluate other options. And, a careful and thorough evaluation is key. Moving is expensive and stressful so thinking things through thoughtfully is important. Your decision should include not just where you want to retire but also the type of retirement home you envision. Do you see yourself in a condo, a townhouse, a free-standing home or possibly renting? Is it attractive to you to have two homes during retirement or would you prefer to have a single home and save that extra money for something else (travel, hobbies, etc.)?
All of these are important questions and aspects that our advisors at Atlanta Financial can help you sort through to evaluate your options and come up with a plan designed just for you. And don’t forget, when starting to evaluate your options, try to think outside the box. Nebraska is a beautiful place to visit or retire. Just ask a born and bred Cornhusker like me!