Can you afford to retire in New Jersey?
A new study finds New Jersey is the sixth-worst place in the United States in which to retire.
The study comes from WalletHub.com. In a recent news release, the website said it attempted to rank the 50 states in an effort to help retirees and potential retirees find retirement-friendly homes that will not break the bank.
The Garden State was ranked 44th best, or sixth worst, as a good state in which to retire. New Jersey also came in sixth worst in adjusted cost of living in the Wallethub study.
Jeff Abramo of AARP/New Jersey says retiring here is difficult "because of the cost of living here, because of the fact that property taxes are so high because we have the sixth or seventh-highest utility rates in the nation."
Abramo says costs and expenses associated with life in New Jersey are a particular burden to our senior citizens, many of whom have extremely limited incomes, living only on Social Security, "which is not necessarily something that we advocate for, and we are actually working to change."
He says AARP has fought for years for property tax relief, particularly for older residents. According to Abramo, under Gov. Jon Corzine, there was a senior property tax relief program - the homestead rebate program - that the AARP fought to have restored after Gov. Chris Christie failed to include it in full in the state budget
"He did restore it to half of its original levels after Gov. Corzine," Abramo said.
According to the study, New Jersey came in 27th in annual cost of in-home services. The survey also shows New Jersey is the fourth-worst state for healthcare facilities per capita, a crucial factor for a population segment that requires higher medical care levels. Also, while the state has an average number of those age 65 and older, Abramo says they may also be leaving New Jersey for a better place to retire.
"I just think that, at the end of the day, we need to figure out a way to make New Jersey a place that older folks can stay when they retire because they have lived their entire lives, and they want to stay," Abramo said. "And we need to try to make that happen."
Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor at New Jersey 101.5.