West Sussex is the county with the highest quality of life for pensioners, according to analysis by Prudential. Dorset comes second and East Sussex comes third as most attractive retirement counties.
There are now 10.6 million people aged 65 or over in England and Wales, a million more than five years ago. They account for nearly one in five of the total population, so choosing the right place to retire is a challenge faced by many people every year.
The Prudential analysis ranks counties in England and Wales according to eight indicators including the proportion of pensioners who live there, crime levels, pension income, weather and access to healthcare, as well as lifestyle data.
Each county is ranked according to the eight criteria (see table at the bottom). The lower the average ranking score the greater the quality of life for the county’s retired population.
Surrey remains the county with the highest mean pensioner income, with an average income of £21,400, nearly a third higher than the average in England and Wales.
According to the analysis, pensioners who are looking to live with people of a similar age could consider a move to the Isle of Wight, where nearly 38,000 people, or more than one in four of the island’s population, is aged 65 or over.
In Herefordshire, pensioners have the highest disability-free life expectancy. When it comes to lifestyle factors including diet, smoking, obesity, physical activity and alcohol-related hospital admissions, Rutland is the county with the healthiest habits.
Stan Russell, a retirement income expert at Prudential, says: ‘Our analysis shows that every part of the country has something different to offer pensioners, but the counties with the most attractive attributes tend to be along the southern and eastern coasts of England.
"Counties like West Sussex and Dorset may be attractive because of their low crime rates or the quality of their health care. However, finding the right spot to live in such popular locations can be tricky.
"It is understandable that many people want to choose somewhere attractive to live in retirement. To get the most choice when the time comes to give up work, people will benefit from saving as much as they can into a pension as early as they can in their working lives.
"And before taking any decisions on how to turn their pension savings into an income, many will also benefit from a conversation with a professional financial adviser."
Pensioners - particularly those with private pensions – have benefited over recent decades from faster growth in their incomes than the average working household, and also from huge growth in the value of their family homes, which has given them a wider choice of retirement destinations.
Click on the image below to open a full size table.
This article was originally published on our sister website Money Observer.