Expert: Here are the best states for retirement this year
Florida has been stripped of its designation as the country's premier retirement wonderland, new analysis found, and replaced by its northern neighbor - Georgia.
"It's been a pretty close race," Bankrate analyst Jeff Ostrowski recently told Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the results. "Florida and Georgia were neck and neck in our rankings."
It all boiled down to affordability, said Ostrowski.
"The cost of living and the tax burden are pretty low in Georgia and really got it to the top of our rankings," he said.
Georgia and Florida are followed by Tennessee (3rd place); Missouri (No. 4); Massachusetts (No. 5); Wyoming (No. 6); Arizona (No. 7); Ohio (No. 8); Indiana (No. 9) and Kentucky (No. 10).
The 50 states were ranked on a weighted scale of affordability, wellness, culture, weather, and crime using notable records from the Census Bureau and the FBI.
The 50 states were ranked on a weighted scale of affordability, wellness, culture, weather, and crime using notable records from the Census Bureau and the FBI. (Photo: Getty)
What brought Georgia to the top was its "good value for homebuyers," said Ostrowski. With average home prices in Atlanta's metropolitan area of around $ 279,000, this is below the national average and less than any metropolitan area in Florida.
Ostrowski also said that Maryland came last for the second year in a row, largely because of its "high cost of living and unaffordable reading."
Maryland was joined by Minnesota (No. 49); Kansas (No. 48); Montana (No. 47); Alaska (No. 46); Maine and Arkansas (No. 44 bound); Alabama (No. 43); Idaho and Connecticut (41st place tied) and Washington (40th place) in the bottom quintile.
But the pension index is not a gospel, said Ostrowski. Deciding where to spend your golden years is a “subjective and personal” decision and “depends a lot on where your family lives, where your friends are and what you like,” he said.
What brought Georgia to the top was its "good value for homebuyers," said Ostrowski. (Photo: Getty)
There is a “give-and-take” antagonism between states that have higher taxes and higher costs of living, but also better health and well-being for residents.
"While we rank these states from 1 to 50, there really wasn't a state that was clearly the best choice or clearly the worst choice," he said.
No matter where you choose to spend your golden years, retirees should temporarily live in a new place instead of moving somewhere on a whim.
“Maybe rent an apartment for six months or a year and get to know the area,” said Ostrowski. "Make sure you really like it before you commit to buying there and stepping back."
The Yahoo Money sister site Cashay has a weekly newsletter.
Stephanie is a reporter for Yahoo Money and Cashay, a new personal finance website. Follow her on Twitter @SJAsymkos.
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