The best & worst states for retirement


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When you think about retirement your brain almost automatically conjures images of Florida but is that the best you can hope for in retirement? While the weather is almost perpetually hot and sunny, weather does not a retirement make.

To find out which states are the best and worst places for retirement we looked at 32 different rating factors across 6 categories including: affordability; crime and poverty; culture; weather and location; and health and wellbeing to help you find the best place to spend your golden years.

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To determine the best and worst states for retirement, Finder compared the states and Washington, DC across 32 ranking factors. We scored each factor on an index with scores closer to 0 representing the states with the best drivers and 100 representing the states with the worst drivers. A score of 50 suggests the average score across all the states and DC.

Our broad categories were weighted evenly at 20 points for each:

  • Affordability
  • Crime and poverty
  • Culture
  • Weather and location
  • Health and wellbeing


  • Cost of living index
  • Median annual income for seniors
  • Average yearly OASDI (Social security) for retired workers
  • Social Security income taxed?
  • Withdrawals from retirement accounts taxed?
  • Public and private pension income taxed?
  • Property Tax Rate
  • Inheritance tax?
  • Estate tax?
  • Adult Day Care Median Monthly Costs
  • Home Care Median Monthly Costs
  • Assisted Living Median Monthly Cost
  • % of seniors that could not see doctor b/c of cost in the past 12 months

Crime and poverty

  • Senior poverty rate
  • % of seniors that are food insecure
  • Violent crime per 100k people
  • Property crime per 100k people
  • Burglary per 100k people
  • Larceny-theft per 100k people

Culture and Arts

  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments per 100k people
  • Food Services and Drinking Places establishments per 100k people
  • Golf courses and country clubs establishments per 100k people
  • Senior volunteer rate

Weather and Location

  • Air pollution
  • Drinking water violations
  • Natural disasters per 100k sq miles
  • Coastal shoreline mileage
  • National Park Service acres per 100k people

Health and well-being

  • Number of healthcare benchmarks for seniors that are at least average
  • Life expectancy
  • Senior deaths per 100k people
  • Risk of social isolation among seniors

Sources: Data used to create this ranking were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Social Security Administration, Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, Tax Foundation, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ),, America’s Health Rankings, Feeding America


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51. West Virginia

Affordibility: 57.7

Crime and poverty: 16.7

Culture: 0

Weather and location: 20

Health and well-being: 25

Overall score: 23.9

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50. Oklahoma

Affordibility: 72.5

Crime and poverty: 14.3

Culture: 25

Weather and location: 11.4

Health and well-being: 21.4

Overall score: 28.9

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49. District of Columbia

Affordibility: 49

Crime and poverty: 12.3

Culture: 55.4

Weather and location: 7.2

Health and well-being: 31

Overall score: 31

Image Credit: Frontpage/shutterstock.

48. New Mexico

Affordibility: 52.8

Crime and poverty: 1.8

Culture: 14.5

Weather and location: 51.6

Health and well-being: 38.2

Overall score: 31.8

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47. Louisiana

Affordibility: 67.6

Crime and poverty: 4.2

Culture: 17.2

Weather and location: 38.1

Health and well-being: 32.8

Overall score: 32

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46. Texas

Affordibility: 70.3

Crime and poverty: 7.2

Culture: 10.7

Weather and location: 28.6

Health and well-being: 46.5

Overall score: 32.6

Image Credit: DenisTangneyJr.

45. Alabama

Affordibility: 71.7

Crime and poverty: 16.7

Culture: 14

Weather and location: 40.5

Health and well-being: 27.5

Overall score: 34.1

Image Credit: Sean Pavone.

44. Mississippi

Affordibility: 72.2

Crime and poverty: 26.9

Culture: 10.6

Weather and location: 39.4

Health and well-being: 23.1

Overall score: 34.4

Image Credit: stevegeer.

43. Kentucky

Affordibility: 59.7

Crime and poverty: 50.5

Culture: 15.9

Weather and location: 20

Health and well-being: 30.3

Overall score: 35.3

Image Credit: Zillow.

42. Arkansas

Affordibility: 66.7

Crime and poverty: 12.1

Culture: 23.9

Weather and location: 44.1

Health and well-being: 29.8

Overall score: 35.3

Image Credit: Tara Ballard.

41. Tennessee

Affordibility: 73.1

Crime and poverty: 10.4

Culture: 25

Weather and location: 42.5

Health and well-being: 28.1

Overall score: 35.8

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40. South Carolina

Affordibility: 70

Crime and poverty: 6.7

Culture: 35

Weather and location: 30

Health and well-being: 45

Overall score: 37.3

Image Credit: SeanPavonePhoto.

39. Georgia

Affordibility: 72.5

Crime and poverty: 29.2

Culture: 11.9

Weather and location: 35.9

Health and well-being: 40

Overall score: 37.9

Image Credit: SeanPavonePhoto.

38. Missouri

Affordibility: 59

Crime and poverty: 28

Culture: 28

Weather and location: 43.2

Health and well-being: 36

Overall score: 38.8

Image Credit: Zillow.

37. Ohio

Affordibility: 64.1

Crime and poverty: 42.2

Culture: 33.3

Weather and location: 33.3

Health and well-being: 23.3

Overall score: 39.3

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36. Arizona

Affordibility: 62.4

Crime and poverty: 26

Culture: 16.2

Weather and location: 44.8

Health and well-being: 55.7

Overall score: 41

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35. Washington

Affordibility: 53.8

Crime and poverty: 16.7

Culture: 25

Weather and location: 53.3

Health and well-being: 58.3

Overall score: 41.4

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34. Illinois

Affordibility: 57.6

Crime and poverty: 46.9

Culture: 45.3

Weather and location: 28.7

Health and well-being: 34.5

Overall score: 42.6

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33. Indiana

Affordibility: 66.5

Crime and poverty: 49.1

Culture: 40.3

Weather and location: 32.2

Health and well-being: 31.3

Overall score: 43.9

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Affordibility: 53.8

Crime and poverty: 0

Culture: 100

Weather and location: 20

Health and well-being: 50

Overall score: 44.8

Image Credit: AnujSahaiPhotography.

31. North Carolina

Affordibility: 65.6

Crime and poverty: 27.5

Culture: 35.3

Weather and location: 54.1

Health and well-being: 42.7

Overall score: 45

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30. Kansas

Affordibility: 59.3

Crime and poverty: 39.7

Culture: 54.4

Weather and location: 33.5

Health and well-being: 40.4

Overall score: 45.5

Image Credit: Zillow.

29 Michigan

Affordibility: 65.5

Crime and poverty: 51.8

Culture: 37.5

Weather and location: 45

Health and well-being: 30.3

Overall score: 46

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28. Nevada

Affordibility: 69.4

Crime and poverty: 23.5

Culture: 34.1

Weather and location: 53.6

Health and well-being: 50

Overall score: 46.1

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27. California

Affordibility: 58

Crime and poverty: 29.4

Culture: 42.9

Weather and location: 48.2

Health and well-being: 54.4

Overall score: 46.6

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26. Utah

Affordibility: 55.1

Crime and poverty: 36.1

Culture: 29.2

Weather and location: 53.3

Health and well-being: 62.5

Overall score: 47.3

Image Credit: Nebo Loop Road, Between Payson and Nephi, Utah (26) by Ken Lund (CC BY-SA).

25. Florida

Affordibility: 77.6

Crime and poverty: 33.7

Culture: 27.5

Weather and location: 51.7

Health and well-being: 46.4

Overall score: 47.4

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24. Pennsylvania

Affordibility: 64.7

Crime and poverty: 72.3

Culture: 45.8

Weather and location: 28.3

Health and well-being: 31.3

Overall score: 48.5

Image Credit: AppalachianViews.

23. Oregon

Affordibility: 43.8

Crime and poverty: 39.8

Culture: 63.5

Weather and location: 44

Health and well-being: 53.9

Overall score: 49

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22. Wisconsin

Affordibility: 53.8

Crime and poverty: 66.7

Culture: 75

Weather and location: 0

Health and well-being: 50

Overall score: 49.1

Image Credit: Zillow.

21. Rhode Island

Affordibility: 35.7

Crime and poverty: 66.7

Culture: 63.6

Weather and location: 30.9

Health and well-being: 50

Overall score: 49.4

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20. Maryland

Affordibility: 52.2

Crime and poverty: 48.4

Culture: 39.2

Weather and location: 50

Health and well-being: 57.5

Overall score: 49.4

Image Credit: James_Lane.

19. Virginia

Affordibility: 75

Crime and poverty: 70.8

Culture: 25

Weather and location: 40

Health and well-being: 43.8

Overall score: 50.9

Image Credit: DenisTangneyJr.

18. Hawaii

Affordibility: 50.1

Crime and poverty: 38.5

Culture: 40.4

Weather and location: 56.4

Health and well-being: 69.2

Overall score: 50.9

Image Credit: Art Wager.

17. New Jersey

Affordibility: 53.3

Crime and poverty: 85.8

Culture: 41.3

Weather and location: 25.4

Health and well-being: 52.5

Overall score: 51.7

Image Credit: aimintang.

16. New York

Affordibility: 46.2

Crime and poverty: 61.1

Culture: 54.2

Weather and location: 52.2

Health and well-being: 50

Overall score: 52.7

Image Credit: Eloi_Omella.

15. Nebraska

Affordibility: 50.5

Crime and poverty: 54.4

Culture: 69.6

Weather and location: 47

Health and well-being: 47.8

Overall score: 53.8

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14. Delaware

Affordibility: 73.2

Crime and poverty: 49.2

Culture: 52.9

Weather and location: 28.5

Health and well-being: 73.8

Overall score: 55.5

Image Credit: mdgmorris.

13. Connecticut

Affordibility: 45.7

Crime and poverty: 78

Culture: 61.4

Weather and location: 41.6

Health and well-being: 57.4

Overall score: 56.8

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12. Massachusetts

Affordibility: 48.4

Crime and poverty: 69

Culture: 59.5

Weather and location: 53.5

Health and well-being: 55.2

Overall score: 57.1

Image Credit: Rolf_52.

11. Colorado

Affordibility: 59.8

Crime and poverty: 44.1

Culture: 50

Weather and location: 55.3

Health and well-being: 78.4

Overall score: 57.5

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10. South Dakota

Affordibility: 63.2

Crime and poverty: 40.7

Culture: 80.6

Weather and location: 53.3

Health and well-being: 50

Overall score: 57.6

Image Credit: RiverNorthPhotography.

9. Alaska

Affordibility: 51

Crime and poverty: 27.2

Culture: 64.3

Weather and location: 78.4

Health and well-being: 68.9

Overall score: 58

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8. Vermont

Affordibility: 33.8

Crime and poverty: 80

Culture: 85

Weather and location: 40

Health and well-being: 60

Overall score: 59.8

Image Credit: ” DonLand”.

7. Iowa

Affordibility: 60.5

Crime and poverty: 65.3

Culture: 73.6

Weather and location: 42.3

Health and well-being: 60.7

Overall score: 60.5

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6. Minnesota

Affordibility: 49.8

Crime and poverty: 66.1

Culture: 66.7

Weather and location: 62.2

Health and well-being: 61.1

Overall score: 61.2

Image Credit: JoeChristensen.

5. Montana

Affordibility: 49.3

Crime and poverty: 49.3

Culture: 88.6

Weather and location: 67.5

Health and well-being: 52.1

Overall score: 61.3

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4. Maine

Affordibility: 42.3

Crime and poverty: 76.9

Culture: 82.3

Weather and location: 54.9

Health and well-being: 55.7

Overall score: 62.4

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3. Idaho

Affordibility: 60.2

Crime and poverty: 88.2

Culture: 49.3

Weather and location: 58.4

Health and well-being: 60.5

Overall score: 63.3

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2. North Dakota

Affordibility: 49.5

Crime and poverty: 60.4

Culture: 87.5

Weather and location: 71.2

Health and well-being: 59.4

Overall score: 65.6

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1. New Hampshire

Affordibility: 72.5

Crime and poverty: 97.6

Culture: 70.3

Weather and location: 33.3

Health and well-being: 72.6

Overall score: 69.3

Image Credit: DenisTangneyJr.

Expert tips on retirement planning

We didn’t want to just give you the best and worst states to retire. Finder also reached out to experts to provide some essential retirement tips. Check out these five retirement planning words of wisdom.

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1. Automate your retirement savings

“Don’t rely on yourself to manually save money every month. You want to automate your retirement savings. As soon as your income comes in, set up automatic transfers to move money from your checking to investment accounts, such as an IRA or taxable account.

“If you’re behind in your retirement savings, it can be overwhelming to think about increasing the amount you save, like going from a 10% savings rate to 20%. A good tip here is to start small and increase your savings rate in increments. For example, look to increase your savings rate 1% every three months. In 2.5 years time, you’ll have increased your savings rate by 10%.”


– R.J Weiss, CFP, founder of The Ways to Wealth

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2. Make investing a priority

“Suppose you receive a $5,000 annual raise early in your career. If you simply invest that $5,000 annually into an investment account growing at a 10% annual rate, you will have accumulated over $822,000 in 30 years. You will have invested a total of $150,000 and have earned $672,000 from those investments.

“And, lest you believe that a 10% average annual return is unrealistic, according to Ibbotson Associates, since 1926 the average annual return on a large capitalization stock index (think S&P 500) is 10.2%, while investments in long-term government and long-term corporate bonds have on average grown annually by 5.5% and 6.1%, respectively.”


– Robert R. Johnson, PhD, CFA, CAIA , Professor, Heider College of Business, Creighton University

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3. Use the power of compound interest

“One way to retire faster is to start making money with the money you have. This technique is usually referred to as compound interest. Basically, what this means is that you receive interest on the money you’ve saved, and then start receiving interest on the money you save plus the interest gained.

“The more money you have saved, the more money you’ll earn through interest, and then the more money you’ll get as a result. It’s a snowball effect which can help you to save a lot more further down the line and might just cause you to be able to retire earlier than you originally planned.”


– George Birrell CPA & Founder of TaxHub

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4. Squeeze as much money out of Social Security as possible

“A pension guarantees you a lifetime income, but they’re rare in the private sector these days. There’s been some research, though, that shows a lot of younger workers are looking at annuities as a replacement for pensions.

“These are a kind of financial arrangement you pay into when you’re planning your retirement. Then, when you retire, they pay you a fixed amount of money every year for as long as you live. That’s a number you can depend on and plan around – without having to worry about outliving your retirement savings.

“One more thing you need to consider is how to squeeze as much money as possible out of Social Security. You can start collecting your benefits as young as 62, but the younger you collect your Social Security benefits, the smaller your benefits.”


– Terry Turner, Senior Writer at

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5. Avoid Relocation Stress Syndrome

“Simply moving to another city, state or region in the U.S. can be a disruptive life event: health experts have identified a set of symptoms that occur when individuals move from one environment to another and have labeled it Relocation Stress Syndrome’ (RSS).

“So regardless of what people read in the popular press, retiring to an ‘affordable paradise’ is a much more complicated and stressful process than many folks might imagine!”


– Timothy G. Wiedman, D.B.A., PHR Emeritus, Associate Prof. of Management & Human Resources (Retired), Doane University


This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by

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