Kentucky needs to be more retiree-friendly

Published 10:27 am Friday, January 17, 2020

Looking to retire? Don’t do it in Kentucky.

Though recognized around the globe for its bourbon, basketball and horse racing, Kentucky is considered the worst state for retirees, according to one 2019 ranking of the best states in the country to retire in. The study was released Monday by WalletHub, a personal finance website. After finishing ninth worst in 2017, the Bluegrass State has consistently remained at the bottom of the rankings for the past two years.

With a total score of 41.89 out of 100, Kentucky rounded out the five worst states — West Virginia (45.38), New Jersey (45.06), Rhode Island (43.49) and New Mexico (43.33) — in the scoring of 47 key indicators in three categories: affordability, health care and quality of life.

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Kentucky fared poorly in health care, placing 48th, thanks to low scores in life expectancy (44th) and health care facilities per capita (35th) and continued issues with elderly food insecurity and number of seniors who can’t afford a doctor visit.

The state also ranked 46th in quality of life, placing 26th in both the percentage of population 65 and older and elderly-friendly labor market and 19th in property crime rate.

On a brighter note, what Kentucky lacks in health care and quality of life it recoups some in low cost of living and tax cuts. It ranked 32nd for affordability despite being considered the 37th state in taxpayer-friendly rankings. The state also received high marks for tax friendliness on pensions and Social Security income.

Florida (63.02), Colorado (60.99), New Hampshire (59.25), Utah (58.33) and Wyoming (58.17) were named as the five best states for retirees.

According to the latest numbers from the Federal Reserve, roughly 26% of non-retired U.S. adults haven’t saved any money for retirement and many cannot rely solely on Social Security, which only pays about 39% of an average worker’s earnings, to cover living expenses.

For many Americans the question of where to retire trumps the question of when to retire, and leaders need to do a better job of making Kentucky more retiree-friendly.

The State Journal