It’s hard to enjoy your golden years when you’re battling health problems or struggling to pay medical bills.
More than 80 percent of retirees recently surveyed by Bank of America Merrill Lynch said that health was the most important ingredient for a happy retirement, compared to less than 60 percent who said financial security was most important. That survey also cited health care costs as retirees’ greatest financial concern, regardless of their level of wealth.
A report issued this year by the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that average out-of-pocket, recurring medical expenses for retirees are around $1,855 a year, not including hospital stays or nursing home care. That means the average 65-year-old retiree needs to have at least $40,000 saved just to cover those expenses.
While one’s health has a lot to do with genetics and lifestyle, geography also plays a role. Folks who live in areas with good health care systems and a culture that prizes physical activity tend to be healthier themselves.
This month, the insurance company Bankers Life issued a report ranking the country’s cities based on their healthcare amenities as well as economic health, social wellness, activities, environment, transportation and crime to come up with this list of America’s Best Cities for a Healthy (and More Affordable) Retirement.
The cities that comprise the top 10 are in the Pacific Northwest, the Midwest and the Northeast. Notably absent are the traditional retirement havens of Florida, Arizona and California.