Not good to be an M state
Retirement means work these days — and that's vaulted Texas to No. 1 forretirees
The results are in. . . Financial advisory website MoneyRates.com's revealed its second annual Best and Worst States for Retirement rankings, giving the top prize to Texas.
Edging out Kentucky and Oklahoma for this year’s No. 1 slot, the Lone Star State scored well with a relatively mild climate and solid economic standing, overcoming its national shortcomings in crime and life expectancy.
Chilly climates, violent crime and low employment rates kept Massachusetts, Michigan and Maine in the last three positions. Last year’s winner — the equally cold but low-taxing New Hampshire — dropped to number 23, as economic factors re-shuffled the rankings. Only Iowa maintained its top five status from last year.
Texas has weathered the economic downturn better than most other states, making it a leading contender for the retirement set.
In last week’s series, Life in Retirement: The Not-So-Golden Years, National Public Radio reported a substantial change in the way aging Americans approach retirement. Once the closing chapter for the American Dream, retirement lasted for about 10 to 15 years after loyal employees received their gold watches and relocated to Sun City.
Retirees in the 21st century face two — or maybe even three — decades of financial, emotional and medical considerations. More often, the golden years might mean pursuing a new career path.
Taking this new reality into account, MoneyRate looked to its readership to determine which four factors are most essential to the newly retired: economics (47 percent), climate (33 percent), life expectancy (12 percent) and crime (5 percent) came out on top. Here’s how Texas fared in each:
According to the list’s creator Richard Barrington, cost of living and tax rates are primary considerations for the majority of retirees. As more seniors continue to work into their golden years — at least part-time — unemployment rates are a key determinate as well. Texas, of course, has weathered the economic downturn better than most other states, making it a leading contender for the retirement set.
While one person’s warm and sunny climate might be another’s sweltering nightmare, the MoneyRate list split the difference and locks its ideal monthly temperature at a comfortable 68 degrees. Although this has been a record-breaking drought year in Texas with an annual average approaching 70 degrees, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s climatic data website places Texas close to MoneyRate’s ideal in the mid-60s.
Not the cheeriest consideration for retirees (but a factor nevertheless), life expectancy rates reveal quite a bit about the collective health of a state as well as the quality of its medical care.
While Barrington notes that at “76.7 years, life expectancy for Texans is a little below median,” he stops short of offering any insight. It might be worth mentioning that although the state offers world-renowned medical care, it also produces extremely high levels of greenhouse gas emissions compared to the rest of the nation.
MoneyRate combines both violent crime and property crime for an overall rating that placed Texas as one of the more dangerous states. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, violent crime rates in Texas are fairly average. The state’s property crime rates, however, are some of the highest in the U.S.