Best State to Retire in

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Contributor, Benzinga
December 27, 2022

Retiring can include many lifestyle changes, including trying to cut down on expenses and prioritize fun over work. Sometimes, these lifestyle changes include moving to a new state. Moving can help retirees cut down on living or healthcare expenses as well as open them up to new opportunities and communities. These are eight of the best states to retire in.

8 Best Places to Retire In

During retirement, people want to have financial comfort while also enjoying their lifestyles. Check out the eight best states to retire.

  • Best For Well-Being: Florida
  • Best For Affordability: Georgia
  • Best For Safety: New Hampshire
  • Best For Tax-Friendliness: South Dakota
  • Best For Healthcare Costs: Virginia
  • Best For Outdoor Adventurers: Utah
  • Best For Location: Hawaii
  • Best For Quality of Life: Tennessee 

1. Best For Well-Being: Florida

Florida is well-known to be one of the best places to retire and for good reason! Florida remains warm year-round and has a very dense population of seniors. It will be easy for retirees to find community in many Florida towns. Seniors can travel to many beaches and three major cities with loads of activities. To sweeten the deal, Florida’s cost of living is in line with the national average and because it has no state tax, Social Security and retirement income are not taxed.

2. Best for Affordability: Georgia

When looking for retirement states, the cost of living will play a huge factor in choosing a new state because the cost to retire can be high. Georgia’s cost of living is about 7% below the national average and has some of the lowest costs for retired people in the country. In addition, Georgia has mild weather and sunny beaches, which makes it an ideal place to live for many seniors. It’s also tax advantageous, with no tax on Social Security. They also do not tax the first $65,000 of other retirement income for retirees older than 65.

3. Best for Safety: New Hampshire

If a retiree is going to move, they’ll want to feel secure in their new home. New Hampshire has a very low crime rate, well below the national average. Although New Hampshire has a higher-than-average cost of living, it doesn’t tax retirement income or have a sales tax. 

4. Best for Tax-friendliness: South Dakota

South Dakota is a great state to retire in because of its tax-friendliness. It ranks as the third-most tax-friendly state in the country with no state tax so there are fewer taxes on retirement income. It also has a lower-than-average cost of living and many arts, entertainment and recreational businesses and organizations for seniors to enjoy.

5. Best for Healthcare Costs: Virginia

As people age, the cost of healthcare goes up. Healthcare is already expensive, and health concerns can make those medical bills add up. Virginia has lower-than-average healthcare costs for retired couples so retirees can save on medical bills. Virginia has a higher-than-average cost of living but does not tax Social Security.

6. Best for Outdoor Adventurers: Utah 

For active retirees, Utah is a great place to spend retirement. Utah is home to five national parks, five national forests and many state parks. Retirees can travel and explore many places in Utah during their retirement. Additionally, it ranks high in senior health. It has a slightly higher-than-average cost of living, and it taxes retirement income.

7. Best for Location: Hawaii

Hawaii is a beautiful state with tropical beaches, mild weather and gorgeous scenery. Many people view it as an ideal place to spend their retirement years. Healthcare costs are also lower than average in Hawaii, but the cost of living is much higher. This may be a good place for retirees who have saved a large sum and want to retire in a tropical environment.

8. Best for Quality of Life: Tennessee

Tennessee has an extremely low cost of living that can help retirees make the most of their income, and it does not levy state taxes. With the low cost of living and high amount of entertainment in cities like Nashville, seniors can spend their retirement income on things they enjoy over high bills like rent and grocery costs.

Why Does it Matter Where You Retire?

Retirement is meant to be some of the best years of your life. Without having to work 40-plus hours a week, retirees can spend more time with their loved ones, pursuing hobbies, traveling, going to museums and theaters or whatever they like. But doing those things requires financial freedom and accessibility to those things. 

For example, if a retired couple wants to spend their retirement traveling, they need to free up the income to do so. That may require moving to a place with a lower cost of living. Where you live and the cost of living, healthcare costs and access to community and entertainment truly impact a person’s quality of life.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best State to Retire In

If a retiree is thinking about making a move after retiring, they should consider these factors. Remember, every state will say different things to you. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure and all that. However, you are also weighing these factors against the amount of money you will take with you into retirement.

Cost of Living

The cost of living is one of the biggest considerations when choosing where to retire. In 2020, the average annual cost of living in the U.S. was $61,334, and this number has risen because of inflation in 2021 and 2022. During retirement, income will be fixed, and the cost to retire can be high. Retirees need to ensure they can live within their means. By moving to a place with a low cost of living, they can free up income to spend on other things. Cost of living refers to average rent or home prices, the cost of weekly groceries, gas and other expenses that people have regularly. It can also refer to property and state taxes.

Healthcare

Seniors tend to have more health complications or need to take more proactive steps to remain healthy. Healthcare is a huge cost to many retirees, so finding a state with low healthcare expenses can truly help save money. Healthcare does not cost the same in every state, so it’s worth researching the average healthcare cost as well as access to healthcare in the states you are considering moving to.

Quality of Life

Retirees spent their whole life working and saving toward retirement. When it’s finally here, they deserve to enjoy it, which is why quality of life is so crucial. Every retiree will have a different definition of “the good life.” Some retirees may want warm weather, others may want access to cultural events and places, while some may emphasize the community of other retirees. Retirees should consider what they want from their retirement and find a state where they can live their best life. Quality of life also includes how close you are to the things you need. Some people don’t mind being far away from grocery stores, etc., but others want everything to be close by.

Crime and Safety

Retirees deserve to feel safe in whatever state and town they move to, which is why the crime rate is such a crucial factor. Retirees can research states with the lowest crime rates. It may be a good idea to research the crime rates of the towns within those states to see the number of property crimes and violent crimes. This will help retirees feel secure in their new homes. If you’re not sure where you’re moving or if the neighborhood is truly the right place for you, make sure you work with a real estate agent who can tell you—without any sugarcoating—where you should and should not live.

Accessibility

Some retirees may still have a full range of motion and will want to live in a place where they can easily walk to stores, parks and other places. Some seniors may use canes, wheelchairs or walkers and will want to ensure their new town has plenty of handicap-accessible places and activities. 

Make the Most of Your Retirement

Retirement can open up many new opportunities to retirees. They can have more time to travel, pursue hobbies, socialize and spend time with family. But to do the things retirees enjoy, they’ll need financial freedom and access to those things. That’s why many retirees choose to move during retirement. But if a retiree is planning a move, they should consider their priorities and financial situation before choosing a place to live.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q

What state is best financially to retire to?

A

For the lowest expenses and taxes, retirees should move to a state with a low cost of living and no state taxes, such as Georgia or South Dakota.

Q

What state has the lowest taxes for retirees?

A

South Dakota is extremely tax-advantageous, but there are also many other states with no state taxes that do not tax retirement income.

Q

What is the safest state for retirees?

A

New Hampshire has one of the lowest crime ratings in the country, making it a safe state for retirees.

About Savannah Munholland

Savannah Munholland is a dynamic author and communications professional known for her captivating storytelling and expertise in public relations. With a passion for YA fiction, Savannah explores themes of sexuality and acceptance in her writing, resonating with diverse audiences worldwide. Alongside her literary pursuits, she excels in verbal and written communications, social media management, and customer service, showcasing her multifaceted talents. As a dedicated advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, Savannah’s work reflects her commitment to promoting inclusivity and representation. Whether crafting compelling narratives or spearheading PR campaigns, Savannah’s creativity and determination leave an indelible mark on every project she undertakes.