The 15 best — and worst — states in the US for retirement

Tybee Island, Georgia

Most Americans spend over a decade planning for the golden years of retirement, with many relocating to areas with better weather or a lower cost of living. 

A new study by Bankrate.com analyzed the best — and the worst — states in the US to retire in. The final rankings are based on five key factors: affordability, wellness, weather, culture, and crime. 

Georgia was determined the best state to retire in, ranking No. 3 in overall affordability and No. 4 in weather. The peach state’s only low score was in the culture category — compared to other states, Georgia was found lacking in art and entertainment hubs and has a low percentage of residents over the age of 65. 

Surprisingly, Massachusetts was listed among the top 5 best states for retirement with the No. 1 wellness category score. To measure wellness, Bankrate used the Sharecare Community Well-Being Index, which factors in access to health care, access to food, physical health, and economic security.

The study ranked Maryland as the worst state to retire in, scoring low in the culture, weather, affordability, and crime categories. 

"From a financial perspective, there are a lot of things to consider." Clark Kendall, author of "Middle-Class Millionaire," told Bankrate. "Maryland not only has an income tax, but we’re also one of only seven states that has an estate tax."

Bankrate determined each state’s affordability scores using the Council for Community and Economic Research’s 2020 Cost of Living Index and the Tax Foundation’s 2020-21 property and sales tax rates.

Following Georgia, the next best states to retire in are Florida, Tennessee, Missouri, and Massachusetts. However, advisors emphasized that personal preferences, such as proximity to family, must also be taken into consideration. 

The 15 best states to retire in:

  1. Georgia
  2. Florida
  3. Tennessee
  4. Missouri
  5. Massachusetts
  6. Wyoming
  7. Arizona
  8. Ohio
  9. Indiana
  10. Kentucky
  11. North Carolina
  12. West Virginia
  13. South Dakota
  14. Wisconsin
  15. Utah

The 15 worst states to retire in: 

  1. Maryland
  2. Minnesota
  3. Kansas
  4. Montana
  5. Alaska
  6. Maine
  7. Arkansas
  8. Alabama
  9. Idaho
  10. Connecticut
  11. Washington
  12. Louisiana
  13. Illinois
  14. California
  15. Iowa

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Hannah Towey July 7, 2021 at 11:54PM

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