California is the sixth-worst state to retire in.
Or 15th best.
Thats the confusing message from three recent state-by-state, best-to-retire rankings based on a myriad of economic and demographic stats.
Data crunchers at Bankrate and Kiplingers both ranked California No. 45 among the states for desirability as a place to live out ones golden years. But statisticians at WalletHub placed California 30 notches higher!
How do you explain the gap? Well, lets look at how Californias grades varied by those doing the rankings.
Remember, when it comes to rankings, beauty is in the eyes of the grader. My trusty spreadsheet — filled with retirement data and rankings of WalletHub, Bankrate and Kiplingers — found that even population counts display a deep statistical divide.
Yes, California has 5 million people aged 65 or older, the largest number of seniors in the nation. Certainly, that means something. But that flock equals only 12.9 percent of all Californias, the sixth-smallest share of 65-plus residents nationally. Are we young? Or unattractive to retirees?
Then look at the ranking divergence when it came to expenses. Yes, Californias expensive … but just how much pricier vs. other states is up for debate.
Bankrate found California third worst for cost-of-living and third-worst for its tax rates. But WalletHub scored California 14th worst for “affordability.” And Kiplingers noted Californias 65-plus households had a $65,904 average income, sixth-best among the states.
As for scoring conditions for care for seniors, Bankrate ranked California No. 19 for healthcare quality and No. 14 for well-being. WalletHub gave the state a No. 16 ranking for healthcare. And Kiplingers cited average healthcare costs for a retired couple of $430,867. Thats above a national average of $423,523 and 10th highest among the states.
Of course, California “cool” scored well. Bankrate gave the state a No. 14 ranking for the weather, No. 20 for culture, but 19th-worst for its crime. WalletHub ranked the state third-best for quality of life.
California appeared trickier to grade than other states as the three rankings had some agreement on the where-to-retire extremes.
Best states? Well, South Dakota made the top three among each surveyor: For Wallethub it was Florida, Colorado and South Dakota; Bankrate was South Dakota, Utah and Idaho; and Kiplingers list was topped by South Dakota, Hawaii and Georgia.
Worst states? New York and Maryland got double dings in the bottom-three grades: Wallethub (Kentucky, New Jersey, and Rhode Island); Bankrate (New York, New Mexico, and Maryland); and Kiplingers (New York, Massachusetts, and Maryland).
Heres how the 50 states ranked in this trio of gradings for retirement quality, listed in alphabetical order …
Have you checked out Bubble Watch …