Retirement Age

Best US States for Retirement: Top Picks for a Comfortable Life

Last Updated on:
October 16, 2023
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Choosing the best state to spend your golden years in is a crucial decision that can greatly affect your overall quality of life. As you evaluate various options for your retirement, there are some essential factors to consider, including affordability, healthcare quality, and climate conditions. Several studies and rankings have been conducted to help determine which US states provide the best environment for retirees.

Some states might offer a lower cost of living, while others have excellent healthcare facilities or pleasant weather conditions throughout the year. Safety, recreational and social opportunities, as well as transportation and accessibility, are also important features that contribute to a comfortable and fulfilling retirement experience.

Key Takeaways

  • The best states for retirement excel in affordability, healthcare quality, and climate conditions.
  • Key factors in choosing a retirement destination include safety, recreational opportunities, and overall quality of life.
  • Accessibility and transportation options are essential aspects to consider when selecting your retirement haven.


When considering the best states for retirement, affordability is an essential factor. To help you make an informed decision, we will focus on two key aspects: the cost of living and tax benefits.

Cost of Living

When you retire, managing your expenses becomes crucial. Living comfortably and stress-free requires selecting a state with a lower cost of living. States like Iowa and Michigan are known for their relatively low living costs. These states offer several advantages, including:

  • Housing: Affordable housing options can make a significant impact on your overall expenses. Both Iowa and Michigan offer reasonable housing rates compared to the national average.
  • Healthcare: Access to quality, affordable healthcare is essential for retirees. Iowa and Michigan boast high-quality healthcare facilities at a lower cost than many other states.
  • Transportation: Low transportation costs contribute to the overall affordability of these states, making it easy to explore and enjoy your surroundings without breaking the bank.

Tax Benefits

Another critical factor to consider is a state’s tax benefits for retirees. Some states offer significant tax advantages that can help stretch your retirement savings even further. Here are a few notable examples:

  • Florida: Florida has no state income tax which means that your pension income, Social Security, and other retirement income will not be taxed at the state level.
  • Nevada: Similar to Florida, Nevada also does not have a state income tax. Additionally, Nevada offers tax-friendly policies for property owners, which can help reduce costs for retirees who choose to buy a home there.

When it comes to finding the best state for your retirement, affordability should be one of your top priorities. By evaluating the cost of living and available tax benefits, you’ll be well on your way to finding the perfect location to enjoy your golden years.

Healthcare Quality

Access to Healthcare

When considering retirement, it’s important to evaluate the access to healthcare in the states you are considering. Some states stand out for their exceptional healthcare services, such as Massachusetts, which has the lowest percentage of uninsured individuals over 65 and offers ample options for nursing homes and hospice care.

In addition to insurance coverage, you should also consider factors such as the availability of healthcare providers, the ease of making appointments, and the proximity of medical facilities to your potential retirement location. States with higher healthcare access scores indicate a more comprehensive and accessible healthcare system for you to enjoy during your retirement.

Healthcare Facilities

The quality of healthcare facilities is another crucial factor in determining the best states for retirement. Some top-ranking states for senior healthcare include Minnesota and Massachusetts, which boast an impressive array of quality healthcare facilities, including hospitals, nursing homes, and specialized care facilities.

When assessing healthcare facilities, consider aspects such as:

  • Patient outcomes and satisfaction rates
  • The range of services offered
  • Technical equipment and capabilities
  • Availability of specialized care for conditions that may affect you during retirement

Taking the time to explore the healthcare quality in potential retirement states helps ensure that you can enjoy access to top-notch medical care as you transition into this new phase of life. This investment in research will help provide you with peace of mind and contribute to a comfortable and healthy retirement.

Climate Conditions

When considering your retirement destination, it’s important to take into account the climate conditions. You want to choose a state with pleasant weather, ensuring that your golden years are comfortable and enjoyable.

One option to consider is California, where you’ll find pleasant temperatures year-round. Southern and central California coastal cities like Long Beach, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Santa Maria have average daily highs no less than the mid-60s for any month. Moreover, summer temperatures generally stay below 85 degrees Fahrenheit, ensuring it doesn’t get too hot.

Another state known for its desirable weather is Hawaii, which offers a tropical climate, warm temperatures, and the advantage of being surrounded by beautiful beaches. The Aloha State also boasts a unique cultural experience, outdoor activities, and distinct natural attractions.

States like Arizona and Texas are popular retirement destinations as well, offering warm climates and plenty of outdoor activities. These states can, however, experience extreme heat during the summer months, so it’s essential to consider whether you can tolerate the heat before making a decision.

Lastly, if you prefer milder climates, states like Vermont and Maine offer cooler temperatures, beautiful natural landscapes, and a range of outdoor activities. These states can experience colder winters, but if you enjoy a mixed climate, they might be the perfect fit for you.

By researching your options and taking climate conditions into account, you’re more likely to find a retirement destination that suits your preferences and ensures a comfortable, enjoyable experience throughout your golden years.


When considering the best states for retirement, safety is an essential factor. A secure environment provides peace of mind, ensuring that you can enjoy your retirement years without worries. In this section, we will look into the safety aspects of various states.

States with a low crime rate are typically more desirable for retirees. Some states like Virginia, known for its consistently strong performance across various retirement criteria, also boasts lower crime rates. However, you should not solely rely on the overall crime rate, as different cities within a state may vary significantly in safety levels.

It’s crucial to research specific neighborhoods and cities of your preferred state. Websites like Bankrate can help you compare various states and cities, providing you with a comprehensive ranking that considers factors such as cost of living, public health, and safety metrics.

Additionally, natural disasters and extreme weather conditions can impact your safety during retirement. States like Florida and Louisiana are prone to hurricanes, while California experiences earthquakes and wildfires. Make sure you are comfortable with the climate and potential hazards associated with a state before making a final decision.

In conclusion, prioritize safety when choosing the best state for your retirement and carry out thorough research on crime rates, neighborhood trends, and weather conditions. A sense of security and well-being will ensure you can fully embrace the opportunities that retirement has to offer.

Recreational and Social Opportunities

Outdoor Recreation

In your retirement, you can explore the great outdoors in states like Georgia, which offers wonderful opportunities for hiking, fishing, and enjoying nature. With numerous state parks and natural wonders, you can fill your days with adventure and fresh air. Additionally, states like Colorado and Washington have ample skiing and snowboarding options, making them ideal for retirees who enjoy winter sports.

Cultural Activities

Retirement offers the perfect chance to immerse yourself in the arts and culture scene. States like Connecticut put you in close proximity to major cities like Boston and New York City, where you can enjoy a wide range of museums, theaters, and galleries. Furthermore, states like New Mexico and California boast vibrant and unique cultural experiences, such as traditional festivals and local artistic communities.

Social Clubs and Events

Building a strong social network is essential in maintaining a fulfilling retirement. Many retirement-friendly states offer various social clubs and events catering to diverse interests, such as gardening, book clubs, and volunteering opportunities. For example, in Ohio, you can find welcoming communities in places like The Village of Indian Hill, which fosters a strong sense of belonging through events, recreational facilities, and local organizations.

Remember, it’s essential to prioritize recreational and social opportunities that align with your interests when choosing the best state for your retirement.

Transportation and Accessibility

When selecting the best state for your retirement, it’s essential to consider transportation and accessibility. After all, you want to be able to easily get around, explore new places, and access important services.

Some states, like Florida, are known for their well-developed transportation systems. In Florida, you’ll have access to public transit, airports, and a vast network of highways, allowing you to travel easily throughout the state.

Another state to consider is Virginia, which boasts excellent road connectivity and a number of airports, including the busy Washington Dulles International Airport. Additionally, Virginia offers Amtrak services for convenient interstate travel.

For retirees seeking great accessibility via public transportation, Colorado is an attractive option, particularly the Denver metro area. The Regional Transportation District (RTD) provides bus and light rail services, connecting you to key destinations in the city and beyond.

Don’t forget to consider the walkability of potential retirement states as well. A location with accessible sidewalks, walking paths, and nearby amenities can make a world of difference for you during your retirement years. States like Oregon offer many walkable cities and towns that can benefit your overall wellbeing and independence.

Remember, your transportation and accessibility needs may change during retirement. Keep in mind factors like proximity to healthcare facilities, shopping centers, and social activities when choosing the best state for this exciting chapter of your life.


As you consider your options for the best U.S. states to retire in, keep in mind the key dimensions of affordability, quality of life, and health care. WalletHub has conducted a detailed study, comparing the 50 states on these factors to identify the most retirement-friendly states.

In addition to statewide considerations, it’s essential to assess the specific cities that may be ideal for your retirement. WalletHub has also researched the best U.S. cities for retirement, comparing 182 cities across the country.

Taxes may be a significant concern during retirement, and some states are known to be particularly tax-friendly for retirees. According to a Kiplinger analysis, states like Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado, Delaware, and Tennessee have retiree-friendly tax policies.

Furthermore, affordability is a crucial factor in determining the ideal location for your retirement years. Bankrate has analyzed all 50 states to identify the 10 most affordable states for retirees. Iowa emerged as the best overall state for retirement, followed by other states with lower costs of living.

By weighing these factors and considering your personal preferences, you can make an informed decision on where to spend your retirement years. Remember, finding the right balance between financial needs, healthcare access, and quality of life is essential for a fulfilling retirement.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most affordable states for retirees?

The most affordable states for retirees include Mississippi, Oklahoma, Kansas, Alabama, and Georgia. These states have lower tax rates, cheaper housing costs, and more affordable day-to-day necessities such as groceries, public transportation, and medical care.

Which states have the lowest taxes for retirees?

Some of the lowest-tax states for retirees include Tennessee, Florida, Wyoming, and South Dakota. These states offer significant tax advantages for retirees, making them attractive destinations for retirement.

What are the best states for seniors on a budget?

Seniors on a budget should consider states with low living costs, such as Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee, as well as those with low tax rates, making them more budget-friendly. Keep in mind, additional factors such as healthcare facilities and overall quality of life should also be considered.

Which states offer the lowest cost of living for retirees?

States with the lowest cost of living for retirees include Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Alabama. These states have relatively low housing costs and inexpensive day-to-day necessities, which help stretch your retirement dollars further.

Which states do not tax Social Security income?

States like Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, and Illinois do not tax Social Security income, making them favorable options for retirees looking to save on taxes in their golden years.

What are the top recommendations by AARP for retirement locations?

AARP’s top recommendations for retirement locations might vary based on various factors. It is advisable to visit the AARP website for their latest rankings and recommendations based on factors such as affordability, healthcare, and livability.

Written By:
Bryan Henry
Hi, I’m Bryan and I am delighted to make your acquaintance. Finances and business are my passions, and I have devoted myself to becoming an expert on all things related to money management. As the founder and owner of my own successful enterprise, I have acquired invaluable hands-on knowledge about entrepreneurship, budgeting, investing, and more.