The 5 Best and 5 Worst US States To Retire in 2023

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Deciding where to spend your golden years is a pivotal choice, encompassing personal preferences and financial considerations. Retirement beckons a new chapter of life, offering the freedom to embrace relaxation and pursue dreams. To assist in navigating this significant decision, Bankrate’s comprehensive research delves into the best and worst states to retire in 2023. Evaluating factors ranging from affordability and healthcare to crime and overall well-being, this insightful analysis sheds light on the most suitable retirement destinations.

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#1. The Best State to Retire: Iowa’s Affordable Charm

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Iowa, a state known for its farmlands and peaceful countryside, has emerged as the surprising top choice for retirees in 2023. The appeal of Iowa lies in its affordability, making it the sixth cheapest place to live in the U.S. This advantage is particularly attractive to retirees on fixed incomes. With a median home price of $239,400, significantly below the national median, and below-average homeowners insurance costs, Iowa’s housing market stands out.

The state also boasts a favorable tax environment, exempting Social Security benefits and retirement income for those aged 55 and older. Not to mention, Iowa offers a high-quality healthcare system with lower healthcare costs compared to other states. Plus, nearly 20 percent of the population is 65 years or older, ensuring a potentially vibrant retirement-age community.

#2. Delaware’s Well-Being and Tax Perks

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Delaware takes second place for retirees, thanks to its emphasis on well-being and tax benefits. High-quality healthcare and a moderate tax burden combine to offer a favorable environment for retirees. The state ranks near the top for racial and ethnic diversity, arts and entertainment establishments, and wellness. With one of the nation’s highest percentages of residents over 65, Delaware provides a sense of community for retirees. However, its affordability score is its weak point, ranking 31st in the nation for the cost of living.

#3. West Virginia: The Affordable Gem

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West Virginia, an unexpected contender, secures a spot in the top five due to its remarkable affordability. A low cost of living and a light tax burden contribute to this ranking. While the state performs moderately in terms of wellness, placing 26th, it stands out for its affordability, particularly appealing to retirees looking to make the most of their savings.

#4. Missouri’s Mixed Bag

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Missouri claims the fourth spot primarily due to its affordability, making it an attractive destination for retirees on a budget. However, the state faces challenges in terms of healthcare quality, crime rates, and natural disasters. Despite these setbacks, its affordability factor remains a strong draw for potential retirees.

#5. Mississippi: Sun Belt Surprise

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Mississippi’s position in the top five is driven by its affordability, favorable weather, and relatively low crime rates. However, the state faces challenges in healthcare quality and overall well-being, impacting its overall ranking. Mississippi’s affordability and climate continue to make it an intriguing option for retirees seeking warmth and cost savings.

#50. Alaska’s Chilly Reception for Retirees

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Alaska finds itself at the bottom of the list of retirement destinations due to a combination of factors. Affordability and weather are the major contributors to its low ranking. The state’s remote location and harsh climate can pose challenges for retirees seeking a comfortable and accessible environment. Additionally, high living costs and less favorable tax conditions make it a less attractive option for those looking to stretch their retirement savings.

#49. New York’s High Costs and Challenges

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New York’s appeal as a bustling metropolis is counterbalanced by its high cost of living and taxes, landing it among the worst states for retirement. Despite its cultural attractions and vibrant atmosphere, the financial strain associated with housing, taxes, and healthcare costs can overshadow the benefits for retirees. These factors, combined with New York’s ranking as one of the most expensive states to live in, make it a less favorable choice for those seeking affordable and stress-free retirement years.

#48. California’s Sunny But Costly Retirement

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While California boasts beautiful weather and a plethora of recreational opportunities, its high living costs, taxes, and housing expenses drag down its ranking for retirees. The state’s real estate market remains competitive, leading to expensive housing prices that can strain retirement budgets. Even the allure of year-round sunshine and scenic landscapes is countered by the challenges of affordability, making California a less practical choice for retirees looking to maximize their retirement income.

#47. Washington’s Dampened Retirement Prospects

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Despite its picturesque landscapes and urban attractions, Washington faces drawbacks as a retirement destination. The state’s ranking suffers due to its cost of living, healthcare costs, and crime rates. While the Pacific Northwest offers natural beauty, retirees must contend with relatively high living expenses and potential challenges in finding affordable healthcare services. These factors, along with concerns about safety, dampen Washington’s appeal as a retirement haven.

#46. Massachusetts: Challenging Retirement Horizons

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Massachusetts rounds out the list of worst states to retire in, primarily due to its affordability and healthcare costs. While the state offers cultural richness and historical significance, its high living costs and healthcare expenses can create financial strains for retirees. These challenges, coupled with the state’s unfavorable tax environment, contribute to Massachusetts’ lower ranking for retirees seeking a more financially comfortable and stress-free retirement experience.

Source: Bankrate.

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Annika Stepanov

Annika is passionate about personal finance and travel, pouring her extensive experience into her writing on these topics. She has a diploma in Creative English Writing and has been working in the industry since 2016.