A Bankrate.com study released this week suggests that when it comes to retirement, Louisianians might look to other states.
The study by the financial publishing company rates Louisiana 46th among the 50 states for retirement, with only West Virginia, Alaska, New York and Arkansas faring worse. The best five states for retirement in 2015 are Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Idaho and Virginia, Bankrate.com says. Louisiana ranked 44th in the 2014 study.
Results were based on cost of living, crime rate, health care quality, weather and well-being.
The study suggests Louisiana’s weak points are crime, 49th; community well being, 48th; health care quality, tied for 45th; and weather, 44. A bright spot was its tax rate, fifth; and cost of living, 20th.
Bankrate.com said it selected those categories after surveying the public about which factors matter most when deciding where to retire. The results are meant to aid readers in selecting where they might want to retire based on factors that matter most to them, Bankrate.com said.
Chris Kahn, who authored the study for Bankrate.com, said what hasn’t changed in this year’s study, Bankrate.com’s third on retirement, is that people respond emotionally to seeing their state rated low.
“You’ll never be able to do a ‘best of’ and please everyone,” Kahn said Tuesday. “There are too many experiences in the U.S.”
Kahn said that as a news organization that focuses on personal finances, Bankrate.com’s studies put emphasis on “bread and butter issues” like cost of living and tax rates. He said oftentimes people think of retirement in idyllic terms — beaches, mountains, sunshine — and not the “nuts and bolts” of making ends meet.
Kahn said that if the studies have an apparent weakness, it is that they rate states, not individual communities.
“That’s never fair to individual communities,” he said. For example, he suggested, his experience living in New York City is far different than experiences of people who live in the rural, upper reaches of New York State.
Jacques Berry, spokesman for the office of Louisiana Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, which has touted the state as a retirement destination, said the state promoted some individual communities as “certified” as retirement places based on objective criteria. Those Louisiana communities include Covington, Crowley, Lake Charles, Thibodaux, Natchitoches Parish and the Interstate 12 Retirement District east of Baton Rouge.
Berry said the Bankrate.com rankings miffed him because many individual communities — Lafayette and Alexandria, for example — have made short lists in Forbes as retirement spots. He also suggested the study shortchanged Louisiana in its weather rankings, which he said are important to retirees.
“In how many places can you play golf in January?” he asked.10 best states to retire
8. South Dakota
10. Nebraska10 worst states to retire
49. New York
47. West Virginia
45. New Jersey
41. OregonSource: Bankrate.com