For many active adults, retirement brings with it an emphasis on relaxation, as well as the ability to pursue hobbies and long-term interests. For military retirees, however, retirement is not necessarily as simplistic. On average, retired military officers are typically only 45 years old upon leaving service. Many encounter difficulties when reentering the job market on account of a number of factors, including post-traumatic stress disorder and disabilities.
As a result of these and other factors, it is important to be knowledgeable about an area's potential benefits and disadvantages in response to military veterans. This includes things such as how tax policies affect military benefits, the friendliness of that area's job market toward veterans, and other socioeconomic factors.
In a study conducted by WalletHub, researchers sought to compare the 50 states and Washington D.C. in order to see which states provided the best terms for military retirement, utilizing a data set of 27 key metrics, such as job opportunities for veterans, the percentage of homeless veterans, and most affordable housing. These metrics were spread across three key areas: Economic Environment, Quality of Life, and Health Care.
All 27 metrics were graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most favorable conditions for military retirees. The states and D.C.'s weighted total number were then calculated across all metrics to find the total overall score.
In their findings, it was concluded that the top five states for military retirees are:
1: Florida (61.55)
2: Virginia (60.18)
3: New Hampshire (59.87)
4: Alabama (58.86)
5: South Carolina (58.84)
Meanwhile, the five worst spots for military veterans was determined as being:
1: New Mexico (45.17)
2: Nevada (43.47)
3: Vermont (43.15)
4: Oregon (39.90)
5: District of Columbia (37.05)
Note: Number represents total score in the study.
Overall, the top states displayed the most favorability for military veterans to retire to thanks to their overall tax-friendliness, opportunities in multiple job markets, and the potential for job growth.
Florida offers veterans the fifth-best quality of life, as well as the ninth-best economic environment. The quality of its health-care services for veterans was ranked 13 overall.
Next on the list is Virginia, which ranked best overall in terms of quality of life and third in the economic environment. However, in terms of health care, it ranked 39 overall.
Third on the list, New Hampshire came in eight for economic environment, nine in quality of life and 10 in healthcare services.
Fourth is Alabama, which ranked best overall in the economic environment, 14 in quality of life, and 30 in health care. It also came in fifth in most job opportunities for veterans.
Finally, South Carolina nabs the fifth spot with a ranking of 15 in the economic environment, 14 in quality of life, and 23 for health care. In addition, South Carolina has the highest percentage of veteran-owned businesses.
New Mexico, Nevada, Vermont, Oregon, and D.C., meanwhile, ranked on the bottom of the list, with each showing the lowest potential for military retirees in regards to job prospects and benefits.
Retirement is an important time in any person's life, especially for military veterans. Staying up-to-date with a state’s benefits can ensure that every retiree has the means of making sure that their retirement is one filled with well-deserved relaxation and bliss.