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NY ranks at bottom in retirement survey: How to retire here anyway

New York ranked 50th, at bottom, in a

New York ranked 50th, at bottom, in a recent retirement survey, primarily because of the cost of living, taxes, and health care quality. Above, the High Line in Manhattan. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Alphotographic Credit: Getty Images/Alphotographic

New Yorkers take pride in the fact that few places in the United States can top us when it comes to cuisine, arts and culture.  But one thing we can’t brag about, according to a new survey from Bankrate.com, is that this is a great place to retire. In fact, New York ranked 50, the worst, primarily because of the cost of living, taxes, and health care quality.

It’s no wonder folks flock to Florida and elsewhere. But what about the loyalists, the die-hards, who, much like they continue to support the losing Knicks and Mets, refuse to leave their beloved New York?

Retiring here is doable with planning.

•Stay in the Empire State

“New Yorkers should save 15 percent of their pay in a retirement savings account, including any employer match, maintain six-month’s worth of emergency expenses in a savings account so they don't have to dip into their 401(k) if some big unforeseen expense occurs, and try to delay taking Social Security as long as possible so get larger monthly checks,” says Taylor Tepper, an analyst with Bankrate.com.

•Use your home

“All over Long Island, I meet retirees who own their own home and they’ve built up all this equity in their house and didn’t even realize they can use it,” says Michael Bocelli, a certified mortgage planning specialist at Quontic Bank in Melville.

He says a reverse mortgage, which allows you to tap the equity in your home for income, may be for retirees who are able to pay the taxes on their home and maintain it. “I always caution people about that. But so long as you can meet these costs and plan to live in your home, a reverse mortgage may be a great way to make retirement more affordable,” says Bocelli.

•Retire in steps

“First leave the high-pressure, full-time gig to something less stressful that still provides income and most importantly benefits. Try that for a while and then take a position working fewer days a week. Adding on a few years of income and benefits can alleviate some stress on the drawdown of your nest egg,” says Lou Cannataro, a partner with Cannataro Park Avenue Financial in Manhattan.

Downsize to a smaller home or rent out a room in your house for additional income.

•Escape hatch

If all the tricks don’t work or you decide it’s not worth it to stay, Bankrate.com says the top five states are South Dakota, Utah, Idaho, New Hampshire and Florida.

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