Utah ranks No. 3 on best states for retirement list

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Bankrate has ranked Utah as the third-best state in the nation for retirement in its 2014 survey. (Wikimedia photo)

Bankrate has ranked Utah as the third-best state in the nation for retirement in its 2014 survey. (Wikimedia photo)

Looking for a great place to retire?

While Arizona is warm during those cold winter months, and California and Florida have endless recreational opportunities, one of the best states for retirement, experts say, is Utah.

In its annual ranking of the 10 best states for retirement, Bankrate lists Utah at No. 3. By comparison, Arizona ranked No. 16 and Florida No. 39.

“Yes, they (Arizona, Florida) are lovely places to visit, especially when it’s cold everywhere else. But retirees must consider more than sunshine before making a move,” Chris Kahn from Bankrate said.

Bankrate considered the following factors when making up the list: the local weather, access to health care, cost of living, crime rate and tax burden.

“This year we fine-tuned the process by evaluating government statistics on health care quality, and we improved our measurement of weather to include levels of sunshine and humidity. Finally, this year’s ranking adds a broad standard-of-living measurement from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, a comprehensive survey gauging people’s satisfaction with their surroundings,” Kahn said.

Using that criteria, South Dakota, despite its freezing weather, was ranked No. 1, and Colorado came out No. 2. Wyoming and Idaho also made the top 10 list.

Bankrate cited Utah’s national parks such as Bryce Canyon and Zion, the excellent skiing, the Sundance Film Festival every winter, the state’s health care quality and Well-Being Index rankings, along with a relatively low cost of living, as reasons the state is so desirable as a retirement location.

“With stunning vistas and diverse terrain, Utah will invigorate the senses and stir your muse,” Kahn said.

The report from Bankrate said the mild weather in Utah is also a plus. The average humidity of 55.5 percent is neither too wet nor too dry. Some southern locations have warm weather and sunshine nearly year-round.

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Ron Bennett is a recently retired university journalism professor at Brigham Young University-Idaho, where he taught journalistic writing, editing and mass media classes. He received the Distinguished Faculty award at BYU-I in 2012, and he was honored by the College Media Advisers Association in 2002 with the Distinguished Newspaper Adviser's Award. Prior to entering education, he was a professional journalist at several newspapers, including the Gazette-Journal in Reno, Nevada.

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