Where You Should Retire in the USA: States Ranked From Worst To Best
You might think that retirement is decades away, but times goes by faster than you can imagine. We have to plan the rest of lives as much as we can in order to enjoy it. There are several things to consider aside from financial things such as what type of weather you want and where do you want to live. Some people think that Florida is the best retirement option, but this list might surprise you with something else. Southern states are much better, but the first place is completely unexpected. Let’s find out more!
Unfortunately, the beautiful island state of Hawaii might be the best honeymoon destination, but it’s not the ideal place to retire. It currently has a population of 1.42 million citizens, but the average cost of living there is almost 90% more than the norm in the rest of the country. On the bright side, many people that retire on the island are able to land relaxing jobs that they never could pursue before. There’s also a slow pace of living that many elderly people enjoy. You just have to manage your finances properly.
If you were thinking of retiring next to the stars, you might need to save up a lot of money. You will also have to love long traffic lines and crowded places because this state has 39.56 million people. It also has some of the highest cost of livings in American, with 52% over the average of the nation. On the other hand, this beautiful state has some of the best weather imaginable, beautiful hills and forests, as well as beaches. Also, if you like the finer things in life, you have all kinds of options nearby.
People who love American history should consider retiring in this state, but there are many things to think through before making a permanent move. This state has a cost of living that’s 38% over the national average. Their population is almost 7 million people. Unfortunately, healthcare is also quite expensive because it’s some of the best in the world. Furthermore, the cold is really rough for the elderly. On the bright side, there are so many cultural things to experience that you could be convinced to give it a shot.
If you love the idea of living somewhere remote, away from the modern, fast-paced life other people crave, Alaska could be your choice. However, you also have to consider that’s a little bit expensive, as the cost of living is about 32% more than the national average. Luckily, there is a bright side to that. It has a population of just 737,438 citizens, and their taxes are really attractive for retirees. There’s also a myth that not many elderly folks live in Alaska, but that has been debunked. Also, if you’re concerned about the cold, it’s not as bad as people say.
46. NEW JERSEY
To retire in New Jersey, you need to love city life. The good side of that is there are so many things to do to enjoy your retirement. Additionally, there’s the ocean and many sights to visit to remember American history. There are 8.9 million people living in the Garden State, and sadly, the cost of living is over 27% compared to the norm in the nation. Unfortunately, New Jersey has a horrible reputation in terms of retirement because of property taxes. But, in terms of other taxes and exemptions, you could end up saving money in the long run.
Connecticut might seem scary because it always seems like only rich people live there. That’s only a little bit true, as the cost of living is around 25% over the national average. Additionally, Social Security and some pensions are often taxed, which is a drawback for retires and one of the reasons why it’s low on the list. However, there are plenty of communities, like Danbury, that are pretty affordable with some properties sold at just over $200,000. The thing about it is that it’s just a couple of hours' drive from New York and Boston. You can catch up on traveling after retiring there.
44. NEW YORK
The Big Apple might not have a great reputation for retirees. Even movies explain that it’s a cold, fast-paced kind of city where everyone rushes around to get places. The good part would be that almost everything is walking distance or easily accessible. However, the cost of living is around 22% over the national average, and it has around 19.54 million citizens. It’s also a bit dangerous because of the buzzing lifestyle. The taxes are really not the best for retirement. So, most people only consider it if they have a lot of money.
43. RHODE ISLAND
This state also has a high cost of living, which sits are 22% over the national average, and that’s only with 1 million citizens. The great part about living here is that it’s near important places like New York City and Boston. This means that you can experience city life easily but return to a normal suburb-like living afterward. There are also some tax laws that are not advantageous for retirees. On the bright side, it has connections to many places, which means that there is no-end of scheduled activities for your Golden years.
Washington might not have the best weather in the United States, but if you love coffee, there’s no better place to live. It has around 7 million citizens in the entire state, and the cost of living that sits at just above 20% from the national average. There’s also a higher than average crime rate, which is something no one wants. The bright side of this state is that it’s very tax-friendly for retirees and there are many free events you could attend without issues. You can also have a relaxing life with the benefits of living near a city.
41. NEW HAMPSHIRE
Despite the fact that the cost of living is just 18% over the national average, it seems that many retirees have trouble making ends meet in this state. There are 1.3 million, and the harsh winters might be too rough for the elderly. A regular Social Security check in New Hampshire is around $1,230 every month, which is just not enough. Considering the fact that people live longer nowadays, you need to have more money. On the bright side, there is no sales tax here and the crime rate is low.
Although the gorgeous views and outdoor activities that Oregon offers are amazing, this might not be the best state for retirement. The cost of living is about 18% over the national average, which is not ideal in the long run. Oregon has around 4 million citizens in their area, and they have to love the rain. Unfortunately, this state has some of the worst tax laws for retirees, although at least, Social Security is an exception. You might want to plan to go to another state in the future because senior income is also rather low.
Maryland is very close to Washington D.C.; so, if you crave to leave near the capital of the United States, you need to consider some of these things. The cost of living is sadly 175 over the norm of the nation, and there are around 6 million citizens. Luckily, the average income for retirees here is over $70,000. Sadly, all of that will be taxed, except for Social Security. Furthermore, they also have an inheritance as well as an estate tax, which can be grueling for the elderly. On the bright side, there are a bunch of parks, museums, as well as other activities that retirees might love. Unfortunately, if you don’t like traffic or property taxes, you better choose somewhere else.
This state might have some of the best healthcare for senior citizens in the country, but sadly, the cost of living is 17% over the national average. With 5.4 million residents in general, it seems to be hard to buy a house in cities like Denver. The weather varies throughout the year, which is great for people who enjoy every season. The only problem is the altitude, which can be stifling for some. On the bright side, their people there are very friendly; so, most elderly folks would enjoy living there. You just have to get your finances ready.
Luckily, this tiny state only has a population of a bit more than 600,000 citizens, and it has a reputation for great senior healthcare. Unfortunately, most people balk at the cost of living, which is 12% more than the national average. Additionally, in terms of taxes, Vermont is one of the worst in the country. If you don’t have a serious nest egg accumulated, you might want to consider somewhere else. On the bright side, people who love nature will fall in love with this state right away because it has every possible landscape you can imagine.
This is another relatively small state with only around 960,000 residents. Additionally, it’s also great in terms of taxes, but the cost of living is still 11% over the norm for the country. Most elderly folks might not earn enough to make a decent living in this state, although they don’t tax Social Security. Additionally, healthcare is also great in this state, and there is no sales tax. But, you might need to rework your finances before making the ultimate decision.
Now, we are starting to reach the states that have a lower cost of living, and Virginia is just 7% over the national average. That’s not too bad in comparison, but low-income senior citizens might not have a decent life here. There are a lot of people here as well with 8.3 million citizens. On the bright side, you can choose to live near the sea, and it’s a great mix of urban living as well as a rural lifestyle. However, you might also worry about flooding whenever you live in the sea.
One of the best things about Utah is that the cost of living is only 4% over the national average, and there are almost 3 million people in the area. Additionally, there is amazing healthcare for the elderly, as well as splendid activities for people with a lot of time on their hands, especially those that love the outdoors. However, why is it so low on the list? Well, it’s horrible when it comes to taxes. Almost all senior income is taxed, including Social Security. But on the bright side, they have some of the lowest property taxes in the country.
You might know that Nevada is one of the best states when it comes to taxes, but there are several drawbacks that repel senior citizens. The cost of living is 4% over the national average, and the population is almost 3 million citizens. All of this points to great opportunities, right? However, one of the drawbacks is the climate. A lot of elderly folks cannot stand the heat, even with air conditioning. It’s also very dry year-round. So, you need to consider if living in a desert is the right choice, even with the benefits of a tax-friendly state.
This is another state that has some of the best healthcare senior citizens can receive, especially because of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. So, most people with serious health conditions have chosen this place. However, you also have to consider that the cost of living is 4% over the national average. There are 5.5 million citizens in Minnesota, and it’s also a very cold area. You REALLY need to love winter. Unfortunately, Social Security is taxed in this state, as well as other income for retirees.
31. SOUTH DAKOTA
Starting with the good parts of South Dakota, you should know that it’s one of the most tax-friendly states, and it only has around 880,000 citizens. Unfortunately, the cost of living is 4% over the national average, but it’s not too bad for people who crave nature and the best mountain views. Meanwhile, just like Minnesota, you will also have to love the cold, and this place is definitely not for people who love city-living. Most senior citizens end up preferring warmer states because of the harsh winters.
Here is another state in the nation with some of the best natural views you would ever imagine, which include Glacier and Yellowstone National Park. It has just over 1 million citizens, and a lot of them are over the age of 65, which is a huge benefit for anyone looking to make friends with like-minded people. Unfortunately, the cost of living here is 3% over the national average, which is not ideal. It’s also not tax-friendly at all because everything is taxed, including Social Security. The winters can be harsh, but on the bright side, active folks have all kinds of things to do.
Arizona is another state that tends to be rather dry and desert-like. That’s really something to consider when choosing it for retirement. Additionally, the cost of living is 3% over the national average, and that might not be great for most senior citizens. Luckily, since it has almost 7 million citizens, you get all the benefits of city-living almost everywhere with some incredible landscape. It’s definitely a choice for people who hate the cold, but they have reached numbers of 107 degrees Fahrenheit. Furthermore, the crime rate is rather high, and you might have to watch out for snakes sometimes.
28. NORTH DAKOTA
Just like South Dakota, this state has only around 760,000 citizens, and the cost of living is really not that bad at 1% over the national average. Furthermore, it’s an awesome place in terms of taxes for the elderly, and the spectacular views are really worth the move. The drawback, however, is that retirement salaries are not the best. Meanwhile, people who love big city life really shouldn’t choose this place, the winters are pretty harsh, and housing doesn’t come cheap.
We bet you thought that Florida would be much higher on the list. After all, it has always had a reputation for being a great place for retirees. The cost of living is only 1%, but there are almost 20 million residents. One of the reasons for its stellar reputation among the elderly is its tax-friendly laws, including the lack of inheritance tax. Additionally, the sunny weather is very attractive for most people. However, the humidity can be stifling at times, and there’s always the danger of hurricanes. Furthermore, if you don’t like Disney World, tourists, and a spice of Latin culture, then it’s not the place for you.
We’re finally reaching some of the best states in terms of cost of living, and Wyoming is right on the national average. There are only around 580,000 citizens, and it’s one of the best places in terms of fiscal health. Additionally, they don’t have an income tax, which is great for retirement. The drawback is that city-lovers will not like the rural, outdoorsy feel of the area. You won’t find big urban centers anywhere here. Another issue is the lack of cultural and racial diversity, as it’s still a mostly white state.
This land might be famous for lobster fishing, but another great aspect is that the cost of living is 2% BELOW the national average. There are 1.3 million citizens that enjoy the benefits of lower healthcare costs as well. The problem is that almost all of the retirement income is taxed, except for Social Security. Furthermore, the estate tax only factors in with properties worth way more than $10 million. However, if you love the idea of living next to the sea and enjoying the charm of the local community, this could be your ideal home.
This place might be known as the home of Hershey chocolates, but there are many other benefits to this state for retirees. The cost of living is 3% below the national average, and you will definitely enjoy a big-city lifestyle as there are almost 13 million residents. Additionally, there are lower healthcare costs as well as several friendly tax laws. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania is not the best when it comes to fiscal stability, and they could change tax laws accordingly.
This place is definitely known for its football and their cheese. Meanwhile, the cost of living is 4% below the national average, and there are 5.8 million citizens. You might get the big-city lifestyle in some areas while still enjoy the rural living of many dairy farms. The drawback is that Wisconsin has harsh taxes for most income, except for Social Security. Additionally, the cost of healthcare is higher than in other places in the country, and the weather can also be dangerously low.
Although the cost of living is 4% below the national average, Illinois’ fiscal health is dismal. They also have some of the harsher tax laws, and most retirement income is not exempt. They have almost 13 million citizens. On the bright side, you can enjoy all four seasons here, although the winters can be rather cold. Meanwhile, if you live in Chicago, you can enjoy a great public transportation system, being near Lake Michigan, and all the events of Mid-western American culture.
Idaho is known for being big producers of potatoes, but there are awesome benefits as well. The cost of living is 5% below the national average, and it has around 1.6 million citizens. If you enjoy the outdoors, you can see all kinds of different terrains in this state, from the greenest parks to mountains to canyons. The elderly will really enjoy saving money for outdoor activities and sight-seeing. However, it’s not for people who crave city life. It’s somewhat tax-friendly for seniors, especially because Social Security is exempt.
20. NEW MEXICO
This state has a cost of living that is 5% lower than the national average, and it also has 2085 million residents. Some people might have a bad idea of the state because of shows like ‘Better Call Saul’ and ‘Breaking Bad’, but New Mexico is a really great place to live. There are some areas where Social Security and other income are taxed, but since the cost of living is low, they also say that it’s possible to live off the welfare check. A great thing about choosing New Mexico as your home is the history, peace, and the relatively low crime in some cities.
19. NORTH CAROLINA
This is another state where the cost of living is 5% below the national average, but there are almost 10 million citizens in this gorgeous area. It has relatively nice weather for most of the year, and there’s lots of greenery that everyone can enjoy. Additionally, they do not tax Social Security. Sadly, some people don’t earn enough money to live in North Carolina, and since other retirement income is taxed, they end up losing more money.
18. SOUTH CAROLINA
Here we have the southern part of Carolina, which has a cost of living of 7% below the national average. There are almost 5 million residents, and it features mild weather almost the entire year, which is a great benefit for retirees. Luckily, they do not tax most of the retirement income such as Social Security. Another great benefit is that South Carolina has some of the best landscapes in the country with the advantage of city living as well. You will also benefit from the Home Owner’s Association if you buy a house there.
Georgia is another state with a cost of living that is 7% below the national average, and that’s with more than 10 million residents. Most people recognized this place due to the inexpensive living and great weather. It’s also one of the best states in terms of healthcare for senior citizens, and it’s very tax-friendly for the elderly. If you have always craved living in the South, Georgia could be the right place for you, although the humidity can be stifling. Just like other states, Georgia is a great mixture of big cities and nature.
You might be surprised to learn that this state has a cost of living that is 10% below the national average, and its 6.1 million residents enjoy the benefits. Of course, Missouri is not just farms and country. It’s also the hometown of some of the best writers in history like Mark Twain and T.S. Eliot. Unfortunately, although living is cheap, most incomes are also very low, especially for senior citizens. In terms of taxes, it’s somewhat friendly for retirees, but healthcare for the elderly in Missouri is really not the best.
You might be surprised to see this Southern state so close to the lowest cost of living, especially because there are plenty of cities there. The cost of living is actually 10% below the national average. Furthermore, the average income allows them to live pretty comfortable lives. You can live is cowboy-style places or big cities such as Austin. The only drawback is really its healthcare, which could be a problem for most retirees. Additionally, poverty is somewhat high in Texas, despite the low cost of getting by. On the bright side, there’s no tax for retiree income, including Social Security.
This is another Southern state with a cost of living that’s 10% below the national average. There are a million things to do if you move there, just ask their almost 5 million citizens. No senior citizen will be bored in the area, especially in New Orleans. There are all kinds of music and food attractions. You also have to see the swamps. Sadly, just like Missouri, some incomes are rather low, especially those for retired citizens. This is a huge problem because of the expensive healthcare.
The land of the Cornhuskers has a cost of living that’s 12% below the national average, and it’s also in amazing fiscal health. There are almost 2 million citizens that reap the benefits of that, and it has been said that seniors have a great life there. Unfortunately, it’s not the best state for retirements in terms of taxes because almost everything is taxed. Meanwhile, Social Security is taxed if you earn more than a certain amount.
We cannot believe how many Southern states have some of the lowest costs of living in the country. Tennessee falls 12% below the national average with a population of 6.5 million people. Another great benefit is that healthcare is considerably cheaper than other states. Unfortunately, the heat in the summer can be stifling, as it has seen temperatures of 92 degrees sometimes. Additionally, since it has so many people, traffic can be pretty tricky, especially in Memphis or Nashville. You have to plan your days accordingly. Luckily, it’s rather tax-friendly, with inheritance and estate taxes that only kick in for large amounts.
Ohio is so practically located because you will be able to travel to both coasts without many problems. The cost of living falls 12% under the national average, and that’s with almost 12 million residents. Another amazing benefit is that Social Security is exempt from tax. On the bright side, you can live near the lake, but also enjoy big-city living. Ohio has some of the best education systems in the country as well as healthcare. Wine lovers will also love this place. Unfortunately, some retirement income is taxed, and some households don’t earn much in the first place.
You might enjoy visiting the Great Lakes in Michigan, aside from many other things to enjoy this state. The cost of living is 12% under the national average, and that’s with an almost 10 million population. Additionally, there are very low poverty rates, which is great because retirees worry about their safety in many ways. However, Michigan will have new tax laws in 2020 where people over the age of 67 have to deduct from their Social Security of file $20,000 for single income. That’s not ideal because more elderly folks need that money.
You might be surprised to learn that Iowa was named the “City of Literature” by the UNESCO organization and has one of the most amazing cultural varieties. Additionally, it’s the home of many amazing universities. In terms of costs, it sits at 12% under the national average, which is fantastic. They have 3 million citizens that enjoy the fact that Social Security is not taxed and there’s also no state income tax. Sadly, the rest of the taxes in the state take a lot from retiree’s money. But, you should really consider giving this state a try because of the social scene and the great healthcare.
It seems that Southern states are truly some of the best places for retirees. Alabama’s cost of living is 13% under the national average, and they have almost 5 million citizens. It seems that healthcare is cheaper compared to other states, while taxes on retirement income are below 5%. Additionally, Social Security is not taxed here, which is ideal for the elderly. The drawback is the weather. Some storms can get pretty dangerous over the spring and some Novembers. While, the summers are extremely hot. But, overall, it’s a pretty great place to live with lots of historic places to visit.
You might be thinking that “we’re not in Kansas anymore”, but you should really consider retiring in the Sunflower State. The cost of living is 14% under the national average, and you might really learn to love this place like it’s almost 3 million citizens. It has some of the best plains and sceneries any could ever see. Unfortunately, in terms of fiscal health, Kansas is not in the best position right now. Sometimes, they raise taxes to work on that. Almost all retirement income is taxed, including Social Security. However, people enjoy the quiet lifestyle that Kansas offers, and the regular weather.
Here we have another Southern state, and you might just get the best fried chicken of your life here. The cost of living is 14% under the national average, and that’s enjoyed by its 4.4 million residents. Additionally, there are all kinds of tax breaks, including the exemption of Social Security benefits. Unfortunately, in terms of healthcare, it’s not the greatest place for senior citizens. The cost of that is way too high, and many of its elderly don’t get a lot of activity. On the bright side, seniors can enjoy free college tuition and learn something new. There are also many social programs for food, transportation, and more.
Mississippi has many benefits for retirees including tax breaks on most retirement income, which is something very interesting for people considering their future there. The cost of living is 15% under the national average. There are 3 million citizens in the states, which means that it’s not isolated but not over-crowded either. Social Security, IRAs, and 401Ks are all exempted from taxes. Meanwhile, property taxes are really low compared to other places. Another great reason to move here is the low price housing and the mild weather. Winters are really not bad, and there are many beaches to enjoy leisure time. Unfortunately, in terms of healthcare, it’s not the best place to live and many senior citizens live under the poverty line.
The greatest reason to move to Indiana in your future is the low cost of living, which sits at 15% below the national average, and that’s something that all 6.6 million residents enjoy a lot. Your money will go a long way compared to other states in the nation. However, you need to save up your retirement to live comfortably because senior income is not that high either. Additionally, most of it is taxed, except for Social Security.
Oklahoma is not just a musical on Broadway; it’s a great place to consider when planning your future. The cost of living is 16% under the national average, and its almost 4 million citizens enjoy those benefits. People who have saved up for retirement will really enjoy living here, especially because Social Security is exempt and there are more tax breaks available. Unfortunately, incomes are rather low, and it’s not that great when it comes to healthcare for seniors. Most people don’t get out much and that inactivity leads to serious problems. On the bright side, you could take a different approach and enjoy the cultural sites, the natural landscapes, and some of the best weather you could hope for every day.
2. WEST VIRGINIA
West Virginia is not just the subject of one of John Denver’s songs; it’s a great place for retirees. The cost of living is 17% under the national average, and it has some of the best views of mountains you might ever see. Additionally, it’s an amazing part of American history, and there are plenty of resorts to enjoy. Unfortunately, there are several taxes on retirement income because the state is not in the best fiscal health.
Finally, we have reached the top of the list, and the best state to retire to is Arkansas. It might not sound like the most commonplace in America, but the cost of living is 17% below the national average, which is attractive to anyone on a budget. It has 3 million residents that enjoy the lower costs of healthcare as well. Additionally, there are all kinds of amazing views and activities from their natural sites, which is why it’s called “the Natural State”. The climate is also amazing. State taxes are the downside, but Social Security as well as other income is exempt from that. Sadly, there are high poverty rates in the state, which means that you can only benefit if you saved up a lot for retirement. Additionally, big city lovers will not like it.
As we've seen, the best states for seniors have a combination of good healthcare options, low costs of living, and low taxes. Some states might have excellent weather or lots to do but not great areas to live out your Golden Years. In your opinion, which state do you consider as the best for retirees and why? Do you agree or differ with our rankings of best states for folks 65 years and above? Tell us your views in the comments section and don't forget to share this article with your friends.