Idaho Tops List of Best States for Retirement While Louisiana Ranks as Worst

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Based on an analysis of factors such as crime, climate and cost of living, Idaho earns the top spot in MoneyRates.com’s Best States to Retire 2013. Louisiana rates as the worst U.S. state for retirement.

Best and Worst States to Retire
A comfortable retirement isn’t always about warm weather and beachfront property. Freedom from crime, low property taxes and a reasonable cost of living may be more important to some people. We think the diversity of our list gives people a true range.

Idaho may not be where the majority of Americans envision spending their retirement, but the state may offer friendlier conditions to retirees than any other state in the union, according to a new analysis that ranks U.S. states in accordance with their performance on retirement-related factors. Conversely, retirees who are considering Louisiana for their home may want to take a second look at their options, as this state ranks last of the 50 states in this analysis.

The 2013 MoneyRates.com Best States to Retire and Worst States to Retire features ranked each of the 50 U.S. states by examining a variety of factors in each state, including:

  •     Senior population
  •     Economic factors, including cost of living, taxes and unemployment
  •     Violent and property crime rates
  •     Climate
  •     Life expectancies at age 65

While this analysis favored some traditional retirement havens, such as Florida (No. 6) and Arizona (No. 7), it also captured strong performances from some less-obvious retirement destinations, such as No. 1 finisher Idaho, Iowa (No. 2) and South Dakota (No. 4). The range of places on the list gives retirees a wide variety of destinations to consider, says Richard Barrington, CFA, senior financial analyst for MoneyRates.com.

“A comfortable retirement isn’t always about warm weather and beachfront property,” says Barrington. “Freedom from crime, low property taxes and a reasonable cost of living may be more important to some people. We think the diversity of our list gives people a true range of choices to consider.”

On the other end of the rankings, Louisiana’s poor finish was mainly because of its high crime rates and low senior life expectancies. Barrington says that these problems may help explain why so few seniors inhabit the state today.

“Notably, Louisiana has an unusually small proportion of seniors among its population,” says Barrington. “That seems to confirm that seniors don’t typically find it a great place to retire.”

As for the other places on the worst list, Barrington says that these locales aren’t necessarily bad for retirees, but that prospective residents should examine each state’s downsides carefully before making committing to a move.

“It’s not to say that people can’t be happy retiring in these bottom-ranked states,” says Barrington. “It’s just that there are some prominent flaws that older people should be aware of before choosing those areas as places to retire.”

Here are the top states in MoneyRates.com’s Best States to Retire 2013, starting with No. 1. Please note that there are 11 states on the list instead of the usual 10 because of a tie for 10th place:

1.    Idaho
2.    Iowa
3.    Hawaii
4.    South Dakota
5.    Oregon
6.    Florida
7.    (tie) Arizona
7.    (tie) North Dakota
9.    Vermont
10.    (tie) Minnesota
10.    (tie) Utah

Here are the worst states in MoneyRates.com’s Worst States to Retire 2013, starting with the last-place finisher in the survey:

1.    Louisiana
2.    (tie) Mississippi
2.    (tie) Nevada
4.    Alaska
5.    Illinois
6.    Tennessee
7.    Massachusetts
8.    (tie) New Jersey
8.    (tie) Rhode Island
10.    Georgia

For the more on the best and worst states and the survey’s methodology, please see MoneyRates.com’s Best States to Retire 2013 and Worst States to Retire 2013, as well as the full 50-state rankings.

About MoneyRates.com
MoneyRates.com has been a leading source of information on bank rates, personal finance, savings accounts and investing since 1999. The site provides the highest rates on certificates of deposit, money market accounts and high-yield savings accounts. MoneyRates.com is owned and operated by QuinStreet, Inc. (NASDAQ: QNST), one of the largest Internet marketing and media companies in the world. QuinStreet is committed to providing consumers and businesses with the information they need to research, find and select the products, services and brands that best meet their needs. The company is a leader in ethical marketing practices. For more information, please visit QuinStreet.com.

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