Why Georgia is one of the worst states for retirement

Just a few years ago, at least one personal finance website ranked Georgia as one of the top 20 states to retire. But in the last two years, Georgia has come in closer to the bottom. 

Wallethub’s annual Best States to Retire survey ranked Georgia 37 out of 50 states in part due to the low population of residents aged 65 or older and poor ratings on measures of health care.

The state fared even worse in a new survey from MoneyRate.com. Georgia was deemed the sixth worst state for retirement.

The survey looked at five measures including healthy environment, personal security, local economy, weather conditions and popularity with older residents. 

Even though the Georgia climate is a plus, the lack of older residents, the high property crime rate and the relatively low life expectancy of people age 65 and older in the state make it one of the least attractive places for retirement. 

However, Georgia remains among the top 10 tax-friendly states for retirees, as ranked by Kiplinger in 2017. Social Security income is exempt from state taxes, as is up to $35,000 of most types of retirement income for anyone age 62 to 64. When retirees hit 65, the exemption is $65,000 per taxpayer. 

Retirement income includes pensions and annuities, interest, dividends, net income from rental property, capital gains, royalties, pensions, annuities, and the first $4,000 of earned income, such as wages. Some Georgia residents 65 and older can also claim property tax exemption. 

Things start to look less rosy when it comes to health care. Georgia ranks fairly low (42 out of 50 in the Wallethub rankings) on measures such as the number of health care providers per capita, the relative health and well-being of individuals 65 and older and the quality of public hospitals. 

Looking for a state that is a sure shot for retirement? Florida and Iowa consistently land near the top of the rankings in several surveys. 

About the Author

Nedra Rhone
Nedra Rhone
Nedra Rhone has been a features writer for the AJC since 2006 covering people, places, pop culture and news, in and beyond metro Atlanta. She also writes...
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