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Ready to retire? Study deems South Dakota one of best states for it

(Graphic by Jen Phillips)

Look no further, South Dakotans. The best place to retire is a state you're already living in.

In a report released by WalletHub, South Dakota was deemed the third best place in the United States for retirees. The study considered the state's cost of living, elderly-friendly labor market, population of residents older than 65 and life expectancy. But what stood out about South Dakota was that it was ranked the second best for health care facilities per capita.

"It does not surprise me. I think it's great for seniors," said Rhonda Dell, owner of Quail View Senior Living in Mitchell. "All of our people that we have are retired, and actually a lot of them are from smaller towns. Mitchell is a great city as far as great health care, and it's not far from Sioux Falls."

Dell and her husband, Scott, opened Quail View independent living facility in the summer of 2016 for individuals 55 years and older. The couple also has facilities in Aberdeen.

Currently there are a few slots of their 15-unit facility in MItchell available, and Dell said they may fill up quick as retirees continue to look at new places to live.

The first place slot for best state to retire in went to Florida, while Colorado nabbed second in the WalletHub report. It also revealed that almost 30 percent of non-retired adults haven't saved any money for retirement. And when it comes time to think about retirement, choosing a location is the most-asked question.

At Quail View, Dell said a majority of residents enjoy the attached garage, indoor mailbox and other amenities made for seniors.

But what she believes is a big factor for why South Dakota placed so high on the report was the welcoming environment the state presents.

"The people are just so friendly, honest and trustworthy," Dell said. "I don't think they get that a lot of places, but in South Dakota, people are great."

South Dakota also garnered high rankings in the study's property-crime rate, elderly-friendly labor market and taxpayer ranking by WalletHub.

But while the state did well across most boards, WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez said there was room for improvement.

"While the state is doing quite well when it comes to health care, it could do better when it comes to the financial hardships that senior citizens may face," Gonzalez said. "In annual cost of in-home services, South Dakota ranked 41st, at $52,700."

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