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Where to Retire: The 10 Best and Worst States

Picking where to retire is a major decision. Before you move, take this list of best and worst states for retirement into consideration.

where to retire

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 

1. Florida

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.

2. Colorado

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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3. Delaware

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.

4. Virginia

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.

6. Montana

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.

7. Idaho

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.

8. Utah

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.

9. Minnesota

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.

where to retire

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.

3. Mississippi

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.

6. Kentucky

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.

8. Connecticut

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.

9. Texas

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.

10. Illinois

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. 

Comments
  • Clyde P.

    Why didn’t North Carolina make your list of best places to retire? Just curious.

    Reply
    • Dallas E.

      Hi, Clyde. We were going by data gathered by WalletHub, and North Carolina ranks 15th best.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Reply
      • Dallas E.

        Hi, Paul. Louisiana ranked 34th overall (8th for affordability, 46th for quality of life and 43rd for health care).

        Thanks for reading and commenting!

        Reply
      • Kathy M.

        Interesting that FL always ranks high as best place. It’s terribly humid, hurricanes are a constant worry, and it seems every time I turn on the news something bizarre is happening in FL: like an abduction, murder, etc. The governor sure did downplay COVID too and residents carried on as though there were no pandemic. People do seem to love FL, though.

        Reply
        • Richard

          For God’s sake , Florida is Horrible for retirement. We’ve been here for 15 year’s are retiring next year and getting the hell out of here. Don’t believe the hype.

          Reply
    • Peggy T.

      Hi: Wondering about what you learned about MA. Am considering getting out of CT and heading to the Cape. I’d like to know about all the tax comparisons. CT is killing me as a retiree. Don’t want to go south.

      Reply
      • Dallas E.

        Hi, Peggy. The Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce is a great source to find out information on retiring in that area.

        Massachusetts had the lowest property crime rate and 5th highest percent of workforce aged 65+ but has the 5th highest adjusted cost of living. For more information on the individual states, see here.

        I hope this helps! Thanks for reading and commenting!

        Reply
    • Kathleen M.

      Know it’s hard to believe, but I’m retired right here in New Jersey and loving it! Yes, taxes are high, we always have road construction, but the public schools are good and we have top notch colleges, too. I can pretty much travel the state or eastern seaboard by car or rail so I’m good. You can access Philly or NYC from anywhere on our roads or can drive to Weehawken and take the ferry across to lower Manhatten or take the High Speed Line to Philly. Jersey has wonderful museums in Newark, Morristown, Trenton and Montclair plus some other really unique ones like the Yogi Berra one in Montclair, the Museum of Early Trades and Crafts in Madison or the Thomas Edison Factory/Motion Picture and Home complex in West Orange or his labs in Menlo Park. The Morris Museum in Morristown was recently made a Smithsonian Affiliate. Check out their Jazz on the Deck series or their pre and post Covid lineups at the on site Bickford Theatre. Mayo Arts, Sussex Fairgrounds, Bergen Pac, NJ PAC, WOPAC, State Theater, Count Basie or McCarter Theartre offer R&B, Rock, acoustic, classical, jazz and more. From ballet to Broadway to Chekov to Shakespeare, we’ve got it. Hall Ball, football, soccer, minor league, AAA – it’s here. Morristown has Mayo Arts surrounded by terrific restaurants, weekend walking tours of the historical and sometimes hysterical, train service west to Hackettstown, east to Penn Station and Liberty Airport plus mid-town (NYC) direct trains. Day trip to Historic Mount Tabor, sister city to Ocean Grove and an active enclave of more than 100 Carpenter Gothic homes surrounding a 150 year old Methodist Tabernacle home to the At the Tabernacle music series. We have loads of State and County parklands, hiking clubs, a shoreline that can’t be beat, mountains to climb and snow to shush through, all within a 1-2 hour ride. Taxes aren’t everything! And of course, wonderful golf courses and fishing! Can you tell I’m a “Jersey Girl”?

      Reply
      • Brian

        Hi Jersey Girl….lol. I once drove from Long Island to Hershey park, and on the way, we passed through the town of Clinton ( or around there ) and it was beautiful. As a matter of fact, on the way home, we made some detours down some side roads just to get a better view of the area.

        Reply
        • Hey Brian and “Jersey Girl”
          I grew up in MA, but was a Jersey Girl for over 40 years after going to college there. I grew to love it and lived out near Clinton for years. It’s gorgeous country out there and I would move back there if I could afford a home. Unfortunately, housing prices, due to the pandemic, have gone off the charts. Also lived in Freehold near the shore, and it’s getting quite overdeveloped there. Moved back to MA due to job changes and am retiring here and loving it too. Great access to all New England points, not bad to NY and DC. Pre-pandemic I was visiting friends in NJ all the time. And will again!

          Reply
      • Cathryn

        Former Jersey Girl who wants to retire to NJ. Thanks for all the info and sticking up for our state.

        Reply
    • Chris

      Personally, I would not count expense at a drawback of its a nice place to live but I get how you are scoring them. I grew up MA one of the most expensive states in the US. I definitely prefer Vermont over New Hampshire if I were retiring in the NE. And would not choose CT. But if I could choose any state I’d probably choose Arizona either Sedona (very expensive) or Tuscan (less expensive but hotter).

      Reply
    • Dallas E.

      Hi, Alfred. Pennsylvania ranked 32nd best. Quality of life score was decent (12th) but the health care score was 32nd and affordability was 35th.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Reply
  • Moving out of Rhode Island next year and moving to Tennessee. From what I have read and seen, milder winters and less humid summers plus affordability where my retirement dollars will go much further.

    Reply
    • Tom, I am hoping to move from MA to TN too… Best wishes for a great transition!

      Reply
    • My husband wants to move to the Nashville area as soon as I retire. One of my daughters lives there too. Figuring our social security will go a little longer in the south helps with our decision!! Plus it being a nice place to live doesn’t hurt either

      Reply
      • Heather P.

        As someone who has grown up in Nashville it does have a lot to offer. You definitely would not get bored. It’s a friendly city I hope you enjoy it when you come.

        Reply
    • Dallas E.

      Hi, Nancy. Arizona ranked 17th best.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Reply
  • Joie C.

    Where does Arizona (Phoenix or Goodyear) for on the list?

    Thank you

    Reply
  • Kirsten C.

    What about other countries post covid to retire to??? Panama? Greece? Costa Rica?

    Reply
    • Dallas E.

      Hi, Diane. South Carolina ranked 14th best (3rd for affordability, 37th for quality of life and 41st for health care).

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Reply
  • Nicholas W.

    One has to “game” New York: sell the house downstate for the median $700k and then buy a fabulous home mid/upstate for the median $200k, bank the $500K for retirement, and visit NYC several times a year (with the $20k in property taxes one used to pay!) I would never go south and to the places that are ‘most affordable’ — they’re full of people living on the edge financially, which is why they moved there, and those states typically don’t fund the quality of life factors that are standard in the northeast. (I would just Airbnb 6 – 8 weeks in the winter down south).

    Reply
    • Devetta W.

      WoW, Nicholas, I never thought of this strategy. Where are some of the mid/upstate places? I currently live in New Jersey.

      Reply
      • Bobbie G.

        Check out the May issue of Hudson Valley Magazine for great suggestions of places to live in mid/upstate NY – Duchess, Ulster Orange & Greene Counties. Good Luck!!

        Reply
        • Mary F.

          Well, you are going to have to buy a bit further north than the Hudson Valley if you want to pay $200 for a decent home; I can get $700 for my house right now in Beacon, but cashing in & living further north doesn’t appeal to me at all as I don’t like the harsh winters. Retired people can get a break in their taxes here and NY doesn’t tax social security or pensions below $25 grand, so with a paid off mortgage and lovely community, I think I will stay put. I’ll go south to escape the winters but you can’t beat New York’s cultural scene.

          Reply
    • Dallas E.

      Hi, Diana. California ranked 28th best. (29th for affordability, 31st for quality of life and 30th for health care). Washington ranked 31st best (43rd for affordability, 10th for quality of life and 7th for health care).

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Reply
    • Dallas E.

      Indiana ranked 30th best overall (26th for affordability, 34th for quality of life and 37th for health care).

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Reply
  • Thomas D.

    These days, the politics of the states is just as important. Cons won’t like a liberal run state and dems won’t like the repub over control

    Reply
    • Dallas E.

      Hi, Karen. Massachusetts ranked 29th best overall (44th for affordability, 2nd for quality of life and 19th for health care).

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Reply
      • Yasmine F.

        That 19th on health care would have been surprising (lots of highly rated hospitals, plenty of doctors per capita, etc.) until about a year ago, when we started to see the alarmingly high Covid mortality rates in MA, much higher than some other states.

        Reply
  • Would my Social Security or NYC pension from the Department of Education be significantly taxed in Pennsylvania?

    Reply
  • Carol W.

    Would my Social Security or NYC pension from the Department of Education be significantly taxed in Pennsylvania?

    Reply
  • Mary F.

    It would be interesting to see the full lists used for the rankings.

    Reply
    • Dallas E.

      Hi, Mary. We used data gathered by WalletHub. You can find the information here.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Reply
    • Dallas E.

      Hi, Laura. Maine ranked 37th best (46th for affordability, 14th for quality of life and 11th for health care).

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Reply
    • Dallas E.

      Hi, Ruth. Arizona ranked 17th best (15th for affordability, 28th for quality of life and 35th for health care).

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Reply
  • Margy R.

    I am staying put in Mass. They don’t tax my pension or our social security. Tons to do with great symphonies, museums, plays, concerts, etc. And…we have varied geography with mountains, ocean, rivers, ponds, lakes easily accessible. Can’t beat Boston for a great city – so much history and full of students that keep us vibrant. Mass has a huge amount of land in conservation trusts in terms of per capita. I want to live in a place that doesn’t put too much emphasis on guns, religious, beliefs, etc so places like Montana and Idaho don’t appeal to me. We have great hospitals and medical practioners nearby. Florida is too crowded, humid and the hurricanes/tornadoes/sink holes and bugs/snakes/alligators not for me. And they are also one of the states that does not seem to care about safety due to pandemic or climate issues. I’ll take the higher costs and winters thank you very much.

    Reply
    • William

      True, MA is paradise most of the year with eye boggling foliage, perfect summers, pleasant springs and huge variety of activities and scenery from beaches, hunting, fishing, hiking & skiing to world class concerts. You can keep the winters though. “Some brutal and most longer than recovery from a major accident” apply here. Taxes & liberal politics a major drawback.

      Reply
      • Mary F.

        I agree; most retirees are not fond of harsh winters…even if you have a snowblower or someone to plow…cold seeps into old bones and worsens arthritis…very unpleasant.Just about the last places I’d retire to would be NH, VT or MA…though they are highly ranked. Brr!!!

        Reply
    • Douglas A.

      I like your response very much. Nowhere is perfect, but putting up with anti-science foolishness is not a pleasant way to run out the clock!

      Reply
    • Jeffrey

      Margy: I am with you on those considerations. Although Connecticut is more expensive its a lovely climate. Yes, we get some snow but manageable and our seasons are glorious especially fall and like Boston culture we are 60 mins away from NYC and two miles from Long Island sound.. The cultural aspect which is not distorted by political beliefs and such allow one to breath freely. I also like to live in a place where ther is critical thinking

      Reply
      • Liberal politics is a draw as is higher education and science/medicine acceptance. Add Rhode Island to the New England mix. Southern NE has the best sailing in the country though other regions will challenge that. 80% of RI lives within 20 miles of Mass and the other 20% to Connecticut with Vermont, NH and Maine a short drive as is NYC. This region is hard to beat.

        Reply
    • Maggie

      I”m with you Margy. I love Massachusetts. I live just outside Boston (15-20 miles), and within 2 hours I can be in the western or northern hills or at the beautiful beaches of any New England state. And sorry guys – if you think Massachusetts winters are “harsh”, pardon me, but you’re a wimp!

      Reply
  • Sandra L.

    Great info. Was planning on Maine because of convenience to Amtrak Downeaster, but concerned about taxes. NH’s retirement communities quite expensive.

    Reply
    • Dallas E.

      Hi, Susan. Georgia ranked 26th best (9th for affordability and 42nd for both quality of life and health care).

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Reply
    • Dallas E.

      Hi, Donna. Hawaii ranks best for health care, followed by Minnesota and then Vermont.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Reply
  • It doesn’t make sense that Massachusetts would rank so low on a healthcare score. People come from around the world to visit our healthcare facilities. The density of research and clinical facilities here are second to none. How do you judge healthcare?

    Reply
    • Dallas E.

      Hi, Marie. Massachusetts’ health care score is a bit surprising.

      WalletHub used many of variables to judge health care, including COVID-19 rates, number of physician/nurses/dentists per captia, a well-being index for various ages/populations, life expectancy, death rates, etc.

      You can find more information here. (Scroll toward the bottom)

      Reply
      • Rani P.

        As a retired MD, I can say the health care scoring WalletHub used is garbage, which makes most of the rankings above useless.
        What do retirees value? Low cost of living, access to good quality healthcare, and generally warmer or moderate weather. With that in mind, the rankings are absurd as listed.
        Seriously, when North Dakota is sixth in healthcare??? Whatever. COVID rate isn’t a reflection of the healthcare in a state; it is a reflection of how crowded living conditions are in the big cities, and how many people live in multigenerational housing. And it’s not a factor in where I’m going to choose to retire, nor should it be. We have vaccines, people.
        MA has all the things I value except the winters are longer than my joints like. It’s actually nice to live in one of the most educated states in the country, too, though I know that’s not a criterion for some. It’s high on my list to live around educated people and in an area with value for the arts and music and public parks and recreation.
        None of the top ten places on this list would make my list, for sure. And somewhere like Hawaii would be fantastic for weather, lousy for cost of living. Healthcare there isn’t great; they don’t have access to all the specialists you might need with a complex health condition.

        Reply
  • Gerald C.

    I’m with Mary R. My wife and I have moved several times within Ma and always felt at home wherever we landed. The large Western States and Southern States don’t compare to a lifetime in Ma with the activities and scenic possibilities. We often say that Ma has the least variable catastrophic events as well.
    J. C.

    Reply
  • Margaret Z.

    I’m surprised to not see Arizona listed. Where does this beautiful state sit in this survey?

    Reply
    • Dallas E.

      Hi, Margaret. Arizona ranked 17th best (15th for affordability, 28th for quality of life and 35th for health care).

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Reply
  • Sergei N.

    We’ve lived in New Jersey 35+ years. Expensive? yes. Overcrowded? in the cities yes, but not in the suburbs a little far away from the NY border; in fact, almost all the northwestern part of the state is protected from development, which is one of the reasons for the high taxes. No sales tax in clothing, no hurricanes every year, no earthquakes…we like it here.

    What do you use to grade the quality of life?

    Reply
    • Dallas E.

      Hi, Sergei. Thanks for reading and commenting!

      WalletHub used a variety of factors to grade quality of life, including access to public transportation, elderly-friendly labor market, air/water quality, crime, risk of social isolation, mildness of weather, etc.

      Reply
  • Marty P.

    Why not Nevada? We live in Henderson ranked the second safest city in the US. Weather is gorgeous being hot four months of the year and just beautiful all the rest. Close to gorgeous national parks with mountains and desert scenery. Can’t beat Nevada for affordability. Rents reasonable and home prices within reason.

    Reply
    • Dallas E.

      Hi, Marty. Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Nevada ranked 24th best overall (7th for affordability, 39th for quality of life and 40th for health care).

      Reply
  • Peter B.

    The factors that you use to rate states dwarf in comparison to the factor I consider of utmost importance; “Where are my children and grandchildren?”

    Reply
    • Alex P.

      Couldn’t agree with you more, Peter B. Wish I had moved out a long time ago when my children were younger.

      Reply
  • Barry M.

    The obvious flaw in these ratings is that only the tiniest states are homogeneous. In North Carolina, for instance, you can live in a quiet, rural, largely conservative area, with limited medical and cultural options – or you can live in an area like the Triangle (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill), which has first-class educational and medical facilities, cultural amenities, and (for those who want it) a much more liberal outlook on politics.

    I know plenty of people who would be comfortable in one part of a state, but not another. Even New York isn’t the same all over, as one reader pointed out: there are small towns all over Upstate NY, wineries around the Finger Lakes, and of course the Adirondacks, which have nothing in common with NYC other than scale. (And NYC imposes extra taxes on residents – so even within a state, the taxes can vary.)

    Reply
    • Rani P.

      Amen. You said it. I think lists like this are pointless, both for bad data to create these rankings and because local conditions are usually more important than the state as a whole. Texas isn’t a monolith—Houston and Austin are very different from the Texas that is in the press. NC has its rural/urban divide; many people prefer the rural, while I’m excited to be heading back to the Triangle.
      I think they could have used better factors. The healthcare scores are useless—North Dakota is #6, and Hawaii #1, without a single nationally ranked medical center and sending most of their difficult cases out of state. (Is that what you want when you’re sick, to be flown out far away from your family, just to get decent care?) Rankings aren’t everything, but in medicine, the hospitals that are the best are generally recognizable as such. I’d take this whole ranking with a big lump of salt—forget a grain—and I think that the comments are pretty reflective of that as a whole!

      Reply
  • Jeffrey

    A couple of notes regarding Florida, as noted from a friend who finally moved there for retirement after living in NJ, Del, Virginia and Maryland. There are hidden costs not mentioned. Water is extremely expensive in Florida, so are some food cost and utility costs. Summer is dreadful in many areas. The predominate reason that Connecticut is so expensive is due to the cost of housing. Especially in Tony areas near NYC like Fairfield County. But surprisingly food cost are not high. In many towns in Fairfield county property taxes are surprisingly reasonable for the cost of the home. Forget NJ when it comes to property taxes. Also water and sewerage prices can be outrageous in NJ. Be careful about towns that have privatized their water services. We have a investment property in Bayonne NJ. They privatized their water service with Suez Water saying it would reduce water cost and upgrade the infrastructure. Well in the past five years since that occurred the water bill for that house went from $60 a quarter to $580 a quarter with no significant change in water consumption. The NYTimes ran a report on these stockholder based companies that sell a line of goods to the town government and then when they take over… all prices are hijacked for the sake of their shareholders. By the way there have been no significant changes to the infrastructure in that time. Kind of sounds like medical insurance companies. Also note that we live in one of those beautiful towns in Fairfield County CT and our town has some of the best public resources and schools in the country. Our real estate taxes are almost half of the taxes for a two family old house in Bayonne, NJ.

    Reply
  • Hawaii is my hope. While may be higher on cost scale there are ways to be affordable for residents

    Reply
  • Haydee M.

    You forgot to mention that floridA is a good retirement place to live in but if you are under 65 years and relocate in floridA , you will have no medical health insurance . You will need to pay- buy a medical insurance in florida .

    Reply
  • Looking to retire from LI,NY To Savanah or Kennesaw, Ga.what are the numbers

    Reply
    • Dallas E.

      Hi, Lizz. Georgia ranked 26th best (9th for affordability and 42nd for both quality of life and health care).

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Reply
  • Michael O.

    Once moving from Massachusetts for retirement the no exception is any place where it does not snow, any place that does not have palm trees and any place where the trees do not turn brown and leafless in the winter.

    Reply
  • Paul O.

    After 70 years, leaving Mass for Northeast Ohio. Bought a $200K house (15 years old, 2200 sq ft, 2 car garage, small barn, shed, couple of acres. 924 people in my new town. Neighbor in back is a cornfield. 5 minutes to Lowes, Walmart, other shopping, doctors/hospital, and anything else I might need. Place would be $650K in Peabody and $800K in Lynnfield. Cost of living in Ohio is about 60% of the North Shore of Massachusetts. Sun sets 45 minutes later…can golf till 9:45 PM. Am sure I’ll miss some things, but not too much.

    Reply
    • Jill A.

      Hi Paul, Sounds like a very nice place to retire. Can you tell me what city you live near? I now live in North Bend, Ohio, and I’m looking for a decent place to retire also. How are your property taxes? Mine are outrageous!! Thanks, Jill

      Reply
  • Gerard C.

    Hi,
    You did a great job of putting this together. The replying
    was done very nicely. I am retired 20 plus years on Cape
    Cod and it is great, summer, fall, winter and spring is a
    good time to travel some other place. All in all, the people, the weather, the views, cannot be beat.

    Reply
  • MARY S.

    well..the list is “interesting” for both best and worst places to retire..i have friends who retired to colorado in order to enjoy the “outdoor life”, and make it easier to travel to places like idaho and wyoming..they are retired geologists and love the camping and availability of that sort of thing..i have relatives who have retired,as have i, in texas where we grew up, and although not perfect,there is NO state income tax and you can find the hill country or big bend national park or the “mini” grand canyon of palo duro up near amarillo..people are friendly (although conservative)and the cost of living is reasonable, as are housing prices..groceries are about the same as other states..there is the coastline from galveston to padre island as well for fishing or boating or even a little beach fun..a person cal always rent an rv to travel elsewhere or catch a plame to fly to another locale..this is just one “old texas lady ” giving my opinion!!

    Reply
  • Mike Z.

    I’m curious how Montana ranks high for healthcare since unless retiring in a city one could be dozens or hundreds of miles from a hospital in case of emergency.

    Reply
  • Barbara

    Very Insightful. Learned a lot. Thank you everyone. From someone who is retiring soon. .

    Reply
  • Burt F.

    What about Alaska? I lived there, the state paid me $500 instead of taxes (oil royalties)

    Reply
    • Dallas E.

      Hi, Burt. Alaska ranked 25th best overall (39th for affordability, 33rd for quality of life and 4th for health care).

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Reply
  • Greetings. I would like to offer some considerations for retirement in NY. I live about an hour north of NYC (drive or commuter train) with all its cultural and food options. Westchester County has five golf courses, which as a resident I pay $26 a round (if I walk). The high level medical services are obvious. NY State does not tax
    Social Security nor the first $20k (each year) of pension, IRA, etc. [Note: contributed to my IRA in NY and paid taxes on it in the years of the contribution, so no tax now — not sure if you carry an IRA into NY from another state). NY’s standard deduction is $7k. I pay no NY state income tax. (online, download Form IT-201 to see how it works for you.) I own a small house ($350K) and pay $1,100 in real estate taxes. Check to see if town is STAR-approved by NY state (STAR is a tax relief program granted to municipalities that keep their budget increases less than 2% year-to-year). Working residents receive modest tax relief, but retired residents receive a greater benefit, to keep them in residence (under $84k for single Retired Star; and under $34k for single low-income Retired Star — I qualify for the latter as a retired artist scratching a living most of my life, but managed to pay off my mortgage). UNFORTUNATE: Sales tax is over 8%, but does not include foodstuffs (prepared foods and restaurants taxed), insurance, medical, prescriptions or home improvement (repairs taxed, improvements not). Since half of my expenses fall in this category, my net sales tax is 4%. Finally, because of NY’s heralded high taxes, it is capable of providing benefits to residents: medical insurance, well-funded Medicaid and, in my case, an oil benefit (HEAT program): single income less than $32k can receive up to $700 annually. My net payments to NY entities is therefore $400 plus sales taxes paid. Affordability is relative. Check NYState income taxes for retired, check STAR, check NY benefits, check golf, check libraries (books and programs). North of NYC is not your usual suburban sprawl, most towns are committed to maintaining open spaces. Remember NY has mountains, lakes, seashore, Niagara Falls….

    Reply
  • Thank you all for your comments and for providing such useful information. The criteria used in the article was based on averages for the whole state so I appreciated hearing from residents who explained how there can be great variety within a state. We are “stuck” in NJ because I am my disabled son’s guardian, so we have to look for the best options within the state, weighing all the factors discussed. It was disconcerting to see NJ top the list of worst states, I must admit.

    Reply
  • MURRAY C.

    what about Maryland for NYC civil employee, would you have to pay state taxes which have been already paid in NY.

    Reply
  • Linda Z.

    I have a friend who is chomping at the bit to move to Chattanooga TN. What about health care? She has a quadriplegic sister and is in daily quandary about moving, She lives in New York on Long Island. She has Empire health insurance and Medicaid for her. How is this area as far as health care, taxes and having a retirement from the court system? I fear for her to make a life changing mistake… Please advise. I know nothing of out of state living! Thanks for all information

    Reply
    • Dallas E.

      Hello, Linda. Tennessee ranked 35th best overall (2nd for affordability, 49th for quality of life and 47th for health care). You can find more information about the state, here.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Reply
    • Dallas E.

      Maryland ranked 33rd best overall (41st for affordability, 9th for quality of life and 14th for health care).

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Reply
      • Mary F.

        I considered Maryland & spent a couple winters there. While there is much history & access to cultural attractions, the busy roads and large scale housing/commercial development replacing farms/woods is hurting Maryland. I’d be nervous to own any home bordering open space …the zoning doesn’t seem to put brakes on developers with an eye to making a quick buck.

        Reply
  • Jeff F.

    How about just posting the entire list… 1 to 50? Or give us a link to where we can find that?

    Reply
    • Dallas E.

      Hi, Jeff. Here’s a link to the original data.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Reply
    • Dallas E.

      Hi, Lori. Pennsylvania ranked 32nd best overall (12th for quality of life score, 32nd for health care and 35th for affordability).

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Reply
  • Daniel B.

    Using artificial boundaries such as state lines mixes up the issue. Rhode Island is expensive but you get what you pay for. In addition, your survey ranks us low in healthcare yet we are 35 miles from some of the best medical institutions in the world, from Mass General to Dana Farber. Small states suffer from high density but are close to everything.

    Reply
  • Debbie C.

    I’m actually planning to move to Ohio. I don’t love Ohio. I’m not sure I even like Ohio, but both of my children went to school there and stayed after graduating. Missing them — that’s my only reason, and I wonder if I’m doing the right thing for me.

    Reply
  • Eujean

    New York one of the worst? No surprise there. With the huge uptick in crime, especially in NYC, it will remain one of the worst.

    Reply
  • Mike S.

    My dream is Hawaii. Despite initial cost it doesn’t tax law enforcement pensions or social security. How does it rank in Health Care

    Reply
    • Dallas E.

      Hi, Benetta. Georgia ranks 26th best overall (9th for affordability but 42nd for both health care and quality of life).

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Reply
  • T.D. W.

    This is interesting. But I think that as younger generations approach retirement age and dive into planning, the “quality of life” element will expand to consider many things that do not appear to be included given the states and rankings. States high in some rankings are seriously lacking in diversity, which is a huge factor my wife and I consider in states like Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Idaho. Beauty of scenery is matched by beauty of plurality in people.

    Reply
  • barry

    Not much about crime rates which if taken into account would likely boost New England states.
    My parents retired in Florida – flat, monotonous, boring, bad traffic and bad drivers, lots of racial intolerance.
    in the future please consider a similar analysis of foreign countries – Mexico, Costa Rica, Canada, France, Italy, Greece come to mind.

    Reply
  • I am always amazed at these type of surveys/recommendations (Best/Worst of).
    New York always has negative results, however there is never a consideration of retirees income/wealth.
    Many retirees are fairly well-off financially, and for those that are lucky enough to have a nice income, there is no better place than New York.
    Where else can you have the world’s best dining, entertainment, shopping, museums and theater?? And arguably, the best mass transit system in the country resulting in no need to own an automobile. For seniors, the subway/bus is a whopping $1.35 a trip!
    Assuming you have descent health care insurance, the medical care facilities are excellent with some of the best physicians and specialists in the world.
    In summary, lets not forget about including retirees that are finally secure in these surveys. I find it hard to believe that many of us would really enjoy living in states that offer such limited resources other than cheap cost of living and outdoor recreational options. Would I really EVER consider Utah, North Dakota, Montana, etc.? You’ve got to be kidding!!!

    Reply
    • Dallas E.

      Hi, Mary. Oregon ranks as the 39th best state to retire (13th for healthcare, 20th for quality of life and 42nd for affordability).

      Reply

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