Are American’s still retiring down South? According to the latest WalletHub Best & Worst Places to Retire report the Sunshine State has four of the top five places for retirement with Charleston SC being the odd one out.
The top five cities are:
Charleston, South Carolina
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Why is Florida so popular?
CNBC says “Florida is a tax haven for everyone, but especially for the elderly, so when it comes to affordable living, all of these cities are going to be hard to beat,” said Jill Gonzelez, an analyst at WalletHub.
The state has no income tax, inheritance tax, or estate tax. That may be appealing for those looking to cut back on expenses when they stop working.
In fact, only 27% of Americans said they were “very confident” about having enough money to retire comfortably, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s 2020 Retirement Confidence Survey.
Affordability isn’t the only factor Wallet Hub analyzed they also considered recreational activities like, fishing and golfing, quality of life, weather, healthcare and an increasing population of retirees 65 and older.
In all, WalletHub examined 46 different metrics to come up with its rankings.
To help Americans find the best cities to spend their golden years, WalletHub compared the retirement-friendliness of 182 cities — including the 150 most populated U.S. cities, plus at least two of the most populated cities in each state — across four key dimensions: 1) Affordability, 2) Activities, 3) Quality of Life and 4) Health Care.
We evaluated those dimensions using 46 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most favorable conditions for retirement.
Finally, we determined each city’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score and used the resulting scores to rank-order our sample. Our sample considers only the city proper in each case and excludes cities in the surrounding metro area.
With cost being a significant factor in retirement, our analysis assumes retirees will rely on a fixed income. The lower their expenses, the better retirees will fare in a particular city.
With the coronavirus pandemic, health care was of particular concern this year.
The website looked at how each locale was equipped to handle the virus, the share of the population that is uninsured, and the number of hospital beds per capita.
It then gave the coronavirus triple weight against other health-care issues, such as dentists and dermatologists, mental health, and life expectancy.
For example, the Lowest adjusted cost of living is Brownsville TX and the highest adjusted cost of living is New York. If fishing is important to you then Charleston SC is the best place for that hobby, while Tuscan AZ is the worst place for fishing.
According to the study, Newark NJ Is The Worst Place for Retirement!
Newark New Jersey scored the lowest based on affordability, activities, quality of life, and health care. Other cities that ranked low according to WalletHub includes:
Warwick, Rhode Island
San Bernardino, California
How has the pandemic affected retirement plans?
WalletHub interviewed a team of experts asking them how they thought the pandemic affected retirement plans. Kathy Black Ph.D. – Professor of Aging Studies and Social Work, University of South Florida, Sarasota-Manatee acknowledged that the pandemic is a very dynamic issue and very hard to generalize.
We have already witnessed many older adults losing their jobs and less likely to get back in the workforce for a multitude of reasons – so financial insecurity for some – precarity for others as any number of circumstances can change our plans “best laid” plans. Women and persons of color are differentially impacted as well.
At this stage of the pandemic and for the foreseeable future, safety will be a big factor for older adults who tend to have one or more underlying conditions that increase our vulnerability to serious consequences of COVID.
So for example, if we had planned to move or travel, we will likely reconsider when and how we move forward with these plans.
Finally according to CNBC In the end, the decision will come down to exactly what you are looking for in retirement, what you can afford, whether you want to stay where you live now and how far you want to be from family.
“So many retirees think of this as an end: the end of their career but also an end to what they need to be thinking about financially,” Gonzelez said. “This is the beginning of a new life that you still need to be able to pay for.”
For the full WalletHub Retirement report, including the methodology used, go to wallethub.com/edu/best-places-to-retire/6165/.
What is your ultimate retirement destination and what new factors have you considered when making that decision? Comment below.