With 27% of all non-retired adults having no retirement savings, a new report released entitled 2022’s Best States to Retire, might be able to help you make your decision.
To help retirees find a safe, enjoyable, and wallet-friendly place to call home, WalletHub compared the 50 states across 47 key metrics. The analysis examines affordability, health-related factors, and overall quality of life.
Here are some key findings.
What is the most common mistake that retirees make when choosing where to settle?
“People too often move somewhere based on their health status and preferences at the time that they retire. But it is worth remembering that at the beginning of retirement health is at its best, but it can decline. Retiring to a living situation that will be manageable should health decline – i.e., locations like grocery stores and pharmacies are nearby, master bedrooms are on the first floor, a relative or friend is nearby for assistance – is important. It is also a money saver – if you are somewhere you can live for the long-term, you do not need to go through a process of selling and buying a new home that might be rushed. The good thing is that all states have these sorts of locations within them,” said Geoffrey Sanzenbacher, Ph.D., associate professor, Boston College.
“Retirees need to consider how close they are to the family. While retiring to a warm, sunny climate has a lot of appeals, being an eight-hour car ride or even plane flight from close family members can be difficult emotionally, financially, and socially for retirees. Retirees also need to consider the cost of living including tax codes. Property tax varies widely by locality. Cost of living includes local access to doctors who accept Medicare and are taking new patients,” added JoEllen Pederson, associate professor, Longwood University.
What are some tips for living on a fixed income in retirement?
“Ideally, households would have set aside enough to maintain a similar standard of living during their retirement years as their working life. If not, working longer can be a good option for those who can. Working longer has two benefits – providing additional income and maybe even savings so you do not have to tap your nest egg so early and allow you to delay claiming Social Security which results in higher monthly benefits. If working longer is not an option, such as due to health reasons, and you have some savings set aside, using those savings to delay claiming Social Security can also help. Claiming Social Security at 70 instead of 62 increases your monthly benefits by 77 percent and claiming at 65 instead of 62 increases your monthly benefits by close to 24 percent,” said Anqi (Angie) Chen, assistant director of Savings Research, Boston College.
“A retiree needs to have better control of retirement spending to address the longevity risk. Dr. David Blanchett coined the famous retirement spending smile curve. The retirement spending smile curve projected retirees tend to spend more when they first retire in the area of travel and leisure. As the retirees’ mobility declines, they tend to not spend as much on travel and leisure. But retirees’ spending will pick up toward medical expenses as their health declines. Therefore, how much retirees spend depends on what they can afford to do throughout their retirement. The retirees need to control their spending, especially vigilant about scammers and unnecessary financial support to families or friends, ” said Chia-Li Chien Ph.D., CFP, PMP, assistant professor, California Lutheran University.
The financial impact of the pandemic has many Americans reevaluating their retirement plans. What are some new points of concern for future retirees in considering where to retire?
“States and localities have handled the pandemic very differently and this creates an opportunity for retirees to see how localities may approach other emergency issues. The way localities are handling the pandemic can be an indicator of overall community health and government response to other emergencies. Therefore, while looking for the perfect place to retire, consider how the community and local government approached the pandemic. Does it fit with your ideologies?” Pederson said.
“One clear thing from the Pandemic is that no one can predict what will happen in the future – having more than enough retirement resources help retirees to adapt to the changes greatly. The extra retirement resources (besides the retirement living expenses) can mitigate spending shock risks,” Chien said.