retirees in a pool surrounded by palm trees

Best States To Retire In

7-Minute Read
Published on April 5, 2022

One of the many advantages of retirement is that you aren’t limited to your current location. Once you’re no longer tied to a job, you can buy a house out of state if you wish. That’s why it’s common for many American retirees to relocate during their senior years.

Plus, there are a lot of advantages to relocating during your retirement. Moving gives you an opportunity to live in a state with a lower cost of living, better healthcare options and a lower tax burden. Since not every retiree can fully depend on their social security to cover all of their living expenses, looking for a state with a lower cost of living will be high on the list of must-haves.

Let’s discuss some of the best places to retire in (based on Census data, crime data and weather information) so you can make an informed choice that’s best for your situation.

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Top States To Retire In

When it comes to retirement, where you choose to settle down can make all the difference. The state you live in will have a huge impact on your quality of life, financial situation and even your ability to stay active and get outdoors.

So when you’re trying to decide on a retirement location, there are a few key factors to consider. The weather, cost of living, wellness, culture and crime rate are all things that will impact your ability to enjoy your retirement to the fullest.

1. Florida

There are a lot of advantages to living in Florida. You’ll enjoy lots of sunshine and nice weather year-round, and the state has a high population of adults aged 65 and older. This means there are plenty of comfortable retirement homes and communities to choose from.

Here are some of the biggest perks of retiring in Florida:

2. Arkansas

If you’re looking for an affordable and safe community to retire in, Arkansas is an excellent option. The cost of living is low, and the state has a lot of options when it comes to retirement communities. Plus, Arkansas offers beautiful scenery and lots of activities and community events.

Here are some of the biggest perks of retiring in Arkansas:

3. Nebraska

Nebraska is an affordable retirement location for most seniors. The crime rate is low, and there are a variety of activities you can engage in. However, Nebraska is located in the Midwest, so you’re going to experience all four seasons. The average temperature is 49 degrees, so you won’t enjoy the warm temperatures you’d experience in places like Florida.

Here are some of the biggest perks of retiring in Nebraska:

4. Colorado

Colorado is a wonderful place to live, thanks to the beautiful scenery and low property taxes. The state also has high rankings for quality of life, healthcare options and it's relatively affordable. However, the population for seniors is a bit lower than in other states on this list.

Here are some of the biggest perks of retiring in Colorado:

  • Visit one of many outdoor attractions like the Rocky Mountain National Park and Garden of the Gods Nature Center.
  • Calling all dog-lovers! Colorado is one of the most dog-friendly states in the country with an abundance of dog parks, dog-friendly trails and public places that welcome dogs.
  • You can visit Little Man Ice Cream, an ice cream shop located in downtown Denver that’s shaped like a giant milk bottle.

5. New Hampshire

New Hampshire is a great state for retirement thanks to the lack of personal income tax. The state receives high marks when it comes to healthcare options, and residents enjoy a high quality of life.

Here are some of the biggest perks of retiring in New Hampshire:

  • The state is known for its breathtaking ice castles — caves, tunnels and sculptures all made of ice.
  • Every year, New Hampshire holds the Exeter UFO Festival to commemorate the state’s alleged extraterrestrial event.
  • New Hampshire has an enticing variety of mountain resorts and seacoast views providing peaceful escapes in nature.

6. West Virginia

West Virginia offers an abundance of affordable housing for seniors. The property taxes and cost of living are low as well. The weather is relatively mild and the state provides quality healthcare options for all residents.

Here are some of the biggest perks of retiring in West Virginia:

  • West Virginia has tons of historical sites, including Harper’s Ferry.
  • From white water rafting, to hiking, to ziplining, there is plenty of outdoor adventure.
  • Lewisburg, a city in southeast West Virginia, is named “America’s coolest small town.”

7. South Carolina

One of the advantages of moving to South Carolina is the abundance of outdoor activities. Residents get to enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery, as well as easy access to beaches. The taxes are low and there are lots of options for affordable housing. However, retirement income does get taxed in South Carolina.

Here are some of the biggest perks of retiring in South Carolina:

  • South Carolina is one of the best states for bird watchers and has over 430 species in the state.
  • Every year, the state hosts the Spoleto Festival, one of the biggest performing arts festivals in the U.S..
  • With dozens of amazing golf courses, South Carolina is a dream come true for golf lovers.

8. Delaware

If you’re looking for a good place to retire on the East Coast, you should give Delaware a chance. With Delaware, you can enjoy the experience of retiring in a small town while still having easy access to neighboring big cities. The state has no sales tax and low property taxes, so it’s an affordable option for most retirees.

Here are some of the biggest perks of retiring in Delaware:

  • Delaware is one of just five states that has zero sales taxes and the state has incredibly low real estate taxes.
  • Delaware has over 10,000 acres of state parks and over 150 miles of trails.
  • The state offers a number of art galleries, performing art theaters and estate tours.

9. Arizona

Arizona is a great retirement location for nature lovers. You’ll enjoy warm weather and sunshine thanks to the desert location, while still having access to the mountains. This provides plenty of opportunities for retirees to be active outdoors. The housing costs are relatively low, and there is an active retirement community in the state.

Here are some of the biggest perks of retiring in Arizona:

  • You’ll have easy access to the Grand Canyon.
  • The state also offers a variety of caves, national parks, festivals and other outdoor activities.
  • Arizona has a rich Native American culture that you won’t find in many other places.

10. Utah

Utah is a great retirement option for active seniors. The weather is nice and there are lots of options for outdoor activities. Plus, the state has a low crime rate, affordable living costs and low taxes. The average life expectancy in Utah is around 80 years, which beats the national average.

Here are some of the biggest perks of retiring in Utah:

11. Kentucky

If you’re looking for an affordable place to live with nice weather, Kentucky is a great option. The state has very mild winters with lots of sunshine and warm weather in the summer. Kentucky doesn’t tax retirement income for veterans, and the taxes are relatively low. Plus, the state has a wide variety of national parks to visit.

Here are some of the biggest perks of retiring in Kentucky:

12. Ohio

Ohio offers one of the most affordable housing markets in the country, and the taxes are relatively low. The state also doesn’t tax retirement income for veterans. However, you will have to deal with some very cold winters.

Here are some of the biggest perks of retiring in Ohio:

13. Hawaii

You probably don’t need to be convinced as to why Hawaii is a great place to retire. The weather is beautiful which makes it easy for seniors to stay active and maintain a good quality of life. Plus, the crime rates are low in Hawaii. However, it is more expensive to retire in Hawaii, and the cost of senior living centers are higher than they are in other states.

Here are some of the biggest perks of retiring in Hawaii:

  • The mountains of Oahu are beautiful and make a great hiking spot.
  • There are tons of opportunities to enjoy water activities like scuba diving, fishing, snorkeling, surfing and more.
  • All winter, the weather stays between 70 and 80 degrees, so it’s a great place for anyone who prefers warm weather.

Cheapest States To Retire In

With over 50 states to choose from, let’s narrow down our list to the 15 states with the lowest cost of living for those relaxing retirement years.

  1. Florida
  2. Minnesota
  3. Iowa
  4. Ohio
  5. Texas
  6. Wisconsin
  7. Nebraska
  8. Pennsylvania
  9. Illinois
  10. Idaho
  11. Virginia
  12. Connecticut
  13. North Dakota
  14. Vermont
  15. Kansas

The Bottom Line

Choosing a retirement location is a personal choice, and different factors will be important to different people. But for most people, affordability, weather, crime rates and quality of life will rank high on their list of considerations.

All of the states outlined in this article are great options for eventual retirement destinations. If you’re considering a big move and aren’t sure where to start, learn more about senior housing and finding retirement bliss.

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Apply online for expert recommendations with real interest rates and payments.

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Patrick Chism

Born and raised on a farm in the Ozarks, Patrick has a knack for making the best out of the worst situations. Where others see flooded farmland, he sees lakefront real estate. Where others see an infestation of bees, he sees free pollination and a upstart honey shop. Patrick’s articles will help you make the most out of the least, maximizing your returns while keeping a close eye on the wallet. When he’s not writing for Rocket Mortgage, Patrick likes hiking, gardening, reading and making healthy foods taste like unhealthy foods.