Where Are the Best States to Retire in America?

There’s a lot more to retiring well than saving money and making wise investments. Once you’ve built yourself a decent nest egg and finished a long career, there’s at least one more question you need to consider before you retire: Where should you go to enjoy the most wellness (both physical and financial) in retirement?

Whether you’re nearing your actual retirement date or you’re just dreaming about how it might look and feel, it’s worth considering a 2017 study by WalletHub.com that ranked all 50 states from best to worst in which to retire. The research considered not only affordability factors like cost of living and tax-friendliness but also quality-of-life measures such as crime rates and labor markets.

As the report shows, the financial wellness and quality of life retirees enjoy varies widely from state to state. Here are the top 10.

  1. Florida. It’s probably not surprising to find the Sunshine State topping the list. It’s long been a traditional retirement haven because of its beaches and mild weather. But you should also know it tops all states in terms of affordability based on adjusted cost of living and tax-friendliness to those with pensions and Social Security income. Florida also scored high in quality of life, placing eleventh in the nation.

  2. Wyoming. Affordability was the main factor helping Wyoming to the runner-up spot. And you may want to retire there if you’re looking for low taxes. Wyoming ranked fourth in the nation with an effective total state and local tax rate of 7.43%. Only Alaska, Delaware and Montana enjoy lower rates.

  3. South Dakota. Here we have a case of superb health care drawing retirees. Only Minnesota scored higher than South Dakota by that measure. And if you want to keep earning a paycheck in retirement, it’s also a state that welcomes older workers. South Dakota boasts the fourth highest percentage in the nation of workers age 65 and over.

  4. Iowa. High marks in quality of life and health care (ranked sixth and fifth respectively) combine to make Iowa an ideal place to retire.

  5. Colorado. What’s not to love about the Colorado weather? Relatively low tax rates and a high share of seniors in good health who are physically active help this state to make the top five overall.

  6. Idaho. This state is one of the safest, with the fifth-lowest property-crime rate in America. Add in its general affordability and solid health care access, and you’ve found another solid spot to enjoy life after work.

  7. South Carolina. Because of its low tax impact (8.84% is the ninth-lowest nationwide) and amenable cost of living, South Carolina winds up not only as the seventh-most affordable state to retire but also the seventh-most desirable overall.

  8. Nevada. Settling here for retirement is not a gamble. In fact, Nevada offers its retired residents the sixth-best level of affordability in America and a high quality of life, ranking ninth on that score.

  9. Delaware. Here we have another case of incredibly low taxes making for an attractive retirement environment. At 6.07%, Delaware features the second-lowest overall tax impact anywhere.

  10. Wisconsin. In every measure of retirement happiness, Wisconsin scores remarkably similar to fourth-place Iowa. In both cases, a helpful mix of strong health care offerings and high quality of life mean plenty of people will want to spend their retirement years in these states.

Remember that ultimately a fulfilling retirement depends less on where you live and far more on how well you’re prepared for life. Financial and physical problems don’t disappear just because you’ve stopped your formal career. As you think about the best location for your dream retirement, keep working to lay a solid and lasting financial foundation today that will help ensure you can really enjoy life after work.

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