When thinking about a retirement location, take a close look at fuel costs, taxes and costs of living in each state - along with availability of housing, part-time work listings and medical facilities. And don't automatically select Arizona or Florida.

That advice comes from Money magazine, which published a survey compiled by Chase Econometrics Associates Inc. of financial and social criteria involved when choosing a retirement area.

Too often, people stop at cultural, climate and recreation benefits and proximity to their children before evaluating economic advantages, the magazine suggested.

Utah was ranked first among the 10 states offering the lowest utility rates and most moderate living costs. The state excludes $6,000 of annual pension income from taxes for perople over 65.

Louisiana was second, with its $400 tax exemption, low property taxes and a cost of living that is 10 percent below the national average.

South Carolina, Nevada, Texas, New Mexico, Alabama and Georgia also were recommended as offering strong economic advantages; Arizona and Florida were cited for their good medical care and tax advantages.

New England states, particularly Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey, were at the bottom of the list.

Based upon inflation rates, savings and pension funds are cut in half every seven years, with Tom Borzilleri, chief economist for the American Association of Retired Persons. This forces people living on pensions and savings to be more cautious about spending, especially when choosing housing options, he said.

With inflation, fixed incomes and few speculative investments cutting in on income growth for retirees, "the biggest asset they have is equity in their homes," he said.