Alaska Worst State to Retire
By MARY KAUFFMAN
March 29, 2017
Alaska came in last overall and in two of the eight categories (weather and the percentage of senior citizens). It was also dragged down by the second-highest crime rate, the third-highest cost of living and the fifth-worst score for healthcare quality. West Virginia is the second-worst place to spend one's golden years, followed by Arkansas, New Mexico and Louisiana.
In Alaska Commission on Aging's latest Seniors' Snapshot 2015/2016 report, retired seniors in Alaska as a whole contribute at least $2.4 billion annually to Alaska’s economy from their retirement income, health care spending and revenue from other sources. Employed seniors (23.8% of the 65+ population) contribute an additional $633 million. With the passage of the proposed state income tax, Alaska House Bill 115, that economic contibution by Seniors will lower as the state taxes retirement pensions and capital gains.
The retirement industry in Alaska, one of the State’s top economic sectors, creates approximately 13,000 jobs in health care, long-term support services, housing, and other employment sectors.
More than half of employed Alaska seniors work in health care, education, public administration, and retail. The cumulative senior economic impact of $3 billion compares favorably to other industries including fishing ($2.2 billion), construction ($2.1 billion) and retail trade ($2.1 billion). In addition, Alaskan seniors volunteer and provide unpaid caregiving to family members and friends (UA Institute of Social and Economic Research, Power of Aging in Alaska Symposium, 2014).
Bankrate.com's new study examined eight key factors which were weighted in line with a nationally representative survey of non-retired U.S. adults. From most to least important, the categories were: cost of living, healthcare quality, crime, cultural vitality, weather, taxes, senior citizens' well-being and the prevalence of other seniors.
Arizona, Florida and Nevada are popular retirement destinations, however, none cracked the top 10. Arizona came in 12th (while it scored lots of points for weather, it failed to make the top 10 in the other seven classifications). Florida was 17th (it has the nation's highest percentage of residents age 65 and older but didn't sniff the top 10 in any other area). And Nevada was nowhere close to the top (#44). It rated very well for weather and taxes but was pulled down by the nation's worst healthcare quality and its fourth-highest crime rate.
The study found about half of non-retired U.S. adults would consider moving to a different city or state when they retire. The percentage is greatest among millennials (58%) and falls to 46% of Gen Xers, 37% of Baby Boomers and 12% of the Silent Generation.
"What people think they want in retirement may not end up being what serves them best over the long run," said Bankrate.com analyst Claes Bell, CFA. "It's about a lot more than sunny skies, beaches and golf courses. As you get older, practical considerations like healthcare, taxes and proximity to family and friends become much more important."
Alaska continues to have the highest nursing home costs in the country at $816 per day or $297,840 per year in 2016. The average annual cost in the United States is $92,378, according to Alaska Commission on Aging.
Alaska has the second highest median cost for assisted living facility care at $69,000 per year as compared to the national average of $43,539 per year. Washington D.C. has the highest cost for assisted living in the nation at $80,400 annually.
Alaska House Bill 115 is how the Democrat-led Majority Coalition plans to collect an income tax. As amended, it would demand $1,792 from a single Alaskan earning $75,000, while a couple with two children would pay $858. The median household income for Alaska is $72,515. This new income tax, House Bill 115, goes after Alaskans in every way taxing everything from personal income, capital gains, pensions and more.
Out of 50 states, Alaska has the third highest cost of living in the nation. (And if counting the District of Columbia (not a state): Hawaii is the highest, New York is 2nd, Wasington, DC 3rd, and Alaska 4th.
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