Best Places to Live When You Retire

As we grow toward middle age, a person tends to think a lot more about retirement. As we go on into our mid-forties and waterfall and riverfifties we start to think about having enough money, where to live, and how is our health going to be as we age. Even though it is advised for people to plan for retirement at an early age, the unfortunate thing is many don’t begin to think a lot about it until it is too late. A good thing now is a person is not restricted to one place when they retire and has the option to live or travel anywhere they wish.

The way our technology is we can live about anywhere in the world and still stay in contact with our loved ones and friends. I wanted to talk only of places to retire in the United States because that is where the majority of the people are going to retire. Some may live overseas part time, but most retire in the U.S. What are some things to consider when looking for the best place to retire and have you adequately planned so that you can retire in the ideal location, or are you going to have to stay where you are?

Many opt to retire right where they have lived most of their lives, while others, if possible move to where there is a betterimage tax burden climate or better facilities for a senior population. I want to talk a little about the five things a person should consider as early as possible before their retirement and why it is becoming more difficult for seniors to find the best places to live when you retire.

Tax Rates

Probably one of the major decisions a person should make is the taxes they will have to pay in a particular state. Often this is difficult because of our continually changing government. All the things we are going to talk about here involve us being able to adapt to change and everyone knows tax laws vary regularly. Take a look at some of the taxes in some of the states that have no state income tax.

State                 Tax SSI      Income Tax      Sales Tax           Property Tax

Texas                       no                no                  8.25%                 2.06%

Florida                    no                 no                  6.80                   1.05

New Hampshire   no                 no                   none                 2.03

South Dakota        no                  no                   6.40                 1.38

Nevada                   no                  no                   8.14                    .64

Alaska                     no                  no                   1.76                    .96

What about states that have state income tax how do they compare with the other taxes?

State                 Tax SSI          Income Tax     Sales Tax       Property Tax

California               no                13.3%              7.25%                 .75%

Hawaii                   no                  11                    4                          .27

Oregon                   no                  9.9                   no                    1.10

Minnesota             yes                  9.85               6.875               1.17

Iowa                      some               8.98                6 1                      .50

From these numbers, one could say that the states with no income tax have higher sales and property tax, while the opposite is exact for the states with an income tax. Taxes are hard to calculate because of all the deductions and variables involved in all the different regulations. We also have to remember these are prone to change at least every two to four years. All one has to do is look to Washington; when the Democrats are in control taxes will go up, but when the Republicans take back control taxes go back down.

In the last election, the individual income tax was lowered while many lost several deductions such as interest on home loans and state income tax. Not to mention all the state, county, and city tax laws that change regularly with each election. All this make it very difficult for someone to plan their retirement too far ahead.

Cost of Living

Another significant consideration is the cost of living in a state where one could be considering retirement. And what is usually the case is the states with the most taxes also have the highest cost of living. I think we can all agree the cost of living rises each year steadily at a rate higher than our income. That is why it is imperative that seniors on a fixed income examine the value of each state’s cost of living.

cost of living index

As we can see the states with the highest income tax and sales tax also have the highest cost of living index. Once again the cost of living can change almost yearly in all the states. There are many factors involved here when pricing goods and services; it depends on what the government may be doing at the time, such as minimum wage laws, environmental rules, regulations, and any fees they may impose upon a company or person. Once again as we near retirement one should look closely at the state where they are thinking about living the rest of their life.

Medical Care and Hospitals

Healthcare should be at the top of everyone’s list because we all know we are not going to stay fit the rest of our lives. Once again this is difficult to determine because of all the changes, mainly brought about because of government intervention. The United States still has some of the best health care of any country in the world, so we should not complain about having to pay more, but in some states, we all know it is getting out of control.nurse and patient

Everyone should do a thorough search about hospitals and doctors in the state where they are thinking about moving. With today’s technology, this is very easy to do. It may take some time on the internet, if you don’t feel comfortable doing it, get a young person to help you out.

All relevant hospitals and doctors are listed on the internet in each state, along with their specialty and with individual ratings by patients. The one thing to be careful of it is straightforward for someone to put anything about anyone on the internet, so one has to do more than just search the web. To do a thorough check of a doctor, it may be a good idea to talk with their patients and verify any negative reviews.

Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire are three of the top-rated states for healthcare, while Alaska, Mississippi, and Louisiana are rated at the bottom for overall healthcare. Most of this information is from WalletHub, and you can read more on their website.

Here are some other facts from CMS.gov:

National Health Expenditure increased 3.9% to $3.5 trillion in 2017, or $10,739 per person, and accounted for 17.9% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Medicare spending expanded 4.2% to $705.9 billion in 2017 or 20 percent of complete NHE.

Medicaid spending rose 2.9% to $581.9 billion in 2017 or 17 percent of total NHE.

Private health insurance spending grew 4.2% to $1,183.9 billion in 2017 or 34 percent of total NHE.

Individual spending increased 2.6% to $365.5 billion in 2017 or 10 percent of total NHE.

Hospital expenses grew 4.6% to $1,142.6 billion in 2017, slower than the 5.6% growth in 2016.

Physician and clinical services expenditures grew 4.2% to $694.3 billion in 2017, a slower growth than the 5.6% in 2016.

Prescription drug spending increased 0.4% to $333.4 billion in 2017, slower than the 2.3% growth in 2016.

The highest percentages of total health spending were sponsored by the federal government (28.1 percent) and households (28.0 percent).

The individual business share of health spending accounted for 19.9 percent of total health care spending, state and local governments accounted for 17.1 percent, and other personal revenues accounted for 6.8 percent.

Yes, these numbers are stunning, and it makes us wonder how we can adequately plan for a worry-free retirement?

Crime                         cuff links and gavel

States with the least amount of crime? That is very hard to clarify as these statistics change so rapidly. As it is with taxes, there are many things to consider, such as violent crimes per 100,00 people, murder rate, imprisonment rate, and poverty rate. With these parameters, Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire are the safest states to live in, while Alaska, New Mexico, and Nevada are the most dangerous.

But, once again we need to look to crime in individual cities. Larger cities tend to have a higher crime rate, and at the same time, the overall crime rate for a state may be below average. Seniors may want to live away from the larger cities and reside in a less populated area of a county, but we need to take into consideration the problems associated with getting around in our older days. Because of your health, you may need to be closer to shopping, a clinic, and other conveniences associated with a big city.

It could be that when you are nearing retirement to take a close look and the overall crime stats of a state. At the same time, you may want to check the tax rates for each state and make a comparison of the crime rate. Tax-wise Alaska has the best overall tax rate of all states, but it also has the highest crime rate overall.

Climate and Weather

Another consideration, the weather! When we talk about climate and weather a persons health is a significant concern. Do ice cloudsyou have arthritis or do you have allergies? We all know a state with a lot of moisture is not good for arthritis, and the states where the winters are short have a lot of pollen in the air that creates respiratory problems. What about breathing problems; states such as Colorado with its higher elevation tend to create breathing problems.

Overall California is rated among the top state to live in as far as weather. Temperatures in summer typically stay below 85 degrees. And there’s limited rain, usually less than 20 inches a year. Skies are frequently clear, with Los Angeles recording sunshine for 73 percent of the time.

In Hawaii, the monthly medium-high temperatures for Honolulu on the island of Oahu and Kahului on Maui linger in the 80s all year. It rains fewer than 20 inches yearly in both areas. Plus, there’s plenty of sun, with Honolulu receiving 71 percent, and Kahului only somewhat less.

Being such a large state, one has to look at all the different areas of Texas. We can find about any weather in Texas, and that is why so many people retire in Texas. Temperatures in the Brownsville, Victoria area, for example, stay quite mild in winter, but summers here get hotter than many other places in the U.S. touching highs in the mid-90s. Galveston is somewhat cooler year round with normal monthly highs from 61 degrees in January to 90 in August. Del Rio has the driest climate, with just 19 inches of rain annually, while the rest typically receive 30 or 40 inches. Sun for these areas averages about 60 percent.

Florida and Arizona are two other states that rank high on the list of best places to retire. Arizona being the drier climate, much like Del Rio in Texas and Florida’s climate being more like Galveston with the moisture. Oklahoma, Ohio, and Iowa are three states that are considered to have the worst weather.

One could say peoples thoughts on weather vary greatly. When reading about all this, I found different opinions about different states. While one article had Texas in the top ten another had Texas rated in the lower ten areas. As in all the other things to consider, the number one thing to do is do your research in several different publications.

Conclusion

What can a person determine from my article here? Maybe now you are more confused than before, and I can see why. In our world today everything is changing, almost daily. We can understand the weather changing, but do our taxes have to change so often and yes as taxes go up so does the cost of living. When you have the government running our health care and telling everyone how to live, there is going to be change and confusion, also.

The main thing is to do your research several years before you get ready to make that final move. It may be a good idea to settle on two or three retirement states, several years before retirement, and keep track of the things we talked about here. Many seniors today opt to travel more; instead, it is in an RV traveling around the country or spending time on a cruise ship, our technology today makes traveling a lot easier. Yes, even though we can go more these days that can soon grow tiresome and we must have a permanent place to call home.

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Thank You for reading and Please Comment Below!!

19 thoughts on “Best Places to Live When You Retire

  1. Stratos K

    Unfortunately very few people plan early of their retirement with most don’t think about it until they reach that point and as a result this can create very unfortunate situations. Planning ahead is the best course of action and your article makes it very good to cover all aspects someone should think of. There are so many parameters to think of that it can become a hard effort to make a clear plan and hopefully your blog will help people with that. Thank you for sharing all this info.

  2. Ayodeji

    This is a great article about places someone can retire to. Really helpful. I will definitely retire to one of these places as long as the cost of living ain’t gonna exhaust my retirement funds and pensions then. Can’t ignore the weather and climate too just like you mentioned, I have a sensitive skin and takes a while to adjust to different weather, but at a retirement age I think it will take more time. Thanks for these, your informations are precious. 

  3. Jon

    I once took an online quiz intended to identify places that would be most appropriate for me to retire to. Several of the top-ten choices provided were, no lie, about ten miles from where I live now. I was already living the dream!As you had pointed out, many people do, in fact, retire in place, in familiar surroundings, places where they already have support systems in the form of family and friends.  But those can’t be the only considerations. I think the metrics you cover in your piece are all important considerations that have to be taken into account, particularly medical care. I know no one wants to think about it, but you will get sick, and the quality of care in a given area truly does make a difference.

    Thank you for the article!

    1. Wayne

      Thank you, Jon, yes I was hoping to cover most of the factors when planning where to retire. And as you say many times it is good to stay where you are used to living. Thanks

  4. Angella

    I dont know why I laughed at the tax picture so hard! Lol. 

    I really enjoyed reading this blog. It was very interesting in my opinion. It’s nice that you have all the facts stated here. 

    I have also looked at a few other posts on your website. You site really is filled with good and useful information!

    1. Wayne

      Thank you Angella, for all your nice comments, they are appreciated. Stay in touch!

  5. Funmi

    This is a thorough article and I particularly love how this makes me reflect on the things I am doing now to prepare for retirement, It is so important for us to put these things such as places to live? taxes? in perspective so as to enjoy our old age healthily. this article is worth sharing. Thanks. 

  6. Kenechi

    The truth stands. A lot of people don’t plan for their retirements and they go about doing the the things that may not really matter most or things that may matter but they think less of how much well they wanna be when they eventually retires. Planning retirements is good and I think is good living in some exortic places in the United States. 

  7. Gracen

    Hello Wayne! Your article on best places to live after retirement is on point. Like you rightly said, often times we don’t give thought to where we will live until when the retirement is almost at hand. From my experience (i.e close relatives) people often retire and decide to move closer to their love ones, although case abounds of people that move to a favourable climate or less noisy environment, while some retire to less populated places away from bustling of city lives. The factors you listed for one to consider when choosing a place to live after retirement are indeed very important, highest on the lists for me are the crime rate, climate/weather and of course Medical care.

  8. Glen

    One factor in choosing a place to retire that I don’t see mentioned very often is proximity to family and friends. Sometimes being close to family and friends outweighs all the other factors.  Other times it will limit the number of choices of locations to move. When it comes to costs, retirees and soon-to-be retirees need to assess total annual costs of taxes (federal and state income plus property taxes). Housing costs may be a determining factor more than income taxes.

    1. Wayne

      You are right Glen, many do choose to retire close to their families, but at least the technology today makes retiring away a little easier. Thanks

  9. IAN

    Hello Wayne.

    I’m sure retiring and living an appropriate lifestyle is a big fear on everyone’s mind. I hope to one day to put that fear to rest.

    I have seen quite a few family members not preparing for the future, and it doesn’t have bright outcome. I will take to mind what you said to look for when considering retirement.

    Do you think the factors will change in the decades to come?

    1. Wayne

      Hello Ian, that was my intentions for writing this article, to make everyone aware of all that they need to think about before retiring. I am not holding out hope that things will change, at least not in the near future. Thanks and talk soon. 

  10. tayo

    You make a fantastic point about able to live anywhere in the world and stay in contact. I too think I can move more or less anywhere I like, with the main parameter being the sort of medical care I’d find available locally (and not getting shot by an over eager police officer—see below). 

    I’ve watched other people grow old in front of me and for those who were overweight and inactive, it wasn’t pretty. My intention therefore is to get a hold of enough willpower somehow to go into the gym regularly (lol). I’d really like to find somewhere where there is good and affordable geriatric healthcare, the weather’s nice, the people are friendly and it’s safe. 

    That said, and as a black man, I have absolutely no intention of moving to the States to retire, as I do not wish to be shot—as I mention above—simply because I’m reaching for my identification. 

    If ever you revisit this subject and look into such places as the Caribbean, Asia or southern Europe (or even somewhere completely “out there” like South Africa) then I’d be really interested in coming back and reading more. You have my email address, so please feel free to contact me then.

    1. Wayne

      Yes, Tayo I have been researching many places outside of the U.S. for seniors to retire. When I get that article ready I will email you. There are many who find places to live overseas that have a great climate, a better tax system, and good healthcare.  

      You don’t want to believe all that you read in the news about black men getting shot. Our media has a habit of over exaggerating what really took place. You don’t have the chance to look at all the circumstances around a specific incident like I do. Most time it turns out to be more than what the media is reporting. 

      Thanks and hope to talk soon. I can calm your fears of living in the U.S.

  11. Abagatan

    How I wish to go to other country when I retire but it costs so much. I don’t know if I’m right that this time USA is still one of the best places to retire. New Zealand is also one I think because it’s not so populated. Philippines is trying to give the best for seniors too but budget is not enough. We only enjoy discounts from food, travel, and medications cost. Besides we, of all the taxes listed in this post Philippines is 12%. The citizens all pay for any added tax included in anything you buy and the capitalists enjoy having the gains from their exploitative businesses.

    It’s confusing to have a choice but maybe in the USA someone can have the option to transfer to another state not like in the Philippines you cannot escape unless you are a US citizen.

    1. Wayne

      Thank you for your comment Abagatan. There are many places around the world for our seniors to retire. As I was saying technology makes living anywhere a lot easier, but one still has to do research, so to check into all their options. Best to you and stay in touch.

  12. Dave

    Hi Wayne

    I’m not quite ready to retire, but I am witnessing Grandparents and Parents (and in-laws) preparing for and settling into theirs.

    I am an American living in Australia, so outside of the US retirement seems to be handled differently, but the general results seem the same. In the US, there is a very diverse set of options (50 states, plus DC and other territories). In Aus, there are 5 states and 2 territories. Cost of living is very high basically everywhere. Either it’s high housing and retail in the cities or high fuel and food costs in the more remote areas.

    Would you consider doing an article on retiring outside of the US, even like Canada?

    In general, it seems that there are a lot of options in the US.

    I like the specific facts you put in from CMS, AND that you directly referred to your source, with the link. Great work.

    Would you classify rural areas better or worse than cities or suburbs?

    You may also want to discuss proximity to family or other relational support structures…friends, community groups. My 90+yo grandmother still lives in a Northern Maine, but being close to family is very important to her. Others may feel differently and would prefer being with people their own age, making new friends and not being too concerned about being close to older friends, etc.

    My parents, ironically, live across the street from an aged care facility but are still very self sufficient.

    You may also want to talk a little about costs of moving, or setting up a house for a retiree (costs and amenities), public transportation and other infrastructure. With regard to my parents, they are in the middle of a small city, close to shops, etc. but there isn’t much in the way of public transport (buses, etc.). I don’t think they would like to use them anyway, but some people would.

    The links to the crime stats is also really good.

    Overall, you’ve got some great information, and it’s very well organized, with great links to more information. I also think you hit it on the head that people must do the research and don’t wait til the last minute.

    One more thing…while I agree with your politics, you may want to downplay your political position. 🙂 The facts, sir…just the facts.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers and good luck.

    1. Wayne

      Thank you, Dave, for all of your comments. Yes, you are right about the politics, but they are a major part of the problem, as far as always making changes. Do they not do this in Australia? 

      I read a lot about people that retire overseas. I have been thinking about such a post. Many claim it is much more reasonable to live in some of the other countries. 

      I guess that is convenient, your parents not being far from the senior care facility. I help and watch over 87-year-old old mother who lives right behind me. 

      Thank you for commenting and hope to talk soon!

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