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NH Top New England State on ‘Best Place to Retire’ List

The Granite State was one of the 10 best places to retire in the U.S, and the only New England state to crack the top 10, according to a new analysis of affordability and quality of life.

New Hampshire ranked ninth in the latest WalletHub report, well ahead of Massachusetts (19), Maine (27), Vermont (28), and Connecticut (29). Rhode Island came in last among the New England states at number 44.

While New Hampshire was not the most affordable state on the list, ranked 34 by WalletHub for senior affordability, it did rank high for quality of life and access to high-quality health care. The overall Granite State lifestyle is the main draw for people, according to Business and Economic Affairs Commissioner Taylor Caswell.

“Tourists, businesses, young families, and retirees all come to New Hampshire for our access to the outdoors, strong economy and wide array of jobs, and overall quality of life,” Caswell said.

Bedford-based financial advisor Arnold Garron said New Hampshire attracts people who are interested in pursuing new interests and activities while maintaining life in a small, friendly community.

“New Hampshire is a great place to retire with access to the ocean, lakes, and streams; colleges and universities for activities and events; close to Boston for traveling; and great access to airports and transportation. There are also activities galore: Skiing, biking, hiking, beaching, fishing, hunting, and arts. You can find it all without the hustle and bustle of major cities,” Garron said.

While New Hampshire continues to draw people based on the small-town lifestyle, recreation, and natural beauty, it is also the best financial deal for retirees in the region. Moneywise recently raked New Hampshire at 5 on its best states to retire list.

“New Hampshire boasts picturesque towns, mountains, and trails — perfect for an outdoorsy retiree who prefers a quieter kind of life. This New England state might not be the cheapest place to live in — you’ll pay high property taxes and a 5 percent tax on interest and dividends greater than $2,400 — however, it ranks well for quality of life and health care. It also has one of the lowest crime rates across the country,” they wrote.

And on Monday, also joined the bandwagon, naming New Hampshire the second-best state (behind Florida) for retirees.

“New Hampshire is ideal for active retirees, offering beaches, lakes, mountains, cities and countryside. Health care resources are readily available even in rural areas. Seniors make up nearly 20 percent of the population, so retirees can find many peers with similar interests,” according to their analysis. And they note, “there’s no tax on retirement income, so New Hampshire’s affordability index is above average.”

Erin Mitchell with New Hampshire AARP said the state offers a lot in terms of recreation, natural beauty, and community resources that can encourage people to retire here.

“To get people to stay in New Hampshire, we need to keep focusing on safe, walkable streets, public parks, and age-friendly housing,” Mitchell said.

Sixteen communities in New Hampshire are part of AARP’s age-friendly communities’ network. Those communities keep the over 50 population in mind when planning municipal projects. The goal is to keep people in their homes, and home communities, safe and happy, she said.

Garron said New Hampshire offers retirees what they want in the so-called Four Pillars of retirement.

“In 2019, Edward Jones first partnered with Age Wave on a landmark study, The Four Pillars of the New Retirement. We have continued this research and one of the biggest insights from this study is that the majority of retirees say that all four interdependent pillars—health, family, purpose, and finances—are essential to optimal well-being in retirement,” he said.

“When I meet with my clients I ask them, ‘What is most important to you?’ Their alignment to these four pillars and their focus on fun aligns with the activities we have in New Hampshire.

Congress Should Side with Seniors on Prescription Drug Costs

Anyone who wants to be the next president needs to protect seniors, not drug company profits.

 Congress did a good thing earlier this year when it passed a law to help America’s seniors pay less for their prescription drugs. But now, big drug companies are spending millions trying to strong-arm members of Congress into breaking the deal just to boost their own profits.

This would be a terrible blow to seniors. Over 40 million older Americans rely on the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit to help them pay for life-saving medicines. Unfortunately, an increasing number of them have to decide between putting food on the table and filling their prescriptions.

Consider this: AARP’s Public Policy Institute found that the average annual retail price for widely-used brand name prescription drugs was nearly $6,800 in 2017. For the average older American who takes 4.5 brand name prescription drugs on a chronic basis, their annual cost of therapy would have been more than $30,000—over 20 percent higher than the median annual income for Medicare beneficiaries.

In a 2015 AARP survey of the 50+ in New Hampshire, 85% said that affording health care/prescription drugs was extremely or very important to them.  What’s more, nearly half (48%) said they worry about being able to afford their prescription drugs.

The law passed earlier this year required drug manufacturers to provide a bigger discount on their brand name drugs for the Medicare beneficiaries who are in the Part D donut hole. This critical reform, if allowed to continue, would save seniors an estimated $6.7 billion between 2020 and 2027.

PhRMA wants Congress to roll back this year’s Part D deal, which would deliver $4 billion more in profits to pharmaceutical companies over 10 years. The industry is the last one that needs to make more money off of seniors and taxpayers. In 2016 alone, Medicare Part D paid $141 billion to drug companies.

These same big drug companies who reap tens of billions of dollars annually from Medicare Part D are trying to get Congress to reverse the savings it delivered to seniors earlier this year. These companies are spending millions on advertising and lobbying targeting Congress. What a waste!  Those millions could be devoted to developing drugs to treat diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

And there’s an ironic disconnect.  President Trump has been talking a lot lately about how unfair it is that Americans pay the highest drug prices in the world. But just months after Congress made progress toward lowering drug costs, some members of Congress are preparing to side with the drug lobby rather than look after their own constituents’ interests, which align with the President’s position.

A deal is a deal.  AARP’s 230,000 members in New Hampshire are not going to sit by and let this happen.

Senators and others who want to be President, take note. When you come to our community, be prepared to show that you have what it takes to stand up to big drug companies. Older Americans vote – a majority of voters in the 2018 election were over 50 – and they will remember whether presidential candidates stand by seniors or sided with big drug companies to raise the cost of prescription