Company ranks Florida sixth for affordable, entertaining retirement
Florida ranked sixth among the states as best for early retirement in a new study by financial technology company SmartAsset.
Florida moved up from ninth the previous year.
Researchers studied factors such as real estate, personal income and sales tax rates, average housing costs, the nonhousing cost of living, access to health care and availability of leisure activities.
Wyoming topped the list, followed by Kentucky, Mississippi, South Dakota and Tennessee.
Rounding out the top 10 after Florida were Pennsylvania, Texas, Louisiana, and Nevada and New Mexico in a tie.
Florida ranked high because of its zero percent income tax rate and for having 9.15 doctors offices per 10,000 residents, the second-highest concentration in the nation. The state also placed in the better half of the country for its sales tax rate.
But living costs were high. The average housing cost (almost $12,000 per year) and nonhousing cost of living ranked 30th and 31st, respectively.
“Our main purpose to doing the study was to give people a tool to think about their personal situation,” said SmartAsset spokeswoman Asees Singh. “We looked to see where you can stretch dollars with low taxes but also have a lot to do. It’s truly a look on the personal finance side.”
The report noted that top-ranked Wyoming offers an effective tax rate of zero percent on retirement income and has the third-lowest nonhousing cost of living.
The state also has 73 arts, entertainment and recreation establishments per 100,000 people, ranking it fifth.
However, Wyoming is second to last in health care costs, with only Alaskans paying more.
Kentucky offers low costs of living and ranks fourth in average housing cost per year at $8,600 and fifth in nonhousing cost of living.
But there are only 28 arts, entertainment and recreation establishments per 100,000 residents, making the Bluegrass State 44th best in the country.
Mississippi has a zero percent effective tax on retirement income and the lowest nonhousing cost of living as well as the second-lowest housing costs in the nation.
But there are only 22 arts, entertainment and recreation establishments per 100,000 people, the lowest in the nation.
There also are not as many doctors’ offices in Mississippi as there are in other states, ranking it 33rd on that measure.
The Northeast was the worst region. Three of the bottom five states for an early retirement were Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Jersey.
The researchers did not factor in weather, instead focusing solely on financial data.
Singh said a study SmartAsset released in October determined the average age of retirement across all states ranged from 62 to 65.
She said people should start planning for retirement as early as possible, including making contributions to a 401k plan if available.