|Should I stay or should I go?|
Yesterday I read one that got me angry. I found it on the Huffington Post, and the headline was so provocative - The 10 Absolute Worst States to Retire In. Like a lot of Huff Post stories, this was really an introduction to another story from somewhere else, in this case a list by Kiplinger who, a little more charitably, called the list simply "The Worst States for Retirement".
What made me angry at first was the fact that Utah was listed as number 9 on the list. Utah? An ABSOLUTE WORST place to live in as an elder? Utah usually makes lists of BEST places for this or that. And, as it turns out, it's really high on my list of places to stay in. What gives?
The other states on the list were: Texas, Oregon, Nebraska, North Carolina, Minnesota, New York, New Mexico, California and Washington DC. My first impression is that there is a lot to like in most of those places. I can even see that there are a couple of places in Texas that might not be half bad (except for the fact that they are surrounded by Texas. On the other hand, I have good friends who love Texas. And most actual Texans that I have ever met wax lyrical about the place. And it can't have a couple of the biggest cities in the whole country inside it for no good reason.)
|I used to live in Minnesota, |
and if I had never left, I would probably still be there.
But the winters are terrible
no matter what the other charms of the place are.
The criteria were all pretty objective - based on easily found out actual numbers about stuff. One of the biggest criteria was taxes. All right, taxes can be important. It is my intention to make my home in South Dakota my 100% legal year round residence. ONE of the reasons for this is because we do have comparatively low taxes.
|We got low taxes in South Dakota. I won't talk about the state of the schools.|
HOWEVER, I happen to already love South Dakota AND I already have a home there, AND I have lived there a long time now. I'm not MOVING TO SoDak out of the blue just because of the taxes. I am DECIDING TO STAY there. I would stay even if the taxes were the worst in the nation.
Crime rates was another factor. That's pretty much why New Mexico made the list, but not Arizona next door. But, you know, if I should move, I'm going to be careful about selecting a town and a neighborhood in which I feel safe and call it good. Crime is everywhere, but no ENTIRE STATE is a place where residents live in fear of their neighbors. Word would have gotten out about that.
So next we get at overall cost of living. No surprise there that California, New York and Washington DC ranked high there. That kind of revelation is just "duh". It's expensive to live in Manhattan! Who knew? San Francisco too! Wow! Better cross those places off my list. And of course, when you AVERAGE a whole state and part of that state happens to be the biggest city in the country and one of the biggest cities in the whole world......well of course it's way above average.
However, I would imagine that any sensible retiree on an ordinary fixed income does not yearn for the lights of Broadway all that much. If they really, really, really do want that, they will do what needs to be done to make the dream come true. And those who are already there, already know how to make it work on whatever their income is. Living in Manhattan is all about love, and love trumps a heck of a lot including the average cost of living.
|I DO experience "California Dreamin'"|
And then there is Utah's biggest flaw - the percentage of older people. Yeah, it's true. Utah has the biggest number of folks under 25 in the whole country, and we also have the fewest single older adults. Care to take a guess why? In case you haven't figured it out, it just happens to have something to do with the predominate faith of most of my neighbors. Is that news? And does it matter? There's a CULTURE here, folks, that is a bit unique. The culture results in the numbers. Looking at the numbers first is the wrong viewpoint.
|We got Mormons in Utah. Wanna make something of it?|
Being in a minority is not a bad thing. Why would one think it is? I always heard that, like the weather, it turns out most older folks do not want to live in an elderly persons ghetto. We want multi-generations along with four seasons. And how many of us singles are REALLY still looking for a mate? None that I know of, including and especially me.
In the end, I decided there are criteria, and there are criteria. This is one collection of numbers that might mean something or might not. I'm feeling a lot of parallels here in between the debate within social sciences about qualitative and quantitative methods as being the way to create knowledge.
|It IS my home state, but sorry. |
Illinois does NOT make my cut these days.
We can talk more about this some other time.
|Colorado, on the other hand.....|