Balancing Priorities

This is the new retirement hotspot. Hint: It's not Florida.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire
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If you're looking for an ideal place to retire, you may want to stay clear of the Sunbelt.

Those are the findings from Bankrate's recent analysis of the best states in which to spend your golden years. The personal finance website studied all 50 states and ranked them on such criteria as tax rates, crime statistics, weather and quality of health care.

Warm weather and low taxes shouldn't be the sole basis on which you decide to spend the rest of your life, said Claes Bell, an analyst for Bankrate.

"It's not a place where you're going on vacation," he said. Florida, for instance, ranked 17th, as crime was a bigger issue there than in other locales.

Also, consider your options if you can't drive and whether you can easily access your care providers.

Your accessibility to a social network is also important.

"A support network of family and friends will be important as you get older," said Bell. "You can't get isolated — it can lead to issues with well-being."

The following is the top five. How does your state rank? Click here.

New Hampshire

Fly fishing in White Mountains, Albany, New Hampshire.
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The winters may be cold, but New Hampshire beats other states on taxes, crime rates and quality of health care. While there is no state income tax, interest and dividends are taxed at 5 percent.


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About 37 percent of the days in the Centennial State are clear, according to Bankrate. "Seniors report high levels of well-being, though not as high as New Hampshire," said Bell.


Reilly Harvey pulls a cooked lobster from a pot onboard her boat Mainstay Saturday.
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The Pine Tree State had a respectable rating for "cultural vitality," Bankrate's measurement of state and consumer spending on the arts. "When you're retired, you'll have time to enjoy those things, and Maine does well on that," Bell said.


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Iowa had notable strengths in health care, an abundance of older residents and overall well-being.


Canoer on Kekekabic Lake in the Boundary Waters in Minnesota.
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This state scored high in health care. It also offers a decent amount of cultural events that retirees can enjoy. "Seniors in Minnesota have really high levels of well-being, crime rates are low and the cost of living is pretty reasonable," said Bell.