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You're gonna retire where?

The latest "top ten states to retire in" list offers up a few choices you might not have heard before.

By Smart Spending Editor May 6, 2013 4:30PM
This is a post from Smart Spending Editor Julie Tilsner.

People love their lists. Almost as much as they love their retirement fantasies. In this digital age, "Best of" lists of top places to retire abound. But sometimes you've to to wonder what criteria are being used, when states like Tennessee, Louisiana and South Dakota rank high on such a list.

Senior Couple in a Garden (© Corbis)There are as many ways to crunch the numbers as there are retirees. Forbes, for example, has several different lists, including best places for a working retirement and best places to retire from a tax perspective.

AARP focuses on affordability. Money Magazine also used housing prices and access to quality health care. Makes sense.

Bankrate's list, released today, however, takes a distinctly out-of-the-box look at best states in which to retire. Take Louisiana, for example. It ranks second on the list of one of the best states to retire in, because of its relatively low-cost of living, low tax rate and "balmy" weather. It does mention the high crime rate, however. But it doesn't mention the hurricanes.

Frigid North Dakota brings up the bottom of the list, along with the caveat that if you can handle the cold, then the state offers a low crime rate, affordability and hospital access that's ranked as second-best in the country. Probably because so few people live there (about 700,000 people, according to Census numbers). But again with the problematic weather. What will your heating bill look like each month?

Tennessee comes in first, but only after hot-spots like South Dakota, Alabama and West Virginia are tallied. The home of Graceland and Dollywood makes the top grade because of its low-cost of living and low state and local tax bite. Good access to healthcare as well. Plus, its weather is warmer than average, according to the list. But there's still that pesky crime rate, which is among the worst in the country. Well, we can't have everything, can we?

Give this latest list props for originality and honesty. After all, we don't all want to retire in Florida, do we?
May 6, 2013 9:27PM
I'm retired right where I've lived for the past 30 years...why move?
May 7, 2013 10:04AM
That list also stated that most of the "top" locations had crime problems and that Tennessee had a Florida-like climate!!!  Absolutely rediculous assessment.
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