Retirement is Looking Even Worse for Americans


New York has the dubious distinction of being the worst state to retire in. But that doesn’t leave the other 49 off the hook. Big tax burdens and a high cost of living sank the Empire State to the bottom of the heap, according to consumer website and its 2016 report on the best and worst states for retirement.

The best state? Wyoming, which had the overall highest score based on the report’s six measures: cost of living, taxes, health care, crime, weather, and the overall well-being of residents.

Regardless of which state you call home, if you’re a woman, your chances of living in poverty when you pass 65 are alarmingly high, according to a study released by the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS). And a third report, this one a survey, reveals that, man or woman, East Coast or West Coast, it just doesn’t matter: Most Americans are nervous about what quality of life they’ll have in retirement. Here are highlights from Tuesday’s retirement news:

– South Dakota, Colorado, Utah, and Virginia round out the five best states for retirement. For Wyoming and South Dakota, the most favorable criterion measured was taxes, while taxes are considered the worst part about living in Utah and Virginia. Colorado’s worst issue: crime.

– Missing from the top of the list: Many states thought of as typical retiree havens, such as Florida. The Sunshine State clocked in at No. 28, courtesy of its crime rate and below-average quality of health care.

– Three out of four Americans with jobs don’t expect to live as well as their parents did in retirement, according to a survey of more than 5,000 by Willis Towers Watson, a human resources consulting firm. About 30 percent worry their savings will run out just 15 years into retirement. Fifty percent think their money will be gone within 25 years. Globally, America ranks behind countries that include India, Mexico, China, and Australia in terms of satisfaction with personal finances, the report states.

– Among those placed in a category called “struggling,” meaning that an individual had both short- and long-term financial worries, Willis Towers Watson says women outpaced men. Meanwhile, more men say they aren’t worried about finances for the short or long haul than women.

– And here’s at least one reason why women seem less sanguine: At age 65, females typically have income that is 25 percent lower than that of men. The average annual income from Social Security for a man in 2014 was $17,911; for women, it was $13,824. That and other unhappy facts make the odds of a woman over age 65 living in poverty 80 percent higher than those for a man, according to the NIRS study.

(C) 2016, Bloomberg · Suzanne Woolley