The 5 Best States To Retire (And 5 Worst)

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If you’re looking to retire, you may wonder which state is the best place to do so. There are many factors to consider when making this decision, including the cost of living, climate, taxes, and healthcare. In this article, we will discuss 5 of the best states to retire in the US and five states to avoid!

Best States To Retire

1. Florida

There are many reasons why Florida is the best place to retire. The weather is warm and sunny year-round, perfect for those who want to avoid cold winters. In addition, Florida has no state income tax, which can save retirees a significant amount of money.

“All 401(k) deferrals from high tax states like California, New York, or New Jersey can enjoy state income tax-free distributions! Often your federal tax rate will be lower in retirement, so why not also enjoy no state income taxes,” says Kevin Lao, CFP and founder of Imagine Financial Security, LLC, based in Jacksonville, FL.

Florida has no inheritance or estate taxes, making it ideal for transferring generational wealth to your heirs.

Additionally, Florida has a large senior population, so plenty of activities and amenities are tailored to seniors.

Finally, Florida is home to many world-class beaches, golf courses, and other recreational destinations, making it the perfect place to enjoy retirement. Florida is also famous for its many theme parks, which are always a hit with kids and grandkids. With so much to offer, it’s no wonder Florida is a popular choice for retirees.

2. Arizona

Retirement is a time to enjoy the fruits of your labor and relax. For many, this means finding a place with warm weather and plenty of activities. Arizona is one of the top retirement destinations in the United States, offering sunny skies and many things to do. The state has a variety of landscapes, from the red rocks of Sedona to the mountains of Flagstaff.

There are also plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation, from hiking and biking to golfing and horseback riding. Arizona also has a thriving cultural scene, with museums, theaters, and restaurants in Phoenix and Tucson.

And best of all, the cost of living in Arizona is relatively low, making it a great place to retire on a budget, even for individuals pursuing early retirement.

And finally, Arizona is home to some of the best hospitals in the country, which is vital for people who want to be close to quality medical care. All of these factors make Arizona an attractive option for retirees.

3. Colorado

Colorado is one of the most naturally beautiful states in the country, with majestic mountains, pristine lakes, and endless opportunities for outdoor recreation. In addition to its scenic beauty, Colorado is also home to several world-class cities, including Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins, attracting many early retirees who want an active lifestyle.

The state also has a relatively low cost of living, and the towns offer a wide variety of amenities, including excellent healthcare, a vibrant cultural scene, and plenty of shopping and dining.

Colorado also has a very mild climate, perfect for retirees who want to enjoy all the state offers year-round.

4. Maine

Retiring is a big decision. It’s an opportunity to start a new chapter in your life, and choosing a location that will meet all your needs is essential. For some people, that means moving to a warmer climate. But for others, it means moving to where they can enjoy four seasons.

Maine is the perfect place to retire for those who love the outdoors. It offers retirees a chance to enjoy New England’s beauty with its rocky coastline, picturesque villages, and towering mountains. And because it’s located in the northeastern United States, Maine offers easy access to major cities like Boston and New York.

Maine scored particularly well in the affordability category, thanks to its relatively low cost of living. Also, Maine does not tax Social Security income. Maine has a 5.5% state sales tax rate and does not levy local taxes.

In addition, Maine has a lower-than-average crime rate, which makes it an attractive place to retire. These factors ensure that Maine is consistently ranked as one of the best states to retire.

5. South Carolina

South Carolina offers retirees a unique combination of diverse attractions, mild weather, and friendly locals. From the stunning beaches of the Grand Strand to the historic city of Charleston, there is something for everyone in South Carolina.

The state also boasts a low cost of living and lack of state income tax, making it an ideal place to stretch your retirement savings. With an average annual temperature of 70 degrees, you can enjoy all South Carolina has to offer year-round.

Whether you are looking for a place to relax or stay active in retirement, South Carolina is a perfect choice.

Worst Places To Retire

1. Alaska

Alaska is often touted as a paradise for retirees, with its natural beauty and endless opportunities for outdoor adventure. Alaska does not have income tax and also does not tax social security benefits. However, there are several reasons why Alaska is the worst place to retire.

First, it is one of the most expensive states in the country, with the cost of living nearly 30% higher than the national average. This is partly due to the state’s remote location and lack of competition, which drives up prices for necessities like food and fuel.

Second, there are limited medical facilities and services in Alaska, which can be a problem if you have health concerns.

Third, the state’s weather can be extreme, with average temperatures ranging from -20 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter to 85 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. This can make it challenging to get outdoors and enjoy your retirement.

Fourth, Alaska has a high crime rate, with violent crimes occurring nearly double the national average. Alaska has the third-highest crime rate in the United States.

Finally, the Alaska’s isolation can make it challenging to stay connected to family and friends.

2. Hawaii

There are many factors to consider when deciding where to retire, and Hawaii may seem ideal for some people. However, there are a few reasons Hawaii is the worst place to retire.

First of all, while it is easy to find jobs that pay $100,000 or more, the cost of living in Hawaii is sky-high, and retirees on a fixed income may struggle to make ends meet. Additionally, healthcare costs are relatively high in Hawaii; there are few options for Medicare recipients.

Secondly, the weather in Hawaii is notoriously unpredictable, and retirees may find themselves dealing with frequent hurricanes and tropical storms.

Finally, Hawaii is very isolated from mainland United States, making it difficult to travel back and forth to visit family and friends.

3. Mississippi

Mississippi has long been considered one of the worst states to retire for several good reasons.

First of all, the cost of living in Mississippi is relatively high, especially when compared to other states in the southeast. This is partially because Mississippi has 7% sales tax, higher than many other states.

Furthermore, Mississippi ranks last, or close to last, in almost every leading health outcome. The state has a high rate of infant mortality, and its residents have some of the worst health outcomes in the country.

Finally, Mississippi has a high crime rate. Combine these factors with dreary weather, and it’s easy to see why many retirees choose to live elsewhere.

4. West Virginia

While West Virginia has many beautiful features, it is not an ideal place to retire. The state has a high crime rate and a poor economy, making it difficult to find affordable housing and quality healthcare.

West Virginia has one of the country’s highest rates of non-medical use of prescription pain relievers. A high rate of drug abuse can lead to increased levels of crime and violence.

The state has many residents who live below the poverty line, making it difficult to afford basic necessities. Furthermore, West Virginia’s climate is often harsh, with cold winters and hot summers. The state has a minimal selection of golf courses, for instance, and the options for retirement communities are minimal.

As a result, retirees looking for a sunny location with low crime rates and a strong economy would be better off retiring elsewhere.

5. Louisiana

Recent data suggest that Louisiana may not be the best place to retire. The state ranks dead last in several important categories, including quality of life, affordability, and healthcare. Louisiana also has one of the highest crime rates in the country, which can be a significant concern for retirees.

Louisiana is also prone to hurricanes and other natural disasters, disrupting retirement plans.

Louisiana does not tax Social Security retirement benefits or income from public pensions, and it has some of the lowest property taxes in the country. However, the state has high sales taxes. So while Louisiana may offer some appealing features, it’s crucial to weigh all of the factors before deciding if this state is right for your retirement.


There are a few states that are ideal for retirement, while there are others that one should avoid. States with warm climates, low crime rates, low tax rates, and a strong economy are preferred.

The worst states to retire have high costs of living, poor health outcomes, high crime rates, and harsh weather conditions. Since no state can satisfy all the requirements, retirees should carefully consider these factors before deciding where to retire.

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This article originally appeared on Savoteur.

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