best, worst states for retirement in this corn field map of the U.S.As my colleague Aaron Crowe pointed out in December, financial sites looking for some press coverage often generate lists; in this case, the best and worst states for retirement.

At that time, he reported on a study on this topic by MoneyRates.com. Recently another site, TopRetirements.com did a similar list, results below.

Ten worst states for retirement:
50. Illinois
49. California
48. New York
47. Rhode Island
46. New Jersey
45. Ohio
44. Wisconsin
43. Massachusetts
42. Connecticut
41. NevadaWhat I find interesting about this list is that it shares exactly two states with MoneyRates.com's list of the worst states: Ohio and Nevada. This illustrates an important point for those considering where to retire. There are many criteria to consider, and these lists are, at best, only a starting point.

This list, for example, used three criteria:
  • Climate
  • Taxation (including property taxes and social security)
  • State's fiscal health
MoneyRates.com's study used more criteria:
  • Cost of living
  • Unemployment
  • Tax burden
  • Climate
  • Crime rates
  • Life expectancy
However, what you are looking for in retirement may not be included in this list. Other factors cited by TopRetirements.com but not used in its rating include:
  • Health care
  • Recreational opportunities
  • Transportation
  • Cultural resources
  • Natural disasters
  • Social, political or religious concerns
and what I would guess is the number one reason for choosing a place to retire: Proximity to family.

What are your primary concerns when you consider a place to retire?

By the way, in 2009, TopRetirements.com also chose the best 10 states to retire:
1. Florida
2. North Carolina
3. Tennessee
4. South Carolina
5. California
6. Arizona
7. Texas
8. Colorado
9. Oregon
10. Delaware

You'll note that California made both the worst and best lists, because the best list was based on visits to the site's state retirement guides. Obviously, climate played a huge part here.

The takeaway from this study? Make up your own list of requirements and use these lists to help narrow down your focus.

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