Life's 'coda' best spent in South Dakota

If your soon-to-be retired clients are empty nesters and don't have anything tying them down, they may want to spend their golden years in the land where the buffalo roam, a new study suggests.

From a standpoint of health care, quality of life and financial freedom, South Dakota is the best state in the country for Americans to grow older in, based on a recent report detailed and performed by Caring.com.

Home to points of interest like Mount Rushmore and an assortment of national parks like Badlands and Custer the land-locked locale is ideal for getting the most bang for your buck, the report found. Why? Thanks to a low population density, health care costs that are below the national average and wide availability of senior care. Based on government estimates, approximately 15.5 percent of South Dakota's population is 65 years of age or older, only slightly higher than the national average of approximately 14 percent.

Florida 31st-best for aging gracefully

"Nearly 1 in 5 residents in West Virginia are senior citizens."

Because it has a high number of seniors - not to mention year-round warmth - Florida is often considered the best place for retirees. Not according to the report's findings, though. Caring.com put the Sunshine State as 31st overall, mainly due to poor health care quality due to heavy demand.

Worst of all is the Mountaineer State of West Virginia, scoring 50 out of 50. With nearly 18 percent of residents 65 or older - topped only by Florida at 19.1 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau - the state suffers from cramped living conditions as well as high health care demand, requiring officials to do more with less.

Dayna Steele, author and chief caring expert at Caring.com, said most people don't think of South Dakota as being a hub for a high standard of living, which may explain why it scored so well.

"The main takeaway from this research is that the traditional retirement destinations don't always offer the best mix of cost and quality," Steele explained. "This is why it's so important for people to do their homework while they're still relatively young and healthy in order to set themselves up for retirement years that are truly golden."

Central and Mountain West best for retiring

"A separate report puts South Dakota in second place behind Wyoming."

Interestingly, neighboring states in Minnesota to South Dakota's east and Iowa to its southeast were also among the top five states to grow old in, the others being Alaska and Oregon.

Wyoming - yet another state that borders South Dakota - is also considered to be an ideal retirement destination. With the second-lowest population density in America, the Cowboy State was deemed the best part of the country for retirement living by Bankrate.com. South Dakota came in second. The personal finance website used several sources to reach this conclusion, including the Council for Community and Economic Research to assess cost of living, Gallup for well-being, the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research for health care and the Tax Foundation for taxes.

Maintaining a high standard of living isn't easy even when money - at least in the beginning - isn't an issue. This is especially true when retirees grow older and health care considerations take up a larger percentage of spending. Based on statistics compiled by the Council for Disability Awareness, medical problems account for roughly 60 percent of all personal bankruptcies in the United States today.

Have you spoken with your clients about their plans to retire? Putting a Leveraged Planning® Solution in place now could provide them with the financial freedom they desire in the future. Speak with a Global Financial Distributors Financial Services Manager today to learn more.

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