Northeast Costliest Place to Retire, Study Finds

Friday, 03 Feb 2012 07:55 AM

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Thinking about retiring in the Northeast? If the weather doesn't get you, then the cost of living will. And the Midwest isn't much better, either.

Connecticut is the costliest U.S. state in which to retire followed by Illinois, Rhode Island, Vermont and Massachusetts, TopRetirements.com reports, based on a criteria of fiscal health, property taxes, income taxes, cost of living, and climate.

Following were New Jersey, Minnesota, New York, Maine and Wisconsin in that order.

"Three new states made our list this year: Vermont, Minnesota, and Maine. That means that 3 states were lucky enough to leave the list: Ohio (low property and income taxes), Nevada (in terrible financial shape but no income tax and low property taxes), California (bad financial shape and high property taxes, but almost no income tax on our prototypical couple, plus a great climate)," TopRetirements.com reports.
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"The purpose is to try to help baby boomers understand where, all other things being equal, they can enjoy their hard-earned retirement without taking on more problems."

With the economy sluggish at best and people living longer with little or no savings, retirement is taking on a whole new meaning these days.

Not only will older Americans need the money, they'll also need something to do to pass the time away.

Most baby boomers — 72 percent — say they plan to keep working at some level after retirement, according to a 2010 Del Webb survey, according to U.S. News and World Report.

"The top reason for working in retirement is to ward off boredom and keep busy, while financial necessity came in second," the magazine reports.

"Other reasons for delaying retirement include self-satisfaction and enjoying the job."

Lack of savings

Even wealthy Americans are worried about their golden years.

Four in ten affluent Americans fret they aren't doing enough to plan for retirement, according to a poll of 801 affluent Americans conducted by Harris Interactive for Wells Fargo Retirement, as reported by CNBC in late 2011.

A separate Wells Fargo study late last year shows that a quarter of middle class Americans — earning $25,000 and $99,000 a year — see 80 as a good age to shoot for when it comes to retirement, far older than the previous typical retirement age of 65.

Debate is under way in the U.S. to raise the retirement age in order to help cut the country's yawning deficits.

If the Medicare eligibility rises to 67 from 65, annual Medicare spending would decline by 5 percent, Diane Lim Rogers, chief economist of The Concord Coalition, a nonpartisan group advocating fiscal responsibility, writes in a Christian Science Monitor op-ed, citing Congressional Budget Office data.

If the eligibility age for full Social Security benefits gradually rose to 70 from 65 to 67 today (depending on birth year), Social Security outlays would ultimately fall by 13 percent, the Christian Science Monitor adds.

Bottom line, experts say, is that most will be working well into their sixties and beyond.

The percentage of people who either work or want to work is on the rise among those aged 65 years old and even older, says Sara Rix, senior adviser for the AARP Public Policy Institute, USA Today reports.

For 2011, the participation rate for 65 and older was 17.9 percent compared with 10.8 percent in 1985.

For those aged 75 and older, the rate jumped to 7.5 percent in 2011 from 4.3 percent in 1990.

"Those are whopping increases," Rix says, the newspaper reports. "I see these rates continuing to increase as we move into the future."

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