Our Worst States to Retire List

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

Note: The 2014 version of this list is now available.
December 7, 2010 — The 50 U.S. states are in a beauty contest. Whether they know it or not, they are being judged by a tough jury of 76 million or so baby boomers looking for the best place to retire. These baby boomers are hard to please, they are used to moving to new places, and are not going to settle for second or third best when it comes to enjoying their retirement years. This article provides our list of the 10 (or so) worst states for retirement, 2010 edition. Note: We are honored to report that this report was quoted extensively in Robert Powell’s “10 Worst States for Retirement” at WSJ-Marketwatch, the Huffington Post, and Consumerist.com, and AARP. To get regular updates on articles like this sign up for our free weekly “Best Places to Retire” newsletter.

Everybody’s situation is different
Every individual has to consider his or her own criteria for selecting a list of the worst or best states to retire. The list of the best places for military to retire that came out this week from USAA.com and Military.com is a perfect example of a list that makes sense for a specific set of retiree needs. Their lists were carefully tailored…

to U.S. military retirees who typically have a nice pension that they don’t want taxed at the state level, and who need to be close to a base for shopping and healthcare.


Our Top Weighting Criteria
We heavily weighted this list on 3 criteria: Fiscal health, taxation, and climate. If those are not key factors for you, your list might look very different.
Fiscal health, because as the NY Times’ “Mounting State Debts Stoke Fear of Fiscal Crisis“, the Pew’s “States in Fiscal Trouble “ report, and the Wall Street Journal’s “States Face Budget Gaps” article point out, many U.S. states are having serious trouble balancing their budgets, not to mention adequately funding their future pension and health care obligations.
High tax states dominate our list.
We weighted climate heavily because we think the majority of today’s retirees have a bias towards places with warmer winters. (See also our 2011 article – “Worst Places to Retire for Weather and Natural Disasters“)

The 10 Worst States for Retirement
Each state name has a link that goes to a more detailed retirement guide for that state. This list and its rankings are somewhat arbitrary, but we stand by the opinion that these states have many reasons why they should be considered for any worst places to retire list.
Lastly, please remember that our list might be totally irrelevant to many people. Folks for whom money or taxes are not important will find our worst 10 list of little value, because they have other considerations that are far more important. For example, those who want to retire near their family members have such an important driver that the “worst” state on this list could be their “best”.

1. Illinois (PR). IL’s fiscal health could be the worst of any state, which is what tipped the scales. It has even borrowed money to fund its pension obligations. To be fair, however, we need to mention that IL does not tax pension or social security income, a definite plus for the state’s retirees.
2. California (PR). The Golden State is expensive and its finances are in serious disarray. Has paid bills with vouchers in the past. Does have a warm climate, which helped keep it out of 1st place. And to illustrate that fiscal health and taxes are by no means the only things to rank a state on, California is the 5th most popular retirement state on this site (based on number of page views of our California retirement guide).
3. New York. Very high taxes, including property taxes. Second highest tax burden and 5th highest per-capita property taxes. Dysfunctional state legislature. Very expensive to live in this climate with cold winters. Most pensions are exempt, however.
4. Rhode Island (PR). Probably the worst off state in the Northeast from a financial viewpoint. High taxes. Does have some great places to live.
5. New Jersey(PR). The highest property taxes in the U.S. as well as the highest tax burden (as reported by the Tax Foundation) Has serious pension funding issues.
6. Ohio. High taxes (7th highest tax burden) and unemployment. Cold winters.
7. Wisconsin (PR). A high tax state (9th highest tax burden) with cold weather. High property taxes. But it does not tax military pensions.
8. Massachusetts. High taxes including high property taxes. Very high cost of living.
9. Connecticut. CT has the 3rd highest tax burden of any state, taxes social security, and has very high property taxes. It has some terrific places to live, but the cost of living is very high.
10. Nevada (PR). The foreclosure capital of the world. State is having financial problems. But it does not have an income tax (yet).
(PR) = This state mentioned as a problem in the Pew Report: “States in Fiscal Trouble”

Honorable Mentions:
Arizona (PR), Oregon (PR), and Florida (PR) are all frequently mentioned as problem states because of their unhealthy economies. These high-growth states are having to deal with no growth, and the transition has been difficult. On the plus side, they (except for OR) have warmer climates and are popular with retirees. Florida does do not have an income tax, Oregon does not have a sales tax or tax social security or military pensions.
Kansas is mentioned along with IL as having the most unfunded pension problems. Vermont, one of the few states that taxes social security, has the 8th highest tax burden in the country. Michigan has taxes that are in the middle of the pack, but its economy is in terrible shape.


Possible criteria for identifying the best or worst retirement state:
While our rankings concentrated on fiscal health, taxes, and climate, here is a more complete list of possible criteria for developing your personal rankings of retirement states and towns:
Taxes
- Income (Taxation of pensions and social security might be better or worse in different states)
- Sales (Not usually a deal breaker, but annoying)
- Property (Often the biggest state/local tax for a retiree. Some states have programs to help seniors control their property taxes)
- Inheritance and Estate (Some states have neither, a few have both)

Climate and Topography
Crime
Fiscal health of the state
Recreation
Transportation
Healthcare
Cost of living including housing
Education including colleges
Cultural resources
Natural disasters
Proximity to friends and family
Fitting in socially, politically, religiously

The best way to start your individual list of best or worst states is to think about and rank these criteria with your personal preferences. A typical priority list might weight recreation, climate, being close to a college, cultural resources, and proximity to friends and family more heavily than other criteria. But for someone else, avoiding taxation at the state level of their government pension and being close to high-quality medical specialists might be much more important. Because states are very large and diverse entities, some factors, like proximity to colleges or hospitals, have to be considered at the local level.

Street Protests Ahead?
Who knows what the future will bring as problem states try to return to financial solvency. Their troubles might not lead to street protests and violence as we have seen recently in Greece, France, England, and Ireland;but it could be very bad. There could very well be public outcry and protests when residents see their public services slashed along with a drastic rises in taxes. Defaults are a slight possibility. So our bottom line: if you don’t like strife, stay away from the states that are in the worst shape.

For further reference:
Worst States for Retirement – 2012
State Retirement Guides
Bzzt: A Worst States to Retire List We Don’t Agree With
Best States for Retirement – 2009-2010
Tax Foundation Tax Burden by State
Tax Friendly States
Our 2011 List of the “100 Best Retirement Towns
Best Retirement States for 2011

Comments:
What do you think… about our criteria and our rankings. Please share your opinion in the Comments section below.

Posted by John Brady on December 6th, 2010
Comments (105)
Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS)

105 Comments »
The 10 worst states for retirees Commentary: Taxes, weather take glitter off golden years | Joe Evans Financial Blog says

[...] The list, with Illinois leading the pack, comes from website TopRetirements.com. According to John Brady, president of TopRetirements.com, the 10 states earn this dubious distinction largely because of three factors: fiscal health, taxation, climate. See the worst-state rankings at TopRetirements.com. [...]

December 9th, 2010 | #

P. Kimball says

Your priority scheme for ranking the “worst” only proves to me that your site has no information that would be useful to me. My parents retired, at first, to Tennessee and I can’t tell you how awful it is there. …(political comment removed)… What good is living a “cheap” life if there are no cultural, educational, transportation, or recreational resources? Warm winters are nice but I will take a Chicago winter over a Texas summer any time.

December 10th, 2010 | #

Mike says

I am retired in Illinois and I like living here. Illinois does not tax my pension, that is a big plus. Much of the state is convenient to Amtrak service with Chicago being a half a day away or less. And there is main line Amtrak service all over the country from Chicago’s Union Station. I like the climate also, there really are 4 distinct climate zones, since the state is about 375 miles in length. Illinois is in the right latitudes for me, further north and the winter are too cold, further south and the summers are too hot. If you really like to see the four seasons, there are locales in this state where one gets all four at 3 months each. Illinois is in the right latitudes for me, further north is too cold in winter, further south is too hot in summer. The cost of living, well, that is great to, since the state can accommodated a retiree no matter how much or how little they have or want to spend. Of course it is not Florida or Arizona, But being a few hours from a Global Class City sure is a great big plus.

December 10th, 2010 | #

BigGuy says

Huffington Post highlights your site.

I disagree with your criteria for what makes a bad state for retirement. The Northeastern states do have high income, property, and sales taxes, but they provide far more services to Seniors — and Seniors’ families — than most any of the other states. There are senior centers all around, meals on wheels programs, and gov’t assistance to those living in naturally occurring retirement communities (NORC’s). Boston, New York City, and the New Jersey cities along the Hudson all have extensive mass transit systems that enable people to get around without owning or driving a car.

Not only do people in the Northeastern states listed pay high taxes, but they give (relatively) less to charity, especially less to religious charities devoted to providing food, clothing, and shelter to the poor. These states were colonized by people who believed that it was the duty of government — not charity and not churches — to provide for the least among us and that has been how their citizens have been running things for centuries.

Perhaps all the government services that people pay for with high taxes in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey are beneficial. Those states have the lowest rates of divorce, juvenile delinquency, out-of-wedlock births, underage drinking, and gun crimes in the United States.

December 11th, 2010 | #

Lisa says

I think there are two different sets of issues here. Is a boomer living in one of the ten states and planning to retire there or is a boomer living in some other state and planing to retire to one of these 10 states. Some of these states have some terrific upside to them. For instance without a doubt California has a great climate; it is the most scenic state, with mountains, deserts, forests and sea coast; it has a world class city …Los Angeles recently ranked the number 8 city in the world by Foreign Policy Magazine; and right now there is very competitively priced real estate available in California. New York is simply in a class by its, New York City is the top ranked city in the entire world so if you are addicted to the big ciy life nothing else can quit take the place of NYC. Nevada, a western state with a dry climate/low humidity and the southern part of the state has very mild winters. If you like gambling, Nevada is in a class by itself with Reno close to the Sierra Neveda Mountains and the fantasy town of Las Vegas only a 4/5 hour drive from Los Angles and the Pacific coast. Right now Nevada has super real estate bargains. Illinois, here again if you are enchanted by the hustle and bustle of big city life, Chicago can fit the bill as it is ranked the number 6 city in the entire world. Also Illinois has plenty of real estate at very reasonable prices. So you see these 4 states, and I am sure the others on this list have some great special treats, including great values in housing, for those who would be considering them for their retirement.

December 11th, 2010 | #

Kathy says

You ranked California second worse state for retirees..too bad you don’t know any of us retirees that live here. Health
care is better than most states, the weather is great, our home taxes cannot be raised on a whim, like in other states; you just have no clue about
how it is on retirees here in California. Too bad.

December 15th, 2010 | #

Peter says

So like most “lists” it does give one an idea of criteria, but at the end of the day, we need to compile our own criteria, weight appropriately, and decide what makes the most sense for us – rather than pick a state off of some list. I believe they stated their criteria and that the ratings are arbitrary. Data is always good, but there are also intangible items to each of us that must be taken into consideration and that are often more important than the financial aspects.

December 15th, 2010 | #

john says

:???:
As a registered investment adviser, I have clients in most states.
In retirement they may or may not move.
Problems that movers consistently face is that they find out that the low cost community/state they moved to does not provide the same cultural benefits from whence they came.
Unfortunately, once moved from a higher cost state, it has been difficult to move back due to what has historically been lower real estate appreciation in the lower cost states versus higher real estate appreciation in the higher cost states. In essence it has historically been too expensiv to move back and with the recent real estate depression in the lower cost states, that problem has gotten worst.
If you are a supply/demand price believer, how is it that real estate prices in the high cost states consistently appreciate more than in the low cost states?
There must be some benefit attracting all those people to pay more for real estate and more in taxes!
So, I recommend that they initially rent for a while in the new lower cost state while maintaining their residence in the old, higher cost state until they are certain, and comfortable with the life style change.

Additionally, it is difficult to move away from your loved ones, children, grand children and extended family to a new lower cost state where they may no longer be present. Of course, it is much easier to make the move if your loved ones, children, grand children and extended family have already moved to the lower cost state or they move with you.
Only the ill advised would move simply based upon cost and weather!:???:

December 15th, 2010 | #

Dennis says

Since my wife is drawing a military annuity, Oregon does tax that, based upon when a person served in the military prior to a certain date, I believe 1986. So, 40% of that annuity is taxed. After 1986, all of a person’s military annuity would be taxed. (Editor’s note: We tried researching this issue and believe that Dennis’s point is essentially correct – military pensions are now taxable although some of the income exemption might be grandfathered in. If this is important to you we suggest you contact a tax professional for a more thorough understanding).

December 15th, 2010 | #

April says

:We grew up in California when it was REALLY nice.It is NOW full of grafetti, smog,high crime and welfare…. NO MATTER where you go!!! Gangster looking faces are employeed in too many banks throughout California. It is a real dog eat dog place to survive. I have a college degree plus and trust me, it is very hard to get a job.
We went to Texas, which is a very clean place to live (over all) but the homes here have sinking pier and beam foundations or cracked slabs and property taxes that most people can not explain…. one person told me he bought a home in downtown Austin for $100,000 in 1990 and is now appraised at $300,000. Now,he says he has to pay $8,500 a year taxes on it!!! Californian’s have been blamed on high prop taxes and home prices in Texas….. think we will settle elsewhere though if you like scenery….it truly is beautiful in Texas..If you are a new comer expect to take care of Texas for a long time to come. We were told the prop taxes are for “the children.:)

December 15th, 2010 | #

Russ says

Upon retirement I immediately moved out of California to a nice brand new two-story home in Henderson, NV – cost of $129,500. Property taxes are a little less than $2,000 a yr. No State income tax. Movie theaters in every Casino – charging $7 for seniors. Buffets start at $4.99. Bingo in every Casino. Lights and energy everywhere. Bus passes are $30 a month. Great bus service. Left California because of high property taxes, taxes on newspapers (!!!), taxes on food, eat-in, take-out, grocery stores. Bus passes higher and service not dependable. Highways clogged and smog everywhere. Three weeks to get a Doctor appt. Nevada is coming back from the downturn. Its a great place to live and/or work.

December 15th, 2010 | #

Mejask says

One very good thing about an article like this is that it stimulates a variety of comments. It’s a good thing to see various perspectives. Well, I grew up in Illinois and live in Connecticut now but can’t really argue with this list based on the criteria chosen. I think it goes to many of the comments that ‘lists’ are only as enlightening as the criteria they are based on.

I think John, the advisor, has a great point and I’ve often wondered if too many folks get, what I call, ‘the vacation syndrome’. Falling in love based on spending short periods of time in a place versus experiencing living there.

Good points about cost of living, in particular taxes, have also been made. If higher cost of living is bringing you things you want then the trade off for lower cost of living without these may not be worth it. Another way to approach this is to first ignore cost of livng and look for places that offer you the things you want. Then look at the financial picture for comparison.

Finally I will say that although the State criteria is important when looking at purely statiscal criteria (versus personal like family, etc.) it really has to be combined with local criteria to get the entire picture. Also,as I think this article is attempting to point out, trying to understand the impact that trends and current circumstances may have can be important.

December 18th, 2010 | #

CatInHiding says

This is for Kathy…who lives in California. Although it is a beautiful place and you feel the health care is good (I have to agree with you here) you should know that your State Income Tax is extremely high. So financially, it is not good for those retirees with high retirement incomes. It’s a toss up I guess. Everyone has to decide which is best for them.

December 18th, 2010 | #

adwgeo says

Seems odd that number 1 on the list doesn’t tax SS or pensions. I would think that would be a pretty big deal. Brings into question the validity of the entire list.

December 19th, 2010 | #

Bruce says

When you speak about the ten worst places to retire, you really need to include Minnesota. In fact, it should be the worst. The climate is terrible, -20 degrees in the winter to +100 in the summer. High prices on everything, and incredibly high taxes all around. Plus,
there is a law against nearly everything you can think off. Every year the legislature proposes another 2500 laws, of which on some pass fortunately. I am serious when I say that there is a law against nearly everything.
But, let me return to taxes. Property taxes are very high, income taxes are very high, and there is a fee attached to just about anything you might
want to do. And, of course, they tax your social security to absolute highest rate possible. Even Forbes magazine call Minnesota “one of the greediest states” in a 2007 magazine. Really, this is the worst state. I intend to leave as soon as possible.

December 19th, 2010 | #

E Sierra says

A big plus in Arizona is because of it’s financial woes, finding a retirement property is easier than ever. Only drawback is lots of other people are realizing that too. The state has lots of services that cater to retirees due to it’s large snowbird populations in the winter. Hope to close on my place after the end of the year and escape California when I retire. And when I miss the surf, I can be at the beach in San Diego an hour after I get to the Tucson airport.

December 19th, 2010 | #

Paul says

Michigan sucks people moving out everyday and as well there is not much opportunity here. All the youth are on there way to Chicago to get taxed to death. Also everyone else seems to be on there way to the south.

December 19th, 2010 | #

Khon Kaen says

That is why I chose to retire in Khon Kaen, Thailand – I don’t have any of those concerns.

December 20th, 2010 | #

Joe Spaulding says

My wife and I are recent retirees. Been in Texas nearly 50 years and in Austin nearly 40 years. Between the state’s failure to adequately fund its part of the retirement fund of state employees and failure to fund public welfare and the lunacy of Austin’s city council, I will be moving out of Austin asap. Furthermore, I cannot and do not recommend Texas or Austin, Texas, as places to retire or reside until fundamental changes in the attitudes of the city and state.

Won’t move north — cold physically hurts. I can stand heat.

December 20th, 2010 | #

Bill says

OK – follow the link to ‘best places to retire’ which is just below where they mention that Florida ALMOST made the ‘worst’ list. What is #1 on the ‘best’ list – you guessed it: FLROIDA.

Another meaningless PR list that is put together by the clueless preaching to the moronic. Wish I could have those last few clicks of my life back.

December 20th, 2010 | #

Mike says

Illinoie is OK if your independantly wealthy, true pensions aren’t taxed _yet, but property and sales along with the countless other taxes will bury a retiree. The Democratic controlled legislature is in complete dissary and consistently impose revenue reducing taxes and laws.

December 20th, 2010 | #

telsa21 says

This is for cat in hiding….If you have a high retirement income due to pension consider yourself lucky! Most people don’t get pensions anymore. If you can afford to retire consider yourself lucky! Many people have to continue working into their late 60′s and 70′s. If you are alive consider yourself lucky! Many people never live long enough to retire. enough said.

December 20th, 2010 | #

Nelson says

One important factor that you failed to mention was the Cost Of Living (COL). I transferred to Northern Kentucky 10 years before I retired with the same pay I was making in New York City and discovered the COL here was half of what it was in New York. Then I found Kentucky does not tax Social Security or Pensions which means my retirement income is completely tax free and the property taxes are far less than they were on Long Island. I was paying $6000 a year property tax on Long Island when I left and my new home was taxed at only $1100 a year. If anyone looks at Kentucky as being deprived of entertainment that is a false impression. And we are right across the river from Cincinnati. The quality of health care is very good as is the selection of doctors.

December 21st, 2010 | #

You Won’t Find South Carolina on THIS List! | Justin Winter's Carolina Lake and Mountain Blog says

[...] our list of the 10 (or so) worst states for retirement, 2010 edition……”  Click here to see the full article on TopRetirements.com -  including the top 10 [...]

December 21st, 2010 | #

Poll names 10 worst places to retire | Reverse Mortgage Guide says

[...] places to retire. But if you’ve ever wondered about some of the places to definitely avoid, TopRetirements.com has put together a list for that, too. It’s worth considering some of the places on the list [...]

December 22nd, 2010 | #

LarryDean says

Our family was re-located to Texas from Kansas. We’ve had our ups and downs expense-wise. It’s never cheap to move, however Texas and in particlar the San Antonio area has been a pleasant change for our family. We estimated our taxes for 3 in Kansas including payroll tax, property tax, vehicle tax, and tax on food was over 6,100 anually. Our 300,000 home in a county outside bordering San Antonio is 4,900.00. The medical services in this area is one of the best in the country. If you don’t drive a stake in the ground, this is one of the best retirement areas in the country…if you can stand the heat. But the fair weather months and the lack of wind make up for the warm months. Best regards

December 22nd, 2010 | #

Goner says

I don’t see SC anywhere on any list. Good. It’s peaceful in SC and I like it that way.

December 30th, 2010 | #

Niceguy2931 says

Your list of the worst for retirement states are also in the running for the best quality of life states whereas those states with good balance sheets are , e.g. the worst in care for medicare etc. etc.

December 31st, 2010 | #

Rochelle Cashdan says

Another alternative is moving outside the US. About 500,000 of us live in Mexico. We still pay the IRS but if no longer a state resident don’t pay state taxes. You need to think of the cost of health care and seeing family, but daily expenses are less here. The cost of gasoline, LP gas, and electricity will be rising in 2011.

January 1st, 2011 | #

Kieran Reilly says

As a lifelong New Yorker, I always laugh when I see our climate viewed as a negative. The national news regularly is full of stories about communities devastated by hurricanes, tornadoes,flash floods, wildfires, mud slides, and twisters. None of these things happen here; we don’t by and large have weather that can kill you or we don’t get weather than can destroy your home and even your entire community. We get some snow a few months of the year and guess what — in a couple of days, it melts! We also are not in danger of not having enough water as is the case in so many of your Best Places to Live. And New York has one of the lowest crime rates in the nation. But my general reaction to stories like this is always the same: the best place to live is where there are people who love you. There is nothing more pathetic to me than to see retirees move away from their children and grandchildren so they can save a few bucks on taxes or get a little more sun. What they miss out on in the bargain is something you can never put a price on. My parents are 90 and have been retired since they were 62. I cannot imagine the void in my life and in the lives of my kids if they had left us for someplace on a list of Best Places for Retiree to Live. I thank God that I have parents who have their priorities in order and don’t think that two visits a year makes for a family. My sisters and I live the same way; we have all turned down job opportunities that would have taken us to another region with lower taxes, cheaper housing, etc., My family’s version of “family values:” we don’t bail on each other.

January 10th, 2011 | #

Helene McGee says

:grin: I have moved from San Diego, CA to Palm Springs, CA; My daughters, Brother & family,G/Children and friends live in San Diego. I am 1 1/2 hours by car away from family and WEATHER WISE perfect for me in PALM SPRINGS. It is the Desert, HOT & DRY and I started w/arthritis in 2004 and it hasn’t progressed and w/natural supplements, NO statin drugs, My well being physically and mentally are so much better than my friends even those in San Diego. ITS all about your HEALTH and feeling good when you retire; I LOVE the DESERT and yes it is in the 100′s in the summer, but duh, everything is air conditioned and your body adjusts. San Diego is nice in parts but on the Ocean and is COLD and DAMP a lot..not good for the body..Plus living in Riverside county medical and senior discoounts prevail.

January 11th, 2011 | #

trixxy says

Moving out of CA this year, too expensive, finding it hard to survive here want peace of mind about finances not grief. Need to go to the East Coast where the living is easy and not so expensive as I am a single person and on a fixed income. CA will suck the life out of someone in my shoes.:roll:

January 15th, 2011 | #

shar says

This is an important subject; however, I think it is difficult, if not impossible, to keep up with the conditions in the states (ie. cost of living, taxes, etc) I retired from Texas to Oregon (my children are here) in 2004. At the time I retired, Oregon was far less expensive than Austin Texas. My guess is that metro Portland now rivals Austin for COA. I totally agree with the disclaimer that those considering retirement moves should weigh more heavily what they desire in a retirement location first, then perhaps look at the fine print to make final decisions. And by all means, study!!!

January 15th, 2011 | #

» How Can A State Be the Worst… and the Best for Retirement? Topretirements says

[...] most asked question and comment on all of the websites that have been covering of our “Worst States for Retirement” article has been this one: how can the same state be on the best and the worst list? A [...]

January 17th, 2011 | #

Steve says

California here, our situation is different.
My wife 63 has been totally blind since she was eight and never worked so she cannot get SSA. I have multiple health problems and worked little,I am 65. We have lived in poverty all our lives,with no retirement, pensions, or savings. We have a home we might lose, as the mortgage is $1,350 and our income is $1,514 a month.We only make it because I pickup scrap and cans and do odd jobs.We live on SSI and a little SSA disability.Retirement means nothing to us.I don’t know what the golden years mean.California cut $210 from our SSI last year, if they do it again we will be in the streets with 5 million others.
We cannot refinace because our income is to low, we cannot get a modification because we have to much equity, we cannot get a reverse mortgage because our equity is to low. We tried for two years. At least most of you can talk about retirement, we can do nothing, cant go anywhere, no recreation or entertainment, basically we are waiting to die.

January 22nd, 2011 | #

B.A.Brown says

All things considered, the best or the worst, it is all a matter of personal opinion and preferences. We believe what we chose to believe. I find the best and worst scale very stimulating, however would retire where I love to be and can be happy. This does not depend on the good opinion of other people.
I like to inspire soon to be retirees to travel and fall in love with what they find. It is not all about the mighty dollar or the weather. Good luck to all!!

February 11th, 2011 | #

Charles VanAcker says

Great comments. We have used TopRetirements.com often and generally agree with the recommendations. Great site. Typical boomers, we sold a home in Michigan, and are now traveling through warm weather states for 6 months experiencing the areas (before moving). We had brief stays in Austin, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Fredricksburg Texas (good, but not for us). We stayed in Green Valley, Az in December and January and toured Tucson, Scottsdale, Prescott, Bisbee, etc. Very nice, scenic, slower paced highly recommended. We are now in Palm Desert, Ca for a month, and have ruled out this area. Next Laguna Woods, Temecula, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, etc. Agree with comments on California, it is both great (weather,etc), and bad (crime, traffic, cost). We have not ruled it out. Our last stops will be Oregon (March), Florida (April, May). There is no utopia only compromise. Weather is important to us, so these states will be best for us. Family are important too, so we will plan trips to visit them, as long as we are healthy, after relocating.

February 19th, 2011 | #

Jeff Richards says

This list certainly has ‘legs’ and the comments roll on. Such discussion is healthy and illuminating. I see many excellent ones here. I smile when I see Connecticut on this ‘worst’ list and then on a similar hyperlinked ‘best’ list at the same time. Well, I live in Eastern Connecticut, likely less expensive in toto than Oregon (my birthplace and always a place my spouse and I are thinking about). So one point is that costs, weather and far more are hardly uniform even in a state this small. I love our United States! Our exceptions are so extraordinary to point we try to make about statistical norms! Connecticut is delightful, I’ll say as a recent arrival. One should not underestimate the long-haul values of the society one is moving into and becoming part of in older ago. Sharp edges can grate harder later in life. Connecticut is ‘the land of steady habits’ and I am impressed that this state is working hard together on the hard issues like taxes while holding together on the good traditions of sharing and mutual regard. That is impressive. There are not Elder Ghettos here.

March 15th, 2011 | #

Thomas says

It seems the more I read these “best places” lists, the more complex the issue becomes.I am still working,am age 61, and will likely retire in a couple of years. I don’t have one of those nice government pensions, and even though I am a professional with twelve years post-high school education from major universities, I am like many of you,with 401k plans that have suffered. I look at my social security statement and see that, despite having paid in for many years,in the top income bracket, I will receive only about $100 a month more than someone who never made more than $30k a year. I guess that is what “sharing the wealth” is all about.

I worked in Tucson and Phoenix for twenty years,in the medical field.So I encountered many,many “snowbirds” from Mesa, Green Valley, Florence and other areas. They came from all over the country, and for the most part they liked Arizona.But there was always the issue of isolation from their families, and as they got older,it became a real problem for many.

In Arizona there are basically two income classes of retirees, and that determines who has to stay during the hot summer.The moneyed retired usually leave for cooler climates.Those living on small pensions and social security are often “trapped”,living indoors for several months of + 100 degree weather.
If they live in retirement communities, they are often in virtual “ghost towns” during the summer.
The exception would be the Sun City communities, which seem to have a large year round population, and first class, air conditioned recreational facilities year round.

Green Valley is very nice, but never excited me too much. Mesa has gone Mexican with crime in the past ten years-that is the reality.
Tucson is sprawling, with no sense of small community. Prescott Valley still has promise, and a better year round climate than Green Valley. Payson/Show Low also nice.

I think there is a lot to be said for retiring close to family, and maybe travelling for a month or two in the winter. That way you can visit different areas: maybe Florida one year, and if you don’t like it, Arizona the next.

The reality is that when you get in your eighties you are going to need your family, and it is not that great living in a nice climate when all your family lives back in the midwest or East.

Unless you want to become isolated in a senior retirement development, I think it is better to look at more balanced small college towns. I love California but it is expensive, even for someone like myself who currently makes $150,000/yr (before fed/state tax,which cuts it by 50%) working.

People forget that those who gave up their twenties and maybe part of their thirties in education can never catch up in pension and savings,as compared to someone who stared working for state,federal or county government at age 21, since most of us do not have those coveted defined benefit pension plans.

Those plans are now bankrupting governments, and we see the Madison Wisconsin protests, but the reality is that we are seeing a major division in retirement lifestyle potential among educated professional or small business owners, and those who had government jobs. This is not to knock the latter, but it is a reality.

So in summary, I think the “best places” to retire should consider where your family is (if you like your family).They should also consider the impacts of things like illegal immigration on the social resources of communities and the health care facilities, since there is no question they will be competing for resources needed to care for seniors.

If you go into an emergency room in Arizona, you may well wait ten hours,since they are full of illegals getting free care. Not politically correct?- well I’m sorry, but that is the way it is. If you are a senior, you will wait a long time in Arizona,California and Texas emergency rooms, unless you have a critical emergency problem.

Good luck!

March 18th, 2011 | #

Thomas says

I would add that my aunt and her husband kept their home in frigid Canada, but spent every winter in the St.Petersberg area. They did it for twenty years, and loved having summers back in their home, catching up with all the relatives.

They stayed at the same little motel in Florida every year, as most of the others were also regulars from the North. No commitment, no real estate to sell if their health did not permit a winter away, and it seemed to be a nice balance.

So maybe you don’t have to move away unless you really want to. Winter rentals only seem expensive if you ignore the costs of buying and maintaining a winter home.Flexibility and freedom from worry are worth a lot.

March 18th, 2011 | #

» Best States for Retirement – 2011 Edition Topretirements says

[...] 29, 2011 — No article we have ever written attracted more attention than our “Worst States for Retirement“. Ever since the list came out last December it has been fiercely debated. In the end we [...]

March 29th, 2011 | #

Gary says

Oregon has to be the worst to retire to. Taxes are one of the highest on the planet according to the Wall Street Journal. Sure the environment is nice but they hate business with a passion and try to destroy business at every turn. Cars are hated and nearly all gas revenues go to light rail and bike paths versus not have a new road built in over 25 years. Light rail is nice but at full capacity 24 hours per day will only carry 1-2% of the entire pop and not having drivable roads is insane. Constant gridlock. Towns are run by public employees so taxes are extremley high and always going higher and they exempt themselves from surcharges and special taxes they place on others.

March 29th, 2011 | #

Ritz says

What sbout other countries like Canada. I have found that living near a us/ca border works very well. Do you have any information on that?

March 29th, 2011 | #

Joan says

I noticed no one is commenting on Ohio…..well here’s the way my husband and I look at it…..the weather here does get cold….very cold and heavy snow (we’re up East in Ohio). But when you’re retired you don’t have to drive in it. Just stay home. Quality time, reading books, catching up with writing to old friends, watching movies, etc. all play a part in putting up with the cold. The summers are okay. Sometimes very hot, sometimes not. We watch other states that have hurricanes, earthquakes, tornatoes, floods, etc. etc. We don’t have these problems often. When we do, they’re minor ones. Yes, our taxes are high. But to uproot ourselves to find a place ‘better’ just doesn’t sound feasable. Our children are here, friends, and family. Yes, I don’t like the cold now that I’m older, but I’ll try and stick it out here in Ohio. We pay for the heat, but in Arizona, Florida, and other
warm states, they pay a lot for air conditioning. I really think in the long run it evens out.

They say the grass is always greener on the other side. I’m getting too old to find out!

April 12th, 2011 | #

bholla says

Hope people forget about Arizona. Moving there and hope everyone else goes someplace else. Beautiful…hot…sunny…and dry….love it. So everyone else please go someplace else because it is too hot for you in AZ.

April 16th, 2011 | #

G7Finance.com – Special Finance Resources » Best and Worst States for Retirement says

[...] that time, he reported on a study on this topic by MoneyRates.com. Recently another site, TopRetirements.com did a similar list, results [...]

April 16th, 2011 | #

RickB says

One of the criteria I use to determine if I succeeded or failed in retirement is whether I have to wear a heavy coat. If I do, I failed. For the posters who want to justify why they suffer through long, grey winters, I can only say that your taste is significantly different from mine. Florida, Texas, California, Arizona and New Mexico are where I would want to be, but the southern portions of the southeast states would also suit me. I like green foliage, and I get that from February through November in Texas. For those who like to shovel snow and look at bleak weather, enjoy. You can find me in short sleeves 10 months out of the year, enjoying the outdoors.

May 7th, 2011 | #

Bill Vail says

Florida will always be #1. No state income tax, Low property taxes, Least expensive property, best beaches, baseball,great hospitals and heathcare, best airline connections, low cost of living (food,etc)and the best Winter weather in the nation (SUNSHINE almost every day)….Forget about NH. We live in Vermont in the Summer,But like NH it is full blown Winter about 7 months a year and gray almost every day. Come to Naples and I will sell you a place to live you will love…

May 8th, 2011 | #

Dr. Richard Shreve says

The article on worst retirement locations certainly begs the question: “For whom?” There is NO perfect spot so the only recourse is to be able to be in 2 different locations depending upon climate conditions. Another option is to leave the country(republic state) in bad weather and return for the glorious northern summers.Yes it can be done. Just pick the republic/state that has what YOU desire and always have an alternative. Two is better than one, so do it. Cosider the Bahamas (only 70 miles), central America and even Mexico let alone Bulgaria, Ukraine etc given your desires for family. Research well and you will not be disapointed. Richard Ray Shreve, Ph.D. Finance, Economics & Chemistry

May 26th, 2011 | #

JB says

How about Puerto Rico for retirement?

May 28th, 2011 | #

bernadette shiels says

I was wandering why Puerto Rico did not mentioned in those worst or best state. A lot of people are moving to Latin America for retirement options, none mentioned PR. I would like to know why.

May 29th, 2011 | #

Marjorie Dwyer says

“Beautiful Ohio” is not just a song. I live on Lake Erie with lovely farmland nearby. We have the best public retirement system (librarian) possible. And it is solvent. Cleveland has its population and school troubles but for retirees there are many cultural pluses–the Orchestra, Art Museum, restaurants, clean sandy beaches, sports, golf courses, and modest taxes. Florida is a get-away for a few grey weeks but I’m not moving.

June 4th, 2011 | #

Joanne Loudenslager says

I have lived in a small village in New York all my life. We pay high property and school taxes. Our village government keep increasing and employees are paid very good salaries. The benefits are the very best and employees only pay about 5% towards their health insurance. Our school system has some of the very best paid teachers in the state. With the economy in a downturn both our village government and school system have continued to spend and spend. As a recent retiree, I wonder how long I will be able to pay for the excessive and unnecessary spending in this community. Shame on all the inept, thoughtless people in control who never seem to realize that their careless, unnecessary spending is destructive!

June 10th, 2011 | #

jiml1130 says

These “best and worst” lists depend heavily on what factors are most important to an individual. When the researchers decide what weighting goes on what factor (e.g. how important weather is) then you can be sure that the results don’t reflect your personal criteria. That’s what’s going on in this list. Personally, I don’t give a crap if my state is deep in debt – I’m much more interested in the income tax, weather, traffic, convenience to airports, how well housing prices will hold up, and recreation.

July 28th, 2011 | #

» Surprising Results: The Worst Retirement States for Taxes Are Not What You Thought Topretirements says

[...] further reference 2011 Worst States for Retirement Best States for Retirement [...]

September 6th, 2011 | #

» No Go: A Worst States for Retirement List We Don’t Agree With Topretirements says

[...] worst – some states are on both – due to complexity of rating criteria and what gets rated!) Topretirements 10 Worst Retirement States Best States to Retire in 100 Best Places to Retire List of the Best Places to Retire Lists Look for [...]

September 16th, 2011 | #

brad 83702 says

I recently retired after a career dealing with educators in Idaho. Two of the worst retirment states in this article were the darlings of the Idaho Teachersd Union members. Disgruntled teachers left every year for higher earnings in Nevada and Oregon.

It appears that they left a beautiful state with a mild climate for economic problems in the destinations.:roll:

September 21st, 2011 | #

Illinois Ranks Dead Last in List of Retirement Paradises | Alter NOW says

[...] ranks as the nation’s worst state to retire in,  according to a study by TopRetirement.com. The nine other losers include California, New York, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Ohio, Wisconsin, [...]

November 20th, 2011 | #

KimbeeJean says

As a happy-to-be-here Minnesotan, I find comments like Bruce’s misleading. Yes, our taxes are high, but nowhere near California’s. I lived there 23 years and couldn’t wait to leave and return to the midwest, weather notwithstanding. Our quality of life here is outstanding: top-notch health care, natural beauty, stable business climate, lots of terrific restaurants, museums, theater, and caring, considerate, neighborly people. California weather is great, but the crime, crowds, and expense, to say nothing of the dog-eat-dog, phony culture is not worth it, as far as I’m concerned. I know many Californians who’d get out if they could, but are trapped, and most of them are natives. That’s why these lists are so misleading, as you can tell from the many comments like mine. There are no “best states to retire to”, except in each person’s opinion.

November 21st, 2011 | #

» When It Comes to Choosing Your Best Place to Retire – The Most Important Financial and Tax Issue Might Not Be What You Think Topretirements says

[...] further reference: 10 Worst States for Retirement – 2011 Not What You Thought: The Worst Retirement States for Taxes Most Tax Friendly States Five Reasons [...]

December 6th, 2011 | #

Kats says

I love this robust exchange. It truly represents the individuality we’ve all known about the boomers I grew up in FL so love those comments, most adult years spent in MD (which we love) but will retire to CA because that is where our kids have settled. Very encouraged to see Helene’s comments since we are looking at the Banning/Beaumont area. Still looking for good resource materials on how to move a downsized household from one coast to the other. Thanks Top Retirements for this format Good stuff.

December 8th, 2011 | #

Linda says

I’ve been wondering what other childless couples were thinking. My husband and I have fallen in love with Florida after saying we would never live there. We have even decided to overlook hurricanes! It isn’t populated by just old people and there are a lot of activities to become involved in. Our problem with Florida is the homeowners insurance situation. It is very expensive if available at all.

December 9th, 2011 | #

Delia says

Sad to see every comment about Oregon is negative, and true. It was a beautiful state. I tried to convince my husband to sell our home and leave in 2006. I truly regret not having an absolute screaming tantrum to convince him, hindsight is 20/20. It is much worse now. Unemployment, foreclosures, homelessness, hunger, taxes we are on the top of all those lists. Now it is nearly impossible to sell a house. Forget trying to get something near what it was worth or too often what is owed on it.

December 15th, 2011 | #

New York Tax Filing says

This is a great post. I actually use my family’s taxes to increase our savings rate. My husband is an awful saver, and tends to spend most of what is left in his accounts after his half of the bills are paid. I’m the saver, and so am in charge of our investments and our liquid fund. I’ve always had him *increase* his withholding when he’s started new jobs. He forgets he’s paying more of our tax bill (especially since I also do our taxes). When our fat refund comes in February, he gets a little fun money, and I roll the rest into our IRA and house fund. This way, we both pay half the bills, and both save almost the same amount of money over the course of the year, without any arguments.

December 23rd, 2011 | #

Diandto says

We are headed to South Carolina! One cannot beat the property taxes. We hav lived in CA and LOVED it, but it is too messed up econmically…we lived in Texas now and my allergies are so bad; cedar is the culprit in the winter an everything else the rest of the year. Does anyone have any comments about the Myrtle Beach AREA??? I would love to read some.

December 24th, 2011 | #

Anne MacKinney says

Diandto: I certainly hope that you like HUMIDITY. The summers are God Awful in South Carolina. We live inlan,d but last summer we felt as if we were captives of the air conditioning. Ten minutes outside and the hunidity has taken over. We have vacationed in April in Myrtle Beach. I would suggest staying away from the tourist areas. It certainly wasn’t quiet which for someone over 30 years old isn’t appealing. Beware of condos that allow owners to rent their units. This is where the noise comes from, renters and young vacationers. Yes the property taxes certainly are less but there’s something to be said about paying less. Being from the Northeast we saw high taxes, but then we saw a higher percentage of students going on to college. There certainly is a difference between what is cionsidered educated in the South as opposed to the North. I don’t want to put the southern people down because we have met some of the nicest people here, but the poor people here certainly are very poor and it’s sad. Try renting for at least 6 months, it certainly will give you a better feel of the area.

December 27th, 2011 | #

RH says

I guess you are “cionsidered” one of those educated in the North. The logic of some of your statements makes me wonder.

December 28th, 2011 | #

Diandto says

Thanks for the input. I believe last summer was one of “those” summers, it certainly was unbearable in Texas as well. The humidity was horrible and we live in a section of Texas that is supposedly not “as” humid. We are from New York, but will not live in those New York winters any more; our daughter goes to college in NY. However, that being said, I would rather live in an area where there is humidity for a couple months than allergies year round! Plus New York summers can be pretty humid. We are actually looking into the Conway area…maybe Murrells Inlet; we hear those places are nice.

December 28th, 2011 | #

Dennis says

Michigan has wonderful places to retire if you can stand the winters. Ann Arbor is the healthiest city in the nation for 50+ per AARP and we have 11,000 lakes (lead the nation in number of registered boats) and lead the nation in number of public golf courses. It is a recreational paradise. In the winters, you can bowl as Detroit leads the nation in registered bowlers. I agree with another commenter about just renting for a few months when you want to get away from the winters.

December 31st, 2011 | #

Anne MacKinney says

RH: If I have by any of my wording offended anyone, please accept my apologies. I have to be one of the least judgemental people around and don’t think that because I was raised in the Northeast that I’m any better then anyone else across this diversified country. We have moved our fair share of times and certainly have made mistakes in some of our choices. I was just hoping by my comments to show some of that insight. Obviously I didn’t convey my thoughs as well as I should have.

January 1st, 2012 | #

Rob says

Anne’s comments are not unrealistic. Socio-economic factors are important. You don’t want to live where there is a cultural divide. We live in South Carolina [Bluffton] and it gets very uncomfortable in the summer, but you need to consider the cold winters if you live in a house built on a slab. If the heat comes from the ceiling ac ducts, the house can feel cold. This was a worse problem than summer when the ac kept us comfortable. The cold radiates from the floor and the heat stays near the ceiling. Our house is insulated and is sealed for air leakage. THE BEST ADVICE RENT FIRST. IF YOU BUY YOU MAY GET STUCK WHERE YOU DON’T WANT TO BE.

January 2nd, 2012 | #

» Worst States to Retire 2012: Northeast and Midwest Come Up Losers Topretirements says

[...] But how about the places where it’s not such a good idea to retire? Last year our “worst 10 states” list caused quite a sensation, so we are back at it again for 2012. The purpose is to try to [...]

January 10th, 2012 | #

diandto says

All interesting insights; however,since South Carolina is “Cold” in the winter, how lomg IS winter?I don’t mind cold for a couple of months nor do I mind hot and humid for a couple of month, it’s the extremes that bother me-like hot hot for five months or longer or colde, rainy and snowy for four to six months…my bones seem to ache in the latter.I think Wilmington, NC to Mrytle Beach, SC is what we’d like.Can anyone commesnt on txes, weather, insurance (home and car)?We’d like to know an average. Thanks

January 14th, 2012 | #

MaryLou Michelin says

North Carolina is disgusting. The fruit & vegetables have no taste from fall to summer the prices are high & the produce is small. It is cold and damp or hot and humid. The people are still fighting the Civil War- the outlook many people have is so out dated you think you are in a different country. I was robbed 6 months ago and the police have done nothing- can’t take fingerprints because they have no money. Will be so happy to sell my beautiful home & leave. Houses are very cheap- they still burn leaves here and complain about air quality- forget about the high cost of utilities.

January 18th, 2012 | #

diandto says

Marylou Michelin-What part of North Carolina are you living in? We have friends in Chapel Hill, sounds like a nice place, but too expensive for us. So, we are more serious about South Carolina; they seem to have low taxes, houses are cheap and people seem nice. I need salt air; it is better for my asthma…

January 19th, 2012 | #

Dick H says

Wow MaryLou, you should get a job from the NC Tourist Bureau. I have lived here for 22 years, moving from Ohio. I have no idea where you moved from but you should have done more “due diligence” before moving here. Is it hot and humid? Yes but I live on the coast where the ocean keeps it cooler in the Summer and warmer in the Winter. It is still the South and you should expect heat. I’m sorry but I don’t see people still fighting the Civil War but I do see people moving from the Northeast who try to change the area to be more like where they moved from. It just isn’t going to happen. Outdated and a like a different country? With a condescending attitude like that, I do suggest that you move as soon as possible. OMG, they burn leaves? Heck, they mow their own lawns too. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out….

January 19th, 2012 | #

Terry says

Gary, other than that, how do you like Oregon?! :neutral:

I have lived in Oregon for over 30 years. I was a passenger on light rail five days a week for over 20 years and yes, it is crowded at rush hour, but it is not full to capacity, as you say, 24 hours a day. Also, traffic is not at a “constant” gridlock. It depends on the hour and what part of town you are in. I’m not going to respond on taxes or pedophilia except that you exaggerate once again when you say “if you are into pedophilia” this is the place to be. Given your misinformation regarding light rail and traffic, I strongly recommend people reading your post do their own research on Oregon and take everything you said with a grain of salt.

Editor’s note: Thanks Terry for pointing out the inappropriate comments from Gary. We have since edited those out. We would like to remind our members and visitors that our Site Rules strictly state that “You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening, sexually-oriented or any other material”. We have the right and will edit out political comments – we’ll leave those to cable TV, talk radio, and politicians themselves. Topretirements is meant to be a fun and informative site.

January 20th, 2012 | #

doug0613 says

I like articles like these. I get to see many people’s point of view, the author’s and readers comments. I think this article was perfectly written within the guideline criteria of a states Fiscal Health, Taxes and Climate. I’m reading some of the criticism here as a little harsh. The author clearly states first “Everybody’s situation is different” which amounts to you retire where you like it. As a worst state list it sums things up pretty well. Choosing a place to relocate or retire can be an overwhelming process. I’m not going to try to write an article in a comment box but you have to make lists of whats important to you in every detail and categorize and weigh that criteria. I started with what I like to do for fun! Because if all else retirement and life has to be fun!

January 21st, 2012 | #

John_F__Ohio says

If you retire in Ohio, be ready for a surprise at tax time. (in reference to School district income tax).
This is very unfair. I am recently retired, and was shocked to discover that I owe $500 in school taxes, because there were no monthly taxes withheld from my pension and Social Security for the school district. When listing my income on the SD 100 return form, I see that there are two income types. One is the “Traditional” tax base school district, and the other is for “Earned Income Only” tax based school districts (of course, my school district is listed as “Traditional” tax base).
This is prejudiced against retired citizens, that some have to pay school tax on their pension and Social Security, and some do not. It’s already tough enough to manage my bills on a lower “fixed” income, and now this shock of $500 tax due has me reeling. It’s just one more reason to move out of the state of Ohio. I supported (and voted for) the school district income tax ever since the inception, but little did I realize that when I retired, my limited income would be taxed.

February 13th, 2012 | #

Larry__Ohio says

John_F__Ohio, Your comment “I supported (and voted for) the school district income tax ever since the inception, but little did I realize that when I retired, my limited income would be taxed.”. I am sorry but what did you expect? The Ohio supreme court has ruled that school taxes based on property value is unconstitutional and illegal yet nothing is being done about it. So, vote for the taxes and continue to pay.

February 14th, 2012 | #

Linda..Central Florida says

We moved to Polk County Florida 3 yrs ago after selling our home on the Bay in Middletown, NJ. Some things I miss and some things I don’t. I miss the smell of the sea, the great casual restaurants,not chain restaurants. I miss my butcher shop, wonderful NJ tomatoes, Max’s Hot Dogs and not worrying about sharks in the ocean as much or alligators. I miss real trees,rivers and hills and real grass.:sad:
What I don’t miss are the $8,000 a yr property taxes, cold winters, and my family (because when we moved here they came, they liked, they moved as well. Being Disney employees with perks, the family is having a ball and they never run out of things to do. they witnessed the last 2 space shuttles and were in awe. they love the weather and find the majority of the people to be very nice. Schools are terrible in this area so they now home school their 3 teens. Oh, we all now lock our doors which we never did in Middletown.We had extremely low crime in Middletown and very high crime of all kinds here. I don’t go out shopping alone at night here but in Middletown that was never a problem. Churches here are very well attended and have numerous activities for families and seniors. the weather in the past 3 yrs has been terrific. Some cold nights in the winter, 30′s &40′s at night sometimes but usually in the 50′s or 60′s. Daytime is 70′s and 80′s. And no, you don’t usually swim all winter here, the Gulf temp right now is in the 60′s brrr and pools would also be cold unless heated. We have gas heat, resonably cheap and AC in summer runs about $90 for a 1700 sq ft house. Car registration is very high as is home insurance, Florida has sinkholes that swallow up houses occasionally.:shock: Scary! We also have red ants, not nice little creatures at all! Well, that’s my take on our 3 yrs here. Oh, health care is excellent but nursing homes are for the birds by comparison to NJ. I mean, really bad! :evil:

March 10th, 2012 | #

Joe In Minnnesota says

There is no escape from paying taxes no matter where you live unless you’re a crook – I see so many people move when they retire, big mistake, They sell there home and possibly go further in debt on some “dream house some place…. only to die a couple of years later from the stress of moving and the worries of debt. No matter where you go, when you get there, and open your baggage, or that suitcase, or even that paper sack with your stuff in it, all your problems will be right there in front of you. I live in Minnesota; I worked here all my life and retired here. Yes the state has their fingers into your retirement income as far as taxes try to live tax free some place – but health care here is excellent. Move some place out in the mountains and see how long it takes to get an ambulance to you and get you to a major medical center if you need it –
I am single (Divorced for 16 years) my age is 66, I have some friends that go to Arizona in the winter time. They eiter pull some kind of box car with an expensive truck down there or rent some place for the winter. My feeling is there dopes. like it’s cheaper to just turn the heat up in your home a bit in the winter here in Minnesota, winters are mild here with the climate changes we have been having, I used the snow blower twice last year. And if you are unable to do your own snow removal, you can get a neighbor to do your snow removable if your require it.
The temps here in Southern Minnesota in the winter run about 10 degrees to 35 degrees above zero unless you live in the Northern part of the state…..

…Live a diverse life and you will never be bored or need some kind of activity director- I have seen a few people move away spend all that (even borrowed) money, then only to find out they miss their friends and family back “home”

If you live in some crime ravaged place. get out when you’re young, don’t wait till you retire.

No matter where you live there are the good and the bads about it. Unless it’s horrible and you can’t stand it, you better think twice about moving unless you have so much money you don’t know what to do with it. I’m happy with what I have and have all I want in life.I am happy right here in Minnesota. Just remember, if you move, you would probably never recover your moving costs if you relocate, not to mention what kind of surprises you would have in your new home or location.

May 20th, 2012 | #

John Jersey says

Thanks Joe
Now that my wife and I are in our early 60s we’ve been looking for the place where the taxes won’t follow. But you’re right, it doesn’t exist. However, we live in mid Jersey where we pay approximately 20K per year in property taxes and were hoping to alleviate some of that pain. Alas plans beget more plans while life goes on. If we live “the average” number of years after we retire we will owe the state of New Jersey over half million dollars just to stay in the home we built. Somehow that seems unreasonable but it is what it is…can’t fight city hall, death and taxes and all that. No wonder some of us have begun to see parallels to the feudal system in medieval England. The Lords of the Manor are taking more and more of the harvest, at the same time telling us we would be better off fending for ourselves. It’s either one or the other or neither of the two.

We’ve concluded that there is nothing to do but work and play as hard and as enjoyably as we can. Retirement planning has become the new alcoholism and, like the disease, there are no geographical cures. It has been, is now and always will be just this day in this place. Tomorrow never comes. Even if it does do you really want to live in the “Best Retirement Community” around people who dress just like you, think just like you and act just like you? Sounds like a Bendictine monastery to me. Been there done that. Now that I’m thinking about it perhaps that wouldn’t be such a bad idea. Maybe I’ve lived my life correctly but just out of sequence.

This is definetly a tough decision, for the simple reason that there appears to be so little time to correct a bad one.

Oh well. Good luck everybody.

May 21st, 2012 | #

leftyO'malley says

I agree with a lot of what you said Joe. I’m 62 and I too live in Minnesota and I don’t worry about taxes, at least it’s not on the top of my list. Everywhere a person could move there will be trade offs. No state taxes, like in Florida, but the heat and humidity would drive me away. Some communities in warm weather states have higher sales or property taxes that can affect retirees more then income taxes would. Good medical care like we have in Mn is near the top of the list for me so if I would consider moving for the winter it would have to be to a place with similar health care options. Unlike you I no longer appreciate the winter months like I did years ago and would consider living elsewhere 3-4 months a year. I wouldn’t consider it unless I could afford to do it. I’m not rich but will live comfortably in retirement unless the politicians muck it up for me. Good to read something on here from a fellow Minnesotan, I was learning way more then I wanted to about the east coast and Florida.

May 21st, 2012 | #

David M. Lane says

I still believe that in the end best and worse states to retire in boils down to the retirement income you will have. Lets look at housing costs and maintaining the housing. States with poorer financial conditions often have a shortage of jobs. If you want to save money go where the jobs aren’t or there is a lower wage scale. If your retirement budget is on the smaller side, Florida makes sense especially central Florida. There is a reason why housing is less expensive here high paying jobs are scarce. This is not true of all areas of a state so it is hard to generalize about a whole state’s physical condition. All predictions are that the I-4 corridor in Florida is destined for physical improvement. Jobs are on their way. I suspect that within the coming 5 years housing prices will probably double. So, now is the time to get your housing, whether a single family home, condo or villa. Plenty of excellent properties here well under $100,000. That is destined to change. In my mind there is nothing as good as the price of your home doubling over a five year period of time. Time to relocate from states where housing is now high and the carrying costs, taxes, upkeep take a big chunk of your retirement income.

May 22nd, 2012 | #

Mad Monk says

I realize this discussion is supposed to be about “worst states” in which to retire. However it is active discussion right now, and hope to get some clarification on this. Is there anything to stop one retiring to a city in a state with no income taxes (of any kind), right on the border with a city in a state that does have income tax … ah, but no sales tax!? Thus, having the best of both worlds … live in the one … and shop in the other. Are there border patrols looking for people returning with refrigerators in the back of the pickup, etc.? Yes, I know there are perhaps some ethical/moral/whatever considerations (I will allow my monk brotherhood to deal with those)… but what about the legal ones?

May 22nd, 2012 | #

Treesaht says

Mad Monk, you can live in Washington State in the Vancouver area (no income taxes) and shop across the Columbia River in Portland, Oregon. No sales taxes. People do it all the time, and as far as I know, no border patrol!
Treesaht

May 22nd, 2012 | #

Betty03258 says

I live in NH (no sales or income tax, although we do have a State dividend and interest tax and a 9% tax on restaurant meals and a 9% tax on hotel/motel rooms that everyone pays). We constantly see cars from Maine, Vermont, and Massachusetts shopping in all of the boardering, or near bordering, cities and towns in NH.

May 23rd, 2012 | #

Semi-retired says

Absolutely check out property taxes if you decide to buy in NH…NH is considered the second worst state for such taxes. The schools including the University of New Hampshire are not well funded as all governmental functions are reliant upon the property tax.

May 24th, 2012 | #

Betty03258 says

Semi-retired: My answer was not encouraging living in NH. I agree that NH has high property taxes and some of our property taxes, plus income from the Lottery, are dedicated to education. However, we are still one of the states with no sales or income tax and people come to NH to shop. My comment was in response to Madmonk’s comment wanting to know where people live with sales taxes and where they shop with no sales tax. People live in Maine, Mass., and Vt and SHOP in NH.

May 24th, 2012 | #

Mad Monk says

Thanks to Treesaht, Betty03258, and Semi-retired for responding. Actually, Treesaht read my mad mind. ;-) At the time of writing I was staring at a map of Oregon and Washington state … looking right at the Vancouver (WA)- Portland, OR area. We were wanting to look at the Bellingham, WA area, but this just might be a very interesting alternative. The no income taxes is more important than the no sales tax (since we do not plan to be making major applicance, car, etc. purchases). However, good to consider all alternatives. We have one son living in SF, another in LA area, so we could always become west coast snow birds (perhaps even house-sitting for them since both travel a lot with their work. We were born and raised in the mid-Atlantic area, so the west coast would be e nice change … just to figure out how to affford it! ;-) BTW, really love the help and consideration everyone shows on topretirements.com. If/when we make the trial run to the Northwest, we’ll post our impressions. Might be others interested in such alternatives.

May 25th, 2012 | #

steven gibb says

Maxit4fun says:
I live in Vancouver at the present time. My wife and I have been retired for 5 years and moved every year since retiring. She does not want to move to the desert and California is too expensive. We like Vancouver a lot and have bought a place near here. The weather is mild (snows for about a week during the winter and rarely gets into the 90′s in the summer) no bugs, the ocean is 1.5 hours away and has an airport in Portland. You can drive across the river to shop in Oregon tax free. The biggest negative is the weather unless you like clouds. You can have two months of solid gray days and it wears on you. I have not been to the east coast and have not been in the south very often either so I am mostly a west coast person and that is good because this is where the family is. It is really tough to figure this stuff out so good luck to all.

May 26th, 2012 | #

Kathy says

TO: Mad Monk. We have also been on the East cost side all our lives and have thought about something new like Oregon and Washington area. The family we do have all lives on the East side so that is a bit hard for us but we need a change. We have been in central Fl. 15 years and are so tired of the traffic and heat. We are tring to also figure out how to afford it all. If you go out there please let us know what you think. It is really helful reading everyones comments. Thanks!

May 26th, 2012 | #

Mark says

To Kathy,My wife and I grew up in Massachusetts. We are nearing retirement and have considered moving back there. But the taxes and high cost of living have nixed that idea every time. We have lived in Oregon for a total of 28 years, also Alaska for 11 years. Alaska was the best, high cost of living but very low taxes, plus annual permanent fund check (strict residency requirement).Anchorage winters are mild but long and dark. Oregon in the Willamette Valley is beautiful. Winters are mild but transistion from Spring to summer is agonizingly slow. Summers sometimes don’t start until July once the days start getting shorter. Last 4 years have been cool with very few 90 degree days and nightime temps below 60. Summer will sometimes last until the very end of October. Google Oregon weather and there is a good article tyhat mentions a book called “Moontrap” that describes Oregon weather. So the Wilamette VAlley is wet in the winter with very little snow. East side of the CAscades is dryer, a lot more sun but cold winters. We get approx 40″ of rain annually, but only 60-70 sunny days in the Valley. Oregon used to be a bargain when it comes to taxes because timber paid all the taxes, but no more. Taxes have been on a continual rise since alot of logging is shut down. Oregon has no sales tax (Washington does) but has an income tax avg is probably 9%, higher incomes pay 11% (Washington has no income tax). We are looking for a sunnier place for winters, perhaps Florida then maybe Washington, near the Oregon line for the summers. Living in Washington near the state line would give you no income tax, cross in Oregon to buy everything (watch out tho if you buy a car somewhere else and bring it in to Wash they will still tax it) however if you live in Oregon you can shop in Wash, show your Oregon drivers lic and be exempt from Wash sales tax. Summers in the Pac/NW are incrdibly beautiful. Hope this helps.

May 27th, 2012 | #

Kathy says

TO Steve, Is the reason why you moved every year was to find the best place to retire? I feel the same way as your wife. I don’t want the desert and California is too expensive. So I take it now that you bought a place in Vancouver this is the place you like the best. You are lucky your family is close. I have thought of this area many times but all my family is on the east coast area. I would love to find a place like this on the east coast side. I LOVE when you said NO BUGS! I hate Fl. for three reasons, 1 being the hot humid weather for so long and all the congestion and the other is bugs! Is Vancouver area congested? Thanks for writing in. Reading things people write make me feel like I am not alone when it comes to not knowing where to retire. Kathy

May 27th, 2012 | #

diandto says

I would like some information about Charleston and the Bluffton, SC areas. I know that it is humid, but want to be in salt air, so that is the way it is. I understand about the bugs, Palmetto bugs don’t bother me as much as SCORPIONNS; they rule the Texas Hill Country (and where we live now), I would like to know about any surprises-are the electricity prices unusally high? Are there things to do for those of us 60 plus? What are the people like? Thanks

May 28th, 2012 | #

Maxit4fun (steve) says

Hi Kathy
We actually moved to a small town 20 minutes north of Vancouver. My wife found a place she loves and we could afford easily and still have the resources to travel. Vancouver does not have a lot of traffic congestion with the exception of certain roads during rush hour (more like 3 hours) but being retired I can avoid or if I get caught …. My wife was born and raised in Southern California and wants nothing to do with extreme heat so … Hopefully, we have found our final place (next 20 years or so) to live and not move again (such a pain and too much work). This was the toughest decision since we retired.
As I said and I really mean this ‘good luck to all’.

May 28th, 2012 | #

Cathy says

My husband and I have decided we really need a summer “home” and a winter “home”. Fortunately we have an RV and are still in good health to use it for our winter home in Palm Desert Ca. Trying to find a summer home, that will ultimately be a full time home when we we can no longer RV is the problem. California is out – too expensive. Love the northwest, but not winter. So mild climate is a must and advantageous tax situation is our goal. No tax on military pension and social security would be ideal. This is HARD!!!

May 28th, 2012 | #

Kathy says

TO; Maxit4fun (steve) We have decided to take a trip out there. We will fly into Portland and start a search around the Vancouver area. We read about a few places farther out like Walla Walla and Moses Lake so we figured we could check out those areas as well. Being we have never been there we really don’t know how to go about doing it. It’s hard to just get in a car and drive when you don’t know where to go once you get to the town or city. Do you are anyone out there have any suggestions on how we go about it? I sure would be grateful for any help. Kathy

May 29th, 2012 | #

Kathy says

TO; Maxit4fun (steve) I did have another question. You said you moved every year for 5 years. This is what I was thinking we would also do, if we had to. I know this must be a very hard thing to do. I take it you rented some where? How did you go about finding places to rent? Thank you for all your help. Kathy

May 29th, 2012 | #

Treesaht says

For Cathy,
Check out northern Arizona. Very nice summers! And no taxes on social security or military pensions as far as I know.

May 29th, 2012 | #

Maxit4fun says

Hi Kathy: (and anyone that is interested)
The question of how to move every year … We started by putting our stuff in storage and renting furnished spaces. Moved to St George and discovered we did not like living without our pictures and chairs and … (by the way St George was a great place as far as being safe, price, things to do and just beautiful and distance to Las Vegas but …) So we pulled our belongings out of storage and move it all. We hire two man crews and it has not been to hard. As for finding a place to live we deal with property management co. and look at several properties.
As for traveling around Eastern Washington, the drive is easy (I would google the drive time between the cities) and all tho Eastern Washington is much dryer than Western Washington it does get colder and the wind can really blow and not very many trees, small airports and not sure of medical needs, not very many retirement communities. If you are willing to go to Mose Lake you might like Wenatchee higher in the mountains and only 1.5 hours from Seattle.
This process is difficult and I am learning about what my wife or even what I am willing to do or be without trying to find the right fit. I loved St George but my wife did not wish to deal with extreme heat and missed the grand kids and did not want to pay 5% income tax even tho the real estate taxes would have been lower.
Good luck to all, I hope this process is not too painful … Steve

May 30th, 2012 | #

Deibster says

You can Not judge solely by the costs, taxes, of living in a state. What services do you get for those dollars. Cape Cod, MA has a moderate climate as we are surrounded by water. MA has state subsidized health insurance for moderate income people under 65. Over 65? We have a Non-profit health care system that takes all insurance & is state of the art. Specialists come on a regular basis from Beth Israel Deaconess in Boston. For people with chronic health problems, MA, NY, CA provide much more help than the states with lower tax levels.
Housing on Cape Cod is more expensive, but moderate income housing is being added every year, and snow birds rent there places out when they are away. Some people live further from town in the summer, when local buses run, & move into town every winter when rents are low. Condos are smaller & closer together than most people will be accustomed to. Summer jobs are also available. :grin:

July 10th, 2013 | #

California Public Policy Center | Unaffordable California – It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way says

[…] OUT-MIGRATION:  California is now ranked as the 2nd worst state to retire in. Only basket-case Illinois is worse. We “beat” NY, RI and NJ. http://www.topretirements.com/blog/great-towns/our-worst-states-to-retire-list.html/ […]

October 23rd, 2013 | #

California Public Policy Center | Unaffordable California – January 2014 Update says

[…] OUT-MIGRATION:  California is now ranked as the 2nd worst state to retire in. Only basket-case Illinois is worse. We “beat” NY, RI and NJ. http://www.topretirements.com/blog/great-towns/our-worst-states-to-retire-list.html/ […]

January 10th, 2014 | #

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