10 Best States to Retire: These States Want You To Retire There

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

February 12, 2016 — In looking for your best place to retire it is nice to know that there are some states that really want you. They have taken concrete steps to make themselves more desirable for retirees. These states (and many towns) know that the homes retirees buy and the money they spend locally can be an important, and clean, industry. They call it the “Mailbox Economy” – where the local industry takes the form of the pension, 401(k), dividend/interest, and Social Security checks that arrive in local mailboxes and bank accounts every month. Some of these states might come as a surprise.

We developed this list of the top 10 retirement states in two ways. We first attacked it from the negative angle – ruling out states with factors that tend to repel retirees. Then we considered some of the positive things states do to attract people in retirement.

10 States That Do the Best Job of Attracting Retirees
Our list includes most of the states that have no income tax, with two exceptions. We excluded Washington (high estate taxes on relative small estates), and Alaska (an expensive place to live and very cold in winter). Here are the 10 Best States to Retire by our criteria:
Florida. No income or estate tax. A top notch program to protect homeowners from property tax increases. Not to mention a warm winter climate.
Nevada. No income tax, no income or estate tax
South Dakota. No income tax, no income or estate tax
Texas. No income, estate or inheritance taxes. A Certified Retirement Community program
Wyoming. No income tax, no estate or inheritance taxes
Louisiana. Certified Retirement Community program, no estate or inheritance taxes
Mississippi. Certified Retirement Community program and some of the lowest property taxes in the nation, no estate or inheritance taxes
North Carolina. Certified Retirement Community program, no estate or inheritance taxes
West Virginia. Certified Retirement Community program, no estate or inheritance taxes
Tennessee. Retire in Tennessee Program, no no estate or inheritance taxes

Having developed our top 10 list, this next section will show you the logic for how we developed it.

Obvious problem states
An easy list of states to exclude are those that tax Social Security benefits, since there are only 13 of them. They are: CT, CO, KS, MO, MN, MT, ND, NE, NM, RI, UT, VT, and WV (some of these exclude a portion of these benefits). Although the taxes you pay Social Security are probably not going to be too onerous, taxing those benefits is not make a “retirement-friendly” statement.

Contenders – Those with No income tax
There are seven states that have no income tax: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming. Obviously that makes those states attractive to retirees interested in minimizing taxation. Tennessee and New Hampshire are also considered tax friendly because they don’t tax earned income. However, since they do tax some interest and dividend income, which is often an important source of support for retirees, that by itself doesn’t propel them to retirement-friendly status.

Homestead and other Property Tax Exemptions
Although almost all states and many cities have some type of program to control or reduce property taxes on people over 65, most of them are extremely limited and pertain only to people with limited incomes. However a few have taken action that protect practically everyone, not just those with low incomes or over 65. Two of the most far-reaching programs are in California and Florida, and they definitely help retirees. It is worthwhile checking when considering a state or municipality to see if you might qualify for property tax relief – it can make a difference.

California’s Proposition 13 restricts annual increases of assessed value of real property to an inflation factor, not to exceed 2% per year. However if you sell your home and buy a new one the taxes will be computed on the value at the time of purchase, so the law tends to discourage people from moving. Florida’s Save Our Homes program limits the annual increase in assessment so that it does not exceed the lower of the following:
a. Three percent of the assessed value of the property for the prior year; or
b. The percentage change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI)

Estate and Inheritance Taxes
Since retirees are in the last third of their lives they should be thinking of their estates. Fifteen states and D.C. have an estate or inheritance tax; New Jersey and Maryland have both. A few of these are in synch with the federal estate tax; they come into play with estates over $5+ million. However some, particularly in the Northeast, start taxing estates at much lower levels. Those states should not be viewed as retirement-friendly. They include Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

Encouragements that go beyond taxes
Six states have established Certified Retirement Communities to encourage retirees to settle in their states. Those programs typically require each city to meet certain criteria including affordable cost of living, low taxes, low crime rate, quality medical care, recreation, educational and cultural opportunities – and most importantly, a warm, inviting community spirit. Those states include Texas (with almost 50 cities in the program), Louisiana (5 towns), Mississippi (15 towns), West Virginia (6 areas), Tennessee (19 rural and urban communities), and North Carolina (13 communities). Kentucky had a certified program but it appears to be inactive.

Bottom Line
You might find some of these states more or less attractive for your retirement. Florida and Nevada have no problem attracting retirees to their tax and weather climates. Many of the other states on our list are there because of the things they have done to promote retirement as an economic development strategy. But regardless, you can be confident that these states want retirees and have many good reasons for you to retire there.

Comments? What do you think? In your experience do these states strike you as retirement-friendly? Do you know of other states we should have considered? Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

Posted by Admin on February 12th, 2016

Help Wanted: Seniors Need Not Apply (And How to Overcome That)

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

February 10, 2016 — The sad truth is that millions of baby boomers are ending up retired well before their target age, which is usually around 65. In fact a 2015 study from the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that 50% of retirees stopped working earlier than they had planned. Layoffs or health issues are usually the culprit. This usually produces unpleasant results for the newly, and unexpectedly, retired: Four or five years of planned retirement savings don’t happen; and folks have to find a way to live without a steady income. A common result is that 41% of American workers were not too or not at all confident of having enough money for retirement in 2015.

The easy solution would be to find a new job. If only that were (more…)

Posted by Admin on February 9th, 2016

7 “Must-Do” Items Now That You Are Retired

Category: Retirement Planning

Note: This is the third in our series of vital things you need to do once you retire. The first 2 installments include different things to think about, and also have some great Comments from our Members.

February 8, 2016 — Well done, your long-awaited reward for years of hard work, struggle, and sacrifice is here. Now that you’ve actually retired, we have just a few more tasks to complete the process. Once you tick these off you can truly enjoy your retirement, knowing that you done most if not all of the important things you need to do to protect your family and heirs, not to mention make the most of this experience. (more…)

Posted by Admin on February 8th, 2016

To Work Or Not to Work: Many Early SS Claimers Make An Un-informed Choice

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

February 2, 2016 — Social Security – so misunderstood. And unfortunately, that misinformation causes many people to make very costly decisions. This article will talk about how one of those decisions – filing early and deciding not to work any more because of fear that earnings will be taken away – can jeopardize financial health. We’ll explain that mistake in detail, but first we have to give some background, including how concerns about Obamacare can complicate the decision making. Note: we are not accountants or financial experts. Before you make any important financial decision consider it carefully and get expert help.

Over the years Congress has tweaked Social Security to encourage people to work to at least Normal Retirement Age (66 for most boomers), rather than collecting sooner (the earliest you can claim is at age 62). The thought was to encourage folks to work longer and delay benefits so they have the opportunity to save more money for retirement. And, because they paid more into the SS system, they and their surviving spouses get higher benefits for the rest of their lives. Both factors result in (more…)

Posted by Admin on February 1st, 2016

Can a Northerner Find Retirement Happiness in the South: Part 2

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

Note: This is Part 2 in a series. Part 1, “Can a Yankee Find Happiness in the South”, came out in 2010 and has generated an amazing 241 comments so far. The topic continues to be of interest: there have already been 52 comments made so far this year!

January 26, 2015 — It is an important question for every snowbird considering a big move in retirement: will you be happy in your new location and culture? Part 1 explored the pros and cons our many members from the northeast face as they head south for retirement – often seeking warmer weather, lower costs, and fewer taxes. Here in Part 2 we will (more…)

Posted by Admin on January 26th, 2016

Staying Busy All Day: Why Not Expand Your Mind And Have Fun Too!

Category: Baby Boomer Retirement Issues

January 19, 2016 — The 4th leg of last week’s Retirement Plan on a 3 X 5 Index Card was the question: How will you stay busy all day? The point seemed to resonate with many folks. Some have great plans and never expect a dull moment, others are clearly worried that the close of their working days will mean the end of mental stimulation. Today’s article focuses on how lifelong learning programs help hundreds of thousands of retirees keep their minds sharp while learning all kinds of interesting and useful stuff.

We know of at least 4 great ways to get involved in lifelong (more…)

Posted by Admin on January 18th, 2016

Gray Divorce: A Big Financial Cost

Category: Family and Retirement

January 13, 2016 — Baby boomers have long been the vanguard of a host of social changes – and it continues. Susan Brown, a sociologist at Bowling Green State University, estimates that 650,000 people over the age of 50 divorced in 2010, most of them boomers. While ending a marital bond might end a long period of unhappiness and even open the way to a new life, it does come at an economic cost.

It is an age old problem; when the proverbial marital blanket is split in half, (more…)

Posted by Admin on January 12th, 2016

The 3 x 5 Index Card Guide to Retirement Planning

Category: Retirement Planning

January 11, 2016 — It can be daunting to think about planning for retirement. There is so much to consider, where do you even start? But what if all you had to think about was boiled down to a 3 x 5 index card? That is what we have done in the part 1 of this article. In part 2 we are going to show how you how to write your retirement action plan on an index card, complete with a sample.

Our hope is that once you have seen retirement planning simplified to the bare essence, you will give planning a chance. So (more…)

Posted by Admin on January 11th, 2016

Topretirements Gets Mobile Friendly

Category: General Retirement Issues

February 1 Update: Since we published this post more of the Topretirements site has gone mobile friendly. The City Reviews, over 1000 of them, are now much easier to view on your mobile. Please also check out our 2nd video, which is a quick one on “How to Get Started Finding the Best Communities at Topretirements

January 3, 2016 — If you are viewing Topretirements on a tablet like an Ipad or a smartphone, there is a different look from you would have seen a few days ago. The world is moving more and more to mobile phones and ipads, and Topretirements.com is trying to meet that demand. To that end we are pleased to announce that after a long and demanding upgrade process, our site is now much easier to use and better looking on the small screen.

Stats by device type
The trend is pretty clear – Internet users are moving from desktop computers to tablets and mobile phones. In the last 6 months (more…)

Posted by Admin on January 3rd, 2016

The Best of 2015 at Topretirements: From Best Places to Funky Towns

Category: General Retirement Issues

December 30, 2015 — As 2015 begins to float away in the eddy of the busy holidays, it is interesting to see which articles grabbed the attention of the Topretirements.com community during the year. There are always at least a few surprise articles that generate more readership and Comments than we expected. Here is our annual review of the best of Topretirements for 2015.

We Do Appreciate
Before we list the best articles, we need to mention some other bests here. For one, we appreciate the loyal advertisers who make this site possible. Many have been with us almost since our beginnings in 2007 – thank you for your support. Our members are tops too; we love your insightful and thought-provoking comments and suggestions (please keep both coming!) It is fun to produce this site for such an engaged group of people.

Most Read Articles of 2015
The first few articles are no strangers to this list – our (more…)

Posted by Admin on December 29th, 2015
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