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California ranks sixth-worst state to retire to — or 15th best

California is the sixth-worst state to retire in.
Or 15th best.
That’s the confusing message from three recent state-by-state, best-to-retire rankings based on a myriad of economic and demographic stats.
Data crunchers at Bankrate and Kiplinger’s both ranked California No. 45 among the states for desirability as a place to live out one’s golden years. But statisticians at WalletHub placed California 30 notches higher!
How do you explain the gap? Well, let’s look at how California’s grades varied by those doing the rankings.
Remember, when it comes to rankings, beauty is in the eyes of the grader. My trusty spreadsheet — filled with retirement data and rankings of WalletHub, Bankrate and Kiplinger’s — found that even population counts display a deep statistical divide.
Yes, California has 5 million people aged 65 or older, the largest number of seniors in the nation. Certainly, that means something. But that flock equals only 12.9 percent of all Californias, the sixth-smallest share of 65-plus residents nationally. Are we young? Or unattractive to retirees?
Then look at the ranking divergence when it came to expenses. Yes, California’s expensive … but just how much pricier vs. other states is up for debate.
Bankrate found California third worst for cost-of-living and third-worst for its tax rates. But WalletHub scored California 14th worst for “affordability.” And Kiplinger’s noted California’s 65-plus households had a $65,904 average income, sixth-best among the states.
As for scoring conditions for care for seniors, Bankrate ranked California No. 19 for healthcare quality and No. 14 for well-being. WalletHub gave the state a No. 16 ranking for healthcare. And Kiplinger’s cited average healthcare costs for a retired couple of $430,867. That’s above a national average of $423,523 and 10th highest among the states.
Of course, California “cool” scored well. Bankrate gave the state a No. 14 ranking for the weather, No. 20 for culture, but 19th-worst for its crime. WalletHub ranked the state third-best for quality of life.
California appeared trickier to grade than other states as the three rankings had some agreement on the where-to-retire extremes.
Best states? Well, South Dakota made the top three among each surveyor: For Wallethub it was Florida, Colorado and South Dakota; Bankrate was South Dakota, Utah and Idaho; and Kiplinger’s list was topped by South Dakota, Hawaii and Georgia.
Worst states? New York and Maryland got double dings in the bottom-three grades: Wallethub (Kentucky, New Jersey, and Rhode Island); Bankrate (New York, New Mexico, and Maryland); and Kiplinger’s (New York, Massachusetts, and Maryland).
Here’s how the 50 states ranked in this trio of gradings for retirement quality, listed in alphabetical order …

State
Wallethub
Bankrate
Kiplinger’s

Alabama
41
24
28

Alaska
30
36
42

Arizona
10
29
17

Arkansas
46
46
49

California
15
45
26

Colorado
2
17
11

Connecticut
34
35
20

Delaware
25
19
13

Florida
1
5
1

Georgia
37
37
45

Hawaii
42
11
5

Idaho
8
3
12

Illinois
31
44
46

Indiana
32
22
43

Iowa
4
16
9

Kansas
17
25
23

Kentucky
50
30
48

Louisiana
44
47
50

Maine
23
22
14

Maryland
38
48
41

Massachusetts
19
12
8

Michigan
29
14
21

Minnesota
11
28
19

Mississippi
47
10
36

Missouri
18
15
24

Montana
13
6
7

Nebraska
33
9
22

Nevada
16
42
38

New Hampshire
7
4
3

New Jersey
49
32
35

New Mexico
43
48
47

New York
40
50
40

N. Carolina
28
6
15

N. Dakota
24
20
27

Ohio
20
38
32

Oklahoma
36
40
44

Oregon
26
39
31

Pennsylvania
14
31
16

Rhode Island
48
34
34

S. Carolina
27
41
39

S. Dakota
3
1
2

Tennessee
35
21
30

Texas
22
17
29

Utah
9
2
6

Vermont
39
26
10

Virginia
5
13
4

Washington
21
43
33

W. Virginia
45
33
37

Wisconsin
12
26
25

Wyoming
6
8
18

Have you checked out Bubble Watch …
Bubble Watch: Are house hunters shying from newly built homes?
Bubble Watch: Is California’s anti-business vibe killing the state’s economy?
Bubble Watch: Home-equity loans back at pre-recession levels
Source: OC Register

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