There are many important factors to consider when deciding where to retire. Affordability, quality of life and access to health care are measurable variables used to generate numerous best and worst lists, but you may also want to consider more personal reasons, like closeness to family and familiarity with a region.
The top five states when it comes to quality of life are New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Utah and Vermont, according to WalletHub, while the best health care can be found in Hawaii, Minnesota, Vermont, Alaska and Colorado. Affordability is also important to retirees, but be wary of overly inexpensive areas because you’ll likely be giving up other perks.
Consider which factors are most important to you while checking out this list of the best and worst states to retire to, according to WalletHub, based on affordability, health care and quality of life.
Best States to Retire
Florida has been a favorite among retirees for years. It’s affordability (4th best) and quality of life (6th best) paired with warm weather and vacation-like atmosphere are draws for many. Some downsides are that Florida attracts a lot of tourists and ranks 28th for health care. Extreme heat, humidity and hurricanes are other risks to consider.
With the 5th best health care score and decent affordability (13th) and quality of life (16th) scores, Colorado is a great, scenic spot for retirees to settle down. A mix of urban and city life paired with plenty of outdoor activities makes Colorado the perfect choice for retirees looking to stay active. One downside is that Colorado winters can be extremely cold and snowy.
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The 5th most affordable state, Delaware doesn’t tax sales or Social Security income – pension and 401(k) income is still subject to federal tax. Delaware’s location offers decent access to Northeastern cities and is home to historic sites and nice beaches. Drawbacks include a fairly low quality of life score (29th), which could be credited to the state’s high population density compared to its size and limited public transportation.
Ranked 7th best for quality of life and 11th for affordability, Virginia could be the right place for you to retire. Some perks are that neither prescription drugs nor Social Security income are taxed by the state. Virginia’s health care is ranked 23rd, and traffic can be tricky due to its proximity to Washington, D.C.
5. North Dakota
With the 6th best health care and a decent quality of life score (18th), North Dakota is the overall 5th best state to retire, according to WalletHub. North Dakota offers lots of breathing room and small towns. When it comes to cons, North Dakota isn’t the most affordable, raking in 24th place, and winters can be long and cold.
Montana has decent affordability (12th) and health care (15th) scores, making it worth some consideration when it comes to retirement. Montana boasts plenty of outdoor activities, nice scenery, a relatively low population and no sales tax. Downsides include challenging weather, no public transportation and low housing inventory, said WalletHub.
Idaho has decent rankings when it comes to quality of life (11th) and affordability (16th). Pros for retiring in Idaho include mostly mild weather, pretty landscapes and outdoor activities. Cons include minimal public transportation and the potential for cold winters. Also, health care ranks 25th.
Utah has the 4th best quality of life score, likely due to its healthy economy and job market – incase you want to want to head back to work – as well as senior-friendly activities if you prefer leisure. Affordability ranks 21st and health care 26th. Extreme weather is another thing to consider.
Minnesota scores very well when it comes to health care (2nd) and quality of life (3rd). There are tons of outdoor recreational activities and beautiful scenery along with access to city life in the Twin Cities and Duluth. These perks do come at a cost; Minnesota ranks 37th in affordability. Other cons are rough Minnesota winters.
10. New Hampshire
Ranking 1st for quality of life and 9th for health care makes New Hampshire a great spot for retirees. While it’s not exactly a cheap place to live – it ranks 30th – New Hampshire is the most affordable state in the Northeast, beating Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont, which all score in the 40s for affordability. There are also no general sales taxes in New Hampshire.
Worst States to Retire
Sometimes you get what you pay for. If an area’s cost of living is really low, it likely means you’re sacrificing other aspects, like access to decent health care and a variety of things to do, places to see, etc. On the other hand, some locations are too expensive for retirees, even if they offer other perks.
1. New Jersey
Ranked the worst (50th) state when it comes to affordability, New Jersey’s health care (33rd) and quality of life (35th) scores aren’t great either, according to WalletHub. Access to the ocean and major cities are decent draws, but New Jersey is expensive and one of the most densely populated states, making for heavy traffic and little breathing room, said WalletHub.
2. New York
New York is the second-worst state to retire because it’s the second-worst in terms of affordability (49th). Decent quality of life (17th) and health care (27th) scores often can’t make up for how expensive it is to live in New York.
Mississippi’s affordability (10th) cannot outweigh its drawbacks, including the worst quality of life (50th) and second worst health care (49th) scores in the U.S.
4. New Mexico
New Mexico has low scores overall, ranking 33rd for affordability, 36th for health care and 47th for quality of life.
5. Rhode Island
Rhode Island’s lack of affordability (45th) is its major drawback for retirees. Its health care (24th) and quality of life (38th) scores aren’t great either. Like New Jersey, Rhode Island is one of the most densely populated states.
Kentucky has very low health care (46th) and quality of life (43rd) scores. It’s also not all that inexpensive given these scores, ranking in 23rd place for affordability.
7. West Virginia
West Virginia has the worst health care score (50th), making it a bad choice for retirees. It’s quality of life score (41st) is also poor. West Virginia is relatively affordable, ranking 18th, but that’s likely not a good enough reason to retire there.
Here’s another Northeastern state where its lack of affordability (47th) is its downfall. Connecticut has decent health care (20th) and quality of life (25th) scores, but the cost of living there makes it a tough choice for most retirees.
Texas has a low quality of life (40th) score, which can be exemplified by the recent power outages caused by a late winter storm. It’s not all that affordable, ranking 28th, and has relatively poor health care, raking 38th, according to WalletHub.
Illinois is not very affordable for many retirees, ranking in 40th place. Its health care (21st) and quality of life (27th) scores are OK.
Where would you like to retire? Where will you never go? Tell us in the comments.