There are many factors to consider when making this decision, but one of the most important is how each state caters to seniors. Some states are much more carefree regarding retirement, while others are not so forgiving.
This blog post will explore the best and worst states to retire. We’ll also give you a few tips on choosing the right state for a successful retirement.
10 Best States to Retire
If you wish to retire freely, consider retiring in one of the states listed below. However, before you proceed, it’d be ideal if you know the important tips you’d need in moving to another state. Bearing that in mind, let’s kick things off!
Florida tops our list of best states to retire in since it’s one of the most inexpensive areas for retirees. As a “highly tax-friendly state,” with no state income tax and no tax on retirement income such as Social Security, Florida is a friendly place for those who want to make the most of their retirement fund.
Living in the Sunshine State has several perks. The cost of living is about 3 percent more than the national average, yet there are no inheritance or property taxes in the state. Furthermore, the state’s average healthcare expenses are lower than the national average per capita spending.
Florida also boasts many recreational opportunities for seniors, including magnificent natural settings such as springs and some of the top golf courses in the nation.
Georgia is an ideal retirement location due to its pleasant weather and affordable living expenses. Health care expenditures are especially low for retirees, with the state boasting of having the fifth-lowest average costs for a retired couple in the United States. Furthermore, Georgia’s advantageous tax status places it among the best states to retire in terms of taxes.
In essence, should you consider your options of retiring in this state, you’ll surely enjoy the perks of living in a very friendly and enticing area.
3. South Dakota
South Dakota may not be the first destination that springs to mind when thinking about where to retire, but it’s the third best state to retire on this list. The pivotal element driving it to third place is affordability. South Dakota is also one of the best states to retire in terms of taxes, in addition to having cheap living expenditures, including health care.
According to a recent analysis from George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, the state ranks third in the US for financial wellness, indicating strong confidence that it can meet short-term and long-term financial commitments.
Arizona is another prominent retirement state. Besides the high weather and low humidity, there are several more perks to setting up your retirement home in Arizona. There’s no estate or inheritance tax, and Social Security benefits are free from state taxes in Arizona.
Arizona has the best standard of living and beautiful weather, with an average of 286 sunny days per year – the most in the United States, which has an average of 205 warm days per year overall.
The weather provides Arizona residents more time outdoors and a better opportunity to enjoy the state’s spectacular natural wonders, such as the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley.
Nevada welcomes seniors with open arms if you wish to win the jackpot in a superb retirement state. According to U.S. Census Bureau statistics, the population aged 65 and above accounts for around 16 percent of the 3.1 million people. There are no state income taxes, estate taxes, or inheritance taxes.
Furthermore, if you’re looking to build a new single-family home, Nevada is an excellent choice since it offers the fourth-lowest median property tax rates in the country. After all, what’s not appreciative about being able to invest or spend a more significant portion of your income or benefits on things you like rather than on your property taxes!
If you’re searching for a relatively tax-friendly state for retirees, consider Oregon. It’s one of five states with no state sales tax (Alaska, New Hampshire, Montana, and Delaware are the others.) Social Security benefits are also free from local taxes.
Oregon is well-known across the United States for its coastline beauty, along with access to vast mountains for excellent hiking, snowshoeing, and skiing.
If you wish to reside near Mt. Hood or one of Oregon’s lovely towns, such as Portland, you’ll be glad to hear that the state offers somewhat lower-than-average property taxes, allowing you to stretch your budget further.
7. North Dakota
North Dakota has minimal taxes and cheap living costs for seniors. Unfortunately, retirement income, including Social Security benefits, is not exempt from state taxation. However, because the income tax rate is so low—ranging from 1.1 percent to 2.9 percent—it’s still considered tax-friendly.
Furthermore, North Dakota is ranked second for financial wellness, indicating that the economy is robust enough to support a tax-friendly environment. All these considerations place North Dakota among the best states to retire.
Tennessee has many cities accessible to seniors looking for an economical way of life. The state’s population is around 6.9 million, with persons 65 and over accounting for approximately 17 percent of the total. Fortunately, the cost of living is 12 percent lower than the national average.
Healthcare expenditures are also far lower than the national average, and Tennessee is typically regarded as tax-friendly since it doesn’t charge state income taxes. In addition, there’s no estate tax or inheritance tax in Tennessee. With the excellent weather, Tennessee is perfect for seniors looking to retire.
9. New Hampshire
New Hampshire is an excellent place to retire, thanks to the absence of a personal income tax. When it comes to healthcare, the state gets good marks, and citizens have a high quality of life. The state is noted for its magnificent ice castles, including caves, tunnels, and sculptures built entirely of ice.
New Hampshire also features a diverse range of mountain resorts and seacoast views that provide calm natural getaways. This environmentally beautiful state has a population of roughly over 1.3 million people, with about 18.7 percent of the population being 65 or older.
Regarding taxes, News Hampshire stands out: there’s no state sales tax, and the state doesn’t tax Social Security benefits.
Alabama is for you if you want a constantly changing state and is a terrific place for golfers, boaters, and outdoor enthusiasts. The population is around 4.9 million according to the US Census Bureau statistics, with approximately 17 percent of those citizens being 65 or older. The cost of living is a whopping 18 percent cheaper than the national average.
Furthermore, its per capita healthcare expenses are lower than the national average. It’s also considered tax-friendly for this age group since state taxes are minimal and Social Security payments are free.
There you have it! The ten best states to retire. Each state was evaluated based on the cost of living, tax friendliness, healthcare availability, and recreational options. So, if you’re ready to kick back and relax in your senior years, one of these states is sure to fit the bill.
10 Worst States to Retire
Retirement might be an excellent opportunity to explore a new state or environment, but there are certain areas you wouldn’t want to live in. Here are the ten worst states to retire:
California is one of the most costly states to retire, with the cost of living being the most restrictive barrier. It’s also an extremely populous state with a high property crime rate. Retirement income is wholly taxed, except for Social Security benefits, and California has the highest income tax rate in the country.
In California, more than a third of the residents are living in or closer to the poverty line. Also, high housing costs and high sales taxes are just two of the numerous issues that make California a financially tricky place to retire.
2. New York City
With New York City ranking as the most expensive city to reside in the United States, retiring in the Empire State might be difficult. Residents will face some of the country’s highest state and municipal taxes, as well as exorbitant housing expenses. These traits make the state too expensive for many retirees.
You might decide to retire in New York City, but many cities in the state have high living expenses, poor job rates, and high crime rates. While summers may be pleasant to hot, winters can be brutal, giving little opportunity for outdoor activities for most of the year.
Despite its reputation as a cultural hub, with suburban living and wine trails to enjoy, Illinois has enormous long-term obligations, unfunded pension liabilities, and significant budget imbalances. Because of these issues, Illinois is ranked as one of the worst states to retire.
Many seniors see the state’s high sales tax, along with severe state income taxes, as expensive and unfriendly. Moreover, the population is getting sicker, with retired couples paying more for health care than the national average.
Furthermore, Illinois people have hot and humid summers and cold winters, making outdoor life difficult for most of the year.
Maryland retirees are sure to be grumpy. The average household income for those 65 and older is the second-highest in the nation, but high sales taxes and living expenses significantly reduce it.
Social Security benefits aren’t taxed in this state, but disbursements from individual retirement funds are often taxed. In addition, Maryland is the only state with an estate and inheritance tax but only at high thresholds.
Wisconsin seniors often experience the lowest average family income in the country. Nonetheless, living costs are only marginally lower than usual, and a 65-year-old couple faces somewhat higher-than-average healthcare costs in retirement.
Furthermore, taxes exacerbate the situation; Social Security benefits are free from tax burden while most other retirement income is taxed.
6. New Mexico
Despite its beautiful surroundings, New Mexico remains a poor state, with 18.2 percent of the population living below the poverty line. A high violent crime rate usually accompanies a high poverty rate. That’s most specifically true in New Mexico, which has a violent crime rate more than twice the national average.
Retirees who choose to live here will discover a cheap cost of living, but they’ll also have to pay retirement income tax. In addition, New Mexico is the third lowest state in terms of public health, which may have a disproportionate effect on retirees.
Connecticut is one of the least friendly states for retirees, owing to its high real estate and retirement income tax. When combined sales and income taxes are included, Connecticut is the second most costly state.
Social Security benefits are only partially taxed, but withdrawals from retirement savings are wholly taxed. If you want to retire in Connecticut, contact a financial counselor to help you manage the complicated tax burden.
8. New Jersey
New Jersey, known for its greenery, shopping, restaurants, casinos, and golf, is more suited for a vacation location than a retirement destination. The cost of living in New Jersey is among the highest in the US, with senior health care expenses ranking third.
The state also rates low in terms of economic stability, with pension financing concerns and limited potential for improvement in the tax position. On the plus side, Social Security is not subject to estate tax, income tax, and inherent tax.
Although crime rates are generally low throughout the state, there are areas of peril that would rank among the most dangerous in the country. New Jersey residents face overpopulation, excessive traffic, and harsh winters, making it one of our least preferred places to retire.
9. Rhode Island
In Rhode Island, you’ll face above-average living expenses, as well as hefty taxes. Given the state’s financial predicament, the tax scenario is unlikely to change very soon, keeping pensioners paying half taxes on Social Security income and total taxes on withdrawals from retirement funds.
Healthcare in Rhode Island is classified as poor, which may be unappealing to an elderly citizen. Due to its closeness to the Atlantic Coast, Rhode Islanders will likely face humid summers, frigid winters, floods, and hurricane vulnerability. If you can ignore such concerns, you’ll discover plenty of beach access, excellent seafood, and fascinating history.
10. West Virginia
West Virginia, despite having lower-than-average living costs, has some challenging terrain for retirees. Retirement income, including Social Security, is often taxed in the state.
Moreover, given the state’s financial predicament, the tax situation is unlikely to improve; West Virginia is the eighth-worst state when it comes to financial wellness, according to a recent assessment from George Mason University’s Mercatus Center.
According to the United Health Foundation ranking for West Virginia, the state ranks 45th in the US regarding health. While 66.5 percent of older persons in the United States are deemed able-bodied, just 58.4 percent of older people in West Virginia can claim the same, making it the lowest in the country.
Factors to Consider When Planning Where to Retire
Suppose you’re coming closer to retirement and considering where you’d want to spend your golden retirement years. Before making your decision, you need to think about a few factors. A variety of factors can influence your retirement planning and quality of life. Let’s have a look at them below;
1. Cost of Living
Since most retirees have a limited monthly income, it’s essential to assess how much it would cost to live in your selected retirement location. Given that the typical pre-retiree may anticipate spending 55 percent to 80 percent of their current salary in retirement, most people value a low cost of living to stretch their retirement income further.
Estimating the living cost in a state will guarantee that retirees aren’t left out in the cold if their financial circumstances change (upon the death of a spouse, the need for a more hands-on living facility, or just a change of heart). However, not all regions are suitable for a low-cost retirement. Due to that, set up financial planning and base your selection on your income.
2. Housing Costs
Americans spend more on housing than on any other assets, with housing expenses accounting for an average of 35 percent of income. Whether you rent or buy, housing costs will be included in your retirement budget. With increasing property prices and rents, housing expenses may become a burden.
The median price of a home in the United States in 2022, according to Federal Reserve Economic Data, is estimated to be $428,700. Examine the housing costs in each state and make financial decisions depending on your retirement budget.
If you believe you can withstand high housing expenses, you can retire in one of the country’s most affluent states. If you’re on a limited budget, consider living somewhere where housing expenses are much lower. Also, research the neighborhood before buying a house in any state of your choice. That will help you map and point out the area that might fit your personal needs.
3. Access to Healthcare
Growing older has many benefits, but physical health is seldom one of them. Health-care expenditures rise with age and account for a significant portion of the ordinary retiree’s budget, so unless money is no problem, this should be towards the top of seniors’ priorities.
Conduct proper economic research to know if the state in which you want to retire offers affordable health care. If that’s the case, you’ll know you’ve made a great decision since good health is central to human happiness and well-being.
If you’ve lived in a snowy environment, the warmth of a beach or a southern state may be enticing. Suppose you’ve always been attracted to the mountains, an area where you can walk or enjoy scenic vistas all year can be a good choice.
If you like fishing and boating, you could consider retiring near a lake or river. Considering the climate can help you remain more active and engaged in the activities you like.
What quality of life do you want? The retirement location you choose will have a significant influence on your daily life. A diversity of activities to occupy your time is advantageous to your mental and physical health (in contrast, loneliness and boredom are pessimistic to your well-being).
Due to that, it’s vital to choose a senior living area that gives easy access to amenities such as a gym, restaurants, the library, shopping, continuous education classes (provided by many schools and universities), and entertainment venues.
6. Tax Rates
Certain states may seem more tax-friendly than others at first glance, but you’ll want to consider the whole picture to have a good idea of what you’ll need to pay in retirement. As some jurisdictions with high taxes don’t tax Social Security in retirement, your present tax status may change when you retire.
Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming are the only states that don’t have an income tax. New Hampshire and Tennessee, on the other hand, don’t tax earned wages, although they tax investment income and interest.
While some places may save you money on income and property taxes, they may have additional levies or cost of living disparities that must be accounted for.
Everyone wishes for a carefree retirement, and for the most part, it’s attainable regardless of where you retire in the United States. However, when it comes to making life easier for seniors, some states outperform others. If you’re thinking about retiring soon and haven’t settled on a state, our list of the best and worst states to retire in might help!
If you’re unsure where to start, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered at Homes by Ardor. Our team can assist you with the necessary info on everything from healthcare to taxes so that you can make an informed decision about your future.
Depending on the state you choose, Homes by Ardor will help you pick the right properties that will suit your needs, preference, and budget so you wouldn’t have to go through the stress of house hunting in a new location.