Study calls Hawaii 4th worst place to retire

LIHUE — With sunshine all year long, gorgeous beaches and a high life expectancy, Hawaii may seem like the perfect retirement destination.

However, according to a new study, it might not be the best financial decision.

WalletHub, a personal finance website, recently released research that showed the state of Hawaii as the fourth worst place in America for retirement.

Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst, told The Garden Island the cost of living and other expenses were major factors in this study.

“Hawaii ranked low mostly because it has the highest cost of living in the country and the costs of in-home services are not cheap either, reaching almost $55,000 per year,” she said. “It also has the second-highest property crime rate, which tends to target the elderly, at almost 38 incidents per 1,000 residents.”

Hawaii was ranked 47th place out of 51 states (including the District of Columbia). Florida was ranked first.

“Hawaii is known as a paradise, but, unfortunately, is also known as being quite expensive,” Gonzalez said. “This is true for any of its residents, but even more so when it comes to retirees living on a fixed income. Since affordability was given the most weight in this study, the results weren’t too surprising.”

While cost of living in Hawaii is nothing new, saying it’s a bad place to retire seems strange to retirees at the Regency at Puakea who spoke to TGI.

“It’s vacation all the time,” said Virginia Raker, an 88-year-old retiree.

For Raker, who moved from the West Coast for work and then retired here, living the rest of her life on Kauai seems to be the right decision, regardless of the economic impact.

“It’s been good so far for me but I don’t think I’ve been here long enough to really say with real authority. It’s a good second home for me,” she said.

For Frank Nonaka, an 88-year-old veteran living at Puakea who retired in 1964, retiring on Kauai is a “beautiful thing.”

It wasn’t a financial decision for him, but retirement in general isn’t his favorite thing.

“Truthfully, it’s depressing for me because I used to work a lot but then I became like this and got old,” Nonaka told TGI as he pointed to his walker. “I don’t really enjoy retirement because I was always on the go and now I don’t move around too much. In the past, I used to walk fast and go out to get a can of beer. But now? I cannot do that. That’s the depressing part.”

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