Best States for Retirement Aren't the Ones You Might Think

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Despite its overwhelming popularity with retirees, Florida may not be the best place to spend your golden years, according to a report released by Bankrate Monday. Instead, Tennessee and Louisiana topped Bankrate's list of the 10 most retiree-friendly states, which equally weighted cost of living, taxes, access to healthcare, crime rates and climate.

Some chillier spots, including Nebraska and North and South Dakota also made the list. They may not be dream retirement destinations, but these states are actually ideal for retirees because of their lower taxes and cost of living and lack of crime, according to Bankrate, a financial information website.

"If you can bear [South Dakota's] temperatures, it's a pretty good place to live on a fixed income," said Chris Kahn, an analyst at Bankrate.

Florida, meanwhile, is notably absent from the top 10. While it boasts warm weather and reasonable state and local tax rates, a relatively high cost of living and crime rate sunk the "Sunshine State" to nineteenth place, Kahn said.

These 10 states, however, offer a better balance between affordability and quality of life in retirement, according to Bankrate.


To compile the list, Bankrate analysts ranked climate using average temperatures over 30 years (1981-2010) and valued cost of living with statistics from the Council for Community and Economic Research. Taxes were ranked using the Tax Foundation's analysis of state and local tax burdens. Access to healthcare was based on hospital beds per 1,000 residents and doctors per 100,000 residents from the Kaiser Family Foundation and U.S. Census Bureau, while crime rates were ranked using violent and property crimes per 100,000 people from the 2011 FBI Uniform Crime Report.

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