Best 10 states to maximize your retirement finances

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Maybe things were week to week for too long. Perhaps your company slashed pension benefits or the 401(k) plan didn't do too well. Retirement can seem a scary proposition if you're not rolling in dough, and few people are. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the median amount couples have saved for retirement is $5,000. At the 80th percentile, the total is $116,000. Even though the ages spanned from 32 to 61, that's not a lot of money. Although older couples tend to have more in savings, for those born between 1946 and 1951, average retirement savings in 2010 were $179,310. It's nothing to sneeze at, but not a nest egg to provide security and comfort. The site ranked the states and the District of Columbia on how financially good they were to retire in. They took the following factors into account:
  • taxes, including state sales, state taxes on Social Security benefits, and property taxes
  • living expenses, including average home listing price, median home value, and cost of living index
  • savings account and two-year CD account interest rates
  • average health insurance premiums, average Social Security benefits, and Medicare spending per capita
According to the site, the top ten states for better retirement finances all were east of the Mississippi. The East has 8 of the top states when it comes to lower housing prices. Eastern states spend more per person on Medicare and average Social Security benefits tend to be higher in the east as well. Here are the top 10 states for smart financial retirement:
  1. Delaware
  2. Michigan
  3. Indiana
  4. Maryland
  5. Florida
  6. New Jersey
  7. Pennsylvania
  8. Mississippi
  9. Ohio
  10. Georgia
Of course, the east/west dichotomy isn't a hard rule. Look at the worst states, according to GoBankingRates, and you'll see some eastern names (with the lowest ranking of 51 because the list includes 50 states and the District of Columbia).
  1. Nebraska
  2. Maine
  3. West Virginia
  4. Colorado
  5. Alaska
  6. New Mexico
  7. Montana
  8. North Dakota
  9. Vermont
  10. Hawaii
The differences can be stark. Top average Social Security benefits were $1,452.47 in New Jersey. Compare that to $1,212.45 in Louisiana. At $ 11379.37, the District of Columbia had the highest Medicare spending per capita. The lowest of $6,941.74 was found in Hawaii. Mississippi's cost of living index was lowest (83.5); Hawaii (168.6) was the highest. All that said, you have to think carefully before deciding to relocate. Maybe higher Medicare spending meant an older population or more expensive care, and home value listing prices and values might not mean so much if your mortgage is already paid off. Be sure to check with your financial planner or advisor before making any significant changes.
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