Best US States for Retiree Benefits
Stretch Your Employee Retirement Benefits and Retire Rich This Year
Every single day, some 10,000 Baby Boomers reach the retirement age of 65, according to the Pew Research Center. While this doesn't mean all will choose to stop working at this milestone, it does mean that many will start making the serious decision to relocate to a more beautiful or temperate state to spend the best years of their lives. Some choose to do so purely for financial and health care reasons, while others choose to live near family and friends. Whatever the case may be, folks nearing retirement must be mindful of how they will stretch their retirement benefits because they may be on a fixed income from here on out.
What to Consider Before You Retire or Relocate
Some of the factors to consider when choosing to move to another state for retirement include:
- Availability of services to support longevity — including health care, fitness, and elder-care
- Cost of living index for the region — to ensure monthly benefits last each month
- Tax rates and shelters for retired people — to make monthly income last longer
- Crime rates for the state and city — so older people can sleep at night
- Quality and availability of retirement friendly homes and condos — for an easy transition
- Temperature and climate — important for those who suffer from weather related aches and pains
- Opportunities to be part of a community — vital to a positive retirement experience
- Closeness to travel, shopping, entertainment and wellness centers — to help retired people remain active
- Proximity to family members — to spoil the grandkids and get support with daily needs
- Approved pension-related wellness and military VA centers for those with these requirements
These are just a few of the many factors to consider when selecting the right state to retire in. If retired people are receiving pension payouts they will also want to check to see if health providers accept their benefits. This also applies to military veterans and retirees who will want to live near a VA center for ongoing care. Most will want to start shopping around for assisted living and nursing care facilities that accept Social Security benefits, and long-term care benefits because this is something more people are using as they near the end of their lives.
Updated list of the top 10 US states to retire rich
In order to get the most from employee and retirement benefits, here is an updated list of the top US states to choose for retirement for 2016, based on current reviews and recommendations from AARP, Forbes, and BankRate. (Note: The states below are not in any particular order.)
Texas is one of the hottest places to retire rich in 2016. There’s plenty to do in Texas, including taking in a baseball game, ranching, farming, visiting the Gulf Coast and more. In fact, Abilene was named the best place to retire in 2016 by Forbes. The cost of living index of 83 is below the national average of 100 and there is plenty of access to healthcare within the city of 120,000 residents. San Marcos is another great place to retire in Texas. The cost of living index in this town is 92 and the population comes in at 55,000.
Median home prices are just under $200,000.
Pennsylvania is a surprising state on this list, specifically the city of Pittsburgh. The cost of living comes in at 84, which is below the national average of 100. The median home price is $140,000, but serious crime is a problem, with 798 serious crimes reported last year. The further you move from the city center the safer it becomes for retirees.
As usual, the state of Florida makes an appearance on the Forbes list of best places to retire in 2016, as well as the number one spot on AARP's list of top retirement destinations. Key Largo is a city of 80,000 people that has a cost of living index of 87. Daytona Beach is another popular place to retire with the average housing price at $104,000. You will be close to the beaches, the water, wildlife and plenty of golf for you to handle. The best part? Florida doesn't tax Social Security benefits.
Living near some of the best barbecue in the country is a goal for quite a few retirees. That can be done by retiring to the deep south in Arkansas. Bella Vista has a population of 28,000, with 136 doctors per capita index. The access to healthcare is quite easy with such a low population. The median home price is $127,000, so finding a place to live shouldn’t be too difficult.
With a cost of living at 90, Lincoln is one of the best cities you could retire to in 2016. The city has a population of 270,000 and median home prices hit $158,000. Serious crime is a bit of a problem with 338 cases last year per 100,000 residents. SafeWise ranks the following cities as the safest for living in Nebraska: Wahoo, Cozad, and O’Neill.
Ever wanted to visit Tennessee? Many have done so, but have never actually left. Many visitors to the state wind up moving there because of its beautiful views and home to country music. Smyrna has a cost of living index of 91 and just 43,000 residents.
North Carolina has plenty to offer retirees. The location to Georgia, Virginia and even Pennsylvania makes this state a go-to for those looking to retire. Mount Airy has a cost of living index of 92 and only 10,000 residents. Worried about access to healthcare? Worry no more as there are 103 doctors in the area.
Appearing in the number two spot on AARP's list of best retirement destinations is the great state of Idaho. Not only is this region filled with breathtaking beauty and fresh mountain air, but the cost of living is low and property taxes are also below average. There are also many amenities, such as low utilities, thanks to Idaho's hydroelectricity, and local colleges and universities that offer free classes for retired folks. There's also no tax on Social Security, therefore retirees can make their dollars stretch further.
Have you ever wanted to live in the desert? If so, Arizona is now on the list of best states to retire rich in 2016. The state offers plenty of activities, especially sporting events, for those who don’t just want to sit around during their golden years. Apache Junction made the Forbes list of best places to retire in 2016. The town has a population of 37,000 and the median home price is just $129,000.
Missouri, a gem of the Midwestern states, can also be a great place to retire rich in 2016. Columbia is a city of 115,000 people who love baseball, football, and hockey. Median home prices come in at $171,000, but crime is a bit of an issue. Serious crimes reported last year tallied 351 per 100,000 residents. and hockey. Median home prices come in at $171,000, but crime is a bit of an issue. Serious crimes reported last year tallied 351 per 100,000 residents.
Not Sure If You Are Ready to Retire?
Fortunately, you have plenty of time and resources to make this big decision. If you are healthy, it's recommended to keep working until you are at least 72 years of age, to maximize your Social Security earnings and monthly check. It can be a good time to focus most of your earnings into a company 401k plan too, especially if the company matches dollars. Last, put as much money as possible into your health savings account before you reach the age of 65 and become eligible for Medicare. This is a good tax shelter you will be able to tap into for future medical care and prescription drug coverage for a long time if you are careful.
More Resources to Prepare for Retirement
Take a look at this checklist for preparing for retirement. The AARP provides some guidelines and a retirement calculator that can make the decision a little easier too. You'll also enjoy this guide to happiness as a retired person.