A Top List of the Best States to Retire In

Retirement often brings with it the freedom to migrate wherever one chooses. As such, it is important to know which states offer the best conditions for retirees. Here are a few of the top states based on issues known to be important to seniors.

#1. Florida

When most people think of a retirement state, Florida is the one that comes to mind first. Nearly 19% of all residents are over the age of 65, the highest percentage in the nation. A myriad of factors play into this, ranging from Florida’s relatively mild winter to the fact that there is no state income tax. Florida also receives high marks for affordable in-home health care, access to public transportation, and entertainment and attractions.

#2. Idaho

One reason Idaho is a great place for retirees is the fact that the cost of living is 10% less than the U.S. average. The average health care costs for a retired couple are far below the national average, as are home prices and housing rentals. In addition, Social Security benefits are not subject to state income tax. Idaho is also attractive to seniors because of its relatively low crime rate, which was the 7th lowest in the nation in 2014.

#3. South Dakota

The Mount Rushmore State is the ideal destination for seniors who wish to stay active during retirement. According to Benefits Pro, South Dakota has the 12th most senior-friendly labor market, and ranks fourth in the nation for its percentage of working elders. Per capita, there are more healthcare facilities than any other state, including several highly-rated public hospitals.

#4. Wyoming

Like Florida, Wyoming has no state income tax, and those over age 65 also receive a property tax rebate. The state’s relatively low cost of living means there are very few seniors living at or below the poverty level. Wyoming’s violent crime rate was the third lowest in the nation in 2014 according to the FBI. This could explain why the state ranks in the top five among the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, as the majority of residents surveyed claimed they were “very satisfied.”

#5. Iowa

Not only do Iowans enjoy a relatively low cost of living, but they also have great access to affordable health care. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports that healthcare facilities in the state rank very high when it comes to affordability, people-centered care, and effective treatment. Iowa has also been hailed as having some of the strongest elder-abuse laws in the country, as well as a senior-friendly labor market for those wishing to go back to work.

Which of these states is the most retirement friendly will depend upon your own unique circumstances. As such, you will need to decide which issues you are most concerned with and then perform your research accordingly. All of the states on this list are known for their magnificent scenery and abundance of attractions, so you can enjoy beautiful surroundings and maintain an active lifestyle regardless of where you actually end up.

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5 Mobile Apps that can Help you Start Saving for Retirement

Many people make excuses when it comes to saving for retirement, claiming they do not have time to come up with a plan or that they require assistance doing so. If you are also making those same excuses, one of these five mobile apps could be the answer.

Stash

Thanks to Stash, you no longer have to come up with hoards of money to begin investing. This app allows you to invest as little as $5 by providing you with a questionnaire that helps you better determine your risk level. After answering a few questions, you will then be given a list of investment options from which to choose. With Stash, there is no “robo advising”-you are in complete control and make only the choices you are most comfortable with. Along the way, you are provided with personalized guidance to help guide your decision-making process.

Acorn

The developers of the Acorn app note that many people do not invest because they do not fully understand the process or have anxiety about doing so. To make things easier, Acorn works by “rounding up” your spending to the nearest dollar and then putting that extra change toward investment. To begin, you will need to link up a credit card and checking account, and then allow Acorn to do the work for you. Most people find using Acorn very easy, since they are literally investing only a few cents at a time.

ING STRUCT®

This app is designed to be much like a game that will allow you to try out different investment strategies. Building materials represent various investment tools, which are then used to construct buildings or “structs.” The game also involves three different build crews that represent aggressive, moderate, and conservative investors. A fourth crew represents a “wild card”, which mimics risk and opportunity and adds a degree of reality to the mix.

Simple

Simple is often touted as a checking account designed to help people save. It comes with its own fee-free debit card that is linked to this checking account, which automatically performs certain budgeting functions for you. By subtracting upcoming bills, this app can let you establish goals and determine whether or not you are accomplishing them. This will also allow you to know how much money is available for investing, ensuring you do not blow any funds that have been set aside for emergencies.

Digit

Digit is synched to your bank account, and sends daily text messages letting you know how your balance has changed. Using this app regularly will help you learn where you are spending money frivolously. The app will also recommend a savings contribution that aligns with your spending patterns, and you can even enable an automatic savings feature that will allow a certain amount of money to be transferred into a separate account each day.

These are just a few of the mobile apps available to help you start saving for retirement. Now you have no more excuses for not setting money aside and investing in your future.

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How to Plan for Serious Illnesses During your Retirement

When planning your retirement, it can be easy to think that your current good health will last indefinitely. The truth is that anyone can be faced with health problems at any time, which is why you should factor a serious illness into your retirement plans. Here is some information you can use to help you better plan future expenditures.

Longevity a Factor

Retirees these days can be expected to live anywhere from 20 to 30 years after retirement. When you compare this with the average of 15 years that was common a generation ago, it is easy to see that the likelihood of developing a serious illness is greater than it ever has been.

More than 60% of all newly-diagnosed cancer patients are over the age of 65, and your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, or Alzheimer’s also increases dramatically once you reach retirement age. If you live long enough, chances are that you will be diagnosed with one or more debilitating illnesses, which can quickly bankrupt you unless you have planned ahead.

How Much Savings is Enough?

Morgan Stanley reports that since 1960, the inflation rate for healthcare and health-related expenditures has increased by nearly ten percent each year. Since any annual cost of living increase you receive will likely be much less than that, budgeting for inflation is probably not possible. Instead, many financial experts advise budgeting slightly more than the average amount needed to fund your medical expenses from retirement until death. Fidelity reported that number to be $245,000 for the average 65-year-old couple who were retiring in March 2015.

The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) claims that accounting for the average amount of money is not enough. This firm ran more than 100,000 simulations to account for variables such as age, the availability of health insurance, and the rate at which medical costs were anticipated to increase. Based upon their research, they surmised that the amount needed would be:

  • $124,000 for the average man
  • $140,000 for the average woman
  • $392,000 per couple

Accounting for Future Health Expenses

The best way to ensure you are prepared to handle future medical expenses is to begin investing early. Some recommendations that will help you prepare for retirement include:

  • Contributing a minimum of five percent to a 401(k) or retirement fund
  • Establishing an IRA to help you save even more money
  • Upping your contribution percentages each time you receive a raise
  • Refraining from taking out loans or hardship withdrawals against your accounts
  • Developing a budget to help you live within your means

While planning for the future is nice, working out a budget that will allow you to take good care of your health now is even better. Ensuring you can afford to live a healthy lifestyle and have the funds for routine checkups will make it less likely you will develop a serious illness later. And if you do need to dip into those funds, the amount of money you need to withdraw will likely be a whole lot less.

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Where Should You Live when You Retire? Stay Home or Move?

Retirement brings with it many pleasures in life, and many people consider the notion of moving to a brand-new location once they’ve worked their last day. Although most people end up staying at home, there are some who do relocate. Financial advisors agree, though, that it is best to think carefully about relocating before picking your favorite vacation spot or childhood hometown.

The Statistics on Aging in Place

Americans have a propensity for aging in place, and a recent study from Bankrate shows it. They surveyed hundreds of people, and about half of all people ages 50 to 64 said they would consider a move after retirement. However, that number dropped to about 20% for people who were age 65 and up, which shows that more people in this country prefer to age in place rather than move to a brand-new location following their retirement. As it turns out, relocating may be more of a hassle than you originally bargained for.

Taxes Change

If you’re thinking about moving to another state, the first thing you need to do is get some information about the state tax rates and laws. Not all states are as friendly to retirees as you might think, and you may end up with a high cost of living that drains your retirement funds far more quickly than you’d anticipated. You should think about things like income tax, sales tax, and even the death tax – all of which can impact your bank account.

As an example, if you’re interested in saving money on your taxes, Vermont isn’t a good choice. This state can apply an income tax to up to 85% of your Social Security benefits. Instead, consider a location like Georgia, where Social Security and other forms of retirement income are completely exempt from income taxes.

Other Expenses to Consider

Although parts of Georgia might seem perfect for your retirement home thanks to low income taxes and a relatively low cost of living, there are other factors that you’ll want to think about before you make the leap. These may include the average cost of utilities, property taxes, home prices, and even the distance you’ll need to travel to see family – or vice-versa. These things can completely negate any savings you might receive on your Social Security or retirement income, so it’s vital to do the research and the math.

What’s more, new healthcare laws have had a tremendous impact on premiums, which can vary drastically from state to state. After retirement, you’re more likely to face significant health issues, so the cost and quality of your healthcare plan should be of the utmost concern. Before taking the plunge and loading up the moving truck, make sure you’ll have access to affordable healthcare.

Although moving after retirement sounds exciting, and it offers up the opportunity to see and do new things, remember that things like taxes, travel costs, living expenses, and even the cost of healthcare can change immensely simply by crossing a state line.

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