How to determine the best US state for your retirement

Choosing the ideal retirement destination is actually a personal and multifaceted decision. Honestly, most people already like where they live. However, if you want to move, you will need to carefully consider factors ranging from climate and cost of living to access to healthcare and socializing. By understanding your vision for retirement, conducting thorough research, and prioritizing your needs and preferences, you can select a place that feels like home for this next chapter of your life.

Remember, retirement is not just about where you live, but how you live. Here are different criteria to consider when determining which state is best for your retirement.

Home is where the heart is

When considering the best state for you to retire, you probably first want to think about your loved ones. How close do you need and want to be with family and friends? For many people, this may be the most important factor when choosing where to live.

Community and social communication

Social connections are vital to achieving a satisfying retirement. Aside from existing family and friends, retirees should look for communities that foster social engagement and provide opportunities for meaningful connections with others. Explore public places, retirement communities, social clubs, volunteer organizations and recreational groups that match your interests and values.

Building a supportive network of friends and peers can enhance your sense of belonging and well-being in retirement. Access to people and events that make you feel comfortable can also be important.

Lifestyle factors

Retirement is a time to indulge your passions and interests. Therefore, you should choose a language that enables you to access the activities you want to do.

Consider the recreational and cultural facilities available in potential retirement destinations. Whether you enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, golfing, or fishing, or prefer cultural activities such as museums, theaters, and art galleries, make sure your chosen place offers opportunities for enrichment and enjoyment.

Not sure what you want to do in retirement? Explore 120 ideas for what to do in retirement.

Housing and housing affordability

There can be different ways to afford housing in retirement. Here are two stories that illustrate the different ways people have figured out how to buy a retirement home they love:

  • I heard a couple on the radio the other day. They didn’t care where they lived, they just wanted to love their home (and be able to afford it). Their search for a retirement destination was not limited to one state, but rather searched real estate listings across the country. They eventually settled on a 3-acre property in a small town in Maine. Why? They liked the style of the house and the location suited them.
  • On the other hand, my mother did not want to move for retirement even though she lived in one of the most expensive cities in the United States. She’s offering to stay there because she bought a beautiful home in a great mobile home park that has great amenities.

So, you don’t necessarily have to move to one of the states with lower housing costs if affordability is a factor for you. There are expensive and affordable homes everywhere.

Most affordable countries: If you’re curious, here are the five states with some of the best in terms of housing affordability: Mississippi, West Virginia, Arkansas, Alabama, and Kentucky.

Low government tax rates

Taxes can be a big item in many retirement budgets. Therefore, looking at state taxes can be a deciding factor in your decision on the best state for your retirement. State and local taxes can include income tax, property tax, sales taxes, property taxes, and more.

Learn more about the best states for low taxes or compare scenarios in the NewRetirement Planner. Play one scenario with where you live now. Play another scenario with transfer to another state. We will calculate the estimated tax burden for each scenario and you can compare.

Total cost of living

US News and World Report Ranked States by cost of living. They found that:

  • Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Iowa have the lowest costs of living
  • Hawaii, California, New York, New Jersey, and Washington have the highest costs of living

Access, affordability and quality of health care

Like it or not, you will need health care in retirement. You will want to make sure that where you live provides accessible, affordable, and good-quality health care. He conducted an analysis to help provide answers about which states provide the best health care for seniors. Overall, they ranked

  • Minnesota, North Dakota, Massachusetts, California, and Nebraska round out the top five
  • Oklahoma, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, and West Virginia are at the bottom

However, different states excelled or failed on different criteria.

Quality and health outcomes: The quality of health care was assessed by assessing the rate of Alzheimer’s disease, life expectancy, cancer mortality rate, stroke disease rate, heart disease rate, proportion of adults with type 2 diabetes, and mortality rate per 100,000 people.

  • Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Hawaii ranked best in quality.
  • Mississippi, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Alabama and Tennessee ranked worst in terms of quality.

Accessibility: To assess accessibility, the study looked at physicians, geriatricians, nurse practitioners, home health aides, and skilled nursing facilities per capita. They also took into account the number of Medicare-certified clinics available, the share of doctors who chose Medicare, and the number of Medicare Part D plans available.

  • Maine, Vermont, Minnesota, North Dakota, and West Virginia provided the best access to health care.
  • Nevada, Georgia, South Carolina, Utah, and North Carolina have the worst accessibility.

Affordability: To account for affordability, they evaluated average monthly premiums, out-of-pocket spending, Medicare Advantage premiums, Medicare Supplement premiums, PDP Part D plan deductibles, prescription drug prices and maximum out-of-pocket Medicare Advantage amounts.

  • Utah, California, South Carolina, Kansas and Minnesota had the best costs.
  • Delaware, West Virginia, Connecticut, Vermont and Maryland had the worst costs.

Walkability, public transportation, and other accessibility factors

When deciding where to live, you’ll need to think about how you’ll get around. Experts say that being able to walk to activities can improve your quality of life and health. But maybe access to an airport or great public transportation is important to you.

Weather and geography

Climate and geography are major considerations for many retirees. Some may crave the warmth of year-round sunshine, while others prefer the changing seasons. Coastal areas offer beachfront living and ocean views, while mountainous areas feature stunning scenery and outdoor recreation opportunities.

Think about how climate and geography affect your daily life and overall well-being.

Natural disasters and other risks

Along with the weather are climate-related disasters. You may crave Florida’s warm, tropical climate, but don’t want to deal with the threat of hurricanes. Arizona has extreme summer heat. California has wildfires and earthquakes. Almost everywhere there are potential risks and burdens related to natural disasters.

CoreLogic He analyzed the risks of wildfires, inland flooding, severe convective storms, winter storms, earthquakes, and tornadoes and determined that the following 10 counties are safest from natural disasters:

  1. McKinley, New Mexico
  2. Duchesne, Utah
  3. Conejos, Colorado
  4. Emery, Utah
  5. Summit, Colorado
  6. Pondera, Montana
  7. Saguache, Colorado
  8. Uintah, Utah
  9. Mesa, Colorado
  10. San Miguel, Colorado

Where is the best country to retire?

The truth is that most people stay put in retirement, but those who want to transition have a lot to consider. Think carefully about your options. Use the NewRetirement Planner to run financial scenarios for your move.

Along with all the quality of life issues, you’ll need to consider financial factors, including:

  • State income taxes (the planner will do this automatically when you enter the transfer zone)
  • Property Tax Changes (Add to Recurring Expense Budget)
  • Cost of living differences (reflected in the recurring expense budget)
  • Medical cost changes (after 65 costs, the planner will do this automatically by location if you use the estimator)
  • Insurance costs (some areas have much higher costs than others)

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