Financial Health of States Ranked

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In new research for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, Senior Research Fellow Eileen Norcross ranks each US state’s financial health based on short- and long-term debt and other key fiscal obligations, including unfunded pensions and health care benefits. The study, which builds on previous Mercatus research about state fiscal conditions, provides information from the states’ audited financial reports in an easily accessible format, presenting an accurate snapshot of each state’s fiscal health.

Eileen Norcross, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, published an excellent paper summarizing the financial status of each of the States. The good news is that America Top retirement states rank Florida as number five. Florida ranked 2nd in terms of cash solvency, 5th in terms of budget solvency, 31st in terms of long term solvency, 4th in service level solvency and 5th in trust fund solvency. (Click here to download the paper in full)

How important should the financial health of the state you are retiring to be?

There are states with long term commitments that that cannot be met and the “fix” may be harmful to the future of the residents of that state, either in terms of taxes to make up those short falls or in terms of cutbacks in services and infrastructure.

Financial Health of States – Top Five

  1. Alaska
  2. North Dakota
  3. South Dakota
  4. Nebraska
  5. Florida

Financial Health of States are often thought of as retirement destination states, here are their fiscal rankings:

PopularityStateFiscal Strength Rank
1Florida5
2North Carolina27
3Arizona32
4South Carolina17
5Tennessee8
6Texas19
7Virginia21
8New Mexico36

The five criteria used to rank Financial Health of States?

  • Cash Solvency – Can it pay bills
  • Budget Solvency – Income/expenses in balance
  • Long Run solvency – Plan and cash to survive long term
  • Service Level Solvency – Is there cash in the budget for service level demands
  • Trust Fund Solvency – How much debt it there

If we are judging fiscal health alone, only Arizona and Florida make my cut.

What about you?

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