10 Worst States for Retirement for 2014

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

March 11, 2014 — Finding the best place to retire in is a little bit like looking for a mate. There are lots of pretty ones out there. But for you – which state has the most attractive features and a minimum of not so desirable attributes. To help weed out the more unattractive ones, we present our 3rd annual (we skipped 2013) list of the worst states for retirement. There is one main point we want to emphasize – everyone’s retirement situation is different, so a one size fits all approach won’t work. If your grandchildren live in one of these states and you want to be near them – that makes it a great retirement state for you. Our goal for this article is to give you the tools to help you figure out what states aren’t a good fit for your retirement. See this article’s counterpoint: “Best States for Retirement – 2014“.

Factors we considered
In this year’s list we have tried to simplify the selection process for what makes a state not so great for retirement. We started by listing, in our opinion, the key attributes that make a state unattractive for retirement. Most of these negatives have to do with money and taxes. But as we always caution, retirement is about your happiness, which is way more important than money.

High Property Taxes. If you own property, you can’t avoid these taxes. No matter how high or how low your income, you will pay taxes based on the value of your home. Since retirees generally don’t have a lot of income, this is our number 1 negative consideration.

Taxation of Social Security & Pension/Retirement Income
Just about everybody in America will receive Social Security in retirement. It’s generally not that much (in 2014 the average couple on SS receives $2,111 a month), so the taxes on that income is usually not a critical factor. However for the fortunate, but shrinking, number of people receiving defined benefit pensions, taxes on those pensions could be a deciding factor on where you decide to retire. The type, and where that pension comes from, has a big effect on state taxation. For example, is it from in or out of state, or is it a military or other government pension? Even more people are likely to be affected by the taxation of retirement benefits such as the Recommended Mandatory Distributions (RMDs) that you must start taking the year you reach age 70.5. State taxation of pensions and distributions from 401ks, IRAs, etc. is all over the map and difficult to research. On these matters you should use a tax professional to help make sure you get the most accurate information.

Cost of living
The majority of baby boomers won’t have the resources to sustain the lifestyle we had in our working days once we retire. So it makes a great deal of sense to look for a place to live where our scarce dollars go further.

Low Estate and Inheritance Taxes
Millions of boomers have accumulated substantial estates, thanks to hard work and/or good fortune. Assuming we want to pass much of that on to our heirs, the presence and severity of any estate and inheritance factors should be considered. For example in 2014 the federal estate tax is 40% on anything over $5.340 million (indexed for inflation). But several states are much harsher; 2 of them start taxing estates under $1 million (NJ and RI).

Other considerations
- Warm winter climate
- Good medical care
- Where your children, family, and friends live
- Where you have always wanted to live
- Recreational and cultural opportunities
- Natural beauty
- Transportation
- Crime
- Natural disasters

Our rankings explained
In the spirit of recognizing that what makes a state good or bad for retirement is highly personal, we have refrained from ranking the states on this list. We have simply presented them in the order of property taxes paid as a % of home value. That is our #1 consideration here, but not our only one. Look at the facts and the pluses and minuses we have provided for each – and rank them based on your own situation. For example if you are going to receive a large pension and are very concerned about how it will be taxed, stay away from states that will tax it. See the end of article for links to the sources we used in this study. Here is our list of the worst states for retirement for 2014:

New Jersey
Negatives: Highest property taxes in nation. Taxes pensions. Highest estate taxes in the nation with an exclusion beginning at $675,000. One of the highest marginal tax rates at 8.97% on incomes over $500,000. One of the highest cost of living (46 out of 51).
Pluses: The Garden State has a high exclusion for pension income. Social security benefits are not taxed. Lowest gas tax in the nation (and by law you are not allowed to pump it yourself!). Not to mention some of the world’s great beaches. NJ has a senior tax freeze program but it is hard to determine if that results in meaningful savings.

World famous beaches in New Jersey (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Illinois
Negatives: Second highest property taxes. Has an estate tax and the 5th highest gas tax.
Pluses: Pensions and social security income are exempt from taxation. Cost of living is about average.

Wisconsin
Negatives: The 4th highest property taxes in the US. Retirement income is taxable. Relatively high marginal income tax rate of 7.75 in the highest bracket (over $225,000).
Pluses: No tax on social security benefits. No estate estate tax.

Nebraska
Negatives: The 6th highest property tax as a % of home value. Social security and pension income are taxed. The marginal tax rate is 6.84%, which starts at a very low $29,000. There is an inheritance tax.
Pluses: The 2nd lowest cost of living in the country.


Michigan
Negatives: High property taxes as a percent of home value (#7). The current exemptions for pension and retirement income will be eliminated for people born after 1952.
Positives: Social security will remain exempt. No estate or inheritance tax. Below average cost of living (#18).

Vermont
Negatives: High property taxes. Social security and pension income is taxed.There is a high marginal tax rate of 8.95% (on incomes over $405,100). High cost of living (#41)
Pluses: It is a beautiful state with nice people! Its mountains and forests provide outstanding recreation.

Ohio
Negatives: Some pension/retirement income is taxed. Marginal tax rate is 5.95%.
Pluses: Ohio’s estate state tax has been repealed. SS benefits are not taxed by the state. Cost of living is below average (#15).

Connecticut
Negatives: The 10th highest property taxes (since homes are generally expensive here, that means people pay a lot of tax). The #4 gas tax. The 4th highest estate taxes (16% on anything over a $2 million estate. Top marginal tax rate is 6.7%. Social security and retirement income is taxable for higher income residents. Cost of living is high (48th of 51).
Positives: CT has the highest personal exemptions in the country ($24,000 for a couple, and there are some social security benefit exemptions.

Rhode Island
Negatives: High property taxes (#11). Social security and retirement benefits are taxed. The 2nd highest estate tax (which starts on estates of $965,000). Marginal income tax rate of 5.99% on incomes over $135,500. High cost of living (#44). The state’s finances are under duress from deficits and pension funding.
Positives: So many bays, harbors, and oceanfront property that living near the water is easy.

New York
Negatives: The 13th highest property tax as a % of home value. Some pension income is taxable. New York just improved its estate tax situation with a new law that takes place in April, 2014. In that year the tax exemption for estates is $2.062,500 and increases by just over $1 million each year until 2017 when it will match the federal exemption. Very high cost of living (49 out of 51).
Pluses: No tax on social security income. The governor is trying to reduce some of these taxes, especially the estate tax.

States with high property taxes – but not on our 10 worst list
Notice that we did not include all of the states with the highest property taxes on our “10 worst” list. That is because some of them have some positive factors that trump their high property taxes. They are:
Pennsylvania. Doesn’t tax pensions or social security. Has an inheritance tax. Relatively low income tax rate of 3.07%, although there are no personal exemptions.
Iowa. Social security is not taxable as of 2014. Some pensions are exempt. There is a 15% inheritance tax. Cost of living is well below average.
Kansas. Taxes SS on higher income residents. Pension income is normally taxable. But there is no estate tax, and the cost of living is low.
New Hampshire. The 3rd highest property tax in the nation. Although the cost of living is among the highest of any state, there is no sales tax, and the only income that is taxed is interest and dividends.
Texas. Although it has the 5th highest property tax rates, there is no income or estate tax.
California. Surprisingly enough, the Golden State has below average property taxes as a % of home value (#33). Part of that stems from the very high value of homes there, plus Homestead protections. But the state has other problems for retirees: High cost of living, the highest marginal rate in the country (13.3%), traffic, pollution, fiscal woes, and it does tax pensions. Social security is exempt, and the weather is usually great.

Summary
Most of the reasons why states made our 10 worst list have to do with money and taxes. There are more important considerations to think about, however. Use this list as a guide, but pick a place to retire based on the whole picture.

Comments? What states do you think are the worst for retirement? Do you have any other information about these or other states that would be interesting for this discussion? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the Comments section below.

Sources used to prepare this article:
How Does Your State Compare

About.com State Income Taxes in Retirement

No Sales Tax States

Various State Tax Rate Comparisons

Michigan Retirement Exemption Changes

Tax information by Retirement Living

Individual State Income Tax Rates and Exemptions

State taxation of retirement income

Best and Worst Run States in America

Worst States to Die In

Inheritance/Estate Taxes by State

Cost of living by state

State that don’t tax Social Security

Interested in Social Security? Try our new “What is your Social Security IQ” quiz. 10 questions will help you learn a lot!

For further reading:
See the last time we wrote this article: “Worst States to Retire 2102“.

Posted by Admin on March 11th, 2014
Comments (63)
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63 Comments »
» Worst States to Retire 2012: Northeast and Midwest Come Up Losers Topretirements says

[…] This is our 2012 list, which was updated in March, 2014. See our “Worst States for Retirement for 2014” […]

March 12th, 2014 | #

OldNassau says

1. Many entries state “….pensions are exempt (from state taxes)”. In-state and/or out-of-state? Defined benefit or defined contribution? Public or Private? Several types of pensions exist: be certain about the tax status of yours.
2. Vermont is the place to be in the summer. Just don’t establish residency. Cool, dry, green, miles of paths, trails, back country roads. Maple syrup and cheddar cheese. Come late September, head south.

March 12th, 2014 | #

ella says

I agree with Vermont being the place to be – not only in the summer but in the fall as well. I’d suggest leaving after the leaves peak in October, or waiting until November. Maybe stay for the first snowfall, depending on where you are returning to. I lived in the Green Mountains and have never found any place as beautiful! And thanks for the sound tax advice, Old Nassau.

March 13th, 2014 | #

Ray says

Western MI along Lake Michigan, Northern LP and the UP are beautiful, but 5 months of Winter? Not for me any more. I visit during the other 7 months.

March 13th, 2014 | #

elaine says

Just visiting, Why not NH for the summer and fall? No sales tax.

I lived there many years ago and income tax on interest and dividends is positive for some. I would not want to spent winter and mud season there.

March 13th, 2014 | #

Sandy Archer says

I bought my retirement home in Oklahoma. How does this state rate for seniors?

March 13th, 2014 | #

Dean-Ross Schessler says

This is interesting and very useful. It would be extremely great if you could use the same mindset of well defined criteria and compile a list of the “Best States for Retirement in 2014″. Instead of narrowing down from 50 to 40, you would be narrowing it down to 10. Just a suggestion, but one which I hope you might act upon.

Editor’s note: Excellent suggestion. And indeed we should have mentioned that your idea is on our list for early April!

March 13th, 2014 | #

Ray says

Interesting that you would feature Ocean City NJ in the same issue that you proclaim NJ as the worst state in the country in which to retire.

Editor’s note: Yes, glad you noticed. We did that (also Brattleboro in Vermont) to make the point that even the worst states by some measures have lots of good things about them too.

March 13th, 2014 | #

Allison says

So sad to hear about such high property taxes in Texas, although we live in FL so I am sure we rate right up there. We are considering TX for retirement because I have lots of family there and it’s half way between our children in CA, GA & KY. I know there is a huge drought going on but hopefully that will be over at some point. My family has many farmers and this is hurting them as well. I am looking forward to the 10 best list in April. Florida is definitely beautiful but we could do so much more in a place where the cost of living isn’t so high. Best of luck in finding a happy retirement place all!

March 13th, 2014 | #

Chuck says

One key measurement that I learned the hard way of a good or bad retirement state is medical care, it’s proximity to where you live, and it’s quality along with the insurance they take. If you do not have the right Medicare supplemental insurance, and it most definitely is not Medicare Advantage, with any kind of major illness, you will go broke no matter what state you are in. Determining good retirement states must take the quality and availability of medical care in to account, or you just might die early in a “good to retire” state!

March 13th, 2014 | #

Ron Mann says

I believe Iowa has phased out taxation of Social Security benefits.

Editor’s Note: Thanks Ron, that is correct. It became exempt in 2014, and we have corrected the article on that point.

March 13th, 2014 | #

Dianne C. says

We have been in Texas for 17 years and have seen things get worse politically and expense wise. We too will be leaving in 4 years when we retire. We are considering Georgia, or S. Carolina – even thinking about N. Fla but welcome suggestions from others. I do appreciate all of the advice people share on this site and am looking forward to the April top 10.

March 13th, 2014 | #

Karl S. says

Can any one comment on qualityof life in Sierra Vista AZ. It is close to Tuscon.

March 14th, 2014 | #

Richard F says

Vermont is a pretty state however you have to drive to any recreation area, bicycling is only for the very adventurous since there are no bike paths and 50+ mph highways does not make bicycling at all safe or comfortable, gas prices are high and you have to drive considerable distance anywhere you want to go for food, farmers markets or general shopping. Long, cold Winters frequently to cold for even the most hardy for outdoor recreation. Other than being close to the lower New England states with there large populations, Vermont would surely be a wasteland. The second home industry makes Vermont impracticle for the average retiree. Vermont is attractive to average income people who come here to enroll their children in the low pupil to classroom ratio schools. These parents have for the most part lower value properties and do not contribute proportionately to the high cost of schools. Therefore the origination of the gold town philosophy (ski towns and towns with lots of second home owners who build expensive homes, pay a lot of taxes and are only here weekends so don’t use the school system and use the recreation facilities.

March 14th, 2014 | #

jcp says

Chuck, can you expand on the “not medicare advantage” I am few years away from 65 and am starting to navigate the Medicare supplement policies. Is Medicare advantage a trade product or does this mean that parts B and D don’t cover what you are referring to?

March 14th, 2014 | #

Mark P says

Does anyone know about the quality of healthcare on the Big Island in Hawaii? or where I can get info on it?

March 15th, 2014 | #

Tom says

jcp & Chuck,
Chuck when you speak of Medicare Advantage I believe you are referring to PPO (Preferred Provider Plans), If so I agree that these plans vary greatly in quality of care and lock you in to provider physicians. However, a PPO (Preferred Provider plan) allows the individual to go to any physician for care. Unfortunately, there are not many PPO Plans, I live in San Diego County, California and only one plan is offered. In my view,supplemental plans
tend to be expensive. However, they offer a somewhat fixed medical expense.

HOpe this helps

March 15th, 2014 | #

Marian says

It strikes me that some of the comments made about Texas are more political than factual, and so one may agree or disagree. According to taxrates.org, Texas is 14th on the list re: high property taxes. I live in NY State; we’re 4th on the list, but the county I live in in the western end of the state, while having moderate real estate prices has, in the past few years, been at or near the top of the list of all counties in the country in terms of property tax percentages related to income. So would I prefer to live in Texas? Yes, very possibly: we’re actively considering it. (Of course one considers more than property taxes when making such descisions.)

On the other hand, the part of NY where I live is beautiful, has abundant parks, green space, great mix of urban/suburban/rural, interesting wild life, has a modest cost of living in general, has easy access to Canada and what it offers, and the weather is more moderate (with less snow) than virtually anywhere else in the state (and than many other four-season states). And Niagara Falls and the stunning Niagara Gorge are nearby. We have no relatives within a day’s drive in either state. It’s going to be a tough call.

March 17th, 2014 | #

Chuck says

I think Medicare Advantage is referred to as Part C. It is insurance by private firms, often limited your coverage to docs and geography. I only mention it because I had to go the the Mayo Clinic for major surgery, they are one of the best, non-profit, and they DO NOT take Medicare Advantage. I was lucky that my insurance agent recommended a great supplemental policy in addition to Medicare B. In 2013 I had two hips replaced plus cancer surgery at Mayo…no cost to me…period!

As for Sierra Vista, I live a mile or two south of it. Weather is perfect year round, but you have to be able to withstand a boring town run by a bunch of retired Army types, in my opinion. Bisbee is a better but funky community, SV better for shopping!

March 18th, 2014 | #

Linda says

Chuck, my Medicare Advantage Plan allows me to go to Mayo. That was the first thing I checked before signing up.

March 19th, 2014 | #

Elaine says

My medicare advantage is a PPO for retirees of the state of NC that replaces my Part B…it is managed by Humana. I could get a supplemental plan which would cover more and will look into it in the future. I live in Virginia and found that it is accepted by providers that do not normally accept Humana Medicare. Sure do make things confusing for seniors!

March 19th, 2014 | #

Liz says

Elaine, I live in VA and need to look into medicare supplement. Did you just call Humana?

March 19th, 2014 | #

Elaine says

Liz, my plan is NOT a supplement…just a PPO advantage plan. Since it was negotiated by the state of NC for retirees, I do not know if you could get the same plan as an individual.

In Virginia, I would try Anthem or UnitedHealth or even something like State Farm. Virginia doesn’t seem to like Humana…I haven’t had trouble, but this was new in 2014 for me so we will see.

http://medicarebenefits.us/medicare-supplemental-vs-medicare-advantage-plans/#.UytSrvldXag

but I may not be able to get a supplemental according to above article.

March 20th, 2014 | #

Liz says

Thanks Elaine. With all of the Obamacare pending and Obama taking $$ from medicare I am scared to lose my employer provided insurance. Thank you for the link, I need to research.

Editor’s note: Somehow we got a bit off track with this discussion – which is supposed to be about the “Worst States to Retire”. Lets bring it back to that. If you want to discuss Medicare we have a good Blog Post for that in our “Your Medicare Guide 101″ – http://www.topretirements.com/blog/health-issues/so-youre-turning-65-your-medicare-guide-101.html/

March 20th, 2014 | #

DaveM says

I didn’t notice weather being given the value it might have been. Why spend retirement in a place where you have to deal with snow & ice a significant part of the year? What good is a lower cost of living if you must hibernate half of it?

March 25th, 2014 | #

Rick D. says

Illinois should have been listed among those states whose high property taxes are trumped by other factors. It’s a huge plus that it doesn’t tax pensions (or Social Security). Also, its estate tax doesn’t kick in before $4 million, and a its high gas tax isn’t that significant to those who don’t have to commute to work anymore (or who don’t drive gas-powered vehicles).

March 25th, 2014 | #

Al says

I’ve lived in New Jersey since 1975 to live closer to NYC. I retired in 2003 and still live in the same home since 1977. Yes, real estate taxes are high but after allowances for the taxes (which all go to the town and county of residence) My NJ state taxes are almost zero ($470.00). Comparing my taxes from 2003, the last year I worked, and 2012, My total income for 2012 was 12% higher than in 2003, but my taxable NJ income was less than half of NJ taxable income in 2003. I also paid NY taxes that year, since my employer was in NY.

We’re spending more now than in 2003, but fortunately, our IRAs are at record balances, despite drawing more than 5% each year (including over 6% in 2008) since 2007.

Yes, gas is cheaper, but our roads are paying for the lack of funding for repairs. Until recently my favorite Fuel station has requested that I fill my own diesel fuel. Apparently someone complained and since January we don’t get fill it up ourselves.

March 25th, 2014 | #

M Weaver says

Was interested until I saw the misinformation about Kansas. Military pensions are not taxed unlike neighboring Missouri. To imply otherwise by lumping pensions together is lazy journalism.

Editor’s note: So sorry we didn’t meet your high journalistic standards! In the interest of space we did not include breakdowns of all of the various types of pensions that are taxed or not taxed in the crazyquilt of state taxation schemes (railroad, military, in state pensions, out of state pensions, federal pensions, etc.) Nor did we go into detail on what categories of products might be exempt for state sale tax. See our State Retirement guides for more detailed info on those aspects. http://www.topretirements.com/state/

April 2nd, 2014 | #

Cheryl Holtz says

Ohio does not tax Military Retirement either ~ since about 2011. I’m retired Military and live in Ohio.

April 2nd, 2014 | #

steve says

NJ does not have a sales tax on clothes or food.

April 2nd, 2014 | #

steve says

NJ does not tax military pensions.

April 2nd, 2014 | #

RobertK says

Wow, poorly written article. Various types of pensions are taxed in various as they should be, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Some states listed are given a inaccurate portrayal, when taking into consideration of various exemptions, if tax rates fixed or indexed. For example Michigan does NOT tax pensions if you are older than 65. If you are 55 then you pay some tax, then again if you afford to retire at 55 a 4% tax rate is a lot lower than a state like Maryland that has a huge state tax rate that is almost double!

Editor’s note: Geez, pretty harsh Robert! Not sure what to make of some of your comments, but you are certainly creating some incorrect impressions in your comments about Michigan. The point we have been trying to make is that state taxation is very complex and cannot be reduced to a sentence or 2. For example taxation of pensions in Michigan has to do with when you were born. If you were born after 1952 – “All private and public pension and annuity benefits are fully taxable and may not be deducted from Michigan taxable income” (people born earlier have some better exemptions). See http://www.michigan.gov/taxes/0,4676,7-238-43513_59451-263736–,00.html

April 2nd, 2014 | #

Mark says

Although my comments don’t exactly follow this article, they might be worth a thought to some.
If U.S. places don’t seem correct for you, and you have an adventurous side, maybe overseas areas are worth a try. I retired from Federal service in 2005, and was in Peru within 3 days. I visited 20 third world countries within 5 years, and am now in Thailand, although I intend to live in several other places in the future. Just establish residency in a low tax State (low tax for your needs) first. Many countries offer a safe, interesting, friendly, and less expensive alternative. You can always return if you like.

April 2nd, 2014 | #

Russell says

:???: Wow! Editor, I would agree that some of the comments are a little harsh. I appreciate the information you provided. I understand that you would need to write a book-length article (which frankly no one would probably want to wade through)to cover all of the various conditions and scenarios for taxes in many states. Of course if you spent that much time writing such detailed information, then you should publish it as a book and get paid for it. ( :wink: ) However, it would have been a little clearer if you put in “some pensions are exempt”, etc. where appropriate. Once again, thank you for providing at least a starting point for research that we should all be doing before it is time to retire. I am looking forward to your top 10 list.

April 3rd, 2014 | #

Von Geraph says

“See Worst States to Retire 2102″ ???

Talk about planning for the future!

April 3rd, 2014 | #

Catherine Huth says

I don’t understand why the negatives in Ohio qualify it as a bad place to retire. We’ve got lots of fresh water and minimal natural disasters, which is more than I can say for a lot of the country these days. There COULD be more summer and less winter along our great Lake Erie, for my taste! :mrgreen:

April 3rd, 2014 | #

Mary Orellana says

Montgomery County, Maryland has what is called a Homestead clause. By filing a Homestead application stating that you live in the house, they cap increases in property value. So I thought I was ok because I owned the house since the 80s when values were low. But politicians decided to get around this by making everyone reapply so the value basis in the house would be set to 2009 standards, when values were way up. If there is a way for politicians to grab more money, they will.

April 3rd, 2014 | #

Paul says

Any State where my son and his family don’t live is one of the worst States for retirement.

April 7th, 2014 | #

ella says

:smile:

April 8th, 2014 | #

» Best States for Retirement – 2014 Topretirements says

[…] Reading: Worst States for Retirement 2014 Best States for Retirement 2012 Most Tax Friendly States for […]

April 8th, 2014 | #

bubbajog says

Paul – You make an excellent point.

April 8th, 2014 | #

Sandra says

Wow……you poor Editors…!!! Can’t please everybody…right???!!! I for one would like to thank you for your Best States list and for all the other lists you have published for us FREE and saved us the time it would take to gather all this info together. I love the “lists” and have learned a lot from them…….they have been very helpful and I can honestly say that I have eliminated some places from my own retirement list after reading them. So……to the ” Editors”……thank you and keep up the good work..!!!!!!

April 9th, 2014 | #

lbpsfl says

Maryland still sucks. Almost all counties impose a piggyback tax of around 3% on top of the state income tax and on top of the local property tax. MD still has an estate tax phasing into the federal system in 2019. Also, MD retains an inheritance tax, so if I want to leave money to a neice or to my same-sex partner, the state will skim 10%. The is a retirement exemption, but its small.

April 9th, 2014 | #

Stacey says

I agree with Sandra….bravo editors for this most excellent site!

April 10th, 2014 | #

John H says

I think it’s mostly about the money. For example, some of the “worst” states have associated high costs – taxes, homes, whatever. But if one can afford those costs then they may not be “worst” for those individuals. For example, if you can afford to live in downtown San Diego Ca, well my, how could that be “worse” than (insert a cheap state here)? Just saying.

April 13th, 2014 | #

Godsgirl says

John H, you are so right. Cheap is cheap and you most certainly get what you pay for. Not only that, check zoning and leash laws before considering an area, and don’t just drive main roads but look deeper.

April 14th, 2014 | #

Shumidog says

Godsgirl, very true if your are going to have animals or want a home based business zoning, limits etc. are very important. These are almost all local ordinances so it can be tricky to find the information. At least now a lot of it is on line.

April 15th, 2014 | #

SHR says

I live in Texas and thought it might be worthwhile to point out that while property taxes are high, agricultural exemptions can make a huge difference. One need not necessarily do the agricultural work. Leasing out pasture for hay production or even coordinating a wildlife habitat area with the USDA/NRCS will work in most locales. Agricultural exemptions are governed county by county, so a check with the local taxing officials would be advised prior to land purchase.

An example of the Agricultural Exemption effect: property appraised a $900,000 has a property tax bill of less than $2,000 annually.

April 15th, 2014 | #

Bruce says

You should point out that property tax in Vermont is income based. There is an adjustment for most people with income < $90,000. A recent article in the BFP states that about 2/3 of homeowners get an adjustment.

April 20th, 2014 | #

Jonathan says

In the article you say, “In the spirit of recognizing that what makes a state good or bad for retirement is highly personal, we have refrained from ranking the states on this list. We have simply presented them in the order of property taxes paid as a % of home value.”

Shouldn’t the article be called “Worst states for high property taxes” instead of “Worst states for retirement”?

Other financial factors come into play besides property taxes. Sales tax, state fees, cost of living, etc.

April 26th, 2014 | #

kathy says

Where is Maryland on this list? High tax state, high crime rate, high cost of living, and appears on several lists that I have seen recently. I live here I know. So many people getting out of this state when they retire. Huge increases in fees, example Baltimore tunnel built in the 50s, 7-8 years ago $1. Now $4 each way, if travel twenty miles north east in state and comes home, $8. Maryland taxes retirement income, capital gains etc. And the winters are not so great either

May 8th, 2014 | #

Jeff says

What do you think of Delaware? We took a trip over the southern portion and it seems prosperous, but desolate. Have you looked there, if so what are your thoughts?

May 9th, 2014 | #

Kathy says

Kathy and Jeff: I am currently living in Maryland and looking to move as well. It is a very expensive state. Jeff, I looked into Delaware but I found in my research that there is high crime as well. For such a small state, the crime report seemed quite high and I was told by several people to stay away from Wilmington and Dover areas. It made me uncomfortable as a single woman.

May 9th, 2014 | #

Dennis says

Regardless of your joint income, only 15% of disability is non taxable. The remaining 85% is taxed the same as any other income based upon your income level.

May 11th, 2014 | #

Phil says

As I stare retirement in the face I read all the comments about the best and worst places to retire and all the stuff between. I currently live and work in one of the listed “worst” places and for justifiable reasons. Living in the Bay Area in Northern California I experience all the diversity one could ever expect – which is a good thing. I slog through some of the worst traffic, recreate with the world and all the traffic that goes with that while suffering through the Constitution, Law violating, high tax-n-spend, lead-from-behind state management. Even with all this, the high cost-o-living, taxes and all, we have the greatest weather, no bugs (except imported roaches), bike lanes, generally no-smoking in public locals and plenty of high quality Medical and Education facilities. Stanford U., U.C. Berkley, Santa Clara U., San Jose State U., U. of Phoenix and National U., Stanford Medical, U. San Francisco & Medical, U.C. Davis and Medical, Monterey Bay (and Aquarium), U.C. Santa Cruz and beaches galore(and the Boardwalk), San Francisco, Oakland – all within an hour’s drive. My home to the beach in thirty minuets, work in twenty minuets, numerous freeways, WholeFoods, Trader Joe’s, and all the main stream eating venues in five minuets. Ninety minuets to Sacramento, four hours to Lake Tahoe and thirty minuets beyond to Reno, six hours drive to Los Angeles and three point five hours to Redding and four hours to Shasta Lake. All the hiking and biking one could ever ask for in the Sierra Nevada mountains and Yosemite N.P. just four hours East. I guess it’s all the amenitites that makes it worth it all. Is all this worth it for the over-all cost-o-living to me? Yes. So, warts and all, I’ll take where my roots are at most any price. Oh, I forgot to mention the occasional shake-up and a few fires plus every nut case, uber liberal thinking folk blend here for same/similar reasons listed above. Criminals want to come here to disappear into the pink noise and not freeze to death while on the gubberment and societal dole. We probably have more anchor babies then some states have citizen populations per square mile. Still, warts and all, it’s good here and I’ve lived in several locations around the USA dodging Tornados in the basement hunkered under a blanket with a radio and flashlight, shoveling snow just to get to work, snow tires for Winter, regular tires in the Spring to Fall. Yup, living here is expensive, but worth it. When I actually retire, the scenery may change but that’s a few years away. Between the socialized medical plan, World unrest, collapsing economy, liars, thieves and cheats in government, well, maybe Northern Idaho will look better.:wink:
Forgot Disney Land, Knott’s Berry Farm, Six Flags, Hollywood, blah, blah, blah. We can sit at the beach and watch the Sun dip into the ocean and not feel like a pin cushion with the associated itching, then drive home – thirty min.

May 20th, 2014 | #

Phil says

I think somewhere in my ramblings I forgot to mention the weather. Generally where I live it’s been predictable. For the young’ins, they don’t recall the ebb and tide of drought to flooding. They also don’t take into account the “sticky” factor. If you were to ask most folks who live in the Southern and Eastern areas of the country to be honest about the high humidity in the summer months and the skin cracking dryness in the winters, one could get a better picture of reality. Yes I know Phoenix (Arizona) is scorching hot – but it’s dry comments however, 114 degrees is still hot by any measure – just no humidity. Go to Ft. Lauderdale in December and take a brisk walk before 9AM and you’re fine. Do the same brisk walk post 9 AM and you will discover the “sticky” factors kicks in ever so quickly. And the bugs… It’s not always about Taxes and COL to take into account when looking at a retirement landing spot. I pay ~$650/year property insurance, family in Boyton Beach, Florida pay >$6,000 on a similar sized home… in sticky-land, with bugs, Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Tropical Storms, etc., etc., etc. It’s about COL and taxes are a big part of that, but so are some of the other fixed costs. Salt rusted cars, bug abatement, concrete homes, bug abatement, severe storms, HUMIDITY, bug abatement. Snow Birds (of which I qualify) who can’t see to drive but do anyway – which equates to big lead sled cars with war wounds and lots of traffic. :lol:

May 20th, 2014 | #

veloris says

Odd.. I live in SoCal and, barring a tragedy, am getting the “you know what” out of here the first chance I get. The cost of living (along with traffic) is not how I plan to spend my retirement life. In fact, if I want a retirement, I’d better leave as soon as possible before something else is taxed! While no location is perfect, there are better places to spend my retirement years.

May 21st, 2014 | #

Libby says

To Veloris: I sold my home and left Southern California for the same reasons. It’s pretty sad that a lot of people are leaving because of this. I love California but not the way it is now! I can still visit!

May 22nd, 2014 | #

Liberty says

Veloris, I moved out of Southern California, for pretty much the same reasons that you state. Got so tired of the crazy traffic and high taxes. Sold my home and found a better lifestyle in another state. I still visit family and friends, and since I am retired, I can do that often! It’s great!

May 22nd, 2014 | #

Dave C. says

Kudos to the editor(s) & writers of this article! We really have no “bad” responses. There have been many “rants” on various details not covered, or not covered fully….fine, I’ll read them if I’m interested, or skip them if I’n not.
Overall this site and all of it’s many articles are great “starting points” for research and new ideas.
No one would truly make a final decision on relocating for retirement on a TopRetirement.com article. Journalism? This site is not journalism, it’s a very specialized site for general information sharing on a very targeted topic. I thoroughly enjoin the topis AND THE RANTS,
I am old enough now to understand that I can take what I value….and leave the rest. I offer my heart felt compliments to the editors for providing soon to retire, and recent retirees with a site very valuable for our preliminary research on relocation. (You can reach me in Mesa, AZ by September 1). :cool:

May 22nd, 2014 | #

John H says

California is a good place to retire provided you’re in an “above middle-class” situation.

May 22nd, 2014 | #

Robert P. says

We own a house in San Diego and one on Oahu where we currently live. We’d love to live in San Diego, but it will be $15K/year cheaper to live in Hawaii. The five hour flight to San Diego is not that bad to see the family — which is usually in full drama mode anyway. Aloha, and pray for the return of Pete Wilson or someone like him. Until then, enjoy Governor Moonbeam and his crew.

May 28th, 2014 | #

Phil says

John H, I guess I’m above middle-class somehow. I’ve never paid IRS AMT, am the sole income to the two of us, raised children in a cookie-cutter home in a cookie-cutter neighborhood with public schools (explains alot), don’t own any of the usual testostrone toys, carpool to work as a rider, and don’t receive the local newspaper. We don’t have alot of the stuff others like me possess. We have and live under a tight budget. We eat at home, I drag lunch to work each day and we don’t eat out often. We do have cell phones and computers but at my income level, I just don’t feel middle-class. We just don’t spend and borrow like drunken sailors. We do hope to have enough to retire on and that may be the driver to force us to leave California, but until then, gosh, we don’t live lavish like others and clearly don’t feel like middle-class. We do thoroughly enjoy the free beaches and sunsets though.
Robert P, you must be the upper middle-class John H speaks of. Except for the few times the USAF flew me through Hickum AFB, we’ve visited Hawaii three times in 34 years marriage. How much $$$ does it take to own two homes in two quasi exotic locations on the planet? Way above this “middle-class” boy. But I would think either location would be way cool to live at, for different reasons.

May 29th, 2014 | #

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