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The Best (and Worst) States for Retirement

Written by Nickel - 2 Comments

Ever thought about which states are the best (or worst) for retirement? Well, FCN contributor Richard Barrington (who is also the head honcho over at Money-Rates.com) recently crunched the numbers and came up with an answer.

In doing this, he looked at the following factors:

  • Cost of living
  • Property taxes
  • Unemployment rate
  • Violent crime rates
  • Property tax rates
  • Climate
  • Life expectancy for seniors
  • Recent population growth in the senior demographic

The results, some of which might surprise you, are listed below.

Top 10 states for retirement

Here are the top 10 (well, 11 due to a tie at the end of the list) states…

1. Hawaii
2. Idaho
3. Utah
4. Arizona
5. Virginia
6. Colorado
7. (tie) Florida
7. (tie) New Mexico
9. South Dakota
10. (tie) California
10. (tie) Texas

So, yeah. Hawaii is number one. This is a bit surprising due to the extremely high cost of living, but it’s outweighed by all of the other factors. In other words, if you can afford it, Hawaii is a great place to retire.

Bottom 10 states for retirement

And here are the 10 at the other end of the spectrum.

10. Rhode Island
9. Maryland
8. Maine
6. (tie) New York
6. (tie) Ohio
5. Massachusetts
4. Illinois
2. (tie) Alaska
2. (tie) Pennsylvania
1. Michigan

For its part, Michigan was below average in every single category which was enough to put it dead last on Richard’s list.

If your state wasn’t on either list, take heart. You might not be living in one of the best states for retirement, but at least you’re not in the worst.

Source: Best States for Retirement, Worst States for Retirement via Money-Rates.com

Published on November 14th, 2012
Modified on November 15th, 2012 - 2 Comments
Filed under: Retirement

About the author: is the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. He's a thirty-something family man who has been writing about personal finance since 2005, and guess what? He's on Twitter!

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2 Responses to “The Best (and Worst) States for Retirement”

  1. 1
    Lance @ Money Life and More Says:

    I agree I was surprised with Hawaii. I’d think cost would be the highest weighted factor because most retirees don’t have that much money.

    Glad to see Florida on the list!

  2. 2
    ratnerstar Says:


    1) What’s the difference between “property taxes” and “property tax rates?”

    2) What metric does he use for “climate” and how is it not inherently subjective? Some of us might find the climate of Maine much more amenable than the climate of Florida.

    3) If I’m retired, why do I care about the unemployment rate?

    4) If we’re going to be subjective anyway, how about including a quality of life metric?

    5) Most of the metrics he’s using will vary considerably across a single state. In fact, all of them will, except for the last two, and that’s only because he’s (presumably) defined them at a state level.

    Overall, I judge this to be a member of the “Bottom 10 Articles about Retirement.”

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