News Column

Virginia Is for Retirees

May 7, 2013

Florida and Arizona aren't the only states for retirees.

Virginia was ranked No. 6 by Bankrate.com, an online aggregator of financial information.

"Virginia isn't just for lovers. It's for seniors looking for an all-around good place to settle down," Bankrate said Monday in its write-up about the list.

Retirees have descended for generations to Sun Belt states in search of warm climes, swimming pools and year-round golf.

But when other factors are considered -- access to medical care, cost of living, crime rates, and state and local taxes -- some of the best states are farther north, according to Bankrate.

And neither Florida nor Arizona, despite their popularity, made the list.

Bankrate also had this to say about Virginia:

"The Old Dominion is better than average in most categories that Bankrate considered, including cost of living, warmer temperatures and access to physicians.

"With only 2,446 property and violent crimes per 100,000 people, Virginia has one of the lowest crime rates in the country.

"Throw all of that in with Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, Colonial Williamsburg, the Blue Ridge Parkway and other gems, and you have one of the best states in the U.S. for retirees."

Virginia was flanked by West Virginia, which ranked No. 7, and Mississippi, at No. 5.

No. 1 was Tennessee, which was deemed an exceptional place for retires, especially for those on tight budgets and fixed incomes. Its one drawback was a high crime rate.

This list had a few surprises -- North Dakota, No. 10, and South Dakota, No. 3. If people can get past the frigid temperatures, the two states have a lot going for them, Bankrate said.

Golf was not one of the factors used to determine the best places for retirees, said Chris Kahn, an analyst with Bankrate.

"This year we wanted to focus on the kind of questions retirees should be asking themselves if they decide to make a move," Kahn said.

Kahn, who lived briefly in the Fan District in 2000 and Roanoke for four years in the mid-2000s, said he was not surprised Virginia made the list.

"Everyone has their own private list of what they want. Some people absolutely need to be near the beach. Some want to be near the grandkids. Some want to live in the city and some want to live outside the city."

These variables can't be addressed, Kahn said. "We try to take subjectivity out and provide a baseline of questions."

The methodology was based on medical statistics on the number of hospital beds per 1,000 people provided by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the number of doctors per 100,000 residents from the U.S. census.

Crime statistics on violent crimes and property crimes per 100,000 people came from the 2011 FBI Uniform Crime Report. Tax rates were based on an estimate of the state and local tax burden (income, sales, property and other taxes) by the Tax Foundation.

Average temperatures over 30 years (from 1981 to 2010) were provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Western Regional Climate Center. Cost-of-living stats were from the Council for Community and Economic Research.

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(c)2013 the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Richmond, Va.)

Visit the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Richmond, Va.) at www.timesdispatch.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services





Source: Copyright Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA) 2013


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