10 Best States for Retirement

retiree couple

Calculating when you are able to retire is one thing. Figuring out where to retire is another.

When it comes to your golden years, home isn’t necessarily where you live now, but more about where you choose and can afford to live after retirement. Not everyone’s future is set at age 65, when Social Security, pensions and savings are supposed to kick in and keep you comfortable for the duration of life. Most of us have to manage our nest eggs, income sources and insurance benefits with considerable care, not knowing if future health concerns or pricey assisted living needs will be a factor down the road.

The best states to retire in are those that offer good value for retirement dollars, and can keep you healthy without breaking your budget. But you also want to enjoy the years you have left to the fullest, so things like weather, museums, theater and other recreational opportunities are something to consider.

Wallet Hub has released its 2020 list of best and worst states to retire in. Using 47 metrics in three broad categories, they ranked each state through criteria like affordability, health-related factors and overall quality of life. In reverse order, here are the ten best states for retirement according to their findings.

Where will you spend your days when you no longer have to punch the clock?

10. Iowa
The Hawkeye State offers prospective retirees a high-quality lifestyle, even if it’s not quite as affordable as some other places. Iowa has a great blend of urban amenities and rural sensibilities, and is known for its friendly people. The state’s average annual temperature of 47 degrees might be a deterrent for some retirees, though.

Affordability rank: 31
Quality of life rank: 7
Health care rank: 13

9. Idaho
There’s more for retirees in Idaho than potatoes. Mountains, lakes, rivers and prairie give it a surprisingly diverse landscape, and Boise is a particularly walkable, retirement-friendly town. The Gem State for its known for its scenic beauty and outdoor fun at an affordable cost. The sales tax comes in at a low 6% and prescription drugs, as well as income from Social Security, are not taxable. Idaho also boasts one of the lowest crime rates in the country.

Affordability rank: 13
Quality of life rank: 19
Health care rank: 30

8. Wisconsin
Retire to the Badger State and you can enjoy ice fishing off Goose Island or cheering on the Green Bay Packers with other loyal Cheeseheads. Beyond the cheese, there are beautiful lakes, state parks and forest to enjoy throughout the four seasons. The friendliness and warmth of the communities make Wisconsin a compelling place for retirees to settle down in. You may get a lot of snow, but odds are a neighbor will be willing to help you shovel your drive.

Affordability rank: 24
Quality of life rank: 8
Health care rank: 22

7. Virginia
Known as Old Dominion, Virginia is quite the tax haven for cost-conscious retirees. The state has one of the lowest overall tax rates in the country, and people over 65 receive additional tax benefits such as no taxing of Social Security benefits and a deduction up to $12,000 of retirement income. Virginia residents also have access to top quality health care systems and specialists. Furthermore, every part of Virginia is within a six-hour drive of both the ocean and the mountains.

Affordability rank: 18
Quality of life rank: 18
Health care rank: 24

6. Delaware
Senior living in the Diamond State is easy on the wallet for retirees. It is known for its low taxes and beautiful beaches. These two factors and more make this small Mid-Atlantic state a great place to consider for retirement. For starters, there is no state or local sales tax, plus there are also a host of enticing tax benefits for those over the age of 60. Great Atlantic beaches, relaxed seaside towns and golfing communities are there for the exploring.

Affordability rank: 7
Quality of life rank: 35
Health care rank: 18

5. Wyoming
Known as the Cowboy State, Wyoming is a fly-fisher’s paradise. Its weather, cost of living, low crime rate, quality of health care and general well-being make it an ideal retirement location for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle. No state income tax, low property tax and low housing costs sweeten the deal, but it’s the beauty of the surrounding nature that is the main draw. Wyoming is home to seven national parks, including Yellowstone and Grand Teton.

Affordability rank: 11
Quality of life rank: 12
Health care rank: 33

4. Utah
Active seniors looking to retire in the Beehive State have plenty of options for outdoor recreation. You can enjoy five national parks, seven national monuments, five national forests and 43 state parks for all your hiking, climbing, boating and skiing desires. The state also boasts a higher longevity rate than the national average, and is low on crime.

Affordability rank: 15
Quality of life rank: 18
Health care rank: 17

3. New Hampshire
The Granite State is a taxpayer’s dream for retirees. It doesn’t tax Social Security benefits or other retirement income or levy any sales tax. There are countless quaint colonial New England towns in which to roost and explore, and the health care facilities are second to none.

Affordability rank: 27
Quality of life rank: 4
Health care rank: 6

2. Colorado
Retire to the Centennial State and you’ll be paying one of the lowest property taxes in the country. The outdoor recreational opportunities abound for the mountain-loving active senior, including ski towns like Aspen, Vail and Breckenridge. Health and wellness is a top priority for the residents, and the climate is surprisingly mild with nearly 300 annual days of sunshine. From quiet country towns to thriving metropolitan cities, retirees in Colorado have a great quality of life.

Affordability rank: 17
Quality of life rank: 11
Health care rank: 4

1. Florida
If you’re a senior in search of sunny skies, warm weather and a tax-friendly retirement, then the Sunshine State ticks all the boxes. Florida has long been a popular haven for retirees. The state scores well on cultural offerings, and if you’re looking for retirement-age friends to play pickleball or golf, you’ll have a good chance of finding them here where 19 percent of the residents are over 65.

Affordability rank: 2
Quality of life rank: 5
Health care rank: 26

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