4 Best States for Military Retirees
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The Fiscal Times
May 22, 2014

While retirement has traditionally been viewed as a time to relax, pursue hobbies and spend time with grandchildren, retirement for those in our military differs greatly from retirement for the rest of the U.S. population.

Military personnel retire at a younger age than the general population, for starters. The average officer is 45.2 years old upon retirement from the service, while enlisted personnel are only 41.4 years old, according to the Congressional Research Service. Most Americans typically retire in their 60s, although many older Americans are choosing to stay on the job or seek new positions after they retire from their current job.

Related: 5 Ways Service Members Feel Outgunned Financially

With retirement occurring for military personnel at a relatively young age,  the ability to start a new career and the state of the job market in specific areas of the country become important factors in choosing where to settle down after serving the country.

Considering the difficulties of many in the military to assimilate after having fought in wars, quality of life can also be an important factor. And let’s not forget that state tax laws and policies, related to benefits, for example, are different for service members than they are for the general population.

With that in mind, WalletHub looked at 19 metrics in order to rank the 50 states and the District of Columbia from the best to worst in terms of retiring as a military member. Interestingly, Republican states were found to be more friendly toward military retirees than Democratic states.

Here are the top four states for military retirees:

1-      Wyoming, which was recently ranked as the best state for retirement for the general population, is also the top state for military retirees. Of all states, it has the third veterans in the country and also the highest number of Veterans Affairs health facilities per veterans in the country.

2-      New Hampshire ranked second. It has the fifth lowest percentage of homeless veterans in the nation. It also has the fourth highest number of veteran-owned businesses per inhabitants.

3-      Montana came in third. It has the most veteran-owned businesses in the country. It’s also one of the states with the most veterans per inhabitant and the most VA health facilities per veteran.

4-      South Dakota ranked fourth and has the second highest number of VA health facilities per inhabitants in the country.

Related: The 12 Worst States for Retirement

The worst state of all for military retirees is California – it has one of the highest percentages of homeless veterans per number of veterans in the nation, a problem that California residents will be able to tackle at the polls next month. California is followed by New York, Indiana, Arizona and Illinois.

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Marine Cole has been covering finance and business for a decade and has written for publications that include The Wall Street Journal, Crain's New York Business, and AdvertisingAge.