Tennessee Ranks in Top Five as Retirement Destination

Tuesday, June 21, 2016 | 10:16am

Kiplinger Report Rates 10 Best States for Retirement 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee has been named No. 4 in a recent analysis of the 10 Best States for Retirement 2016 by Kiplinger.com, a Washington, D.C.-based publisher of business forecasts and personal finance advice. The report rated all 50 states based on quantifiable factors that are important to retirees.

Affordability, especially in terms of lower taxes on retirees and lower health care costs, was a key factor in the research. The economic health of the state, as well as the overall health of the population, was also taken into account. States with prosperous populations of residents age 65 were also important in the comprehensive analysis.

Tennessee is one of only four states in the country with a formal retiree recruitment program and continues to gain momentum as a retirement destination for baby boomers. Part of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, the Retire Tennessee program inspired more than 8,000 inquiries from potential retirees in 2015. Retire Tennessee communities become part of the program based on quality of life factors for retirees, such as cost-of-living, lively downtowns, real estate values and availability, and culture.

“To be named as one of the top five retirement destinations in the country is an accolade of which we can be proud as we continue to build awareness,” said Commissioner Kevin Triplett, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. “We continue to tell the story of our low cost of living, no state income tax, low property taxes, four mild seasons, incredible quality of living and breathtaking scenic beauty through the Retire Tennessee program and people are noticing. Many of the top destinations for retiring in our state are in more rural counties providing a relaxing environment filled with natural attractions and outdoor amenities and those relocating here bring a great value to these communities through their knowledge and energy and help stimulate the economy in the process.”

Ramay Winchester, director of Tourism Initiatives, has managed the Retire Tennessee program since its inception 10 years ago.

“The number of inquiries to Tennessee from advertising and expos are at an all-time high,” said Winchester.  “Attendance at Ideal Living Resort & Retirement Expos has set new records which is why we are increasing our presence, participating in seven shows this year. These expos are our main lead generators for the Retire Tennessee program.”

Carefully chosen expo locations in New York, New Jersey, Illinois and greater Washington, D.C. allow the Retire Tennessee program to market to retirees who wish to relocate after retirement. RPI Media, the host of the Ideal Living Resort & Retirement Expos, recently ran a National Change of Address report providing relocation data from December 2012 through March 2016. Of resort show attendees and/or Ideal Living magazine subscribers, 732 households have relocated to Tennessee with 293 of those relocating to certified Retire Tennessee communities.

The Kiplinger.com report provided the Top 10 list with destinations of wide diversity of climates and lifestyles, and narrowed their recommendations even further by highlighting cities within each ranking state.

Chattanooga-Hamilton County, one of the state’s 19 Retire Tennessee communities, was featured with mentions of the thriving art and music scene along with outdoor recreation opportunities including biking along the Tennessee River or whitewater rafting.

The cost-of-living is 2 percent below the U.S. average and the fiscal soundness of Tennessee shows the state should have no issues in maintaining its tax-friendly status.

Other states rounding out the top 10 were Idaho, Arizona, Florida, Washington, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Utah, and South Dakota.

For more information from the Kiplinger.com report, visit http://www.kiplinger.com/slideshow/retirement/T006-S001-best-states-for-retirement-2016/index.html.

For more information on the Retire Tennessee program, visit www.retiretennessee.org.