Dec
10

Guess Which Ranks as the Worst State to Retire

December 10, 2010

When I was young, I used to think I would live in my Chicago home forever.

Then I got older.

Now, each year as I endure another Chicago winter, I grow a little more weary of my retirement plans for Illinois.

Apparently, I’m not alone.

The 10 Worst States for Retirement have been determined by TopRetirements.com, and Illinois is No. 1 on the list.

The gray city looking freezing cold during winter

Sometimes the sun doesn't come out for days during winter in Chicago.

According to the study, the top three criteria for considering worst places to retire are fiscal health, taxation and climate.

“Illinois’ fiscal health could be the worst of any state. It even borrowed money to fund its pension obligations!” wrote John Brady, president of TopRetirements.com.

Brady says retirees should avoid states in fiscal peril because they might find less services and more taxation in those locations.

According to Brady, Illinois has a budget deficit of $12 billion, almost half the amount of the total budget, and its state pension system is one of the most mismanaged in the country, with a deficit around 50 percent.

“The state is a solid contender to be the worse off state financially in the nation,” Brady reports.

Lovely.

One good thing for retirees in Illinois is that pensions and social security income are not taxed at the state level. So there.

Let’s move on to the weather. Brady called Illinois’ climate humid-continental. We have four seasons including hot summers and cold winters with frequent snowstorms. It’s definitely not golfing weather all year round.

The Top 10 Worst State for Retirement, according to TopRetirements.com:

1. Illinois: You know why.

2. California: A nice climate, but its finances are in disarray and it’s expensive to live there.

3. New York: While most pensions are exempt, this state has very high taxes, including property taxes, and it’s very expensive to live there.

4. Rhode Island: The worst-off state in the Northeast financially.

5. New Jersey: This state claims the highest property taxes in the country and the highest tax burden.

6. Ohio: High taxes and unemployment and cold winters put this state on the list.

7. Wisconsin: A high tax state with high property taxes and cold weather. This state does not tax military pensions, however.

8. Massachusetts: Very high cost of living, including high taxes and high property taxes.

9. Connecticut: Has the third highest tax burden of any state, very high property taxes, its cost of living is very high and it taxes social security.

10. Nevada: Has the highest foreclosure rate in the country, though it doesn’t have an income tax.

“If you have been looking to retire in Illinois, we have the information to help you make a better choice,” Brady jokes.

In reality, just because Illinois is No. 1 on this list doesn’t mean you should change your future plans.

Brady says everyone’s situation is different.

“Every individual has to consider his or her own criteria for selecting a list of the worst or best states to retire,” he said. “The best way to start your individual list of best or worst states is to think about and rank these criteria with your personal preferences.”

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Tracey

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