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Best and Worst States to Retire

Florida — Best

Florida — Best

Florida reigns supreme as the ultimate retirement destination, offering a trifecta of financial advantages, scenic beauty, and a wealth of recreational opportunities. The state's tax-friendly environment is a standout feature, with retirees enjoying the absence of estate, inheritance, and income taxes, ensuring their financial well-being. Notably, healthcare is affordable, with lower costs for adult day health care and homemaker services compared to other states.

Beyond financial perks, Florida's coastline, second only to Alaska, provides retirees with an idyllic setting for their golden years. The abundance of shoreline miles allows for leisurely beach strolls and serene days by the ocean. The state's commitment to recreational activities shines through its top-ranking status in adult volunteer opportunities, theater offerings, and access to golf courses and country clubs.

Florida — Best

Florida — Best

Florida's dedication to seniors' well-being is evident in its low death rates for those aged 65 and older. Despite a relatively high overall cost of living, the state's comprehensive advantages make it the go-to choice for retirees seeking a harmonious blend of financial security, natural beauty, and an active, fulfilling lifestyle.

In essence, Florida stands as the unrivaled retirement haven, beckoning those searching for a retirement utopia. So if you're ready to retire, remember the Sunshine State!

Colorado — Best

Colorado — Best

Colorado secures its rank as the second-best state for retirees, offering a harmonious blend of tax benefits, social well-being, and exceptional healthcare. The absence of estate or inheritance taxes makes Colorado financially attractive for retirees, allowing them to maximize savings without additional financial burdens.

Beyond the financial realm, Colorado stands out for its low rates of social isolation among seniors, fostering a strong sense of community. With a minimal percentage of residents aged 65 and above living in poverty, the state prioritizes financial security, ensuring retirees can enjoy their golden years without economic strain.

Colorado — Best

Colorado — Best

Healthcare is a pinnacle of Colorado's retirement appeal, with top-tier geriatric hospitals dotting the landscape. The state ranks high in overall senior health and physical activity, demonstrating its commitment to the well-being of its aging population.

Colorado's dedication extends to recreational opportunities and community events tailored for retirees, creating a holistic retirement experience. In the cool embrace of the Rockies, retirees find not just a place to settle, but a vibrant community that values their financial, social, and healthcare needs.

Virginia — Best

Virginia — Best

Virginia claims the esteemed position of the third-best state for retirement, offering a multifaceted appeal to retirees. A primary draw is the state's robust elder-abuse protections, ensuring the physical safety and financial security of seniors. With top-tier geriatrics hospitals and a plethora of healthcare professionals, Virginia prioritizes the well-being of its aging population.

Financially, retirees find solace in the absence of an estate or inheritance tax, coupled with Virginia's rank as the tenth most taxpayer-friendly state. However, it's worth noting that while the state provides financial benefits, it doesn't boast the lowest cost of living.

Virginia — Best

Virginia — Best

Beyond fiscal considerations, Virginia's natural beauty enhances its allure. Miles of shoreline, a low violent crime rate, and commendable air quality contribute to a picturesque and secure retirement setting. This combination of factors makes Virginia an attractive destination for those seeking a balance between safety, healthcare, and financial advantages in their retirement years.

In summary, Virginia's third-place ranking as a retirement haven is justified by its commitment to elder protection, quality healthcare infrastructure, favorable tax policies, and an overall high quality of life. Retirees can find a secure and enriching environment in the Old Dominion State.

Delaware—Best

Delaware—Best

Delaware secures its place as the fourth-best state for retirement, propelled by a combination of financial advantages and a senior-friendly environment. Notably, the state boasts one of the lowest overall tax burdens in the nation, with the added perk of no estate or inheritance taxes. This financial friendliness ensures retirees can make the most of their savings, providing a solid foundation for a comfortable retirement.

A substantial senior population, comprising nearly 20% of residents, defines Delaware's demographic landscape. This not only fosters a sense of community but also contributes to the state's second-lowest risk of social isolation for seniors. Factors like living arrangements and economic stability are considered, creating an environment where retirees can thrive socially and emotionally.

Delaware—Best

Delaware—Best

Delaware takes a commendable lead in addressing the financial well-being of its older residents. The state boasts the lowest poverty rate among individuals aged 65 and older, a testament to its commitment to ensuring economic security for retirees.

In essence, Delaware's appeal to retirees extends beyond its picturesque landscapes. It offers a perfect blend of financial benefits, a vibrant senior community, and a commitment to social and economic well-being, making it a standout choice for those seeking a fulfilling and secure retirement experience.

New York—Worst

New York—Worst

While New York might be an enticing vacation spot, it's worth reconsidering if you're contemplating it as a retirement destination. In a recent study conducted by WalletHub that evaluated the best states for retirement, New York found itself towards the bottom, securing the 48th position.

Delving into the reasons behind this unfavorable ranking reveals that The Empire State's main setback revolves around its steep cost of living. In fact, New York landed in the very last place nationwide when it came to the affordability of living expenses.

New York—Worst

New York—Worst

The challenges associated with New York's cost of living factor into its lackluster performance in the study. High housing prices, costly everyday expenses, and elevated taxes are among the factors that can strain retirees' finances. Unless you're financially well-equipped to navigate these financial hurdles, considering New York as a retirement location might not be the wisest choice.

The study's findings serve as a cautionary signal for those seeking a retirement haven, suggesting that while New York might offer a vibrant atmosphere and tourist attractions, its suitability for retirement hinges on one's financial capacity to cope with the demanding cost of living.

Arkansas — Worst

Arkansas — Worst

Arkansas is in the same boat as other southern states. It’s fairly cheap, but the quality of life and healthcare are ranked low. In fact, Arkansas is ranked 45th in quality of life and 49th in healthcare. Yikes! That isn't to say that there isn't a single place in Arkansas that isn't worth its salt.

Arkansas — Worst

Arkansas — Worst

There are a few areas that seem to be flourishing — like the Fayetteville area. Unfortunately, other areas have a high crime rate, which isn't appealing to most people. One of the few good things about the state is its beauty and the fact it doesn't tax social security income. The downside is that it does tax pensions. 

Louisiana — Worst

Louisiana — Worst

Louisiana has a ton of pull to it. New Orleans is a city unlike any other, and you won’t find many places in the states where the language varies as much as it does in this state. That shouldn’t be enough to pull you in, though.

Louisiana — Worst

Louisiana — Worst

Its in-home care is extremely cheap, but the quality is not there. You can see this evidenced by the low life expectancy. U.S. News also ranked Louisiana last in the overall ranking of states, something that's plagued the state for years. It's ranked dead-last in about everything from education to healthcare. Plus, there’s a high rate of property-related crime - not the place you want to retire. 

Minnesota—Best

Minnesota—Best

Living in the Midwest is great no matter what stage of your career that you're currently in, but it's an especially appealing place for retirees. Expect plenty of that classic Midwest hospitality and kindness if you do decide to move here! Everyone feels like a friend when you're in Minnesota. 

Minnesota—Best

Minnesota—Best

When it comes to retirement, Minnesota recently ranked as number five in the nation for retirees in a WalletHub study. They scored particularly well when it comes to healthcare—Minnesota has one of the longest life expectancies in the country—but they also scored incredibly well for general quality of life as well. 

New Jersey — Worst

New Jersey — Worst

New Jersey seems to be middle of the road on a lot of things — except affordability, which it ranks as the nation’s worst state. Surpassing even places like Hawaii and New York. Homes are not cheap here. According to Zillow, the average home price is $329,00, and that price is only increasing year over year. 

New Jersey — Worst

New Jersey — Worst

On top of that, the cost of living is not very approachable. SmartAsset found grocery prices are some of the highest in the country, and the high taxes will bleed you of anything else you have left. Even their healthcare does not seem to cater too much to the elderly.

North Dakota—Best

North Dakota—Best

It may seem like North Dakota is just sitting up there at the top of the country, minding its own business and doing its own thing, but this state is actually one to watch if you're considering retirement soon! According to a WalletHub study, North Dakota ranked as the 6th best state in the nation to retire in. 

North Dakota—Best

North Dakota—Best

North Dakota became one of the best states to retire in mainly because of the high quality of life and healthcare services available there. According to the study, the state recieved these high rankings thanks to things like an "elder-friendly labor market", good air quality, and a high number of medical professionals per capita. 

Mississippi — Worst

Mississippi — Worst

There’s really not much going on in Mississippi. There are some nice trees and beautiful parks, but that’s about it. Luckily, that’s dropped the overall cost of the state. Cheap things usually aren’t great, though, and that’s evidenced by the third-worst quality of life in the nation.

Mississippi — Worst

Mississippi — Worst

U.S. News ranked Mississippi 48 out of 50, which is better than last year when it was ranked 49. Still, that doesn't say much, especially since healthcare is ranked dead-last. The only reason you should consider retiring to Mississippi is if you have family that you need to be super close to.

Montana—Best

Montana—Best

Montana isn't just a state for ranchers—it's also a great choice if you're looking to retire! The Treasure State is home to some of the most breathtaking, rural views in the country, but it's so much more than that. According to a 2022 WalletHub study, Montana actually came in 7th place for retirees. 

Montana—Best

Montana—Best

And what makes Montana such a perfect place for retirement? Their high ranking is largely thanks to the low cost of living in the state, but they also did well when it comes to the overall quality of life. Healthcare options weren't the best in the country, but they were far from the worst, either. 

Rhode Island — Worst

Rhode Island — Worst

Rhode Island’s affordability is almost as bad as New Jerseys. WalletHub gave it a 43 out of 50. The taxes here are the worst part about being able to afford anything, but even if money is no object, it gets worse.

Rhode Island — Worst

Rhode Island — Worst

Rhode Island has some huge cons retirees should take into account. Healthcare is excellent, but it's so expensive that most people can't afford it. On top of that, Rhode Island is ranked last in transportation. It has some of the worst roads in the entire country, which takes a serious toll on vehicles. 

New Hampshire — Best

New Hampshire — Best

The New England area is rich with history, so it’s fitting that at least one state would have garnered a reputation for welcoming retirees. In addition to satisfying the history buffs, and lovers of politics will feel right at home. Still, that isn't all New Hampshire has to offer. 

New Hampshire — Best

New Hampshire — Best

U.S. News ranks New Hampshire as one of the best states in the country, number two to be exact. The natural environment has a lot to do with it, from sprawling parks to stunning wildlife. The state also has a ton of education opportunities, and access to healthcare is unparalleled. 

West Virginia — Worst

West Virginia — Worst

West Virginia has made the list for worst places to retire every year — surprising considering the fact that there’s a high number of seniors in the state. Their quality of life is not so great, though, and neither is their health. Let's talk about the nitty-gritty facts, shall we?

West Virginia — Worst

West Virginia — Worst

West Virginia is ranked 47 out of 50 by U.S. News. Why? Well, it's ranked second-to-last in healthcare, meaning people can't access it or afford it, and when they can, it's pretty bad. It's also got a fair amount of crime. Finally, it isn't like other states where the natural environment makes it worth it. West Virginia has a fair amount of pollution, which isn't great for the lungs. 

Kentucky — Worst

Kentucky — Worst

There’s a whole slew of reasons why you shouldn’t retire in Kentucky, but healthcare is the biggest. They are known to be particularly bad with the care of elderly patients. The average lifespan is one of the worst in the nation. That list goes on, but it just seems to get worse and worse.

Kentucky — Worst

Kentucky — Worst

In addition to its exceptionally poor healthcare, the cost of living is considerably higher than you’d expect in such a rural state. WalletHub places Kentucky at one of the worst places to retire because it's so expensive and the quality of life doesn't match up with what you pay. We're not sure how this happened but just stay away. 

Utah — Best

Utah — Best

Utah is another state that people seem to glance over. It’s fairly affordable, but the state really shines with its healthcare. It has several highly-regarded hospitals, and the general lifespan is longer than most. It’s a safe, low-crime state that has experienced steady economic growth.

Utah — Best

Utah — Best

U.S. News ranked Utah at four out of 50, which is pretty dang good considering it's also extremely affordable. Plus, it manages to draw in some culture-building aspects with things like the Sundance Film Festival, a well-known place for aspiring filmmakers to shine. It’ll definitely give you something to do.

Oklahoma—Worst

Oklahoma—Worst

When people think of Oklahoma the first thing that comes to mind is usually tornadoes. However, it's not the threat of severe weather that made Oklahoma such a bad place to retire—there are plenty of other things to worry about too. According to a recent WalletHub study, Oklahoma is only ranked 46th best for retirement. 

Oklahoma—Worst

Oklahoma—Worst

Oklahoma scored poorly in multiple categories for this study, including healthcare options and overall quality of life. That means things like finding a job, finding friends, or finding a high-quality doctor could be an issue. That being said, Oklahoma did much better in terms of affordability, so finances shouldn't be a big problem. 

Arizona — Best

Arizona — Best

Arizona is generally regarded as one of the best states to retire. It's dry and warm, providing a great place for you to enjoy the weather. Many retirees with breathing issues flock to the state because it's much easier to breathe without a ton of humidity floating around.

Arizona — Best

Arizona — Best

There's also plenty to do in that great weather, like visiting the Grand Canyon to activities like canoeing, golfing, or fishing. Food festivals are common too if you are looking to experiment with your menu. Best of all, there’s no social security, inheritance, gift, or estate taxes. That’s quite the win!

Illinois—Worst

Illinois—Worst

Illinois seems to have it all—with plenty of rural locales and big city sights, what's not to love about living here? Unfortunately, when it comes to retirement, Illinois might not be the place for you. In WalletHub's 2022 study, Illinois came in 45th place for states to retire in. 

Illinois—Worst

Illinois—Worst

So what is it about the state that makes it a difficult place for retirees? The biggest problem for Illinois was its affordability ranking—they came in 47th for that specific category. A lot of that probably has to do with the cost of living in Chicago, but the state's overall quality of life and healthcare scores weren't great, either.