East Sussex third in top counties to retire to

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If you want to retire then East Sussex is only the third best place, according to Prudential’s latest Quality of Retirement Index.

The data, which includes England and Wales, ranks neighbouring county West Sussex as the best place, with Dorset second in its top three most attractive retirement counties for pensioners.

Prudential’s rankings are based on eight sets of recently published data which it has identified as indicators of a happy and comfortable retirement for each of the 55 counties in England and Wales:

Resident pensioners as a proportion of county’s population – an indicator that the county has previously been an attractive location for pensioners

- Disability-free life expectancy – an indicator of pensioners’ ongoing health and well-being

- Access to healthcare – an indicator of the quality of healthcare likely to be available should a pensioner fall ill

- Crime levels – an indicator of how safe someone is likely to feel in retirement

- The number of pensioners moving to the county – an indicator of how attractive the area is to other retired people

- Pension income – an indicator of the health of pensioners’ finances

- Weather – an indicator of the attractiveness of the county’s climate

- Healthy lifestyle data – an indicator of how proactive the population is in pursuing a healthy lifestyle

Prudential’s new expanded methodology for 2017 builds on the findings of the previous Quality of Retirement Index, published in last year, in which Dorset topped the rankings using a slightly smaller set of indicators based on the most up to date data available at the time.

Stan Russell, a retirement income expert at Prudential, said: “There are now 10.6 million people aged 65 or over in England and Wales, a million more than five years ago, and accounting for nearly one in five of the total population. So deciding on the right place to retire to is a challenge faced by a huge number of people each year.

“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.”

Prudential Quality of Retirement Rankings – top five counties for 2017

First place – West Sussex

With Fishbourne Roman Palace and Arundel Castle within its boundaries, West Sussex has a history of attracting people to come and live there – it remains attractive in 2017 as proven by the fact that it has the second highest net inflow of pensioners in England and Wales. This could be down to its strong rankings for good weather and disability-free life expectancy. Indeed, West Sussex achieved top-four rankings in half of the eight research categories.

Second place – Dorset

Home to much of the Jurassic Coast and enjoying a tourism boom as the location of TV drama Broadchurch, Dorset remains a popular destination for pensioners, ranking in the top ten for five out of the eight criteria. With the third highest population density of pensioners in the UK and the second-best weather, any over 65s relocating here should feel at home very quickly.

Third place – East Sussex

As renowned for vibrant and hip Brighton as it is for the more sedate retirement hotspot of Eastbourne, East Sussex is a county of contrasts. This is also reflected in its scores this year, with top-five rankings for net inflow of pensioners and good weather, tempered by lower pensioner population density and its crime ratings.

Fourth place – Devon

With a wide choice of lifestyles, from city dwelling in Plymouth and Exeter to rural Dartmoor and two different coastlines, Devon has the highest net inward migration of pensioners in England and Wales. This could be down to factors such as its low crime rate, and generally good weather.

Fifth place – Norfolk

As well as boasting nearly 100 miles of coastline, having the largest village green in England and the highest concentration of medieval churches in the world, Norfolk is also one of the most pensioner-friendly counties in England and Wales. Strong scores for low levels of crime, good weather, pensioner population density and net migration give Norfolk a spot in the top five.

While the south coast dominated the overall rankings this year, it was the East coast that came out on top when it comes to the weather, with Essex scoring highest. The final category, covering a range of health and lifestyle factors including diet, smoking, obesity, physical activity and alcohol-related hospital admissions, found Rutland to be the county with the healthiest lifestyle habits.