Report: High living costs make New York 2nd worst state for retirees

Report: High living costs make New York 2nd worst state for retirees

(The Center Square) – While older adults can enjoy entertainment and volunteer opportunities in The Empire State, the state is not known for its affordability.

It was the second-least affordable state for retirees, a factor that largely drove its ranking as the second-worst state to retire in, according to WalletHub’s recent analysis. Its overall score was 41.86 across dimensions of affordability, quality of life and health care.

“New York is among the worst states to retire, mostly due to its unaffordability,” WalletHub analyst and communications director Jill Gonzalez told The Center Square via email. “Local authorities could lower the cost of living for retirees by adopting policies to become more tax friendly.”

New York has the third worst “general tax-friendliness” rating, the 10th-lowest retired taxpayer-friendliness, the fourth-highest share of population aged 65 and older in poverty (11.5% in poverty) and the sixth-highest adjusted cost of living (131.66). Retired taxpayer-friendliness measures taxation on retirement income, property and purchases, and special tax breaks for seniors.

The state suffered in the health care category as well, coming in 27th, with the third-worst quality of public hospitals (according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ ranking of public hospitals), the seventh-highest risk of social isolation and the least family medicine physicians per capita. Social isolation takes the following risk factors into account: divorced, separated or widowed; never married; poverty; disability; independent living difficulty; and living alone.

“Additionally, the state has a large share of elderly residents who cannot afford a visit to the doctor,” Gonzalez continued. “Financing clinics for those aged 65+ would improve their quality of life. Lowering the risk of social isolation for retirees could be done by encouraging volunteering through different support groups created by the state. These could also help those who are living in poverty. The state would also need to attract more family medicine physicians, build more healthcare facilities, and increase the quality of existing public hospitals.”

Still, the state has above average quality of life, stacking up as 17th best in the nation. The state is ranked third for highest life expectancy, following only Hawaii and California. It has the best access to adult volunteer activities (0.23 rated charity organizations per capita) and the eighth-highest number of golf courses per capita (0.23), according to the report.

“New York is definitely the state for retirees who have no financial problems,” Gonzalez said. “The state best serves those who can and want to spend their retirement being active, as it offers a lot of opportunities for entertainment and volunteering, among others.”

WalletHub’s September 2020 analysis of 182 best and worst places to retire, based on affordability, activities, quality of life and health care, ranked Rochester as 127th, Buffalo as 146th, New York City as 166th, and Yonkers as 172nd. New York City received the highest subscores among the state’s municipalities, coming in at 24th best in terms of activities and 33rd best in quality of life.

New Jersey was the worst state to retire in and the least affordable, according to the analysis. The Garden State had the 35th best quality of life and 33rd best healthcare compared with other states.

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