Recently, I ran across an article about the best (and worst) states for retirement. It caught my attention because the “best” state turned out to be Nebraska. Many people might be surprised at this. After all, who would retire in such a cold place in the middle of the country? I actually was not at all surprised. I was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, and spent the first 12 years of my life there. I still visit relatives there and enjoy the wonderful people, slower pace and beautiful scenery the state has to offer.
Many people might wonder how Nebraska ended up at the top of the list. The answer is that it all has to do with the criteria. This study used data about affordability, crime rate, culture, weather and wellness (measured by access to quality healthcare) as its metrics. Weather was obviously a shortcoming, but the Cornhusker State shown in the other categories.
Rounding out the top five were Iowa, Missouri, South Dakota and Florida. The only predictable state here is the Sunshine State. The others are all decidedly in the American heartland and ranked high on the list for the same reasons Nebraska did. And what was at the bottom of the list? New York (49) and Maryland (50). Affordability was a major factor in their low scores.
Rankings like these are important because deciding where to retire is one of the critical choices you will make when planning this phase of your life. Your decision criteria will very likely have location of family and loved ones at the very top of your list. However, the way you set your other priorities, including affordability, lifestyle and access to healthcare, will have a huge impact on how you assess your options. They may even lead you to some unexpected choices. Nearly four in 10 retirees say they’ve moved at least once since retiring, according to a 2018 survey by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. It is critical to evaluate all of your options and priorities when looking at where you would like to live during retirement. You may decide to stay where you are, but many will want to at least consider other options. Moving is expensive and stressful, so a thoughtful and thorough evaluation is important.
Your decision should include not just where you want to retire but also the type of retirement home you envision. Do you see yourself in a condo, a townhouse, a freestanding home or possibly renting? Is it attractive to you to have two homes during retirement, or would you prefer to have a single home and save that extra money for something else, such as travel or hobbies?
Your financial advisor can help you sort through and evaluate your options to come up with a personalized retirement plan. And when you are evaluating your options, don’t forget to think outside the box. Nebraska is a beautiful place to retire, or at least visit. Just ask a born and bred Cornhusker like me!
Julianne F. Andrews, MBA, CFP, AIF is a principal and co-founder of Atlanta Financial Associates. She specializes in working with physicians and executives in the healthcare industry. Her passion for working with physicians comes from being a pediatrician’s spouse for more than three decades. Julie has been featured on Forbes’ list of America’s Top Women Wealth Advisors since 2017 as well as Forbes’ Best-in-State Wealth Advisors since 2018. Julie can be reached at [email protected].