Readers say family comes first

September 27, 2010

| MoneyRates.com Senior Financial Analyst, CFA

MoneyRates.com recently published a list of the best and worst states for retirees. These lists were compiled using a quantitative approach based on economic factors, crime rate, climate, and life expectancy. Naturally though, there is more to choosing a retirement home than just crunching the numbers, so we turned to the readers of MoneyRates.com and GetRichSlowly.org to get a sense of how more subjective factors stack up alongside the cold hard facts.

In a poll, we asked which was the most important factor in choosing a place to retire:

  • Being near children and grandchildren
  • Weather
  • Economic conditions
  • Low crime rate
  • Life expectancy/health care

Based on the results so far, family is the clear winner. 40% of poll respondents said this was the most important factor in choosing a place for retirement. 28% cited economic conditions, and 20% cited weather. Life expectancy and crime rate were distant laggards, at 7% and 5% respectively.

These results are not surprising. For one thing, it explains why there are perfectly happy retirees in every state of the union, regardless of some of the problems those states may have. Factors on the MoneyRates.com list of best/worst state criteria are not stronger than family bonds, but they do provide a good starting point for people who are researching where they should life in retirement.

It is significant that economic factors ranked second only to family in the poll. One might wonder why the economy would be so important to a retiree, who no longer has to depend on a job for a living. However, with money so tight these days, retirees have to be concerned about things like cost of living and tax burden cutting too deeply into their savings. Also, employment is a factor, even for retirees -- nobody wants to live in an economically depressed area, and many retirees find themselves wanting or needing to work again, at least part-time.

In short, retirees want family around them, but they also want that family to be able to work and support themselves financially.

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