The Best and Worst States for Retirement in the US

Choosing where you will make your home during your golden years is a huge decision. There are tons of factors to consider. Some of them, like whether or not you want to be close to family, can be complicated. However, Florida Realty Marketplace can help you break down considerations like tax friendliness or healthcare quality. Some states in the country offer better benefits in these areas than others, and perhaps starting there can help you narrow down your choices.

Best States For Retirement


Along with beaches and Disney World, one of Florida’s defining characteristics is its population of retirees. Sunny, warm Florida – whose average annual temperature is second in the country only to Hawaii – has long topped the list of retirement-friendly states in the United States. Nearly a quarter of Floridians are aged 65 or older, so you can rest assured that there will be plenty of people with whom to bond and experience your golden years together. It has some of the most active and engaged senior communities in the country. Florida is also one of the most tax-friendly states for seniors, with no state income tax. You’ll also have access to tons of great Florida communities to choose from when deciding where you’ll make your home!


Known for its hospitality as well as a delicious take on barbecue, Missouri may be a great choice for those who want to settle in the Midwest. Benefits for retirees especially include a low cost of living, some of the best geriatric health care in the country, and tax benefits, especially for veterans. One of the state’s surprising secrets is that due to its lakes, it has more coastline than California, so if you’ve always dreamed of settling on a calm waterfront, you’re likely to find the perfect home for you in Missouri.


Like Missouri, Ohio’s terrain has a lot more waterfront property than people might assume. And the boundless recreational opportunities are not all that Ohio has going for it: the low cost of living, world-class healthcare, tax benefits, and the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains may tempt any retiree looking for a place to live out their golden years.


The Great Lakes State ranks third out of fifty states when it comes to the cost of living, and its residents spend 17% less than the national average. As a Michigander, you will experience the joys of small-town living, the beauty of four seasons, great geriatric healthcare, as well as gorgeous scenery and no lack of recreational activities.


This coastal state, a centerpiece of the Southeast, is one of the most affordable states in the country due to its low cost of living as well as excellent tax benefits for seniors. The year-round warm weather is another plus, with a state-wide average of 64 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Worst States To Retire In

Using criteria including affordability, wellness, culture, weather, and crime, the five worst states to retire are Montana, New Mexico, California, Maine, and Alaska. While each state still has its own advantages, you should also be aware of the potential drawbacks.


 Retiring in Montana may mean that your hard-earned retirement savings will take a big hit that could be avoided in other states. Not only is the cost of living higher than the national average, but the state taxes almost all forms of retirement income.

New Mexico

 Although New Mexico’s affordability gives it some advantage, the crime rate and low quality of life make the state less than ideal for retirement. The state’s elder abuse protections are among the worst in the country, and unlike several other states, there is a tax on your retirement income.


Though beautiful and sunny, California’s cost of living is one of the highest in the country. To live comfortably, you would need at least $71,809 in retirement savings. Compare this to the most inexpensive state to retire, Mississippi, where $45k is sufficient. 

New York

This state is one of the most costly in the continental United States. Though there is some tax relief, housing, healthcare, and other living costs are simply too high to be worth it. Retirement communities are also especially expensive in New York, and in some areas, the crime rate is much higher than the national average.


Even with the remote location and cold weather aside, Alaska is too expensive to sustain the needs of seniors in retirement. There are also other environmental considerations, such as the hazards of living so close to wildlife, as well as the psychological impact of winter days, where it can be dark for several days at a time. 

Other Considerations When Choosing Retirement Location

There is a lot to consider when choosing where you will retire. The location you eventually decide on will depend on:

  • Whether you want to be close to family or whether you’ll be comfortable traveling a longer distance to visit;
  • The climate and quality of life in the area;
  • And perhaps most importantly of all, how expensive living there on your retirement income might be.

 Some states will provide more room in your budget for taking advantage of your retirement and enjoying fun experiences. Others may offer better healthcare in exchange for higher taxes or a higher cost of living. It depends on what you will need for your best possible future. 

Best & Worst States To Retire—Tax Wise

If tax friendliness is high on your list of priorities, Florida should be at the top of your list. The Sunshine State, along with Georgia, Nevada, South Dakota, and Wyoming, is one of the best for taxes after retirement. On the other hand, states that provide no tax benefits for retirees include Vermont, Rhode Island, Maine, and California.

Best & Worst Healthcare States For Retirees

It is likely that due to the natural processes of aging, access to quality healthcare is of increasing importance to you as you search for your next home. Hawaii is considered to have the best healthcare in the country, followed by Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Meanwhile, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Mississippi are the worst three states for healthcare in the United States.

Find the Best Places to Retire in Florida

There are a lot of choices, and some may appeal to you more than others. In our opinion, a Floridian retirement sounds perfect, but don’t take our word for it. Talk to a trusted agent from Florida Realty Marketplace today to get all of the important details and begin your journey towards experiencing all the great advantages of the Sunshine State for yourself!

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