Wyoming Ranked Fourth Best State for Retirees

Study assessed affordability, quality of life and health care access

Betty Fresquez retired from the U.S. Department of Defense in 2006 after 30 years. She lives in Cheyenne. (Courtesy photo from Betty Fresquez)

By Ellen Fike

Special to the Wyoming Truth

Wyoming is the fourth-best state in the nation for retirement, according to a recent study by WalletHub.

Virginia, Florida and Colorado were the top three states to retire in, the study showed.

WalletHub, a personal finance company, evaluated all 50 states in three key categories: affordability, quality of life and access to health care. The study used data from various agencies, including the U.S. Census Bureau and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Kentucky was ranked the worst state for retirees, mainly due to its low quality of life scores and its relatively difficult access to health care.

Wyoming’s affordability and quality of life both ranked quite high through the data set, but its access to health care brought down the state’s overall score.

Cheyenne realtor Adrianna True said retirees are “flocking” to Wyoming due to its relatively low cost of living compared to other states.

“You can buy a house much cheaper than [in] Colorado or California, groceries and necessary items are still fairly reasonably priced, taxes on food and other items are significantly less,” she told the Wyoming Truth.

Cheyenne realtor Adrianna True says retirees are flocking to Wyoming due to the state’s affordable cost of living. (Courtesy photo from Adrianna True)

What’s more, neither Social Security income nor withdrawals from retirement accounts are taxed in Wyoming.

When Betty Fresquez, 79, retired from the U.S. Department of Defense in 2006, she never considered moving away from Cheyenne.

“I was born here, all of my friends are here,” Fresquez said. “This is where my roots are, and I’m too old to pick up and go somewhere else.”

The slower pace of life and the low crime rate also played a role in Fresquez’s decision to stay in Wyoming.  

Despite having been retired for 17 years, Fresquez remains active and maintains a high quality of life. She attends daily Mass at 9 a.m. and then runs errands, socializes with friends or drops a little money at one of the gaming parlors in Cheyenne. Once a month, she teams up with fellow parishioners to clean her church for free.

“You can’t sit around and watch TV all day,” Fresquez said. “Even though that’s mostly what I do during the winter, because it can be so harsh here.”

Fresquez also noted that access to quality health care has never been an issue for her. While she may need to see a specialist in Fort Collins, Colorado on occasion, most of her physicians are located in Cheyenne.

Fresquez lives on a fixed income, but she felt prepared for that when she retired.  

“I knew I was going to live on a certain amount of money every month, but I told myself that if I couldn’t live on that money, then shame on me,” she said. “Of course, prices are going sky high these days, but it definitely could be worse in Wyoming compared to other states.”

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