From Affordability To Beautiful Weather: The Most Beneficial States To Retire in Ranked


| LAST UPDATE 06/30/2021

By Scarlett Adler

When it comes to retirement, people consider many factors before choosing a place to live. Bankrate looked at various aspects of each state, including healthcare, affordability, crime culture, and weather; Here are the results.

30. Connecticut

Connecticut definitely has some qualities that make it a good place for retirement, including a low crime rate and incredibly high wellness rate, based on Bankrate's data. However, not everything is picture-perfect in this New England state.

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Connecticut's not exactly cheap, as it's home to some of the country's wealthiest towns. However, residents who can afford the high costs have access to excellent healthcare, so some would say it's well worth the price. Connecticut's also located between Boston and New York, so these major cities are only a train ride away.

29. Indiana

Those looking for endless cornfields and vast farmlands might find that Indiana is a pretty suitable place for retirement. According to Bankrate, Indiana is one of the most affordable states in the entire country for retirees, landing the number three spot.

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Plus, there is a range of activities for retirees to do in Indiana, depending on the city, of course. And with the fair cost of living, retired folks won't have to hold back with spending. People unfamiliar with the Midwest might think moving to Indiana to be a scary change, but it can lead to lots of happiness over time!

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28. Georgia

Known for its delicious and juicy peaches, Georgia has plenty of perks, starting with the gorgeous climate, earning the state Bankrate's number five spot for the weather. However, to retire in this peachy state with room for outdoor activities year-round, you might have to compromise in some other areas.

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For example, Georgia's ranked number 35 for crime, which isn't necessarily the worst, but some retirees find it more comforting to have a lower number in that area. Bankrate also gave Georgia a 45 for culture, meaning it lacks arts and entertainment centers compared to other states, and there may not be as many folks 65 and older.

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27. Rhode Island

Rhode Island might be the smallest state in America, and some people are convinced that nothing goes on there, but believe it or not, there are countless perks of retiring in this area of New England. For starters, plenty of celebrities are Rhode Island homeowners, including Taylor Swift, Seth MacFarlane, and more.

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So there's got to be some charm there, right?! With the Cliff Walk along Newport's shores and countless other outdoor activities, Rhode Island certainly isn't the worst place to call home. Bankrate gave it impressive ratings for culture and crime; However, the homes can be a little pricey.

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26. Ohio

Ohio might not be at the top of the list for best places to retire, but it indeed still has some perks for those ready for a new chapter. This Midwestern state's cost of living is 12 percent below the U.S. average, according to Finance 101, and Bankrate ranked it number 19 for the crime category.

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Ohio's full of museums, including the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, The Cleveland Museum of Art, and many more. Unfortunately, though, Ohio was listed as number 47 in terms of wellness, which might have something to do with the high cost of health care, something that not all elderly residents can afford.

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25. West Virginia

Often referred to as "the Mountain State," West Virginia offers plenty of beautiful scenery, as long as retirees are happy to trade the beach for the mountains. Not only can residents admire the magic of the leaves changing colors during autumn, but there are quite a few financial benefits as well.

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Bankrate listed West Virginia as number 18 for affordability and crime, which leads us to believe that retirement in this state might not be such a bad idea. Plus, the people are supposedly quite friendly, so new residents don't have to worry about getting too lonely in their old age! 

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24. Michigan

When some picture life in Michigan, they might have a hard time looking beyond the freezing winters and large population of college students, but this state has a lot to offer, especially for retirees. Michigan is the only state with access to four out of five Great Lakes, making it the perfect destination for outdoor activities.

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Plus, the cost of living is relatively low, ranking number one on Bankrate's list for affordability. Michigan falls on the lower end of the list for the weather, but hey, every state has its pros and cons, right?! And, with the money one could save retiring in Michigan, a nice winter coat is likely to fit into the budget.

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23. Massachusetts

It's no secret that Massachusetts has some extremely harsh winters with freezing temperatures and endless snow, but when the warm weather hits, this place completely transforms. This state's also full of beach towns and quaint islands such as Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket, giving it a nine for culture.

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Plus, Massachusetts is home to some of the best seafood and clam chowder in the country. However, Bankrate ranked it at 43 for affordability, as the cost of living is somewhat high compared to other states. But aside from the price and the weather, Massachusetts is a dream, except to those Yankee fans, of course!

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22. Tennessee

Nashville's essentially the place to be for country music-lovers, but this iconic city is just one of many perks of being a Tennessee resident. With plenty of tourist attractions, retirees have many opportunities for socializing and exploring the community. Plus, Bankrate ranked Tennesse number 12 for affordability.

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The state is overall tax-friendly for retirees, giving folks the chance to spend some cash on the incredible restaurants and concerts. Unfortunately, though, Tennesse lacks a little when it comes to safety, ranking 46th in the crime category, making it a place for brave souls!

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21. Oklahoma

Taking Bankrate's number 10 spot for both affordability and weather is good old Oklahoma. With its unique cowboy culture, this state might not appeal to everyone but look a little further, and you just might see the perks of this place, including the cost of living.

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There are many tax benefits for those who are no longer working. On the downside, though, Oklahoma ranks 35th for wellness, and according to Finance 101, this state doesn't have as many care facilities for elderly folks as some other areas of the country.

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20. Wyoming

Home to numerous national parks, including Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming has no shortage of sights to see for both tourists and locals. Plus, the plethora of outdoor activities has landed Wyoming the 11th spot in terms of wellness, according to Bankrate.

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In terms of affordability, Wyoming is certainly up there, and it has no income tax, which is a significant benefit for many retirees. This way, those moving to Wyoming can spend less energy stressing about paying taxes and far more time exploring the landmarks in their backyard.

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19. Mississippi

Right off the bat, Mississippi scores some points for affordability, being 15 percent below the country's average. Plus, property taxes are relatively low, which can be an enormous weight lifted off retirees' shoulders. According to Bankrate, Mississippi's also known for its pleasant climate, ranking sixth on the list. 

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Residents can spend their time hiking, sailing, or practically anything else outside. However, one of the state's biggest drawbacks is its culture, coming in 49th place. And unfortunately, numerous people who left Mississippi reported it was due to the poor healthcare quality, which is a deal-breaker for some people.

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18. Idaho

If the only thing that comes to mind when picturing life in Idaho is potatoes, you're probably not alone. But believe it or not, Idaho has a lot more to offer, hence the nickname, "the Gem State." Idaho has an extremely low crime rate, for starters, so safety shouldn't be much of a concern when retiring in this state.

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Considered a quiet and tranquil state, many people see Idaho as the perfect place to relax during this new chapter. It's also quite affordable, landing Bankrate's 15th spot in that category. Plus, this Northwestern state is full of lakes, canyons, and other natural landscapes; Just not many big cities.

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17. Texas

You know what they say, everything's bigger in Texas, and evidently, that includes retirement benefits. According to Bankrate, Texas certainly has its perks with a consistently warm climate year-round and a relatively high wellness score. It's also home to the live music capital of the world, Austin. 

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One of the few things that you'll find smaller in Texas is the cost of living, which is lower than many other parts of the country, especially on the East coast. While Texas can be very appealing to many, keep in mind, its senior poverty rate is one of the highest in the country.

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16. Alabama

If you're looking for some Southern hospitality, then Alabama might be the place for you. It's home to many historic landmarks, including the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park, the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute, and many others. Plus, you won't have to worry about a long, hard winter down South.

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Bankrate ranked Alabama seventh for the weather, but unfortunately, the crime is more prevalent here than in other states, landing the 44th spot. However, if you feel safe enough to retire in Alabama, then you can enjoy the many perks, one of them being a low cost of living.

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15. New Hampshire

If you're not afraid of a couple of feet of snow, come wintertime, then consider retiring in New Hampshire, where you can take advantage of the outdoors all year long. Residents have access to skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, kayaking, and countless other activities in nature.

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However, living in New Hamshire isn't cheap, as the cost of living is 18 percent above the national average, according to Finance 101. But some people can overlook this because of the low taxes, considering retirement income is not taxed, which is a major plus!

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14. Vermont

If you were willing to experience New Hampshire's cold winters, you might also want to consider retiring in Vermont. Like New Hampshire, Vermont also offers endless outdoor activities, so most residents are pretty healthy and active. And when it comes to safety, Bankrate scored Vermont the highest, with very little crime.

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Oh, and maple syrup lovers will find some of the highest-quality syrup here. The downside of Vermont is the cost of living, which is 12 percent above the U.S. average, according to Finance 101. Plus, there aren't many tax benefits for retirees, so living in Vermont comes at a cost.

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13. North Dakota

Apparently, both Dakotas are retirement-friendly states (we'll talk about South Dakota later), and Bankrate listed North Dakota as number 13, with relatively high ratings in every category except for the weather. Before moving to North Dakota, be aware that it lacks white sand beaches, but it certainly makes up in other areas.

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North Dakota came in second place for wellness, for starters, so it looks like residents are definitely doing something right in this Midwestern state. Unfortunately, retirement income is taxed here, but those who can look past this can enjoy fishing, hiking, and more.

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12. Wisconsin

Anyone who's a cheese lover and doesn't mind the cold weather might want to consider retiring in Wisconsin. Based on Bankrate's study, it appears that Wisconsin's only downfall is the weather, so bundle up! Even if you don't love the snow, Wisconsin is a fantastic place to be in the summer if you can stick out the cold months.

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Wisconsin lies on two Great Lakes, so many residents spend the summers by the water and exercise outside whenever possible. Hence, Wisconsin's seventh-place spot in the wellness category. Plus, the cost of living is four percent below the nation's average, making many retired folks very happy.

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11. Arkansas

If you're trying to live the all-natural life upon retiring, then Arkansas very well might be the perfect place. Between the Ozark Mountains and the Mississipi River, there's plenty of natural beauty to go around. Plus, Bankrate named Arkansas the fourth most affordable state in America.

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Arkansas is also home to Crater of Diamonds State Park, one of the only places in the world where the public can mine for diamonds straight from the volcanic source. Unfortunately, Arkansas doesn't give retired folks much of a break when it comes to taxes, but every state has its pros and cons, right?

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10. Hawaii

Taking the number 10 spot for best states to retire in is Hawaii, but this oasis comes in first in terms of weather. However, based on Bankrate's study, the Aloha state has its flaws, including affordability. The cost of living has dramatically increased over the years, hence why most people see it as strictly a vacation destination. 

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According to Finance 101, it costs 87 percent more than the national average to live in Hawaii, but it's well worth it for some people. As long as you sort out your finances, then you can live a peaceful, fulfilling life in Hawaii, catching some waves, tasting the local cuisine, and embracing the scenery. 

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9. Montana

Montana's sometimes made fun of for being in the middle of nowhere, but evidently, the state's location might be one of its biggest benefits. Bankrate gave this state a two in the culture category, so clearly, there's a lot to do in Montana all year round. For those who don't mind the snowy winters, you're in luck.

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Many people head to Montana to visit Big Sky, an area within the Rocky Mountains known for incredible skiing and hiking. Therefore, you can definitely get your fix of fresh air upon retiring in Montana. But the cost of living continues to increase, probably because of Montana's growing popularity.

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8. North Carolina

Based on Bankrate's data, North Carolina and Kansas tied for their overall score, but they ranked differently in each category. North Carolina is placed relatively high for both affordability and weather, which are significant factors that many retirees consider. 

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The state rarely gets any snow and is mildly warm year-round, so residents don't have to worry about buying a snowblower. Plus, Charlotte is an incredible city with plenty to do. While the cost of living is rather affordable, retirement income in North Carolina is taxed, which is a bit of a bummer for many retired folks.

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7. Kansas

Unlike North Carolina, Kansas isn't exactly known for having the best weather, but Bankrate ranked it number seven for affordability. If you ask Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, "there's no place like home," and many Kansas residents strongly agree. And Kansas has quite a range of areas you could call home.

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From fast-paced city life to more rural communities and charming small towns, Kansas has it all. Plus, it landed Bankrate's number 21 spot in terms of wellness, which isn't too shabby either. However, the state's rates for crime and culture aren't too promising, but hey, no place is totally perfect!

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6. Kentucky

The Bluegrass State has no shortage of activities year-round, including basketball games, horse races, and more. Kentucky's cost of living is 14 percent below America's average, according to Finance 101, giving retirees some leeway with their spending, especially those who came from somewhere more expensive.

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And if you've also had that urge to whip out your favorite floppy hat and a fancy new outfit, then you're in luck because you won't have to travel too far for the Kentucky Derby. Bankrate also gave the state a crime rating of nine, which assures us that there isn't too much danger to worry about.

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5. Florida

It's no secret that Florida's a retiree hot spot, and who can blame them for heading to the sunshine state after a long life of working? Because so many retired folks reside in Florida, Bankrate's ranked the state as number 13 for culture since there are plenty of elderly folks to play shuffleboard with.

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Approximately 20 percent of Floridians are age 65 and above, so there's plenty of fun to be had in the retirement community. In Florida, turning 65 isn't the end of a chapter; truthfully, it's a whole new beginning! With numerous tax benefits and year-long sunshine, Florida's looking pretty tempting.

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4. South Dakota

If you can come to terms with the freezing cold winters and relatively humid summers in South Dakota, then it's certainly worth giving this state a chance. South Dakota's home to Mount Rushmore, along with numerous state parks, so residents can definitely enjoy some wholesome sight-seeing.

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This creates plenty of room for local activities, hence Bankrate's number 12 ranking in terms of culture. South Dakota also has a much lower cost of living than many other states, making it a somewhat affordable place to retire overall. So, as long as you've got your winter coat on standby, South Dakota might be the place for you.

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3. Missouri

Missouri and Michigan both achieved a first-place ranking for affordability. But in the end, Missouri landed the number three spot overall, according to Bankrate. The state's cost of living is 10 percent below the country's average, based on Finance 101's data, making it a great place to retire. 

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Missouri also has countless landmarks and iconic cities to either visit or reside in, so there's no shortage of activity for retirees here. From the Gateway Arch to the City Museum, the list goes on of Missouri's finest attractions. However, it has more crime than other states, so Missouri may not be for everyone.

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2. Iowa

Those looking forward to an affordable life that's full of nature might want to think about retiring in Iowa. Over 85% of its land is used for agriculture, and if you love corn, then you're in luck because Iowa produces more corn than all of the other states.

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According to Bankrate, Iowa ranked eighth for affordability and 15th for crime, leading us to believe that the state's pretty safe. Plus, this Midwestern state doesn't tax residents on Social Security, so that's an added benefit. And we can't forget about the Iowa State Fair, something some Americans look forward to all year.

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1. Nebraska

After getting an idea of some of the best states to retire in, get ready for Bankrate's number one choice: Nebraska! This might not have been what some expected, but truthfully, Nebraska appeals to those who are 65 and older in many areas, including the cost of living.

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According to Finance 101, living in Nebraska costs 12 percent less than the average in America, plus seniors have access to incredible healthcare. So, it makes sense that Bankrate ranked Nebraska eighth in the wellness category. This state also has scenic hiking trails, nature reserves, and many other outdoor destinations.

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