A new report ranks Wyoming the best state for retirement security for the third time in a row, while California holds on to the bottom spot.
The study by the National Institute on Retirement Security on economic pressures for future retirees gave the overall thumbs up and thumbs down based on a combination of retirement income, retiree costs and labor market conditions for older Americans in 2012.
In contrast to the two previous times, Wyoming was elevated to a “9” from an “8” and holds the top spot to itself after sharing it with West Virginia in 2007 (the last time NIRS did the survey) and New Hampshire in 2000.
A big chunk of Wyoming’s appearance as a place for a relatively financially stress-free retirement comes from its highest rank in low living costs for the last two surveys. The researchers computed comparative retiree cost scores on Medicare out-of-pocket obligations, Medicaid generosity and housing costs. California, not surprisingly, has the highest costs for retirees, as it did in 2007 and 2000.
South Dakota was elevated to number 1 in the survey in retirement income scores (plan participation rates, defined contribution plan account balances, and marginal tax rates on pension income) with a “9,” taking over the lead from Washington State, which held it in 2007.
For working seniors, Alaska, North Dakota and West Virginia were viewed as most favorable.
The states that had the strongest overall scores, a "7" or better, based on all three factors -- retirement income, retiree costs and labor market conditions -- for older Americans were: