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Looking For The Best U.S. State To Retire In? We Ranked It From Worst To Best

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It is said that nearly half of Americans would consider moving when they retire. In fact, in a survey by Merril Lynch and Age Wave found that 37% of retirees have already moved after getting retired, and another 27% haven’t moved yet but is intending to. Factors motivating this decision are multiple. A recent research by Bankrate ranked most popular states for retirement based on some relevant factors in the life of a retiree.

The rankings were based on the importance given to each of the factors in the survey. The categories taken into account were: cost of living, taxes, healthcare, weather, crime, cultural vitality and well-being. Let’s see which ones are the best states to spend your retirement years according to Bankrate:

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25. New Jersey

New Jersey is a great option for those who want to watch the sunset over the beach and enjoy a long summer night. Basically, if you don’t want to spend days in Florida, but you want to live close to the coast, New Jersey seems like a logical option.

Still, for retirees New Jersey is ok if you have a huge saving amount of money. Did you know that the average property prices in this lovely part of the State are incredible $342,527? On top of that, New Jersey is moderately tax-friendly toward retirees. However, Social Security income is not taxed, while withdrawals from a retirement account are partially taxed.

24. Maine

The very first thing that you should know about Maine and the retirement is that the cost of living is reasonable. Actually, when it comes to New England, Maine boasts the lowest cost of living. As expected, you shouldn’t rely on Social Security or pensions checks alone to live in this state. So having extra dollars on the side can only help.

Luckily, the average property price here is around $249,500 while the crime rate is low, which stands for something. Little is known, but Maine is actually not tax-friendly toward retirees. Wages are taxed at normal rates, while the Social Security income is not taxed.

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23. Indiana

Indiana has low property taxes and the cost of living is near the U.S. average. The average property prices? Only $184,690! For a state with a really low crime rate, this sounds like heaven. How really is this state friendly toward retirees?

Social Security retirement benefits are exempt from the state income tax in Indiana, while income from pensions and retirement savings accounts is not. Overall, Indiana and lovely Indianapolis are perfect for retirees on a fixed income. You may enjoy a comfortable retirement in Indiana for less than $56,000 a year.

22. California

California is one of the most popular places for everyone to live in. Everyone from 7 to 97 years would love a piece of California life. The only issue here is that you need to plan well and work hard to retire in this state. Did you know that the average retirement age expectancy is 63? California keeps people young.

Average property prices in California might surprise you if you aren’t familiar with real estate trends. To buy a property on this land, you should have a minimum of $578,267. This is the main reason why retiring in California is for many Americans, nothing more than a pipe dream. California has an amazing quality of life, but it’s also one of the most expensive places to live in the States. Interestingly, the majority of Californias are moving to Texas when the time comes for retirement.

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21. Michigan

For those who enjoy long walks by the lake, Michigan seems like a logical choice. All four seasons next to the Great Lakes are someone’s dream come true. Michigan has an amazing nature, and no one can deny it. Next to that, Michigan also offers an incredibly low cost of living. What does this mean in terms of os retirement? It means that you can spend your money on the ‘want to’s’ not the ‘have to’s’ during your retirement.

The average property prices in Michigan is around $176,977, while the life expectancy is 78.2. All pensions (private and public) and retirement benefits are taxable to Michigan. US Military pensions, Michigan National Guard pensions, Social Security & Railroad benefits continue to be exempt from tax. So far, the best place to live in Michigan is Birmingham, with a population of only 21,066, so you might start exploring Michigan from this charming city.

20. Vermont

If you are looking for a state where you can enjoy more than just one season Vermont might be your next best location.

Vermont has the second-lowest crime rate both for property and violent crimes. If you are looking for a safe place, you can’t go wrong with Vermont.

19. Iowa

The state of hills, rivers, and lakes waits for you to explore its boundaries. Next to its natural wonders, Iowa offers great local theater culture, amazing local markets and low prices for homes and rents.

The cost of living is 12% below the U.S. average and health care is also more affordable than in other states. Also, Iowa is the top 25% of states for health care quality.

18. Colorado

This state has it all, from mountains to small-town charm. Overall, Colorado offers an amazing quality of life. Also, it offers a few good tax breaks for seniors.

Health care costs are below average, while health care and clinical care are great. The state has 9 high-performing medical centers and 3 nationally ranked hospitals.

17. North Dakota

North Dakota has its own special and cold weather, that doesn’t stop people to make it another home. North Dakota comes with much more than just great outdoor life.

North Dakota is proud of having a vibrant art scene and amazing galleries and museums. Moreover, income taxes are low and the cost of living is affordable. Overall, North Dakota is the 5th state for senior’s overall well-being.

16. Delaware

Seniors are head over heels over Delaware with its amazing beaches and tax-friendly environment. The cost of living here is 100% above the national average, but retirees still love it.

The great thing about Delaware is that health care costs are below average and the state is ranked sixth when it comes to health care quality.

15. Missouri

Missouri offers more than 1,000 miles of amazing coastline, great wine industry, and highly ranked hospitals. Moreover, this state offers a real laid-back country life next to big cities.

Missouri offers more than 200 days of sunshine and one of the lowest cost of living. Even more, health care and raxes are below average. If you are up for a new house, houses in Missouri are extremely affordable.

14. Pennsylvania

If you are fond of living in a state that offers four-season climate, Pennsylvania is the place to be. Pennsylvania offers great nature, amazing beaches, and lakes, in addition to vivid city life.

Pittsburgh has a low cost of living and a rich history to keep you entertained. The state is voted to be 5th among 50 states for overall quality of life. Moreover, for retirees, the state offers a 6% lower tax.

13. Virginia

The southeastern U.S. state that stretches to the Atlantic coastline, Virginia is also among the top 13 states for retirees.

Virginia is notable for its great rankings in low crime, while in other categories it earned middle rankings. The weather should be quite pleasant, and the overall well-being is above the U.S. average.

12. Massachusetts

Massachusetts is a great state for retirees looking for a destination with top health care quality and a rich culture scene.

However, it is one of the most expensive states out there, which alongside its low ranking in weather might redirect someone’s choice towards other U.S. states with warmer weather and a lower cost of living.

11. Hawaii

The most recent state to have joined the United States has also named one of the top destinations for a perfect retirement. While it is the state with the best weather of all, it’s a very expensive state.

The only two states that are more expensive than Hawaii are California and New York. However, this state is also among the top three states for cultural offerings and overall well-being.

10. Mississippi

Mississippi is also among the most convenient states for retirees. While it doesn’t have a lot to offer when it comes to the cultural vitality, its cost of living is very low which attracts a lot of retirees from other states.

Apart from the low cost of living, Mississippi scored very low on its overall well-being too. In fact it ranked 46th and 47th in the last two years for this category.

9. Nebraska

In almost all categories, Nebraska scored middle or mid-high ranks. While it definitely can’t offer beaches of California, it still has something that might attire a lot of retirees.

Nebraska has a high concentration of happy residents that reported to have good emotional, physical and mental health. In fact, it it also ranked in the top 10 states of overall well-being.

8. Wyoming

When it comes to taxes, Wyoming is the literal tax haven out of all other states. So if you’re looking for a tax-friendly state to live in, then you might want to consider Wyoming as your retirement living destination.

On the other hand, it ranked as 46th for the weather category, which might not make it the best option for people looking after warm, stable weather.

7. North Carolina

North Carolina makes a good place for retirees primarily for its pleasant climate, low cost of living and low taxes. However, it didn’t rank really well for its cultural offerings.

Retirees will definitely find North Carolina as a great place to spend their golden years, but people that enjoy spending their time on cultural events and activities might not find it as the best fit.

6. Montana

Montana was listed in the top 10 states: 6th for the low-tax category and 7th for the culture offerings. There are plenty things to do in this state, including visiting historic center of Livingston and seeing the beautiful Yellowstone National Park.

However, the state ranked pretty low in the weather category. And, in fact, Montana is a rather chilly state to live in. If you don’t mind cold and real winters, Montana can be a great place to spend your golden years in.

5. Florida

If what you’re looking in a retirement destination is weather, then Florida is definitely the best place for you. Florida ranked very high in weather, well-being and low tax categories.

On the other hand, health care quality ranked only 36th which could be a big concern for retirees thinking about moving to Florida.

4. New Hampshire

New Hampshire is not only the safest place to live, but it also provide excellent health care and a vibrant cultural life. It is also known for having low taxes, which is quite convenient for retirees too.

Two downsides to New Hampshire is its high cost of living and a pretty chilly weather. So, if you don’t mind a bit of cold, this could easily be the best place for your retirement.

3. Idaho

Idaho is a state that has had better scores for convenience and safety compared to the top two states. However, it scored really high in health score, well-being ranking and low crime rate ranking.

But, despite being more affordable than the top two states, Idaho has a higher tax burden which might not make it everyone’s best retirement destination. Also, Idaho ranked quite low for cultural options and weather conditions.

2. Utah

The second most retiree-suitable state of the U.S. is the Beehive State – Utah. It also ranked eight for taxes and 10th for health care, but it ranked quite low when it comes to weather earning only the 32nd position.

However, if weather is not the primary factor influencing your moving to a new state, Utah may be just the right state for you.

1. South Dakota

According to Bankrate, South Dakota is the best state for retirees out of all 50 states of the U.S. It’s the second most tax-friendly state in the country, but not only, the Mount Rushmore State came first as the best state for well-being in 2018.

The state also scored high for life aspects such as: relationship, lack of money stress, community, good healthcare. With Badlands National Park and Custer State Park, South Dakota is also a great place for outdoor lovers.

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