Best States to Retire

A large number of Americans are expected to retire within the next decade. Close to 15% of the U.S. population is now aged 65 or older. And, that figure is expected to rise to over 20% by 2025. While baby boomers are increasingly ignoring the traditional retirement age of 65, millions of retiring Americans are looking to find a place to live out their post-work years.

Various factors have made some U.S. states more attractive than others, influencing where people choose to retire. Weather, taxes, and housing affordability are among the primary factors incentivizing people to move upon retirement. Proximity to medical services, safety, and recreational facilities and activities are a draw as well. Retirees also seek out peers, gravitating toward retirement communities designed to fulfill their needs.

So, where should you retire? Depending on who is asking, this question will have many different answers. There are several important factors that should help narrow down the search. recommends you consider the following when asking “Where should I retire?”:

  • Cost of Living
    • For most seniors, affordability is the most important factor when deciding where to live. What is the median home price? What is the total state and local tax burden? Does the state tax IRAs, pensions, etc.? What is the median income? What is the state’s overall cost of living? If you’re planning to work part-time, is the unemployment rate low?
  • Family and Friends
    • How important is it to live near family and friends? Do you want to live within driving distance of your grandkids? Do you want to have built-in friends around you? Or are you comfortable making new friends?
  • Climate
    • Are you tired of cold, wet winters? Consider the South or Southwest. Don’t like long, hot summers? Try the Northeast or upper Midwest. Does the humidity bother your arthritis? Consider a state like Arizona or New Mexico in the dry Southwest. Coastal areas in states such as Florida can experience frequent tropical storms and hurricanes. Are you prepared to deal with potential evacuations, boarding up your home’s windows, and other safety measures? Insurance costs in hurricane zones can be astronomical. Northeastern states experience long and cold winters with little sunshine.
  • Activities
    • You now have more time on your hands than ever. How do you plan to spend it? Golfing? Fishing? Hiking? Mountain biking? Volunteering at the local history museum? Do you already have hobbies that you want to continue? Or are you interested in trying something new? Get a feel for that city or town’s (your hobby) community by going on-line. Check out local clubs and associations. Having a college or university in town means you can continue your education. It also means more cultural activities and sporting events. Do you need a world-class arts community? Consider being close to a large city. If you’re a traveler make sure you live close to a major airport.
  • Healthcare 
    • At some point you may need more frequent and possibly more urgent medical attention. Is there quality care nearby? If you have a specific medical need are there facilities close by that can address that need?

WalletHub compiles an annual list of the best states to retire. Here are their latest top 10 best states to retire:


The reasons why these states were selected varies from the best places for affordability and health care to states with a high quality of life for seniors. And while there can be vast disparities even within the same state, Florida continues to rank number 1 as it has long been a hot spot for retirement, is tax-friendly, and the most affordable state. Florida has one of the lowest taxes of any state, with no personal income tax and no estate tax. The rest of the states offer the most retirement-friendly amenities and services in the nation. Where you choose to retire is based on what’s most important to you. Be sure to talk with your Madison Wealth Management Financial Advisor about your personal retirement goals and how to make sure you’re on track to achieve them.