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Worst States to Retire In, Ranked

Oklahoma

The good news about Oklahoma is that it’s pretty affordable, at least in most things. Groceries, housing, and utilities are all lower than the national average, according to BestPlaces. The bad news is that healthcare is not on that list.

Oklahoma

Healthcare actually costs a lot more in Oklahoma compared to the rest of the nation. At least 20% of residents don’t have insurance. To make matters worse, healthcare is pretty bad if you can afford it. Crime is also worse than the national average. Oklahoma is ranked 40 out of 50 for public safety, according to U.S. News.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island has a few things going for it. Healthcare in the state is pretty good, but it’ll cost you an arm and a leg—hopefully figuratively rather than literally. In addition to that, Rhode Island also doesn’t seem to put a lot of money back into the state. Roads are pretty terrible, making it tough for drivers to navigate the small state.

Rhode Island

As if that wasn’t enough to chase retirees away from the state, Rhode Island is also incredibly expensive. It’s on par with New Jersey! The average cost of a house will set a retiree back $284,200. If money is no object, then Rhode Island may seem like a decent choice.

New Mexico

New Mexico is ranked 46 for U.S. News. Healthcare in the state is pretty middle-of-the-road. It’s neither good nor bad, but it will cost a pretty penny. The real problem in New Mexico is the crime rate. The state has almost twice as many violent crimes per 100,000 residents as the national average. It could be related to the fact that the economy in New Mexico is struggling.

New Mexico

As if that weren’t enough, New Mexico is relatively expensive. The average home cost is almost $200,000, and that amount is increasing year over year. New Mexico also chooses to partially tax retirees, which is the final straw. Considering how close it is to Utah (one of the best states in the nation), it doesn’t have a lot to offer. 

Arizona

Arizona attracts a lot of retirees, so what gives? The state has nice weather, decent healthcare (although far from excellent), and more, but what it doesn’t have is affordability. Unless you live out in the middle of nowhere, which isn’t what you want in Arizona, you’re likely to pay upwards of $250,000 or more for a decent home.

Arizona

Arizona also has a bit of a crime issue as violent crime and incarceration rates are much higher than the national average. As if that weren’t enough, Arizona partially taxes pensions, but at least social security is tax-free. 

Arkansas

Arkansas deals with a lot of the same issues as other southern states. On the one hand, the state is extremely cheap. The cost of living is as good as it gets. On the other, you get what you pay for. Healthcare is extremely poor, and the quality of life is subpar at best.

Arkansas

There are a few areas that seem to be flourishing, like Fayetteville, but on the whole, Arkansas should be avoided. Even if you can look past the high healthcare costs, the state also deals with a huge crime rate. Little Rock has been deemed as one of the most dangerous cities in America by CBS News, THV11, and USA Today

West Virginia

West Virginia has virtually nothing going for it. The state has some of the worst healthcare in the whole nation, ranked 48 out of 50. Even if you find a decent doctor, it’ll cost you a pretty penny. The economy is also pretty bad, which has caused people to flee the state.

West Virginia

West Virginia also partially taxes both social security and pensions. Surprisingly, the best thing about this state is that it has about the same incarceration and crime rate than the national average, although we want to stress that we said “the same” and not “better.”

Alabama

Alabama is one of the worst states to live in—period. It’s overall ranking with U.S. News is second-to-last, with only one other state being worse. The reasons are pretty obvious. The healthcare system leaves much to be desired. It’s expensive, the quality is pretty bad, and access is awful. Then there’s the crime rate.

Alabama

While the crime rate isn’t double that of the national average, it’s getting pretty close. That’s not something the state should strive toward. The only benefit Alabama has is that it doesn’t tax social security or pensions, but you’ll spend those savings on the extra costs along the way.

South Carolina

U.S. News ranked South Carolina at a solid 42 out of 50. Considering the nearby states, South Carolina definitely needs to try harder. Healthcare isn’t the worst, but it’s certainly not fantastic. Public health in the state is pretty low, which is strange, considering the actual quality of healthcare is pretty decent. What gives?

South Carolina

South Carolina also has crime issues. Public safety is poor, with the violent crime rate being much higher than the national average. The incarceration rate is lower than the national average, but we wonder if that means there are more criminals on the streets and less in prison. As far as taxes, social security isn’t taxed, but pensions are partially taxed. 

New Jersey

New Jersey actually has a lot going for it. It has excellent healthcare so that retirees can get quality care. On top of that, there’s very little crime compared to other states in the nation. The only problem? It’s extremely expensive. New Jersey is one of those states that a nest egg wouldn’t last very long. 

New Jersey

New Jersey is notoriously one of the most expensive states to live in the nation. According to NeighborhoodScout, the average home cost in the state is $360,084, and some cities are even higher. Overall, New Jersey is fine, but retirees would have to be borderline rich to live here.

California

California suffers from the same issues as New Jersey. It’s extremely expensive but has a lot of opportunities for anyone wanting to move there. Healthcare is pretty good, but it’s middle-of-the-road for violent crimes. The violent crime rate is slightly higher than the national average, but considering the population of the state, it can seem like a lot worse than it is while living there.

California

USA Today publishes a list of most expensive states, and California consistently ranked near the top. The site went on to explain that the average rent was $1,900 per month, while a home costs around $429,000. Basically, a retiree would rip through their savings in a few years if they chose this state.

Oregon

Oregon is certainly beautiful—no one is claiming otherwise. As far as rankings, U.S. News placed Oregon at 27. The best thing is has going for it is “infrastructure,” which refers to roads, commute time, and renewable energy options. That being said, the state ranked badly in other areas.

Oregon

The state ranked near the bottom in fiscal security (meaning state budgets) and pretty badly for crime. The biggest consideration is that Oregon is another expensive state. Zillow lists the average home cost as $350,600, and that number is destined to increase by 2.2% over the next year. That doesn’t bode well for anyone on a fixed income. 

Nevada

Nevada has big tourism bucks, but it isn’t all parties and Vegas. For a retiree, there are some other huge red flags to keep in mind. Crime is a big problem in the state. Both the incarceration rate and the violent crime rate are higher than the national average. Nevada also ranked low for healthcare, particularly in access to healthcare.

Nevada

It’s true that Nevada doesn’t tax social security or pensions, but those savings will go toward the cost of living. See, the state is extremely expensive. Housing costs are extremely turbulent, but they’ve been on an upward trend lately. The average cost of a house is $291,800, according to Zillow. That number is only expected to rise. 

Washington

Washington is another one of those states that seemingly has everything going for it. It’s the top-ranked state, according to U.S. News. The lowest rank is fiscal stability, and even that’s still pretty highly ranked. Of course, all that comes at a price. Washington has an incredibly high cost of living.

Washington

If you wanted to purchase a home in Washington, you should be ready to shell out at least $393,800, according to Zillow. On top of that, that price is going to increase at an exponential rate—3.5% expected. This is on top of the already 5% change since last year. Soon, residents of Washington will need to move to a more affordable state! There’s no doubt that this state would chew through any savings a retiree has.

Mississippi

Another southern state makes the list! According to U.S. News, Mississippi is ranked 48 out of 50. The good news for Mississippi is that it’s improved recently—it was 49. That doesn’t mean good news for retirees. Let’s look past the beautiful parks for a second.

Mississippi

Healthcare in the state is ranked dead-last, meaning even if you can afford a doctor, the quality is likely to be low. It’s also a violent state. The incarceration rate is much higher than that of the national average. It isn’t a surprise that residents don’t feel safe in their own homes.

Kentucky

There’s a ton of reasons Kentucky is a horrible choice for retirees. We’ll start with the most glaring issue—healthcare. The state is notorious for its treatment of elders. Kentucky also has one of the lowest lifespans of any state in the nation. The list goes on and on.

Kentucky

You’d think that there would be something worth moving there, like a low cost of living, but nope. The state is more expensive than most think. WalletHub places Kentucky as one of the worst places to retire because it’s far too expensive for what you get.

Louisiana

Louisiana is the bottom of the barrel for a lot of things. U.S. News ranked it as the worst state in the whole nation, and it’s going to take a bit to unpack. We all know that the weather leaves much to be desired—hurricanes, extreme temperature swings, and more. Well, apparently, the state also has poor healthcare options. Not only is it expensive, but the quality is also poor.

Louisiana

Then we get to the crime rate, which is exceedingly high. The state has almost twice as many incarcerated adults as the national average. The one good thing Louisiana has is tax-friendliness toward retirees, but that only goes so far. 

Hawaii

Hawaii seems like a dream location to retire, right? Beautiful beaches, impeccable weather, poor healthcare—wait, what was that last one? You read that right. Healthcare in Hawaii is pretty bad, so it’s not that surprising that the life expectancy in the state is among the lowest in the nation.

Hawaii

On top of that, the state is incredibly expensive. It’s an island, so a lot has to be imported. Zillow lists the average home value as $619,000. For some retirees, that’s their entire budget! The housing market is also extremely turbulent, so the house could later sell for pennies on the dollar.

Alaska

Alaska may seem decent on paper. It doesn’t tax social security or pensions, and officials are practically begging people to move there. That makes you wonder: why did everyone leave? Alaska is ranked 44 out of 50. Quality of healthcare in Alaska is amazing, one of the highest, but that’s if you can actually get to the doctor. It’s costly, and there’s just not enough doctors and physicians.

Alaska

The crime rate in Alaska is also appalling. The violent crime rate is over double the national average, which is truly a feat. Then, there’s the fact that the state is isolated, which makes it expensive. Zillow lists average home prices at $326,000 and rising at a rate of 5% per year. 

New York

New York isn’t ranked super high nor super low. U.S. News leaves it at a solid 25. Everything in the city is fine, but that’s just it. It’s just fine, and you’d expect more for how much it costs. Retirees in the city have a hard time affording day to day life. Expenses pile up quickly, which eats away at savings.

New York

Many people know that housing costs are expensive in New York, but did you know that it’s increased 7% over the last year? Furthermore, it’s only going to get more expensive! Right now, the average house costs around $305,300. Even renting an apartment is far too costly for most people, much less those on a fixed income. 

Maryland

Maryland is one of the best states to live…if you can afford it. Apartment List found that the average rent costs $1,119 for a one-bedroom. If you’d rather buy a house, Zillow found that you should be ready to pay around $290,500. No matter which choice retirees make, they’re going to spend a ton of money just to have a place to live.

Maryland

We’d like to say that other costs balance it out, but it doesn’t. According to BestPlaces, Maryland also costs more than the national average in groceries, utilities, transportation, and other miscellaneous costs retirees would have day to day. Healthcare doesn’t cost more, but it’s about the same as the national average, so no savings there. Only those with a huge nest egg could settle in this expensive state.