Best state for retirement 2016
1. South Dakota
6. South Carolina
Source: Kiplinger Best States for Retirement 2016
The financial newsletter Kiplinger highlights Chattanooga as among the best communities for retirees.
Kiplinger, which ranked Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama among the five best states to retire to in 2016, praised the arts and outdoor attractions of the Scenic City.
"Check out Chattanooga for its thriving arts and music scene," Kiplinger editors write in their annual assessment of the best retirement locations. "You can also enjoy the area's outdoor recreation, including biking along the Tennessee River or white-water rafting, depending on your desired level of activity."
Kiplinger rated all 50 states based on quantifiable factors that are important to many retirees, including the costs of housing, health care and state and local tax rates. Tennessee was judged to be a "tax friendly state" with no payroll income tax and the planned phaseout of its tax on dividend earnings. Health care costs also are below average.
"The Volunteer State is a good choice for budget-conscious retirees," Kiplinger said.
Georgia ranked even higher in Kiplinger's ratings, which the newsletter described as "charming for retirees.
"Warm weather and low living costs make Georgia just peachy for a happy retirement destination," the magazine editors said.
But the best states for retirees, according to Kiplinger, are South Dakota and Utah, which boast low living costs, outdoor recreation and above average income for seniors.
Tennessee promotes itself as a retirement destination through its Retire Tennessee program, which is part of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development.
"To be named as one of the top five retirement destinations in the country is an accolade of which we can be proud as we continue to build awareness," Tennessee Tourism Commissioner Kevin Triplett said in a statement today. "We continue to tell the story of our low cost of living, no state income tax, low property taxes, four mild seasons, incredible quality of living and breathtaking scenic beauty through the Retire Tennessee program, and people are noticing."
Ramay Winchester, director of Tourism Initiatives, has managed the Retire Tennessee program since its inception 10 years ago and said inquiries about Tennessee among retirees and those about to retire are at an all-time high.
"Attendance at Ideal Living Resort & Retirement Expos has set new records which is why we are increasing our presence, participating in seven shows this year," she said. "These expos are our main lead generators for the Retire Tennessee program."
In Tennessee, 14.2 percent of the population is over the age of 65, and the average income of seniors in the state is $42,218.