Michigan gets high marks as a retirement state

A recent study pegs Michigan as a pretty attractive place to retire.

Mind you, it doesn’t compare to top-ranked South Dakota, which evidently has become a senior magnet, but at number 14, it fared better than 36 other states as a retirement destination.

The study was published in USA Today and conducted by Bankrate.com, a print and content provider for the financial industry.

Officials examined seven categories they believed were most relevant to a retiree’s quality of life. Those areas were cost of living, taxes, health care quality, weather, crime, cultural vitality and well-being. Each category also was assigned a percentage of weight as to how much it would be valued, compared to the other categories. Cost of living and taxes were weighted highest, at 20 percent. Health care and weather were weighted at 15 percent, and the rest at 10 percent.

For cost of living, Michigan finished fourth, its highest rating. That was important, for that category also carried the extra weight in the ranking hierarchy.

Michigan also fared pretty well with taxes, believe it or not, finishing at number 12. Again, it helped Michigan’s overall rating to finish fairly high in the top two weighted categories.

The state finished 23 in the crime category and 27 in culture.

The state finished at number 32 for both health care quality and well-being, while its lowest score of 40 was reserved for the final category — weather. Not much of a surprise there.

The top five finishers in the survey were South Dakota, followed by Utah, Idaho, New Hampshire and Florida.

The cellar dwellers were New York at 50, New Mexico at 49, Maryland at 48, Louisiana at 47 and Arkansas at 46.

Studying the results raises the question, “How, exactly, do you rank something like well-being?”

The survey folks used a Gallup poll conducted last year, “State of American Well-Being.” That poll examined five areas that made up a composite score. Those areas were purpose — liking what you do each day; social — having supportive relationships and love in your life; financial — managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security; community — liking and having pride in your community; and physical — enjoying good health to accomplish daily goals.

Likewise, the health information was compiled by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the tax information by the Tax Foundation.

Naturally, information and statistics like these are subjective. At worst, they probably are useless trivia. At best, they make for interesting table discussions at dinner.

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