Best State to Retire In—a New Perspective

By Alan Spector

Alan Spector

Alan Spector

Have you seen the postings suggesting that one state or another is the best place to retire?  Perhaps the author of the article has taken into account climate, lifestyle, cost of living, tax burden, and other factors to come up with the list.  Or perhaps, and more cynically, that particular state is sponsoring the article to get you to move there.  That being said, maybe the author or the state is right—it just might be a great place to retire.

But I would argue that regardless of your assessment of the best physical place in which to live, the most important consideration is your state of mind in whatever location you choose.

Depending on the list of top stress inducers, two that are typically included are retirement and moving.  Does that mean either is bad?  No.  Does it mean that either can bring anxiety into your life?  Yes.  Might doing both at the same time have some interactive effect?  Likely.

This does not mean you should delay moving until well after retiring, but it does mean that you should take the stress factor into account.  When my wife and I retired in 2001 and 2002, respectively, our plan was to continue to live in Cincinnati, which we did until 2009, when we moved to St. Louis, our hometown.

Not only was the move a major logistical undertaking, but it also, and perhaps more importantly, caused us to disconnect from many of our Cincinnati life relationships, which included everything from friends to doctors, from bankers to hairdressers, from workout class instructors to handymen, from clergy to lawn service providers, from baseball teammates to volunteer networks, and everybody in between.  Then, although we made the move-to-St. Louis decision in part because we had significant friends and family there, including young grandchildren, we needed to identify and establish new life connections in our new community.

On balance, we feel that we’re more connected in St. Louis, the area in which we grew up and in which many relatives, friends, and high school classmates live, than we were in Cincinnati.  But the transition took a lot of energy.  For quite awhile, it was our full focus.  We certainly could have made the move just after we retired, but it may have been more difficult.

There is another way to think about the state of mind you may choose to live in.  In our book, Your Retirement Quest, coauthor Keith Lawrence and I identify what we refer to as the “10 key elements of a fulfilling retirement.”  These factors have stood the test of time as we’ve now presented them to thousands of prospective and current retirees in our workshops.

These “10 keys” can be used to help make a decision about where to live in retirement in a way that ensures you pay attention to all of the aspects that might affect the decision.  Go to, and click on “Preparing for Retirement.”  Then click on “Critical Decisions” on that page.  You’ll be introduced to the approach to use the key elements to help make a holistic decision, one that will help you do so in the right state of mind.

About Alan Spector

Alan Spector is the coauthor, along with Keith Lawrence, of the book, Your Retirement Quest: 10 Secrets for Creating and Living a Fulfilling Retirement.  Alan and Keith conduct workshops around the country, helping Baby Boomers plan for the nonfinancial aspects of retirement.  Since retiring from a successful 33-year executive career with the Procter & Gamble Company, Alan has been a founding partner of three businesses, the author of five books, and deeply involved with social service organizations, community initiatives to reduce violence, and education programming.  He is a management consultant, baseball player, nonprofit Board member, frequent traveler, speaker, blogger, and most importantly, the active and proud grandfather of four.  Alan lives in St. Louis with his wife, Ann. 


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