"Dan in North Carolina" has long been a reader of this barony of blogdom. And he has a rather good sense of who I am.
Last week, he piqued my interest with this gem: "Seems like the Pacific coast of Mexico is a VERY logical choice for an intelligent individual." That well-chosen adjectives proves how well he knows his audience.
But it was the attached link that caught my attention. An organization called Bankrate, Inc had produced a report of the 10 worst American states for retirement.
Now, I need to let you in on a little secret. I despise these "best/worst" lists. Too often they do not arise above the logic level of "The 10 Worst Shoes at the Emmys."
Sometimes, though, we give free rein to our worst natures. Like slowing down to gawk like a slack-jawed yokel at car accidents.
The authors of the report seem to have credibility in this area. Bankrate advertises itself as providing "consumers with accurate and objective information to help them take informed financial decisions" by rating financial institutions.
With this report, the company needed to know what retirees wanted. They settled on a list that included the availability and affordability of healthcare, a crime-free environment, low taxes, a low cost of living, and a warm climate. All of that based on statistics from the Kaiser Family Foundation, the U.S. Census, the 2011 FBI Uniform Crime Report, the Tax Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Western Regional Climate Center, and the Council for Community and Economic Research.
Having created a patina of objectivity, Bankrate determined the 10 worst states for retirees. And here they are. If any of you are deeply infatuated with any of theses states, please remember I am just the messenger. And maybe a messenger that wallows too much in schadenfreude.
No. 10: Delaware -- high cost of living, poor access to medical care, high crime.
No. 9: Minnesota -- high cost of living, cold winters, high taxes.
No. 7: Maryland and Vermont (Tie) -- high cost of living, high taxes, high crime rate (Maryland), cold winters (Vermont).
No. 6: Maine -- cold winters, high cost of living, high taxes.
No. 5: Wisconsin -- cold winters, high cost of living, high taxes.
No. 4: California -- one of the highest costs of living in the nation, one of the highest tax burden.
No. 3: Washington -- high crime rate, high cost of living, cold weather, high taxes.
No. 2: Alaska -- coldest weather in the nation, second highest cost of living.
And the worst state for retirees? Anyone who knows where I came from will immediately know the answer.
No. 1: Oregon -- With a crime rate, state and local tax burden, and cost of living all higher than the national average. Not to mention its annual average temperature is 48.8 degrees.
The last point was not a big deal for me. I enjoy temperate short-sleeve weather in the 40s and 50s.
Nor was the high crime and cost of living a big issue.
What was a problem was the high rate of taxation and a general sense that the political powers in Salem have no idea what they are doing after picking the pockets of its citizens.
Now, I am not certain I would choose Oregon as the last place a person should retire in The States. I can think of plenty of places I would not want to spend time watching life leak from my body.
And I suspect my little village would not fare too well in a similar survey. We would be off the chart on low cost of living and low taxes. Probably moderate on crime. High on weather in the winter -- and a failing grade in the summer.
And similar mixed marks on health care. For availability of rudimentary care and cost, Melaque is excellent. But if you have The Big One, just pray you can survive the hour drive to Manzanillo before the final curtain comes down on that stage where you once strutted and fretted. But that is also true of almost all of rural America.
Between Oregon and Melaque, I made the correct choice. Melaque is not a retiree's paradise.
But it is darn nice.