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Gaylin Sudik & Friends perform during the weekly ballroom dance at the YMCA Healthy Living Center on April 10.

Council Bluffs retirees might agree with the rankings provided by a banking and finance company that Iowa is the second best state for retirement in the United States.

Second behind Nebraska — which placed first — Bankrate ranked Iowa on its affordability, crime, culture, weather and wellness — areas that the independent, advertising-supported publisher said retirees focus when deciding to settle.

Council Bluffs resident Alvin Henry, a U.S. Army veteran who lived in Colorado for 14 years, said Iowa is a good place for retired veterans.

Another retired veteran who has traveled to the Gulf Coast, Europe, and southwest Asia agreed Iowa is a “pretty good state” and there’s “not a lot of political influence or rivalry here,” he said.

“The educational experience here is excellent. We got through the depression well,” said retired Dr. Jim Knott, “ Everyone here is friendly. I’ve been all over the world and there’s no place I’d rather be year round.”

Of the group of seven to eight men surveyed by The Daily Nonpareil, only one of them disagreed with the rankings.

“(Nebraska in first) that was a mistake!” said a 92 year-old-man at the table.

“I’ve lived in four states and had 15 different jobs. Florida has the best deep sea fishing, can’t get that here,” another retiree said.

Two retired women nearby said Iowa was home to them.

“I’d like to retire with 70 degree weather, but because of the people and atmosphere, I’d much rather live in the Midwest,” said one of the retired women, who was a missionary to Mexico and lived “coast to coast.”

Whether you value proximity to friends and family, an affordable cost of living or access to healthcare and hospitals, it’s always good to have a plan for retirement.

In today’s dollars, a typical couple who retire at age 65 is estimated to need $285,000 for medical expenses, according to Fidelity Investments — not including what may be needed for long-term care.

In the study, Bankrate examined 11 public and private datasets related to the life of a retiree. The overall rankings considered affordability and additional factors such as crime, culture, weather and wellness.

The affordability rankings were determined using data from the Council for Community and Economic Research, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Tax Foundation.

Crime was calculated using the property and violent crime rates per 100,000 inhabitants for each state from the FBI’s 2017 Crime in the United States report.

Culture was calculated using the number of arts, entertainment and recreation establishments per capita, restaurants per capita and adults 65 and older per capita from the U.S. Census Bureau.

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Weather was calculated using the average daily temperature from 1985 through 2018 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Findings revealed Iowa ranked the eighth state in affordability, 15 in crime, 20 in culture, 34 in weather and 12 in wellness, among the fifty states in each category.

Nebraska ranked 14 in affordability, 19 in crime, 21 in culture, 30 in weather and eight in wellness, among the states, peaking just above Iowa’s category ranks.

Although weather was considered a lower ranking for the top two states, Iowa and Nebraska fared well on the other measures in the affordability, crime, culture and wellness rankings, according to the study.

Rounding out Bankrate’s Top 10 list from third to 10th were: Missouri, South Dakota, Florida, Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina, Montana and Hawaii.

Maryland ranked last as one of the worst states for retirement, next to New York, Alaska and Illinois, held down by the cost of living and weather.

“There are many factors to consider when deciding where to retire,” said Bankrate.com data analyst Adrian Garcia. “It comes down to very personal preferences, so it’s important to weigh all factors and determine what is most important for your happiness.”

— Luke McGrath of Bloomberg News and Bankrate contributed to this report.

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