When it comes to retirement one of the most popular solutions that people make to lower their cost of living is to pick up and move from one state to another. While in many ways this is a solid financial choice there are many factors that need to be taken into account before leaving for what might seem like greener pastures. The fact is, while there are some states that have no state taxes, the same states usually make up for that fact by charging higher taxes elsewhere. Other things like crime rates, cost-of-living and access to medical care are also important to keep in mind if you’re considering moving to another state in retirement.
Recently there was a list out by Bankrate that analyzed a number of different things and their findings were very interesting, to say least. We bring you those findings (in rather abridged form) about the 10 worst states to live in the United States if you’re going to retire. Some of them may look good from the outside and indeed steal your heart but, when you look deeper, you will find that they are lacking in one way or another that is important to retirees. We’re not saying that these states aren’t beautiful, just that they aren’t exactly what we’d call ‘senior friendly’. We’ve listed them in descending order from worst to first. Enjoy.
Delaware, while boasting excellent beaches, hiking trails and other natural amenities in abundance, can also be quite tough on retirees. While it’s state and local taxes are low the cost of living is higher than average, access to medical care is quite a bit below average and Delaware happens to have one of the highest crime rates in the country (even though it’s one of the smallest states). While it might be called the First State, Delaware certainly isn’t the 1st state that you should consider moving to if you’re going to retire.
With weather that is some of the coldest in the entire country and a cost of living that makes your wallet feel cold, Minnesota is one tough place for retirees no matter what Garrison Keillor might want you to believe. Not only do state and local taxes eat up your retirement money faster than a hungry teenager but, when you combine that 10.8% will with other taxes including property and sales tax, you find that Minnesota has the second-highest tax situation in the United States. While their crime rate is below the national average and their access to medical care is good, the combination of snow and taxes is one that retirees should definitely avoid.
Tied at number seven are Maryland and Vermont because both have a high cost of living and high state and local taxes. While Maryland has average temperatures Vermont has long cold winters that can be tough on retirees. Maryland might not get the snow but they certainly get the crime as it’s worse than the national average, one of the main factors being that it’s so close to Washington, DC. Of course Maryland does boast many other attractions as well as Vermont, attractions that may be enough to bring their retirees in. (Just don’t say we didn’t warn you.)
Another state that can be quite cold, with an average temperature of about 42°, is Maine. In fact it’s colder than every other state except North Dakota and Alaska. Add that to the fact that Maine’s cost of living as well as their state and local taxes are some of the highest in the country and you clearly see why it falls on this list. While it does have a lower than average crime rate and excellent access to medical care the temperature and the taxes make it hard state to love for retirees.
At over 11% local and state taxes and with a cost of living is well above the national average, Wisconsin comes in at number 5 on the list. It’s also one of the coldest states in the country so, even though it does post a low crime rate and some fantastic scenery, it’s hard to enjoy them when there’s 5 feet of snow blocking you from leaving the house. Unless you’re prepared to put on your snowshoes and fire up the snowmobile you probably should look at another state if you’re going to be retiring soon.
Like a fancy restaurant California keeps increasing their prices on everything and, in fact, has one of the highest costs of living in the country. Besides New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, California has the highest state and local taxes and has higher than average crime and lower than average access to hospitals and healthcare. While there is much to be said about their beaches, vineyards, sunshine and abundant nature the simple fact is that, at least for retirees, California is no picnic.
Washington state’s number three on the list and, although it has stunning natural beauty, it also has a crime rate and cost of living that are both well above the national average as well as being one of the coldest states in the nation with an average annual temperature of only 50°F. While in Washington is one of nine states where there is no personal income tax they more than make up for it in state and local taxes that are near 9.5%.
With a cost of living that’s the second highest in the nation (Hawaii is number one), Alaska is also one of the most extreme states when it comes to cold weather and is by far the coldest state in the United States with an average temperature of just under 36°F. While it doesn’t charge its residents sales tax or state income tax and indeed has the lowest tax rate in the country, the cold is just one factor that can’t be ignored, especially for retirees.
And number one is the state of Oregon which, unfortunately, is bad for retirees on a number of levels. It is higher than the national average in terms of crime rate, state and local taxes and cost-of-living and it is also one of the coldest states, with an average yearly temperature of just under 53°F. These things put it at number one on the list even though Oregon certainly has plenty of opportunities for people to experience many brilliant outdoor activities. Still, for the average retiree, this beautiful state should only be considered as a place to visit, not to live.
As we said when we started, this list should not be misconstrued as our way to put down any of the lovely states included herein. Retirement and retirees come with a very different set of needs and, simply put, these 10 states just don’t supply enough of them to make them worth moving to (especially if you are living on a retired person’s budget). We hope this blog has been helpful and that it has given you some useful information whether you’re retiring now or not going to be hitting your golden years for a little while longer. Make sure to come back and visit us again soon for more excellent information about a large range of topics. See you then.