By Julie Jason, originally posted on Forbes.com.
More people are working after age 65. If that’s you and you’ve been thinking of moving, I have some data to share about how to think through the choices you have ahead of you.
There are, of course, many factors that are involved in the decision to move, from affordability (Is there a state income tax? What is the cost of living?) to the availability of quality senior health care. Where your children and grandchildren are located also can play a big part in the decision.
What states are considered ideal for employed 65-plus people who want to make a move?
Employed & 65 (Or Older)?
You might be surprised at the number of people 65 and older who are still employed. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that in 2020, 10.6 million people 65 and older were in the workforce. Breaking down that number further, 26.6% in the age group 65 to 74 were working, while the percentage was at 8.9% for those 75 and older.
Looking ahead, those numbers are projected by the BLS to grow by 2030, when baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) will be at least 65 years old. At that time, it is estimated that there will be 16 million people 65 and older in the workforce, with 32% coming from the age group 65-74, and 11.7% from the age group 75 and older.
Factors To Consider
If you are in that workforce demographic, you’ll be interested in a report from Seniorly.com, an adult housing search platform, that recently ranked ideal states for people who are working at age 65 or older, using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Tax Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The Big Five
The five categories involved in the rankings include “labor force participation; median household income; median state income tax rate; average life expectancy from birth; and percentage of people 65 and older covered by Medicare.”
- Labor force: According to U.S. Census Bureau information, Washington, D.C., and Vermont tied for the top spot in labor force participation rate for population 65 years old and older, each with 22.7%.
- Median income: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Hawaii was the top state for percentage of households led by an individual 65 or older (working or retired) with household income of $50,000 or more, at 63.6%.
- Median income tax rate by state: Eight states were tied with a median income tax rate of 0.0% (translation: no state income tax), according to the Tax Foundation.
- Life expectancy: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hawaii was the top state for average life expectancy from birth, at 81.0 years.
- Percentage of people covered by Medicare: The state with the highest percentage of older adults with Medicare coverage was Wyoming, at 98.2%.
We’re Not Talking Retirement
The overall rankings are somewhat different from those stories that recommend the best places to retire. For example, Florida usually ranks high in the top 10 of ideal retirement states (in the rankings of best and worst states to retire by the website WalletHub from earlier this year, Florida is No. 1 for best places to retire). However, the Sunshine State does not make Seniorly.com’s top 10 list for best states to work in at age 65 and older (although it is in the top 20).
Which states do top the list? Wyoming is in the No. 1 spot. One thing it has in common with the three other members of the top four (South Dakota, Alaska and Washington state) is that none has a state income tax – a big plus.
In case you are wondering, the next six states after the top four are (in order): Vermont, North Dakota, Colorado, Hawaii, Virginia and Nebraska.
What are some other things these top-10 states have in common when it comes to seniors? Their average life expectancy is at least 78 years; approximately 20% of the seniors in the states are working; and about half of those seniors who are working are earning a salary of at least $50,000 — food for thought.
But, there is more to consider.
Questions will need to be asked, such as: Are there appropriate job openings in the state of choice? What about moving, but working remotely?
What would make the decision to move a plus? All things new: a new environment, an opportunity to make new friends and engage in new activities, new health care options, and so on.
What would be the downside? All things familiar: leaving behind family and friends, doctors, dentists, neighborhoods, activities; uprooting; moving . . .
A lot to consider.
One thing you don’t want to forget: No matter what you wind up doing, how will the “move or stay” decision affect your ability to achieve a happy and secure retirement?
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