What are the best and worst states to retire to?

Have you thought about moving to a new state when you retire? On this episode of A Wiser Retirement™, Casey Smith is joined by Michaela Dowdy to talk about the 5 best and worst states to retire to. The states on the list might surprise you!

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Bub’s Run

The 4th Annual Bub’s Run is honored to benefit CURE Childhood Cancer, a dynamic organization that provides countless support services to children and families enduring impossibly difficult diagnoses, while also funding targeted research to someday put an end to childhood cancer. The race will be held on Saturday, May 4, 2024 at North Cobb Christian School. Click here to learn more or to register for the race.

Retirement Stats

  • More than 338,000 Americans moved to retire in 2023. 
  • More than 40% of people who plan to move in retirement say lowering living costs is a top consideration. 
  • For those choosing to retire out of state, Florida was again the No. 1 destination in 2023. Florida attracted around 1 in 10 (11%) of all retirement moves that went to a different state. 
  • As for the states retirees are leaving, the greatest share of relocating retirees came from California, with 18% of all retirement moves that crossed state lines originating in California. New York contributed a further 11% of retirees seeking a new place to live outside their home state. 

5 Best States to Retire to:

  1. Iowa: Low cost of living, affordable but high-quality healthcare, and low crime.
  2. Delaware: High-quality healthcare, a light tax burden, and one of the nation’s highest percentages of over-65 residents. One negative is affordability. 
  3. West Virginia: Low cost of living and a light tax burden.
  4. Missouri: Affordable, but struggles with its quality of healthcare, crime, and is prone to natural disasters.
  5. Mississippi: Affordable, nice weather and low crime, but struggles with its quality of healthcare and overall well-being.

5 Worst States to Retire to:

  1. Alaska: Coldest average temperatures of any state, along with the highest violent crime rate and the second-worst internet access.
  2. New York: High cost of living, doesn’t tax Social Security benefits, but it has a state income tax and also partially taxes retirement account withdrawals and private pensions.
  3. California: High cost of living, prone to natural disasters, high taxes.
  4. Washington: High cost of living, high crime rates near large cities like Seatle.
  5. Massachusetts: Taxes most private pensions, as well as 401(k) and traditional IRA withdrawals. It also taxes investment income, with a 5% state long-term capital gains tax and a 12% tax on short-term capital gains. Has the third-highest home prices out of the 50 states.


Things to Consider Before Moving When You Retire:

  • Cost of living 
  • Consider a trial run in a new place to make sure you like it
  • Access to healthcare and quality of healthcare
  • Taxes
  • Climate
  • Proximity to family
  • Quality of life and activities available 


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