Florida has long been considered a haven for retirees. But now it is a major attraction for a particular kind of retiree: military veterans.
WalletHub, the financial analysis website, ranked Florida the second-best state nationally for retiring vets.
Florida trailed only Virginia, and was a tad ahead of both Minnesota and Maryland.
WalletHub said it compared all 50 states and the District of Columbia and ranked them according to “their ability to provide a comfortable military retirement.”
The analysis was based on 29 metrics.
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Among others, those included factors such as the number of veterans per capita, the number of Department of Veterans Affairs health facilities, job opportunities for veterans, “tax friendliness,” the number of military installations per 100,000 residents, the share of homeless vets, the suicide rate among vets and even the weather.
Florida ranked 10th for economic environment, fourth for quality of life and 24th for health care.
In comparison, the worst state for vets was Vermont, which closely trailed Nevada, D.C. and Oregon.
In an op-ed accompanying the ratings, retired Army Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Gunderson, who serves as director of Veteran and Military Affiliated Services at the University of Texas, said not all vets are alike. Those who served in Iraq or Afghanistan may not want or need the same services as those who were in Vietnam.
But he identified some common things that vets should consider in deciding where to spend their sunset years.
Those included whether a state taxes income or military retirement pay, proximity to a VA hospital or other healthcare resources, whether a community makes vets “feel connected and supported,” and even higher education outlets, either for themselves or their dependents.
Such a consideration should also factor in things vets share with civilian retirees, such as cost of living, housing prices, and property taxes.