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

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

Note: This is our 2012 list, which was updated in March, 2014. See our “Worst States for Retirement for 2014” article.

January 10, 2012 — There are plenty of best places to retire lists. 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 help baby boomers understand where, all other things being equal, they can enjoy their hard-earned retirement without taking on more problems. To make sure you don’t miss updates to this and other lists like it, sign up for our free weekly “Best Places to Retire” newsletter. And of course, don’t miss our 2012 list of the 10 Best States for Retirement.

Your retirement is unique
Every individual has to consider his or her own criteria for identifying the worst or best states to retire. One of the most important factors for anyone is proximity to family and friends. So, if you want to be near your grandchildren the worst state on our list could be the best state on your list. Likewise, you might not share the same considerations we used to develop this list. Tax issues might be most important for you, or you might not care about spending winters in a warm state. Our 2012 list is based on 5 considerations that we think will be important to most people, but freely admit that these factors could be totally irrelevant to many other folks.

Our Top Weighting Criteria
This year we expanded the criteria we used from 3 to 5 factors. The factors for 2012 are: Fiscal health, property taxes, income taxes, cost of living, and climate. Each criterion was worth up to 1 negative point. If these are not key factors for you, your list might look very different. Also new this year is a page where you can customize your “worst states” list by eliminating criteria that might not be important to you. You will find detailed explanations of these factors along with our sources following the list. The negative point range this year went from 4.05 for #1 CT to 2.45 for #10 WI.

The 10 Worst States for Retirement – 2012
Three new states made our list this year: Vermont, Minnesota, and Maine. That means that 3 states were lucky enough to leave the list: Ohio (low property and income taxes), Nevada (in terrible financial shape but no income tax and low property taxes), California (bad financial shape and high property taxes, but almost no income tax on our prototypical couple, plus a great climate). The additions and subtractions do not necessarily mean that these states got worse or better since last year; that probably has more to do with the changes from our new rating factors. And, since the data is always trailing, the ratings might not be a perfect reflection of today’s reality.

1. Connecticut. We actually had a numerical tie for 1st place. CT won the tie-breaker because it has much higher property taxes, income taxes, and cost of living than Illinois. Most pension income is taxable, although there are some significant exemptions for social security, depending on income. CT had the 3rd highest tax burden of any state in 2009. The Nutmeg State does have considerable charm and some terrific places to live like the resurging city of New Haven, the quaint village of Stonington, or upscale Madison.

2. Illinois. Illinois (along with Nevada) faces serious economic troubles. Its pension funding, deficit spending, unemployment, and foreclosure rates are among the worst of any states. The state began to address its problems last year when it raised income tax rates. Although Illinois does not tax most pension or social security, other earnings and investment income are taxed at a fairly high rate thanks to its 5% flat tax rate.

3. Rhode Island. The Ocean State has severely underfunded pension/health liabilities and budget deficits. It has the 5th highest median property taxes paid. Our prototypical couple would face much higher income taxes here than they would in most other states. It does have some great places to live like in the bustling city of Providence, or along its extensive coastline and numerous bays and harbors in towns like Westerly.

4. Vermont. The Green Mountain State has very high median property and income taxes, with a top 10 cost of living. Winters here are better for skiing than golf.

5. Massachusetts. In the Bay State our prototypical retiree couple would face property taxes that are among the highest of any state. Even though social security income is exempt, income taxes would be high for our couple because of the flat rate applied to other earnings. Most government pensions are exempt, but private sector ones are taxed. The cost of living is high. See reviews of great places to retire like the college towns of Williamstown or Northampton.


6. New Jersey. New Jersey residents are the biggest losers when it comes to property taxes – the median property tax in the Garden State is the highest in the U.S. at $6579. It also has the highest tax burden (as reported by the Tax Foundation), a large budget deficit issue, and a very high cost of living. New Jersey has both an estate and an inheritance tax. On the plus side, it excludes most pension and social security income for couples making less than $100,000.

7. Minnesota. Another newcomer to our list, Minnesota, would impose the 4th highest income tax on our prototypical couple. That is mostly due to the absence of any pension or social security exemptions. Property taxes are just below the top 10. Minnesota has a large budget deficit issue. Anyone care to winter in Minnesota?

8. New York. The Empire State was essentially tied with #9 Maine. We broke the tie because New York has the 4th highest median property taxes and one of the highest tax burdens. Surprisingly, the state did not earn any negative points for income taxes, since it offers generous exemptions for social security and pensions, along with a high standard deduction. Its cost of living is one of the highest, plus a very cold winter climate. On the plus side, New York’s Governor Cuomo is waging a campaign to limit property tax increases and improve the state’s fiscal condition. College towns like Ithaca can be awfully nice though.

9. Maine. Maine’s property taxes are much lower than New York’s, while Maine’s income tax on our prototypical couple would be about $1000 higher. Winters are even colder, but cost of living is lower. Maine’s governor has vowed to try to exempt retirement income from taxation, although nothing has happened on that front yet.

10. Wisconsin. Property taxes are among the highest in the country. It has a high foreclosure rate. Wisconsin’s high income taxes are mitigated somewhat for retirees because social security income is exempt and because there is a high standard deduction. Madison, of course, is a great place to live.

See our entire list of great places to retire by state.

Criteria used in developing this list
Fiscal health. Just as the U.S. government is spending more than it takes in, many of the 50 states have serious financial problems of their own. “The Widening Gap:” from the Pew Center on the States provides a good understanding of the problem. To determine the fiscal health component of our rankings we used 4 inputs this year: deficit, unfunded pension liabilities, unemployment rates, and foreclosures. Why do we think these are important things to rate on, you might ask? Just think about the turmoil Greece and Spain are experiencing as they are finally start to address their deficits and borrowing. Social services are being cut, taxes are being raised, and there is civil unrest. Similarly for states that run into financial trouble, the pain will be acute when the piper is paid, and you probably don’t want to be part of it. We combined these factors; if a state was in the top 10 for all four problems it received 1 negative point in the rankings (.25 each).

Property taxes. In our opinion property taxes are usually the most oppressive taxes for retirees, since they can be so high in some states and bear no relation to one’s income. The 10 states with the highest property taxes were awarded 1 point on a sliding scale, with New Jersey actually earning 1.1 points since its median taxes are so much higher than any other state.


State income taxes. We think too many baby boomer retirees focus too much attention on state income taxes as a reason to move. That’s because unless you have a lot of income, they are not a factor. In our analysis we created a hypothetical couple that has $70,000 in earnings from social security, pension, earnings, and retirement savings; equal to the top earning quartile of people 65+. Using data from the Congressional Research Service we assumed this couple received 20% of its income from social security, 23% from pension, and 47% from earnings and investments. We used those inputs to estimate income taxes for each state at tax-rates.org. Obviously, your earning profile will probably be different. If your joint earnings are significantly below $70,000, this rating component is probably not significant. Here is where you can see the ratings with this component eliminated. The 10 states with the highest taxes on this factor earned up to 1 negative point.

Cost of living. Most people retiring today are very concerned about how they are going to make it work financially. We awarded states with the highest cost of living 1 negative point.

Climate. We believe the majority of today’s retirees have a bias towards places with warmer winters. States north of the Mason-Dixon line were awarded a negative 1 point for their colder climate. (See also our 2011 article – “Worst Places to Retire for Weather and Natural Disasters“)

You can customize your “worst states” list by using the rankings on this rankings page.

Other criteria for identifying the best or worst retirement state:
While our rankings concentrated on fiscal health, taxes, cost of living, and climate, here is a more complete list of possible criteria for developing your personal rankings of retirement states and towns:

– Proximity to friends and family
– Sales taxes (Not usually a deal breaker, but annoying)
– Inheritance and Estate taxes (Some states have neither, a few have both)
– Crime
– Recreation
– Transportation
– Healthcare
– Education including colleges
– Cultural resources
– Natural disasters
– Fitting in socially, politically, religiously

Should the States Be Trying to Attract Retirees – and What Should They Do?
There are some states that actively try to attract retirees – notably Texas, Louisiana, West Virginia, Mississippi, and Tennessee. They have bought into the idea that the “mailbox” economic value of retirees (the pension and social security checks arrive in the mailbox) is as important as attracting new industries. Most of those retirees are being recruited are coming from the high tax states up north, only a few of which are actively trying to stem that tide. Property tax freezes for seniors, taxation of pensions and social security, and investments in infrastructure are some ideas that could help states in the northeast and midwest avoid losing valuable citizens whose retirements are being compromised by indifferent legislators. Share your ideas with them, and us!

More about our sources and criteria:
Pension/Health Funding and Budget Deficit data – Pew Center
Budget Deficit data – Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Unemployment data – Bureau of Labor Statistics
Foreclosure rates – CNBC.com
Property Taxes – Tax-rates.org
Income taxes – here we used the income tax calculator from Tax-rates.org
Cost of Living – Missourieconomy.org

For further reference:
Worst States for Retirement – 2011
State Retirement Guides

Tax Foundation Tax Burden by State
Tax Friendly States
The Most Important Issue Might Not Be What You Think
Our 2011 List of the “100 Best Retirement Towns
Best Retirement States for 2012
For a completely different look at the worst and best states, see this Bankrate.com article

We were happy to have seen this article extensively quoted by Yahoo.Finance, Money.msn, MarketWatch, and AOL.DailyFinance.
Comments:
What do you think about our criteria and our rankings? Did your state make the list, or did it deserve to? Please share your opinion in the Comments section below.

Posted by John Brady on January 10th, 2012

225 Comments »

  1. [...] The 2012 version of this list came out Jan. 11. December 7, 2010 — The 50 U.S. states are in a beauty contest. Whether they [...]

    by » Our Worst States to Retire List Topretirements — January 11, 2012

  2. I am interested in retiring to Wisconsin, your article states that it has the highest propert taxes in the nation and states that social security is not taxable. What about cost of living? Health Care? cost of Gas etc. these factors would very helpful for decision making of where to retire. How does the economy in wi compare to other states?

    by Charles — January 11, 2012

  3. Your list seems quite plausible. I would point out, though, that some of those states are big. And whether one lives in one area of the state or another can make a huge difference.
    My husband and I live in western NY (on the Canadian border, down river from Niagara Falls). Property taxes vary by county, and in Niagara Co. they definitely are high related to income levels. And income taxes are pretty high; but as you note, retirees can take advantage of exemptions. We couldn’t possibly afford to live anywhere near NY City or Albany. But western NY has very moderate housing prices (nice houses/neighborhoods starting at less than $150,000) and a much lower cost of living than many other parts of the state. And housing costs have not been subject to the extreme rises and falls that they have been in many areas of the country. There is also has an immense amount of natural beauty here and the winter climate is not at all extreme (which you imply it is in NY); and of course, there’s all kinds of boating opportunities in the other seasons. Also tons of good restaurants. A person might simply want to avoid Erie County’s Buffalo Southtowns if he/she doesn’t like a lot of snow and colder weather. Or, just drive south an hour or so to go skiing, and then return home to no snow. Where we live along the Niagara River and a bit south of Lake Ontario, we get far less snow than Buffalo and its southern suburbs does only 30 miles away. Though we are looking for a possible place outside of NY to move to when my husband retires, that mostly has to do with wanting to be near family and nothing to do with a bad climate here, or lack of natural beauty, lack of amenities, etc. I might add that it’s also a plus to live next door to Canada (and an hour and a quarter from Toronto), as that opens up additional cultural and social opportunities. I would say western NY is a well kept secret and a very fine place to live.

    by Marian Van Til — January 11, 2012

  4. I’m responding to Charles’ question, regarding Wisconsin. We have lived in Wisconsin most of our lives. Yes, the property taxes are quite high, but housing costs are much lower than states on the east and west coasts. Cost of living, therefore, is much lower than, say, California, but that would be true of the entire midwest. When we do retire, we will always keep a home there because of family and because the summers are really beautiful. We only use our AC for a week on average during the entire summer. The winters….well, you’ve got to like the cold and snow. And of course, the Green Bay Packers!! :)

    by Barbara — January 11, 2012

  5. Those are precisely the reasons we sold everything in New York State (western NY) and relocated to Florida. We save a huge bundle. have a condo in Winter Haven FL city of 35,000 and 50 lakes within city limits. with homestead takes under $700/yr. total excellent weather, plenty to do and only 40 minutes from Orlando airport with reasonable flights everywhere including worldwide. Beaches on both costs an hour or so away. Lots to do. People need to retire outside of the high cost states listed in your review. Good article. Should be helpful to all those pondering the question!

    by David M. Lane — January 11, 2012

  6. I live in Chicago now. I am 70, still trying to work, and barely making it. The cost of living is extremely high compared to my salary. When I go on straight SS, I will never make it here. Just the rent alone will do me in. I can’t afford to buy so I am looking at good rental areas with good walking to stores, etc. I am torn between the west,AZ or NV, or going south. Not sure about the humidity in FL. I need sun and not gloomy horrid winters.

    by AJ — January 11, 2012

  7. My wife and I are NJ residents and are trying our best to wave farewell to this state of taxation.
    In the past four years our real estate taxes thanks to local government tax hikes and their re-evaluation have increased from $4,500 to $7,800. Governor Christie is working to reduce taxes but he is dealing with a generational Democratic State House and Senate who just love to pander to the government employees and to tax and spend.

    by belleboy — January 11, 2012

  8. I am retired and just moved from Connecticut to Western Massachusetts. I find it much cheaper to live here. Our home is waterfront on a beautiful lake and the property taxes are 1/2 of what we were paying in Newtown CT.

    by joeinMA — January 11, 2012

  9. I’d be interested in a site where you can select the factors important to you that be quantitatively measured. Some things like not too far (or too near) family are qualitative factors only.

    For me that means minimal allergies like I and my wife endure in Saint Louis (a wonderful region in many ways,) lower median humidity, temperature not too frequently over 99 degrees or frequently under 32 degrees, median or lower cost of living, midway between Missouri (daughters) and California (Brother, sons, niece, nephew,) conservative, and (due to Hispanic/Anglo/Indian family backgrounds,) someplace moderately culturally mixed. Our best answer so far has been Central New Mexico. Multiple Summer visits of 1-2 weeks and a Fall visit of just over 1 week to Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Rio Rancho, and Taos (Evergreen allergies alone killed Taos,) have reinforced our impressions. We want to visit in Winter and Spring before our 2016 retirements to be sure.

    Gracias,

    Glenn

    by Warbeads aka Glenn — January 11, 2012

  10. [...] February 22, 2011 – The Sunbelt continues to dominate when it comes to the places that baby boomers are considering for retirement. Topretirements.com has just published its 5th annual list of the 100 most popular places to retire on its site, and this year the trend toward the Sunbelt continues even stronger — 77 of the 100 top positions were held by towns in the Sunbelt. Florida dominated the list, taking 26 of the spots (it held 23 in 2010), followed by North Carolina (11) and South Carolina and Arizona (7 each). Note: We will be updating this article for 2012 in late January, 2012. To make sure you don’t miss our new list, sign up for our free weekly “Best Places to Retire” newsletter. See also “The Worst States for Retirement – 2012“. [...]

    by » Our 2011 Best Places to Retire List: The Sunbelt Rules Topretirements — January 11, 2012

  11. I don’t understand how an assessment of Illinois can conclude Illinois is a “worst” place to retire. Sure the fiscal health is lousy– but that’s not impacting people (yet, I assume). And retirees are incredibly shielded from that fiscal health problem because 100% of retirement income is not taxed in the state tax code. So, you are mostly left with complaining about the weather.

    by BullsFan — January 12, 2012

  12. I’ve lived in downstate Illinois for 51 years and have been retired for 16 of those years. The state fiscal mess has not yet impacted on the state’s residents and will not likely impact significantly on retirees. Those who
    were employees of the state (e.g.,I retired from teaching at a state university) are not taxed on any of their pension income that was earned during their employment by the state. Except for the cold winters, Illinois is presently a great state for retirees.:neutral::neutral::neutral:

    by Walter Mead — January 12, 2012

  13. Is there a State by State ranking of best or worst places to retire. I know you published the 10 worst places, but
    what’s number 11, 12 and so on.

    Editor’s note: Good question. In 2011 we came developed a list of the 10 Best States to Retire – we will be updating it soon.
    The worst states after 10 started to fall off quickly – in other words they aren’t nearly as bad as say the top 7 or 8. But in the 11th through 15 spots would probably be MD, CA, WV, NE, and MI.

    by Bill — January 12, 2012

  14. Very helpful article. Wouldn’t it have been great to be smart enough to make all the right decisions over the past five decades? Gosh, I would have been both wealthy and well known, I am sure. Alas, I made many, many bad choises, and, from my mistaks, learned little more than bad things do happen to good people. Of course other people and institutions made an equal number of bad decisions that hurt me. Take it all together and what I difference does it make at age 75? For me not too much except to realize that we are not the producer, director and actor in our lives. Best to take life less seriously and try to find a bit of happiness each day as it passes by.

    by George W — January 12, 2012

  15. [...] a lot of it has to do with taxes.John Brady operates the website, “TopRetirements.com“. His analysis shows northeast states with high taxes put a large burden on retirees. Of Jersey’s [...]

    by NJ Ranks 6th Worst For Retirement [AUDIO] | WOBM-AM 1160 & 1310 — January 13, 2012

  16. [...] just confirms what we have already suspected, but  Connecticut has been deemed the worst state in the country in which to retire.  Thank you Governor Malloy, thank you State Senator Bob Duff, and thanks to [...]

    by Your Golden Years in Connecticut? Forget about it. | — January 13, 2012

  17. As a CT resident and a senior one at that, I can’t think of any place in the US that I like more or appreciate the many wonderful and beautiful opportunities right here at home. Of course, as a senior, I too want to avoid cold weather (even if we don’t have a blizzard this year 67″ of snow last year) and the unfavorable tax rates on seniors here in CT.

    Please avoid the laying of blame on either political party as the debt problem in CT goes back nearly fifteen years and both parties have run this state. Where I live is extremely affluent and virtually 75% Republican but the reality is that CT economics is largely dependent upon the defense industry from Groton (submarines and naval warfare) to Hartford (weapons production) and Stratford (Skikorsky helicopers) etc. When the defense budgets go up and more people are hired, finances improve. When DOD budgets are cut, the state loses revenue. Also note that most of the country’s hedgefunds are headquartered in CT as are a substantial portion of the insurance industry. So, let’s get off blaming particular people or parties as both parties have suffered through the same problems.

    by Semi-retired — January 14, 2012

  18. [...] has compiled a list of the 10 worst states in which to retire, based on five factors: fiscal health, property taxes, income taxes, cost of living and [...]

    by The 10 Worst States to Retire In: They’re Frosty and Costly | Mesa Az News, Weather, Jobs, and Hotels — January 15, 2012

  19. If Connecticut is the worst state for retirement, why does this Newsletter/blog/discussion post come out of Connecticut? It is my understanding that the person who runs it has retired and this is the job/business he created for his retirement.

    Editor’s Comment. Yes, I live in Connecticut most of the year. We try to be objective in what we present here (even if it hurts!). We dearly love the State, but it is not a friendly place for retirees for the reasons presented. We are fortunate that we are able to live here where so many of our friends and many relatives also live. Like we said in the article, there are a lot more reasons to retire somewhere than just the financial ones.

    by Fred — January 15, 2012

  20. I understand. I also live in Connecticut and my wife and I are planning to retire in a few years. When we do retire, we will be leaving the state, like so many others. I estimate that I will save at least $1500 a month by leaving Connecticut. We will be moving to either Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, or Florida. Living in the South will not bother us, we have lived there in the past, unlike some other Yankees who have trouble adjusting. The $1500 comes from being able to at least cut my PITI in half for an equal house/condo, no longer having an oil bill for heat and hot water (as I write this it is 11 degrees, electric rates in Connecticut are the second highest in the country, Hawaii is the highest) and not having my Social Security taxed along with so many other taxes in Connecticut. In addition, our children have all fled Connecticut to that area of the South, so it only makes sense for us to go there. They fled Connecticut because of the high taxes and high cost of living years ago. This is a problem for many families in the state. The young people are leaving because it is difficult to find jobs that pay enough for them to be able to live independently and not have to come back and live with Mom and Dad after college. When they head south and west, they can do that. Connecticut is in the business of exporting people, jobs and businesses to the rest of the country because it is so expensive to live hear and do business. Last year, the state imposed the highest tax increase in the history of the state. The fact is, that state is in a similar condition to Illinois or California. It is just that Connecticut does not get a lot of attention because we do not have a major city or media center in the state so people do not pay a lot of attention to what goes on here. We are between Boston and New York, not fly-over country, but drive-through country. A very pretty state to be sure, with a lot of history, beautiful colonial towns, and wonderful places on Long Island Sound, but one you can drive through on your way to a major metro in 2+ hours.

    by Fred — January 16, 2012

  21. Did you know that the state of Illinois has no income tax on retirement income, including pensions and 401-Ks!!! This
    more than makes up for any other shortcomings.

    Editor’s Comment: Very true, IL is very friendly about just every kind of retirement pension, including SS. One problem is that IL’s property tax is 6th highest in the nation. Another is that because there is a flat 5% income tax, all non-retirement income is taxed at a pretty hefty rate.

    by Bob — January 16, 2012

  22. Don’t forget sales tax and gasoline taxes in Illinois – among the highest in country. Also, Gov Quinn is wanting to start to tax retirement income based income level. It’s getting worse.

    by Jack Bolly — January 16, 2012

  23. My husband and I retired from South Fla to Western North Carolina. It is just beautiful being in the foothills of the mountains. Taxes are low, expenses are low, insurance is low, health care is fantastic and we find ourselves sharing the area with many “half backs.” Northerners or MidWesterners used to move to Fla, hate it, and then come half way back, which is usual. Four perfect seasons clinch the deal!

    by Jeri gonzalez — January 17, 2012

  24. West Virginia? Surely you jest! Yes, WV wants retirees’ income, but offers NO INCENTIVES, particularly to the middle class.

    by Charles Ostin — January 17, 2012

  25. This is a “we hate liberal states” list, not a “best place to retire” list. No mention is made of factors such as climate (which is a financial AND a halth issue- how much does it cost to run your air conditioning onstantly in a high-humidity state?) or public services (on which people on fixed incomes are especially dependent?). The state of Texas is in much worse budgetary shape than just about every state mentioned, but it misses your list- why? What about a clean environment- aren’t older folks especially susceptible to toxic air and water? I could go on…really though, the political bias is obvious. Me, I’ll retire where I live and love it, California.
    Editors note: In an effort to keep politics out of this Forum we made a few small edits to this and some other posts here.

    by David — January 17, 2012

  26. This state is horrific to live in..highest gas (double) tax in the nation…highest alcohol/cig taxes…highest property taxes…if u have a 400,000 house expect to pay like 10k a year in taxes….sell your house? another tax!….double dip state income tax…sales tax…every tax u can think of …If i didnt have little kids here, id be otta here

    by alan — January 18, 2012

  27. There are so many other factors that are relevant to retirement besides weather and taxes (although both are very important). I believe that family, friends, and familiarity play just as important a role in maintaining a quality of living. A lot of times it seems that moving away is based on fiscal reasons with the expectation that you can travel and visit family and friends. Health issues and comfort issues sometimes get in the way of this.

    by Drew Gilliland — January 19, 2012

  28. I live in Massachusetts and my husband and I are about 5 years from retirement. We have considered some of the Soutern/Western states to retire to, but eliminated them because of things not mentioned in your article – Florida (too humid in the summer), Texas, Nevada, Arizona (too many illegal immigrants), Louisiana (hurricanes, flooding, natural disasters), Mississippi, Alabama (deficient health care and public services). You also make too much of high property taxes – if a retiree wants to dodge high property taxes then RENT, don’t own. My husband and I have definitely decided on Maine as our summer/fall living destination. It has nice beaches, great (not humid) summer weather, and a reasonable cost of living. We are still looking at a winter/spring place, and are currently considering Virginia or the Carolinas. Your article is biased toward the Northern/Midwestern states. I will take Maine (one of those Northern states on your “bad places to retire” list) over Texas or Florida any day of the week!

    by Cynthia — January 20, 2012

  29. Interesting article. A caution to all before moving, however, to carefully run the numbers. A few years ago we sold 20 acres in Montana we had once considered for retirement and discovered we would have paid more in state tax there that year than in CT. (As for its weather, Montana does reliably hold summer every July.) I also recently considered buying a small condo near my mother in Ohio but after adding to the property tax, the sewer tax, water tax, school tax, town tax, etc, it added to more than ours here. (And Ohio weather? Columbus has more cloudy days than Seattle.) We retired right here. I no longer listen to the Connecticut bashers calling talk radio (who needs nine hours of whining negativity?). So it snowed last night. I saw a young mountain lion race across our property into the woods this morning and just came in from taking photos of its tracks. I’m happy to be alive here.

    by Tess in CT — January 20, 2012

  30. There seems to be an unhealthy obsession with income taxation and cost of living associated with this list. Anyone who is about to retire should be old enough to remember that state fiscal crises are nothing new and cost of living is a more slippery concept for retirees. Remember, this is retirement. I hope no one is realistically considering a 30 year mortgage on a four bedroom house, complete with .5 acres of grass to mow that will be taxed accordingly. Access to good health care institutions and good public services should be heavily weighted with rehspect to any list of potential retirement locations. Moreover, the social environment should be seriously concerned, i.e., availability of intellectually stimulating people, institutions and opportunities.

    by Jon — January 20, 2012

  31. David-We would love to retire to California, but it is too messed up economically; we know, we lived there already once. Politics has very little to do with our decision. We have to think about how far our retirement income will go. That’s the reality of it. Some states are just too expensive for us to even consider. As I read what people write, there is some good advice, some off the wall advice and some some “what the heck is this person thinking” advice. I enjoy this forum. I sure would like to hear more about Conway, SC and that area…

    by Diana — January 21, 2012

  32. After reading all of the posts, it becomes more clear to me why Prescott, AZ is rated 3rd of 100 in the top 100 list of favored retirement locations. We’ve lived in the Prescott since 2007 and really like it here. The weather is temperate with mild winters and summers that peak at about 99 degrees. The Prescott area took a big hit along with the rest of Arizone in the housing market, so the previous high prices have reduced dramatically. For veterans, the Prescott VA Hospital is highly ranked across the VA Hospital system. My husband uses it exclusively for his medical care and has been very satisfied. Other medical care can be a problem though. Most doctors will either not take Medicare/Medicare Advantage or are not taking new patients. For the most part, Prescott is conservative Republican. The extended area of Prescott Valley adds additional housing, shopping, and entertainment opportunities. If you are still working and looking for employment opportunities, they likely won’t be in the Prescott area unless you are in the medical field or are interested in retail.

    by Natalie — January 22, 2012

  33. Housing still overpriced in Illinois North of I-80 and East of I-39, and property taxes here are brutal. Based off over-inflated “market value”. 2010 Census tells the story of Illinois and as soon as my youngest is done with school, we are fleeing this state. I pay more in property taxes than what most in surrounding states pay for their monthly mortgage payment.

    by Corey — January 31, 2012

  34. Does having an awful governor count as a minus 1 or more…I live in Az. the weather is hot in the summer, very mild for 9/10 months, cost of living is bearable, but to me, property taxes are high. Social Security is taxed, but it does offer a state tax credit of $2500.00 for retired military. So since all else is expensive, I take advantage of this small crumb. You have to love your state, good, bad and otherwise. Good luck to you on your decisions to relocate. I relocated from Kansas City, MO., and did not notice any difference, but then maybe I did not pay that much attention and I was not 65 years old eiher at that time.

    by louis — February 1, 2012

  35. [...] released its 2012 list of the “Worst States to Retire.” It will probably come as no surprise to those of us that live here that Massachusetts [...]

    by Massachusetts in the Top 5 - Of Costliest Retirement StatesMurphy — February 4, 2012

  36. Well we lived and worked in CT so we did not want to move there. So we chose Maine. Then we find out about the high Income Tax rate, The highest percentage kicks in at $15,000. So even if you ar on poverty you have the highest rate.
    Next the State has not say in the School Districts. So whatever the localally elected school board vote to do is what happens. Well they have a thing called weighted votes. So the larger towns get more people to sit on the voting boards. They decide the tax rates for all the towns in the school districts. You guessed it. The little towns get hit with Big school tax bills and no avenue for complaint. This “Home Rule” Thing is a pain in the A** if you know what I mean. Since Maine was part of Mass at one time, and Mass is a Commonwealth State. Most of Maine Constitution is writtent the same way. All the power is with the Towns. So the state offers suggestions and things to help out the Towns but if the Town wants Augusta (the capital of the State) to bug out then that is what happens.
    Therefore you get hit with high local taxes because that is how it is done and boy are those Town meetings something to behold. The only thing good about them is that you actually get to voice you complaint but that is as far as it goes.
    Short version. Stay away from Maine.

    by Sharon — February 5, 2012

  37. So many of the “worst states” for retirement are also the same states that have some kind of health insurance for those with pre-existing conditions in the form of guaranteed issue (WA,NY,NJ,MA,ME,VT and Wash DC). Some states have high risk pools established so that someone with pre-existing conditions and too young for Medicare CAN obtain insurance, but will pay a hefty premium. Other states offer nothing, unless you are below the poverty line. At 55, I have retired early, and will be forced to leave my home state of AZ to relocate to a state that allows me to purchase health insurance – such as NC, AL or AR. THAT’s one way of attracting retirees, especially those with enough money to retire early!

    by Jeanette — February 6, 2012

  38. Unfortunately, a job change brought me to Illinois from Minnesota. I would not buy a house here because of the property taxes and have decided not to retire in Illinois when the time comes. I’m hoping to sell my house in Minnesota and get out from that. But a total list of the 50 states would assist us in making an intelligent choice. You had to figure everything up anyways to figure your top 10 best/worst. My goal is to find a place to settle in for at least 8 months out of the year, because I plan on travelling the world for the other 4 months. I’ve already lived in Europe and North Africa, but would love to spend time in South America and Asia.

    by Stephen — February 6, 2012

  39. Well, one thing they did not take into account was the cultural events, arts, and social safety net. I am thinking that may be something they should add. I am in Minnesota, have a grown son with Down’s syndrome and Minnesota’s program for him far outweighs other states. Also, Minnesota has programs for Seniors, such as Meals on Wheels, Hospice Care, Respite for Care Givers and others, that fortunately I do not need to know about yet, because I am too young.

    by Amy — February 8, 2012

  40. THE GOVENOR ANNOUNCED THEN SIGNED INTO LAW IN MICHIGAN TO BEGIN TO TAX RETIREE PENSION (PRIVATE FEDERAL AND PUBLIC) THIS YEAR 2012 TO PAY FOR THE TAX BREAKS/CUTS GIVEN TO BUSINESSES. WITH ALL THE FORECLOSURES HERE AND THE STATE OF THE ECONOMY OVERALL IT’S AMAZING THE GOVENOR USED RETIREES, THE LOWEST FORM OF INCOME, TO PAY FOR HIS BUSINESS BREAKS. WE SHOULD BE IN THE TOP 10 WORST STATES FOR RETIREES

    Editor’s Note: To Topretirements commenters – please do not use ALL CAPS. It is considered SHOUTING on the Internet.

    by RODNEY SWYTZER — February 8, 2012

  41. [...] The bad news? You live in the second-worst state, according to research released recently by TopRetirements.com.Connecticutnow has the dubious honor of being the worst state to spend your golden years, according [...]

    by The 5 States You Do Not Want To Retire In — YOLO (because you only live once) — February 8, 2012

  42. ok this is all great, I dont think most of us will have to worry about where to retire, as retirement will be non-existant before too long. I am requesting to be cremated and tossed into the ground or water anywhere. please make sure my state knows this upon my passing !

    by r0nrules — February 8, 2012

  43. We live in CA and plan to leave the state very soon. Weather is fantastic here, but everything else is terrible. The state is in a fiscal mess, accumulated by decades of Democratic ruled legislators. We pay 9% state income tax. Property tax amount stays low if you bought your house at a lower price (a long time ago; thanks to Prop 13). However, if you buy buy a new one at today’s market price (say $800,000), then property tax alone is another $9,000 per year. Tax rates are likely to go even higher in CA in the years to come. Democrats will not curtail spending; so the state needs more revenue from taxes. We rather live in NV and just visit CA and enjoy what it has to offer (without paying all these high taxes).

    by Don Faber — February 8, 2012

  44. We live in WI and we are retired. We plan to move to PA where taxes are more favorable to retirees. Income taxes are very high. Since our income is all 401K and IRAs it is all taxable and not as income but has a pension distribution so you don’t even qualify for married income tax credit. Property taxes are extremely high in WI. We pay $6000 a year on an average home. Our kids in PA pay $4500 on a home that is worth twice what ours is. The cost of living isn’t cheaper here than PA, or even Florida from what we have priced out in stores over the years. Medical is the same. Beware that most of WI except for a few groups in Milwaukee only accept their own local HMOs or PPOs. That national health insurance companies like Blue Cross, Aetna, United Healthcare are not accepted. We travel an hour for doctors yet have a number of hospitals nearby. Most of the doctors are in group health plans that do not accept Blue Crosse or any of the other national plans.

    by adaniel — February 8, 2012

  45. recently I looked at my parrish( county) taxes and found almost 60% was for schools.I think the retired folks should be exempt from these taxes as we have already paid for at least 30 years . ashok rao

    by ashok rao — February 8, 2012

  46. In reading the posts, what seems most evident to me is that money isn’t everything in deciding where to live. I see folks loving 4 seasons, warm, and everything in between, as well as the people in the community. Some of the warm states attract escapists, who don’t engage with community in which they live and miss the best part of retirement-having time to give back or enjoy the company of likeminded people you couldn’t meet when you worked. I will stay on Cape Cod-relatively mild winters, moderate (rarely ever hits 90) and interact in lively arts, culture and outdoor active lifestyle on land, water and air

    by capecodder — February 9, 2012

  47. The writer of this silly blog is not very informed. Climate change is the canary in the coal mine.

    http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/09/29/332369/nasa-hansen-the-southern-u-s-will-become-almost-uninhabitable/

    by Peter Mizla — February 10, 2012

  48. Is anyone happy being retired in New Hampshire? We used to live in the state and will need to move out of Illinois in retirement- real estate taxes too high, Any good comments?

    by Beverly — February 11, 2012

  49. [...] The purpose is to try to help baby boomers understand where, all other things being equal, they can … [...]

    by Worst States to Retire 2012: Northeast and Midwest Come Up Losers Topretirements — ROI Management — February 17, 2012

  50. Beverly – I am happy with NH. I have lived in MD and NJ in the military and am retired. If one uses an assumption of an income of $100K retired (just an assumption, not saying that everyone makes that) and a home with an assessment of $275K, although NH’s real estate taxes are higher than expected and there are personal propery taxes, there are no income or sales taxes. IN a comparison with MD, there would be a savings of almost $15K per year, which in no way is offset by the higher property tax or the slightly higher heatin bills. Hope this helps.

    by GrizzleyBear — February 18, 2012

  51. income of $100K retired

    I should have joined the military:shock::shock:

    by bill — February 19, 2012

  52. I have no idea where his the %100K military retirement originated. I will say that after serving 25 years and retiring as a Major 18 years ago, my military retirement is not even half that much. So believe me this is not a NORMAL retirement paycheck – maybe a four star with a whole hoop of years or maybe he has a pension from another career after the military?

    Editor’s note: I think the 100k was just an example to make a point about differing taxes by state. Obviously a military pension alone wouldn’t come anywhere near that. But as Shelbygtdriver says perhaps there was another career or a successful lifetime of saving/investing. The major point: everybody’s situation is different. If taxes are important to you, research will help you make the right decision.

    by Shelbygtdriver — February 19, 2012

  53. I have a question for everybody. I have recently been told that my vision will not be returning.I’m legally blind. I would like to find a community with excellent public transportation. I have done a bit of research and I believe I have narrowed it down to about 4 possibilities. I’m open to any and all suggestions. I would love to be close to water weather it’s fresh or salt. I prefer warmer climate. Presently live in Maine, but the winters are too much for me now. Unless I were to move to Portland, getting to appointments and shopping is a project. I’m fiercely independent and hate to bug everybody for rides. I can still take care of my self I just cant drive anymore. So speak up and share,I’m not shy so please don’t you be.

    Editors’ note: what were your four choices. It’s good that you have narrowed it down, but please share with us so we can help.

    by debbie — February 19, 2012

  54. I have narrowed it down to 4) Las Vegas 3) Albuquerque 2) Hilo 1) Honolulu of course non of these choices are in stone. I need to be independent, that is my biggest want. I have to go to the doctors frequently and I want to do it my self.

    by debbie — February 20, 2012

  55. Debbie, I am in a similiar boat and beginning to ask some of the same questions…so please keep me informed of what you find out – and experience. I have been impressed with Portland’s transportation system-but have only visited there a few times. I have a friend who lives quite a way out in the mountains, drives less than 5 minutes and takes the transit in (I’m thinking he told me over 50 minutes-we’re talking long distance) to Portland. While you might want to live closer to the transit system, (with no 5 minute drive) it does seem to have a generally good transportation system on several levels. The people seemed friendly, weather nice, water would include rivers, and nearby lakes and ocean.

    by Steve — February 21, 2012

  56. I live in Minnesota, and I can hardly wait to move out. They absolutely rape the retirees in this state. And now they have rigged things so that my property taxes rose 28% this year. What a hell hole this place is. AS soon as my wife retires, we are gone.

    by bruce — February 22, 2012

  57. Bruce, I agree on the tax climate in Minnesota. Our property values are dropping but our property taxes are going up. Huh??? And they tax every nickel of income. No exemption for Social Security income like most states provide. It’s almost like they don’t want to be competitive for retirees. I’m actively searching for an alternative but waiting to see where my son (who has all the grandchildren) will settle after retiring from the military. I know it won’t be in Minnesota. That’s never been on his radar screen.

    by Linda — February 22, 2012

  58. I think we have found the optimum solution. We currently live in Maine and love it for the summer/fall months. When we retire, we think a place in the Carolinas would be great for 6.5 months thereby establishing residency and enjoying the tax breaks. We would return to our beusatiful Maine coast during the hot/humid summer months. Can’t wait to give it a try…We also have ties to NJ but I could never live there.

    by Ray — February 22, 2012

  59. Sharon, that makes me want to move to Maine, not stay away from it. The towns should have more power over their local schools than the state does; why should everything be regulated from on high? On the contrary, local needs can be better served by local governance. Then, if you don’t like something happening in your district, you can try to influence it yourself, with the help of like-minded individuals. If you fail, you don’t have to move that far away to find what you do like.

    by Treecie — March 5, 2012

  60. Best states to retire? It’s obvious that the author considered taxes as his most important criterion, which of course would weigh heavily against northern states since they spend a lot more on snow removal and — not coincidentally — EDUCATION. The study also undervalues QUALITY OF LIFE issues, which leave retirees thinking they’ll be better off in Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, and South Carolina. …. People also tend to complain a lot about the Northern winters, but let’s be honest: snow and cold aren’t likely to kill you, whereas southern hellish summers, killer tornadoes, floods, and droughts have led too many people to early graves…… Bottom line: pay the northern states’ taxes and be thankful …

    by Randall Pouwels — March 16, 2012

  61. Wisconsin has something for everyone. If you are a liberal, there’s Madison and parts of Milwaukee. If you are a conservative, there is the rest of the state. If you like lower property and state taxes you will have to wait a couple of years until Governor Walker’s budget balancing plan really starts to pay off. If you like rolling hills (aka: upper New England) there is western Wisconsin. If you like lakes and forests you will like the sand country of northern Wisconsin. If you like family farms and a landscape with character, you will like central and southwestern Wisconsin. If you like great food, different ethnic award winning restaurants and a variety of top entertainment, you will like eastern and south easten Wisconsin. And if you are a sports nut, we have the Packers, Brewers, Badgers and Bucks less than acouple of hours from anywhere in the lower half of the state. Yes, and if you like downhill and cross country skiing, snowmobiling, boating, biking and walking (a dozen trails) or just watching migratory birds and nature in general, we provide seasons for all of those activities. That’s why, at age 69, I’m staying in Wisconsin.

    by JOHN — March 16, 2012

  62. In Ohio you get to attend OSU for free if you are over 65, and eastern OH has hills and is amish country with quaint shops and that area is so beautiful and calming. In that area they still shut down the shops on Sundays. My husband and I got to retire in our mid fifties … We wanted to retire in Maine ande the winter is only one to two months longer

    by sleepy — March 16, 2012

  63. N.J. doesn’t exclude pension income from state income taxes.

    Editor’s Note: We respectfully disagree. For a couple making less than $100,000 a year, up to $20,000 in qualified pension income IS excluded. Social security income is not taxed either. See http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/njit7.shtml

    by Bubba — March 17, 2012

  64. In regards to Randall’s blog I disagree that the high cost of living in the Northeast is due to snow removal and education. The main reason for the high cost of living in the Northeast is one word – unions. I am living on Long Island for the time being, let me tell you that the police and teacher’s union control the cost of living out here…….. Long Island is one of the highest cost of living places to live in the country. Suffolk county on Long Isand is facing a five hundred million dollar deficit next year which will mean they will raise taxes yet again. I pay ten thousand dollars a year in property taxes the only reason why I am still here is my wifes refusal to relocate.

    by Lou — March 17, 2012

  65. The New York area has high taxes. New Paltz south through Long Island have terrible real estate and school taxes. It is absurd. I grew up in New Paltz and my parents always complained about the taxes. I have a niece who lives in Pawling with her family;the amount they pay in taxes is what some earn as salary in other states and are quite happy with it! The school taxes are the highest. Westchester County real estate taxes are obscene; I do not think that the taxes have ever been cut in many areas of NY State…ever and they continue to rise. I miss New York, there is no doubt about it, but cannot afford to live there, especially when retired. The Carolinas is where we are headed.

    by diandto — March 18, 2012

  66. Thanks for the info. I took an early retirement(younger than 62) and was unaware. I stand corrected.

    by Bubba — March 18, 2012

  67. [...] 10 Worst States for Retirement Posted by John Brady on March 27th, 2012 Comments (0)  Email This Post Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS) [...]

    by » Where You’re Retiring – And Why Topretirements — March 27, 2012

  68. This is why I am moving everything, kit and kaboodle, to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. It’s a lot of work, but I’m enjoying the journey. Cost of living should be a LOT less, assuming I can ween myself off air conditioning and excessive television watching (the electricity rates are very high). About 4,000 Canadian and U.S. expats live in the Merida area now, with more on the way. I’m still looking for some place suitable for spring and summer life in the U.S., but that will take a lot of investigation.

    by Lee — April 1, 2012

  69. Getting ready to retire in CA & move to OH. Someone told me I will have to pay CA taxes on my retirement since this is where I retired from & may also have to pay OH taxes as well. I’m not believing this & can not find any info on it. Please help!

    Editor’s Comment: It seems to us that until you establish Ohio residency you will be on the hook for CA taxes, but that should stop with your new residency. But you should ask your accountant for exactly how that will play out.

    by Angie — May 26, 2012

  70. We live in Connecticut and hope to retire next year when I am 65 and will turn 66. We will probably go to South Carolina. By going to South Carolina we will save somewhere between $1500 and $2000 per month. This will be accomplished in the following manner: Our housing (PITI) will be cut in half for the same or better housing; Heat, hot water and electric, currently being provided by oil and electric (Connecticut has the second highest electric rates in the US [Hawaii is the highest]) averages $400 per month. Many homes in South Carolina are all electric and the average bill is $125 per month. But, let’s be conservative and just cut the bill in half; Just for comparison purposes, gas for the car in Connecticut is running about $4.00 a gallon as I write this. While I do not expect to be doing as much driving (Won’t have to go to work each day), this past week, the average price per gallon in South Carolina was $3.11, the lowest in the country; Our income is such that Connecticut will probably tax our Social Security, in fact, Connecticut will tax just about any kind of income it can find and we just went through the largest tax increase in the state’s history; There is still a deficit in the state budget, so we can expect an additional tax increase in the near future. South Carolina will not tax investment income up to a certain limit and will not tax Social Security.
    For those of you wondering about “Culture” in the South. Charleston is one of the most sophisticated cities in the United States. Columbia, the state capital, is often overlooked. Besides the University of South Carolina with all of the major college sports and all a major university brings with that, there are a number of other colleges and universities in the area as well as other cultural activities. The major cultural centers in the “Up Country” are Clemson University and Greenville, home of Furman University, as well as the area adjacent to Charlotte, NC, which has professional sports teams. Like any other state, if you are looking for cultural things to do, you do not go to the rural areas. If you want to go to Broadway shows, and you move to New York State, you don’t move to Watertown, New York. You move to someplace in the greater New York Metropolitan Area.
    Finally, for those who complain about the people in the South who are still fighting the Civil War, AKA the War Between the States, or as some say in polite society, the “Late Unpleasantness,” one should remember a few things: 1. With a few exceptions, notably Gettysburg and Antietam, virtually all of the battles were fought in the South; 2. Southerners are proud people and they lost; 3. The South is the only part of the US that actually did loose a war and suffered the consequences. Some parts have never really come back from that; 4. There are some people who just like to get “Yankees” going when it comes to the “Late Unpleasantness”, and for some, a guaranteed way to do that is the Civil War; 5. Finally, remember, you are the new neighbor in town. If you went into an Irish bar for the first time on St. Patrick’s Day and proceeded to sing “God Save the Queen”, what would you think would happen to you? Perhaps, under the circumstances, a better strategy would be to learn to sing “Danny Boy”.
    The United States is a rich and wonderful country in so many ways. We are a good and generous people that offers a great variety to all who live here. Each region of the country offers great variety to anyone who wants to take advantage of it. One of the keys to being happy in each region of the country is not to try to change the place, but to accept it for what it is. That means not going somewhere and telling the people who have lived their entire lives in that location how they should change what they have been doing for the past hundred years. There are good people everywhere. Finding those good people will be one of the things that will make for a happy and fulfilling retirement.

    by Fred — May 27, 2012

  71. Angie: I moved from CA to MN and my CA taxes ended…thank God! I pay MN tax on my pension, which is a lot lower than California’s, believe me. Also, there was a Supreme Court decision some years back on this very question, and California lost, so don’t worry…once you cross the border, you are no longer beholden to them and their ridiculous taxes.

    by Kimbee Jeanq — May 27, 2012

  72. To “Fred’s Rant” Extremely thought provoking,..and brutally honest! Thank you, Fred!

    It’s true!..Every place has its unique quality. When one searches for that ‘permanent dream retirement’ (in one’s personal definition), you find it! But your perfection, or your desires, may not be that of the many. There’s a wonderful something that happens when we appreciate and explore the history & culture of our new town or community… Allowing oneself to be the ‘new kid on the block’ is a good thing!

    This city mouse moved from Maryland to Miami, and then from Miami to Ocklawaha, FL (a town of 2,500, and Seminole word for Big Blue Water). I appreciate my community’s rich history and southern culture. My town is laid-back and friendly. Growing up in a big market like Baltimore, and working most of my career in Miami, I now appreciate going to my grocer in Ocklawaha. For example, I can’t just run in and get my goods, I’m forced to stop-n-chat with my local grocer Gene (because that’s how we do it here in the South). America’s small towns are fading. The Mom & Pop shops are becoming a thing of the past; being a member of a small town is a real treat. It’s given something I’ve never known about myself — I like people!

    Everyday I get to experience a part of America that will someday only be found in history books, “America’s once small town”. My small town is forcing me to slow-down, look-around, and embrace its southern culture! (In my opinion: my small town rescued this city mouse!)

    by Neil S. Schuster — May 28, 2012

  73. Fred I really enjoyed your perspective and hope I meet someone like you when I retire, hopefully by the end of next year at 65. I am leaning toward the Carolina’s and would like to consider Asheville nc because it appears to be a but cooler in summer than say greenville sc. I like the idea of lower taxes in sc vs nc but the cities I find interesting such as charleston have brutally hot summers. Does the cost savings tax wise in sc vs nc make up for the heat and humidity? I’d be interested in hearing from someone who lives in Asheville to comment on the summer weather and what its like to live there lifestyle wise.

    by Valerie — May 31, 2012

  74. [...] further reference 10 Worst States for Retirement – 2012 10 Best States for Retirement – 2011 Tax Friendliest States for Retirement Posted by John [...]

    by » Best States for Retirement – 2012 Topretirements — June 5, 2012

  75. Minnesota should be number 1 worse in my opinion. Lately they decided to pay 500 million (+interest) to build a stadium for a billionaire team owner. It is only a matter time before some tax increase comes my way. I really hate this state. As soon as my wife retires, it is goodbye Minnesota.

    by bruce — June 7, 2012

  76. We moved from the Westchester area of New York to the northeast corner of Tennessee back in 1976 and have never regretted it. Tennessee only taxes dividends and commercial interest (not bank accounts or normal CD’s). Our property tax today is one third of what we were paying in Putnam County, New York nearly forty years ago.
    As far as the climate is concerned, we have four seasons – very rarely more than an inch or two of snow in any storm and average about ten days per year where the temperature reaches ninety degrees.
    Electric rates are very low – our bill for the last twelve months total right at $1,000 – including heat and air conditioning.
    Medical services are first rate with a medical school that stresses family practice twenty miles away.
    You couldn’t get us to move out of here for anything.

    by Larry in TN — June 7, 2012

  77. NJ is not only one of the worst states to retire in due to a high taxes and cost of living, it is just as bad while one is working. There is more welfare in NJ than anywhere else. One other thing not mentioned is that NJ taxes gross income which means that a deduction for an IRA or 401K is NOT allowed while one is working

    by Michael — June 7, 2012

  78. Larry in Tn..can you tell me what part of Tn? Have never really thought about that State? Thanks.

    by Roxanne — June 8, 2012

  79. I was going to ask Larry the same question of where in TN. We toured Fairfield Glade and thought it was pretty nice area. A friend recommended Johnson City, TN but have not read anything on this site about it.

    by Locobill — June 8, 2012

  80. The best areas are the ones that you feel comfortable in. I personally don’t like the humidity of the SE. I lived in the Phoenix area for a number of years and as soon as my girlfriend retires, we are going to retire back there. While the summers are hot, the humidity is so low that it is merely annoying, not oppressive. If you want to get away from the heat, the mountains are 45 minutes to an hour away. The beach in San Diego is a short 4-5 hour drive and Vegas is 4 1/2 hours away. The state is very tax friendly and because so many people are from somewhere else, most of the suburbs are filled with very friendly folks. Home prices are very reasonable as are HOA fees and real estate taxes. There is also no disaster type weather, al la hurricanes or tornadoes. No earthquakes either. All in all, it is still my favorite place to reside. If you do like snow or actual winter however, you won’t like Phoenix (60-70 degrees in the daytime there in the winter).

    by DrJoel — June 8, 2012

  81. We closed on a house in Fairfield Glade TN in January 2012. We are only able to visit about 10 days a month while we are still working in Illinois but have found our time here to be reassurrance that we picked a great place. We have met many wonderful people in “The Glade” who are all from somewhere else. The natives are very friendly as well. I feel much better having spoken to a number of members of each political party. I did have a concern that everyone would be of the same mindset. Happy to say that it’s not true. I enjoy diversity of thought and I have found it. The cost of living is what we were expecting although it is important to understand the extra assessments and not just the HOA dues. Be sure to ask no matter where you are looking. The question is what are the HOA dues, and what are the additional assessments currently be charged to each homeowner. Best of luck to everyone in their search!

    by Holly — June 8, 2012

  82. Bruce: When you say goodbye to MN, where are you saying “hello”? I hope it’s not California. If you think MN taxes and costs are awful, you’d be shocked at how reasonable they are next to the “Golden” State! I agree that our taxes here are not the lowest, but believe me, it’s all relative!

    by Kimbee Jeanq — June 8, 2012

  83. Bruce: Would like to add a thing or two as Kimbee had a number of good points. When relocating be sure to check on past tax give aways to build stadiums or arenas. You could also look at states that do not have major league sport teams. I suspect you are not a fan of the new stadium that is to be built in Mpls. Being from Mn myself I too opposed the financing plan that was passed. Good luck with your search.

    by LeftyO'Mally — June 8, 2012

  84. I’m in Kingsport, a city of just over 50,000. It is just south of the Tennessee-Virginia border and is part of what is known as the Tri-Cities -That is Kingsport, Johnson City and Bristol.

    Check out the MOVETOKINGSPORT web site.

    We love visitors and new residents.

    by Larry in TN — June 8, 2012

  85. Fred: Antietam is in Maryland and Maryland is South of the Mason Dixon line and although Maryland was a border state they tried to secede but were stopped by a group of men sent to make sure that several men due at the signing could not attend. Just a little aside to let people know that yes the war is still debated but it’s all about attitude. You are right about your guest example. So many people go to a new place and then try to change it to be like the place they just left. This can also be county to county within the state. Maryland is a beautiful state with the ocean, the mountains and various cities, however it is now ranking 5th in the nation for taxes. At least that is what it is today, who knows what it will be tomorrow. I suppose what I’m saying is research, research, research! Then make up your mind to be happy and become part of the community.

    by Karen Muscolino — June 9, 2012

  86. Fred… I was saying essentially the same thing although perhaps not as eloquently. My point was that although Maryland is a beautiful state with nice people and lots to do, people should research their move completely. We are taxed very heavily, with no end in sight. So many Maryland retirees are moving to Delaware and the working population are heading to VA and PA. Montgomery County is no longer the number 1 richest county as many are leaving to go west to Frederick County and lower real estate taxes. The richest county is now Howard County. I was born and raised here in Maryland and lived here all of my life. However, now that I am retired I can no longer afford to live here. I will be relocating very shortly. It’s sad to have to move and leave so many memories. However, memories are just that memories… As an aside, your comment about Maryland being stopped from seceding tells me you are still fighting the Civil War also. It’s nice that you are happily living in New England and enjoying life. That’s what it’s all about.

    by Karen Muscolino — June 10, 2012

  87. Karen:

    I wish I was living happily in New England. I am planning to move as soon as I retire which will, hopefully, be a year from now as we have to sell the house. It is on the market. Taxes are the same here as in MD. The difference is that in the last comparison, CT was 3rd. to MD’s 5th. in taxes and the state still is in the red after the largest tax increase in history. They tax everything! Leaving CT will mean $1500 to $2000 more per month in my pocket depending on where we go and the local situation. I loved growing up in MD, especially the Bay, and the ocean. We have even gone back to vacation there to eat crabs, and oysters and drink beer in places like St. Mary’s before it got discovered. So I know what you mean. And yes, they are still fighting the Civil War in Maryland. As proof, the state government did away with “Maryland, My Maryland,” as the state song a few years ago. People in CT just do not understand that.

    by Fred — June 11, 2012

  88. Fred….. It is really sad that people have to rewrite history here in Maryland. I will never understand removing the song either. It is a beautiful state but is slowly being destroyed from within. I honestly don’t know where to go. It’s hard to break life long ties, however on the other hand it’s almost impossible to live here. I’m sorry CT is so terrible for taxes. My friends have a house in Cape Cod and think I should move there. New England is beautiful but, and there’s always a but, I’m not sure how accepting they are to new people living there full time and I worry about isolation. I don’t know if I’m over analyzing everything or it’s just the scary part of starting over. I devour this site every day in hopes of finding an answer. One day I suppose I will have an epiphany! I only hope it happens soon. LOL When I was selling my house my friend told me to buy a St Joseph statue and bury it upside down facing the road and the house would sell quickly. I worried that it was kind of weird but I was ready to try anything. I’m not saying it worked or that it wouldn’t have happened anyway, but it sold in the next week. It’s worth a try! Good luck and I hope you find a wonderful place to retire where you can be very happy.

    by Karen Muscolino — June 12, 2012

  89. Karen:

    I do not know what your situation is as far as family is concerned, or where you are located in MD, but Delaware, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia are not that far away and their taxes are much lower. The Dutch country in PA, for example, has some very attractive areas as far as the cost of living is concerned and Hershey Medical, Penn State’s Medical School, is there in Hershey. You can lower your costs significantly and not have to go very far if family is keeping you in MD and still stay close by for them. Who knows, maybe you could draw some of your friends to where you find your new home when they see what a good deal you have compared to staying in MD?

    by Fred — June 12, 2012

  90. Can anyone talk about there experience in Del Webb, Sun City, Shadow Hill, Indio, Ca. I am looking for a place to retire in S. Ca. that is reasonable in price.

    by holly — June 13, 2012

  91. Fred, thanks so much for the great ideas on where to go. I am a widow with no children and family scattered all over. I have wonderful and caring friends and that, more than anything, is keeping me here. I suppose there is a little fear too, or maybe big fear, factoring in this whole scenario. I do not want to be dependent in anyway on my family even though they all say to move where they are. I sometimes wonder if I would take them up on it, if they would be shocked and move away themselves! LOL I get along very well with all of them and visit when I can. However, it is a lot different visiting than moving there. I don’t want them to feel responsible for me as they all have their own lives, as it should be. I do feel it’s a little more difficult breaking into a new area when one is alone though. I’m beginning to think perhaps an over 55 community is going to be my answer. I know a couple who live in Penn National, in PA who like it but say it’s somewhat clannish. They are able to go further South in the winter so they do get a break. I’m not able to do that. Visit yes, but not have another home. I seem to be like a hamster in a wheel, around and around and around. Thanks again for the info. When I get back from vacation my goal is to jump off this wheel and restart my life. I especially like the Hershey idea. I have never thought about it and I have heard that they do have excellent medical care. Thanks for sharing!

    by Karen Muscolino — June 13, 2012

  92. Every time I think I should move to this state or another, I find out some negatives that are deal breakers for me. I am single, no family in MD, would like to move south, near good health care providers, want to close to the coast but not on it and want to rent. Any suggestions? I have family in Florida and in Illinois. Do not want to move to the Midwest. Does anyone have positive experiences in South Carolina? Or elsewhere south?

    by Joyce Redman — June 14, 2012

  93. The eastern shore of MD is nice. Also, western MD is beautiful, cooler in the summer and less crowded. By W. MD I mean Washington Co., Allegany, and Garrett Co. Washington Co. has easy access to two Interstate systems (I-81 north-south and I-70 east-west). All 3 counties are on the bike path that runs from Pittsburgh to DC (part of which is the C&O Canal). Garrett Co. has an area called Deep Creek Lake (for the snow skiers and those interested in expensive homes). The remainder of the county is rural and beautiful. Winters are snowy and cold, though they have been getting milder every season. As others have expressed (in other language), beauty is in the eys of the beholder. Thus, one may never find “nirvana” or the perfect place … and if one does, one’s tastes may change after a while. Also, if there WAS some perfect place … why, we’d all be there, wouldn’t we? ;-)

    by Mad Monk — June 14, 2012

  94. Joyce, I do the same thing. I think it’s called “analysis paralysis”. Somehow we have to just take the leap. I’m told if the eventual place turns out to be 80% of what we want or hope it to be, we are winners. I really do think the fear of the unknown takes over our thinking. I have a niece in Charleston SC. I have visited her several times and it’s really nice but HOT, HOT, HOT especially in the summer and the bugs are horrible. Good luck in your search and I hope you find something real soon.

    by Karen Muscolino — June 14, 2012

  95. I am a landlord in the coal region of central PA. We have properties in our area selling for an average of $30,000 for half doubles. Rent in our area is about $400 per month. Real Estate Tax is about $400 to $500 per year for a half double house. PA has no tax on Retirement Income.
    It is a friendly area with low crime. Most small citys are a hour away and Philadelphia is 2hrs and NY city 3hrs. I have noticed many people from away moving here for the cheap houses and rents.

    by Mike — June 14, 2012

  96. Holly: Del webb communities are terrific. I know a bunch of folks who live in some of them and none have anything bad to say abot them. You do NOT want to go to S. CA. They are in a lot of trouble financially and the illegal immigrant population just adds more to their woes. They will be raising taxes again real soon and with their multi-biliion dollar shortfall, even that won’t help. They also have utility and water problems which keep getting worse. In the West valley of Phoenix are 4 Del Webb communities, all of which are very stable and nice places to live. Check them out. I’m retiring back to the Phoenix area as soon as possible, probably 2 years or so. I lived there for 6 years and loved it.

    by DrJoel — June 14, 2012

  97. All of us are looking for the perfect place. It does not exist. Like Karen says, if you can get 80% of what you are looking for, you are probably getting more than you could possibly expect. For us, the criteria is fairly simple: 1. Closer to the kids (But not too close, don’t want to be a babysitting service.); 2. Lower cost of living (taxes, housing etc.); 3. A reasonable cultural life at a relatively low cost (Probably means a college or university near-by, would like more than one); 4. Very good medical care (The ideal is a probably a location near a medical school attached to a university); 5. Near water (Very large lake or the ocean, we are not golfers, we like to fish.); 6. Warmer climate, much less snow, but would not mind a change of seasons.
    Of course, all of this means not living in East Podunk in the rural part of any state in the US. It means we have to be selective and careful about where we choose to go. But it also helps to limit our choices as to location. There are places that fit this criteria. Our problem is now selecting which one and where in that location.

    by Fred — June 14, 2012

  98. Thanks Dr.Joel so much on your info on S. Ca. I do not want to live in a place where taxes are going up! I am in Scottsdale right now, and thinking about living here, but as I am a fairly young retire(55), I am not sure about the Del Webb communities in Phoenix, they seem so far away from everything, but I like the idea of meeting new people, and having lots of fun activities to choose from, so I was looking into Del Webb, and although I have lived a good part of my life in the South, I don’t like the summer humidity, and colder rainy winters there!! I also want to make sure the community I buy into is financially stable, so how would I find out this information????

    by Holly — June 14, 2012

  99. Does anyone have an opinion on retiring in Palm Desert Ca. versus Phoenix, Az.?

    by Holly — June 14, 2012

  100. Holly: I have to echo Dr. John re: Southern California. Indio and Palm Desert have the same major problem: they’re both in CA!! The economy is unstable at best, the cost of living (taxes, gas, food, utilities) is very high, and the crime is substantial. We have good friends who live south of LA and want us to move back there (we lived in CA for 24 years), but there is NO WAY I’d do it, and neither would my husband, a CA native. We know several folks who live there and would love to leave, but cannot afford to do so. Right now, real estate is cheap there (relatively), but that’s about all that is inexpensive. Good luck to you in your search!

    by Kimbee Jeanq — June 14, 2012

  101. I’ve been thinking about Bluffton, S.C. I’m going there with my sis next month to check it out more. Anyone have any advise about snakes, bugs, humidity or anything else I should rethink?

    by Trish R — June 15, 2012

  102. Trish R-My husband and I will be in Bluffton next month too…checking it out as well. I have heard it is humid, but there is that breeze from the ocean. Palmetto bugs are big in Florida, so I imagine they are in SC as well. We don’t plan to live anywhere where snakes may like to inhabit as well; they usually do not like people, so we are going into a condo situation, if we can I figure that should do it :) I will be curious as to what you think of it when you go.

    by Diana — June 15, 2012

  103. RE: Southern California. I lived in Riversie County in Menifee. It is a little north of Temecula. We went out to the desert, went up to the mountains and spent time in Laguna Beach as well as Oceanside in San Diego County; it was a very convenient location for us. Our real estate taxes were very reasonable, especially compared to Texas; however, groceries and gasoline were expensive.The weather was ideal for us. The Palm desert area is beautiful in a desert sort of way and the traffic is not too bad out there. There is a nice retirement community in Menifee-check it out. We have been away from CA for five years now, and a day does not go by when I do not miss the weather! My friends are contented to stay there, but do fear the economic situation California is in and it worsening.

    by Diana — June 15, 2012

  104. Holly: Scottsdale is far too expensive for what you get and the people I met from there were very snobby (hence the nickname snottsdale). Why don’t you look into the communities of Sun Lakes (Chandler), Sun City and Sun City West in the “West Valley” (which has grown tremendously in the past decade. Lots of everything to see and do there, although not quite as interesting as the East Valley). If you are serious about the Phoenix area, I’ll give you my phone number so we can talk more in depth (e-mail is blah). Joel

    by DrJoel — June 16, 2012

  105. Thanks, Dr. Joel for the information. It is nice that you gave several options with your opinions on the nature of the community. It is very valuable information for me.

    by Elaine — June 17, 2012

  106. Hi all- the comments hre have been very helpful. For me, the most important issue of where to live is property taxes. I don’t worry about sales tax because how much stuff will I be buying. Of course income tax is an issue if they tax your pension. I live in New Jersey. My property taxes on a $200000 home are $6450. If I stay here I’ll be house poor. My idea is to pay cash for a home and have no mortgage after selling my current home. I’ll only have to deal with property taxes. I’ve found that my current county in has one of the highest, if not the highest property tax rates in NJ. But I think I could stay in NJ if I moved to another county. For example, cape may county has a really low property tax rate. I’d just have to deal with the income tax issue. They don’t tax a portion, and they don’t tax SS. So in reality unless your pension is really up there after deductions how much tax would I really pay.
    What I’m saying is I may not need to move to another state to live a comfortable life. When I think about moving I always look at the property taxes because to me this is the most important issue. But if I’m in less house, and I don’t have a mortgage, and my property tax is low, I can live here or just about anywhere. Because when I research other places, I waffle. I see a place I think has potential, then I here something that I don’t will fit me. I live in the northeast. I’m 100 miles from NY and 30 miles from philly and 40 miles from AC. Cultural activities are important to me. I can go to any show, museum, event. People are pretty open minded. We have some of the best hospitals and doctors in the world.
    What made me have this ephiphany is I was looking in montgomery county in PA and found that the property tax rates were just as high as some counties in NJ. (however PA does not tax any pension at all). Please check out tax-rate dot org. they have tons of information on taxes. you can choose a county in your state and enter the property value and it will give you a tax estimate. Also information on all other taxes i.e. sales, income, excise, etc.

    by jackie — June 17, 2012

  107. Dr Joel, Thank you for offering, and I would be happy to talk too you on the phone to get further imput on Phoenix, Arizona!

    by Holly — June 18, 2012

  108. Holly: my number is 513-600-2624 in Ohio

    by DrJoel — June 18, 2012

  109. Holly: if you let me know via this site what is your area code, I’ll actually answer the phone. If you don’t want to do that, just leave me a message that it’s you and I’ll return your call. Joel

    by DrJoel — June 18, 2012

  110. Anyone know things about Columbia, SC area? It’s one of the places I’m looking at for a winter home – condo preferably.

    by DrJoel — June 18, 2012

  111. DrJoel,
    Columbia SC is a nice town with the University of SC. It is very hot in the summertime however, you said you are looking for a winter home so that may not bother you. Lake Murray is a large lake close to Columbia with lots of activity. My Son lived there for a while and we visited and I could never get a good feeling about it. If you are looking at SC. Look at Greenville SC which is the West of Columbia. Greenville has been on many top retirement lists and is a great place to check out. It has very good pricing on real estate, has many cultural venues, a lovely downtown with much restoration, the people are friendly and many large companies are located there making the economy good for the town. Look on google and you can get a lot of info as well as the info to contact the chamber of commerce. It is also not that far from many North Carolina interesting mountain areas and towns. We have friends there and are considering it as well. That is how I found the indepth info. Good luck!
    Linda L

    by Linda L — June 18, 2012

  112. Dr. Joel,
    Having lived in Tucson or Vail being about an hour from the Mexican boarder I can tell you that the HEAT in AZ is nothing like the HEAT/HUMIDITY in Columbia, SC. We lived in Gilbert on Lake Murray for 3 years and just moved to the mountains of NC. The heat/humidity from April thru Oct can be God awful. You basically live in AC with the blinds pulled. The wind never picks up so the heat sticks with you, Also, it cn rain all around you but we had such a deficit in the rain department. Can’t open the windows except for Nov-Jan because then the pollen becomes so intense that your house is covered with this inch thick yellowish green mixture. I would take the winters in AZ over SC. Our temps were probably around 50ish but nothing to brag about. Still had to wear a winter coat at times.
    If you love boating Lake Murray is an option, but just as the roads have crazy drivers beware of the crazies out on the lake. The lake is owned by SCE&G(electric co) and in the winter they can take the water down a good 6 feet to generate power.
    SC property taxes are inexpensive compared to what we had been paying in NJ. Keep in mind that SC has the personal property tax on cars,boats,RV’s just like AZ. Shopping at nice stores is very limited. It probably would take a trip to Charlotte NC to really shop. But, as we realize that we have more then enough stuff to last the rest of our lives, shopping isn’t always at the top of our list.
    Now, we’ve only been in the mountains for 6 weeks but the weather at this point is wonderful. Hav the windows open and cool breezes. Now, Winter might be another story……….
    Just my side of the story-:)

    by Anne — June 19, 2012

  113. Dr. Joel, my area code is 949.

    by Holly — June 19, 2012

  114. Holly, I’ve lived in Arizona for a total of 14 years, 11 in the Phoenix area. Maybe I can help you with some of your questions?

    by Treesaht — June 19, 2012

  115. Can anyone tell me about 55 plus community of Sun City, Shadow Hills, Indio, Ca?

    by Chrissy — June 19, 2012

  116. Can anyone tell me about living in New Mexico. My wife and I are trying to find some placw that has four seasons but with mild winters. Our children live in Southern California and we thought about moving there but the cost of housing even in a down market is expensive. We thought about Arizona but not sure we can handle the hot summer months. Any recommendations is appreciated – Ken

    by Kenneth Miller — June 19, 2012

  117. Treesaht, what part of Phoenix do you prefer? Did you leave in the summers to escapt the heat?

    by Holly — June 19, 2012

  118. I just wanted to add this criteria for finding areas of cooler temperatures in areas such as AZ or NM, elevation such as north of Phoenix where Payson is around 6000 feet and cooler by 10 to 15 degrees. You will also get your 4 seasons there. Enjoy!

    by Larry P — June 20, 2012

  119. Holly, There are a lot of nice places to live in the Valley of the Sun. I would suggest you visit each of the ‘burbs and get a feel for the vibe there. Glendale is different from Auwatukee is different from Mesa. I lived in the West Valley most of the time, except for about three years in Tempe.

    We lived in the Valley year round until my husband retired and we moved up to the White Mountains near Show Low. He wanted to escape the heat, but I don’t like the cold in the winter. If I were to move back to the Valley, I would probably choose either the East Valley, or the Northwest Valley. I like both areas.

    by Treesaht — June 20, 2012

  120. To Kenneth Miller

    I haven’t lived in NM but I have visited there. The area around Albuquerque is about 1600 feet lower than where I live. The climate is very similar. Summers are warm but not hot like Phoenix. Winters can be chilly, with snow, but not like New England. Santa Fe would be colder, because it is higher. If you want more of a desert environment, Las Cruces would be good. Do you want city or small town? Desert or mountains? Personally, I know I could not live in a hot humid climate. I was in Florida for a year one summer, and that was enough for me.

    by Treesaht — June 20, 2012

  121. We bought a place last August in Western North Carolina. All I can say is OMG!!! We love it here. At an elevation of 3300 feet, we have only had to turn on the AC once so far. When it’s in the 90’s in Charlotte, it’s mid to upper 70’s here. We are surrounded by mountains, creeks, and waterfalls. The people are friendly and everyone looks out for one another. The closest city is Johnson City, TN, which is where we like to shop. I agree the number one pick of Tennessee, due to taxes and such, but we are very happy here. (Plus we are only a few miles from the TN state line!)

    by Linda — June 20, 2012

  122. Linda, By your description you can’t be too far from us in Creston,NC. The views are gorgeous and so far we agree the weather is so much cooler then Charlotte and certainly Columbia, SC where we last came from. We would certainly take the moutains over the desert, flat land or even the coast.

    by Anne — June 21, 2012

  123. I read Linda’s post of June 20th and I am interested in retiring in the Western part of North Carolina. I’m hoping to take a trip sometime in the near future to see what I think. I live in Connecticut so I’m sure it will be less expensive there than where I am currently. I have been looking at real estate (on the Internet)around Hendersonville and Asheville. I love the mountains but I am single and not sure about living too far from a city. Any information anyone might have about the area I’d appreciate hearing.

    by Karen — June 22, 2012

  124. I am 2 years away from retirement.For the last 35 years we have lived in Connecticut of which 16 on the shore line. Indeed, we pay very high property & income taxes. Despite high cost of living, we can not imagine living elsewhere. May be rent for a few months down south to get away in the winter.
    Two of our children live in CT & One in California.Can’t imagine living in CA.
    When the costs overwhelms us (which it will) we plan to down-size & still hopefully continue to live in CT. My hope, is that the local(Milford)& the state Law makers are reading this note & doing something to reduce taxes.

    by Hasan — June 22, 2012

  125. Hasan, I can relate to how you feel. I’ve lived in Connecticut for 33 years and thought I’d be here for the rest of my life but there’s no way for me to handle the costs after I’m no longer working. I never thought it would get this bad. They’re going to hike the real estate tax again in my area and real estate taxes are already outrageous here. It’s been hard trying to figure out where I want to go and North Carolina is about it. I lived in Florida before and would never go back. I like the change of seasons and I’m not a hot weather person (although we’re getting some of that now)! Good luck and I hope the state law makers are reading this too. I know a lot of people saying they are going to have to leave the state because of the high cost of living. Good luck to you!

    by Karen — June 22, 2012

  126. karen, we just returned from Asheville which we fell in love with! We attended a 3-day workshop sponsored by University of NC at Asheville. It was called Creative Retirement Exploration Workshop. There were a number of singles, both men and women, at this workshop. We found it very educational and eye-opening. The last day was specifically designed to acquaint those who were interested in Asheville and the Buncombe County area. This workshop is held every year on Memorial Day weekend and I think you would find it very useful. Asheville would be a great city for a single person. There are many ways to meet people especially the NC Center for Creative Retirement at the University. Compared to CT, the taxes are minimal and the winters are mild. We loved it!

    by cherie — June 22, 2012

  127. Hi Cherie, thanks so much for sharing the information on Asheville. I’m glad you really loved it and the 3-day workshop sounds like something I should try and do. It’s nice to hear from people and their thoughts on different places. Thanks so much for letting me know about your trip. It’s also nice to hear the taxes are much better! Are you thinking about retiring in Asheville or that area? It’s hard trying to decide where you want to be. I didn’t think I’d be leaving CT or I would have started thinking about this a lot sooner! Anyway, thanks again. I appreciate the information!

    by Karen — June 23, 2012

  128. We live in Connecticut and just listed our house. The agent said that almost all of the houses she was listing were people who were retiring and leaving the state. They simply could not afford to live in Connecticut. Most were going to Florida or the Carolinas. In our case with all the taxes and high cost of living in Connecticut, we figure to save $1500 to $2000 a month in our pockets by leaving Connecticut, depending on where we end-up and the individual circumstances. That is hard to argue with. We really like our house and our neighbors, but if we stay in Connecticut, we will STAY in Connecticut. We will not be able to afford to go anywhere or do much. That is what $1500 to $2000 per month means.

    by Fred — June 23, 2012

  129. Hi Fred, after looking at the real estate taxes on most places in North Carolina I would save $2000.00 just on real estate taxes. Hard to believe things have gotten so expensive here. I’ve always liked Connecticut and hate to think about leaving but retirement savings will go much further some place else. Staying here will not give me much chance of enjoying anything except paying the bills!

    by Karen — June 24, 2012

  130. I haven’t seen any comments for anyone retiring to Delaware. Living in CT now for last 34 years. Love the climate but taxes are getting ridiculous and no end in sight to increases. Considering NH and De now. Would like to hear more from people who went to those 2 states. BTW- CT lost about 10k people in the last decade and companies are leaving all the time.People need to consider their health when moving so having a good hospital is important, cultural enrichment and a good library system. Have a happy retirement.

    by jschmidt — June 25, 2012

  131. Thanks Karen for your helpful comments!

    by Hasan — June 25, 2012

  132. In response to jschmidt’s question about Delaware, a few months ago I did go and look around Dover and a few small towns around it. I was only there overnight but I checked out several 55+ adult communities that were nice. I wasn’t really thrilled with the area. Delaware is certainly good when it comes to real estate taxes and taxes in general but I didn’t see much to do there. I do think I will investigate it further because there’s other places besides Dover. My first impression just wasn’t good. I guess I’m use to the beauty of CT and that area was anything but pretty. Your point about good medical care is so true.

    by Karen — June 26, 2012

  133. Lived in Ct and retired with a Ct pension. We moved to Northeast Florida 5 years ago. No state income tax and we pay $5000 less a year on property tax because of the homestead law. Also I find Northeast Florida has the two seasons. We are 15 min from the GA border and 30 minutes from Jacksonville which has museums the arts etc. I found middle to south Florida although beautiful awful as far as heat,traffic and cultures. West side is great but crowded. Always can visit. Florida gives you the financial freedom that CT won’t. I love Ct but cant afford it. Visit a lot since family is there. Hope this helps.

    by Kim — June 27, 2012

  134. To Karen – The Lewes and Rehobeth Beach areas of Delaware are very nice. There are many communities away from the main road to avoid the summertime crowds. My husband and I are considering the 55+ only community of Independence. Also check out the Millsboro area for mixed age communities, but with lots of retirees.

    by KathyJ — June 28, 2012

  135. Thanks Kathy for the information regarding Lewes and Rehobeth Beach areas. I’ll make sure I see those when I go for another look around. I think I’m going to either end up in North Carolina or Delaware. I know so many people from CT that are trying to find a place to move to. It’s unfortunate that everything has just gotten far too expensive here. I’ve got some traveling to do to make this decision! Thanks again.

    by Karen — June 28, 2012

  136. I have lived all my life in eastern Mass. But with the high taxes and cost of living I am thinking of retiring in southern NH. NH is beautiful for 3 seasons but winters suck, unless you ski. I will south to Myrtle beach SC for the winters or maybe west coast of FL. Does anyone have input on southern NH or Myrtle Beach.

    by Wayne — June 28, 2012

  137. Wayne, I also have lived in Eastern/Northern Mass my whole life. We have a way to go till retirement (15 yrs) but I like to plan ahead! Am also thinking of NH or ME (and then south for Jan-March). There is a place in Exeter NH and there are also a couple of places in Nashua (can’t think of the names but I’m sure you can google them). Exeter is really nice little town and pretty close to all that’s going on in Portsmouth (including the ocean). Good luck!

    by NancyW — June 28, 2012

  138. We are planning to retire within 7 years…living in ct is very costly …we are looking to move down south possibly Georgia.Does anyone has input northern georgia,I heard it is tax friendly state for retirees and the climate is much cooler in the summer. thanks!

    by Rosie — August 13, 2012

  139. To Wayne: Have you checked out Keene, NH, which is located in the southwestern corner of NH? It’s close to the VT and MA borders. We happened to pass through Keene last weekend and I was really impressed. Keene State College is located right in town. The downtown is really vibrant, and has all the cute shops that one would expect in a college town. Mt. Monadnock is close by for hiking and you’re not far from all that southern VT and central and western MA have to offer.

    by Carole — August 14, 2012

  140. You could check out St. Marys, Georgia. Small town living, and close to Jacksonville, Florida. If you’re interested in a master-planned community, look into Osprey Cove.

    Jan Cullinane
    AARP’s The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement
    The New Retirement: The Ultimate Guide to the Rest of Your Life

    by Jan Cullinane — August 14, 2012

  141. Just an observation. It is really interesting the number of people on this blog from Connecticut. It is also interesting the number of people from Connecticut looking to leave the state when they retire, including myself. Anybody want to buy my house? Seriously though, and my house is on the market, it says something about the state of affairs in Connecticut and why Connecticut is considered the worst state in which to retire. Connecticut is a beautiful state, but it is too expensive to live here unless you have a lot of money. There are other places to live that do not cost as much, that are in many ways just as nice as Connecticut and you can go there when you retire. Top Retirements has listed them for us to consider. Thank you for doing that. Now, all us nutmegers have to do is to select one and move there. The problem is that there are so many good choices it is difficult to make a decision.

    by Fred — August 14, 2012

  142. To the folk from Connecticut: Have you asked the question why Connecticut is such a bad place to live? My thought is that it has something to do with its politics. If so, I suggest that if you move away that you analyze the politics you bring with you. Do not do to the state you move to what has been done to the beautiful state of Connecticut.

    by John G — August 14, 2012

  143. To the folks who do not live in connecticut:I have been living in connecticut for 50 years it is a beautiful state to live and it is getting worse with all the tax increase…If this is about politics it sure is, our politicians should focus in keeping the retirees here to live in this state by making it tax friendly state just like down south.Those states help the retirees to live affordable decent lives.We have no choice either stay here in this state and work for the rest of our lives and drop dead or move to tax friendly state and retire and enjoy what is left in our lives.Believe me it will be a breath of fresh air not to worry anymore.

    by Rosie — August 14, 2012

  144. Consider the states that have a triple AAA bond rating, Delaware, MD, Virginia, North Carolina and Utah. Might have left another state out. This summer in North Central Maryland (Baltimore) has been the hottest that I never want to experience again! In 2010, we had a record 80 inches of snow. Yet I could not go further south to experience yet worse heat than Maryland did this year. Greenhouse gases, global warming, etc. do play a role here. I would certainly want to live in a state that is not broke, have closed public facilities (rest areas in Virginia, for instance. Yet I would not write Virginia off) because of the economy. I plan on visiting both Delaware and Utah and finding more basic information about acceptable areas to live, work, take college courses, etc. and not be taxed on my pension. Or at least be assured that the state or municipality has enough money to cover public safety, etc. so that I do not feel like I live outside of the U.S.

    by Joyce — August 15, 2012

  145. To John G.:
    Some of us came to Connecticut for jobs and not all of us agree with the politics in the state. Unfortunately, we are outnumbered. The answer to everything as far as the state government is concerned is to raise taxes and it is driving out businesses. In 1970 there were over 30 Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the state, now there are less than 15. They have all left because of taxes. Those that are still headquartered here are sending their jobs and facilities to locations outside the state, some in the US and some not. Essentially, there has been no job growth in Connecticut since 1990, about the time the state passed the income tax. The business community is trying to get the state government to stop raising taxes and extending other regulatory burdens on the business community, but they have little influence. The truth is the Democratic Party controls the state government and the Democratic party is heavily influenced if not controlled by the state employee unions. Some may disagree with me on that, but if you take a good look at the deal Gov. Malloy made with the state employee unions you will realize that it was a real sweetheart of a deal and did little or nothing to help to address the state’s financial problems. The result is that the Democratic Party is a well oiled and financed machine in the state and the taxes keep going up to feed the governmental beast.

    by Fred — August 15, 2012

  146. Unless you’re a snow bunny, I cannot fathom for the life of me why any retiree would want to live anywhere that get 4 months of brutal winter (New England, Colorado, Montana for example). Many of my patients slipped and got hurt in the snow and ice every winter. This winter weather is very dangerous for older folks – not so great for younger ones either. The streets and roads are a nightmare, you spend time and money getting rid of the snow and ice all over the place, and driving in it is simply a “take your life in your hands” affair, since many folks don’t know how to drive in bad conditions. No, I’ll take sunshine and pleasant days and nights over frigid conditions anytime.

    by DrJoel — August 16, 2012

  147. I would not call the heat of summer to be pleasant either. The South is way too hot for me and what we expereinced this past summer is only a glimpse of what will continue. I don’t like the heat and cannot afford the cost of air conditioning plus I hate crowds. I lived in Florida for a year and unless you like congestion that is not for me. Everything South of Tampa/Orlando is like a parking lot when you have to run errands. I like peace and solitude.

    by Jeff R — August 17, 2012

  148. Living in Illinois. we retire in the next year. will star looking to pu the house on the market next spring after we sell a lot of stuff, then rent, probably in S Wisconsin.
    We hear IL doesn’t tax retiree stuff YET but it’s in the plan to do so.
    With the coming illegal debacle for Illinois and other ‘sanctuary states’ it’s going to get gruesome. IL gov Quinn will tax everyone and everything. He promised in the last election to raise the IL income tax 1% to 5% total. As soon as he got in office it went to 7%. You retiree ‘exemptions’ won’t last.
    Looking at central TN for the final getaway. Nolansville area up and coming.

    by wayno — August 17, 2012

  149. Jeff R – I agree, but where do you find peace and solitude?

    by Bob — August 17, 2012

  150. Bob : and Jeff R. – If peace and solitude and low taxes were the only criteria, I would say Wyoming or Alaska!

    by Larry P — August 18, 2012

  151. Jeff R, Bob & Larry, what about the Boise, ID area. I hear that the winters are not that bad, especially not as bad as northern Idaho. Any info on medical care in the area?

    by John G — August 18, 2012

  152. North Carolina has more crime. Wilmington has the highest burglary rate. Law enforcement cannot keep up with the bad stuff that goes on there. Stay
    away from towns that are near military bases there…needless to say, crime
    is a real problem near the bases in North Carolina.

    by May — August 18, 2012

  153. May-I am wondering what does living near a military base have to do with high crime rates?

    by Diana — August 19, 2012

  154. May, do you have some statistics to back up your accusation against the military? Or is it just your personal opinion? You do realize that those folks serve to defend your right to say bad things about them, don’t you? It would be nice if you would appreciate their service.

    by Linda — August 19, 2012

  155. Linda, I do not know if May has stats or not. But she never said that it was members of the military that are the criminals. She never made accusations against the military.

    by Eric — August 20, 2012

  156. We too, live in CT and have been looking to retire elsewhere – most likely North Carolina. While we can afford to stay here (so far), we would prefer to have our retirement dollars go farther. We have lived in CT for almost 16 years. Prior to that we lived in Southern NH (jobs brought us to CT). Keene,NH area. Beautiful area in NH, but I will warn you, the property taxes are very high. Yes, no income tax or sales tax, which is why the property taxes are high. Keene has grown tremendously over the last several years. You used to have to travel to Manchester NH to do any serious shopping (Mall, etc) but now Keene has a lot to offer. I have traveled a lot to the Raleigh, NC region, therefore I am comfortable moving there as I know the area and have many friends who live there and LOVE it there. You can easily get to the Mountains or coastline. Sure TN is probably the MOST retirement friendly state, but we figure any place South is an advantage for our retirement dollars. The Raleigh-Durham airport is easy to get in and out of – similar to Bradley in CT. We haven’t 100% decided on a specific town, but we are trying to replicate what we currently have which is woods and wildlife behind our house, but within 5-10 minutes of all the restaurants/shopping/activities/1-2 hrs from the shoreline, which is why we are looking at the Raleigh area. We will easily save $2000-$3000 annually just in home property taxes, and would have home which costs less than in CT.

    by LindaC — August 20, 2012

  157. May wasn’t saying anything bad about the military. Military areas have many young transient families with kids. Real estate is usually less expensive in these areas, attracting a lower character of people.

    by Billy — August 20, 2012

  158. Here’s what May said: “Stay away from towns that are near military bases there…needless to say, crime is a real problem near the bases in North Carolina.”

    Guess who lives on or near military bases? Folks who are in the military. I stand by my comment.

    “Real estate is usually less expensive in these areas, attracting a lower character of people.”

    Really? So having less money equates to lower character? Maybe it just means you don’t have as much money as someone else.

    by Linda — August 20, 2012

  159. I expected your list to inhclude Michigan given ihe high crimne rates in Detroit, Flint, and Saginaw. I retired in Tawas City, three minutes from Lake Huron, and my property taxes are a quarter of what they were in Vermont for the same valued property. Thousands of acres of national forest, many lakes large and small, and no crowds. I love it.

    by Randy Brown — August 20, 2012

  160. Like the post from Belleboy on Jan. !2, my huaband and I also can’t wait to leave NJ. The property taxes are so high and get raised every year. … If anyone is looking for a place to retire, stay away from New Jersey. As soon as my husband retires, we’re otta here – – that is if we can even sell our house. BTW, there is a tax on anyone moving out of the state, and many bridges out of Jersey across the Deleware River have a toll on them. They’re doing all they can to keep us here! I feel like I live at the “Hotel California” – – I can check out anytime I want, but I can never leave!

    by Aussie Mama — August 20, 2012

  161. Looking for feedback on either Pinehurst NC or Asheville NC as I just retired and looking at relocating from Southern California. I love the weather here but cannot afford housing. Thinking NC as I want to avoid severe climates. Any advice? Thanks.

    by Susan — August 20, 2012

  162. I used to live in CA many years ago and loved it, however, I retired to Tenn. 9 mos. ago. Johnson City, Bristol & Kingsport called the tri-cities area, and enjoying weather. Nice friendly folks, with plenty of things to do all around. Not too far from Virginia. Asheville about 1 hr drive. Beautiful Lake Watauga is close enough to enjoy our boat. Lots of churches to choose, also found a Unitarian Universalist church that I have found less conservative. I anticipate shorter milder winters. fyi Susan.

    by Cynthia — August 20, 2012

  163. CRIME and Military bases: Here is a link to one opinion: Read the whole article! I found it to be very interesting and enlightening. http://www.dailyfinance.com/2009/11/16/most-dangerous-military-towns/

    by Larry P — August 21, 2012

  164. :smile:This is for Susan. I currently live in the mountains of Tennessee,but have lived in Mi., Sc.,& Fl., and was born in Asheville, NC. It is a beautiful state to visit, but I could not live there again. They have a very high tax structure, and if you are on a limited budget, it will break you. They do have great medical, dining, shopping and views. I really love the state but can’t afford to live there. Hope this helps.

    by Beckie — August 25, 2012

  165. For Beckie – Thanks Beckie for the response. Coming from California and the state of it’s economy right now, I would probably find the tax better in NC, but it is good to get as much information as possible.

    by Susan — August 27, 2012

  166. For Cynthia – Thanks for the response.

    by Susan — August 27, 2012

  167. Any feedback from the folks that visited Bluffton, SC? I was hoping to visit there sometime in the next 6 months after I visit several communities in Florida.

    by bill — August 27, 2012

  168. Question:
    We live in WI, but are from Lexington KY origonally. We go back occassionally and have discussed retiring in Lexington or in a community close by. We realize you retiring in a community is different than what we experience while working there (20 years ago). Our question is what are the pros and cons from a retiriees perspective? We would love to hear your thoughts. We are a few years a way from deciding, and don’t have the connections we once had…still love the city and area though. Thanks in advance – we hope there will be lots of post.

    by Bob (WI) — August 28, 2012

  169. Anyone have experience with the Wake Forest NC area for retirement? If yes, please share your impressions.

    by Eric — August 28, 2012

  170. Beckie- Hi. Are you in the eastern part of Tennessee? We heard that it was very tax friendly and have started looking at that state. We need to be near the lakes and mountains…not asking too much, huh?!

    by Roxanne — August 28, 2012

  171. We live in Connecticut and as other people said it is very expensive to live here. We would like to retire in the northeast but it is just too expensive. Massachusetts and New Hampshire is less but real estate is starting to climb. Rhode Island is just as bad as Connecticut. So we need help in deciding where to go. Any thoughts on medium to small cities in the following states; PA, VA, DE, NC, SC and FL Medical care, transportation and within an hour drive to a beach is important. One problem about going south we really don’t loke humidity. So is one state less humdid than the other?

    by Mark Gordon — August 28, 2012

  172. Let me add to my last post; a small – medium college town would be ideal. How hot is it in AZ. Someone suggested Gilbert, Chandler or Mesa.

    by Mark Gordon — August 28, 2012

  173. Mark G,

    Does beach mean ocean or coastal bay only? Or does a lake beach fall in your definition? As far as humidity, it varies a lot on the location within the state, even FL has more or less humidity depending on location. The differences can be more extreme in other states that you mentioned. If you want to be within an hour drive of the coast, I suggest you move to the coast. An hour inland might be very humid, but living close to the coast is usually more confortable with ocian breezes Wilmington NC might be somewhere to explore if an ocean is a requirment. It isn’t a college town as such, but does have UNC@Wilmington which is one of the larger employers in the area. I would suggest looking at the west side of the Cape Fear River.

    by eric — August 29, 2012

  174. Roxanne – We toured Tennessee and decided to live at the highest spot between the Rockies and the Smokies, on the Cumberland Plateau in Fairfield Glade. We have 11 spring fed lakes, 90 holes of golf, indoor and outdoor tennis and pickle ball, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, restaurants and shopping. We have found that everyone here is from somewhere else and are warm and friendly. Our real estate taxes are 1/12 of what they were on a similar home in Illinois. I think you will find the mountains and the lakes here quite beautiful.

    by Holly — August 29, 2012

  175. Mark I live in the Scottsdale area of Phoenix, Az. Gilbert is very nice. It gets really hot in the summer here, but 8 months are like paradise and not humid like the South and East coast where I am from!! Great home prices, low real estate tax….tons of fun events…wonderful restaurants…friendly people. Major sports teams are here if you like that, and it is a 5 1/2 drive to beautiful San Diego to escape in the summer, or Flagstaff is 2 hrs away!!! College town of Tempe is 20 minutes!!! Nobody talks much about the West, but it is another choice for retirees!!

    by Holly M — August 29, 2012

  176. To Mark Gordon:

    If you want to stay in the Northeast and medical care and cost is important, try the area around Hershey, PA. Penn State Medical Center is there. You are about an hour from the Bay if you live south of Hershey. Jersey Shore is 2 to 2.5 hours away, depending on traffic. You will have all seasons and snow, but you will be close to major cities of Philly and Baltimore. Mountains are not that far away either. The closer you get to Philly and Baltimore the more it will cost you, but the shorter your drive will be to the ocean and the cultural activities those cities provide. Not that there aren’t cultural activities in the immediate area, many provided by local colleges and universities. Remember Harrisburg is bankrupt so be carefull. There is heat and humidity in the summer, but that is just like everywhere else, and there is snow in the winter, sometimes a lot. but you are in the Northeast. Good luck.

    by Fred — August 30, 2012

  177. Wow, thank you all for your responces!
    Eric, by the beach I mean the Ocean. I would like to be within an hours drive. We have been looking in NH but we have not found anthing in our price range. If we are not on the coast a college town is the second choice. I have read that Wilmington has a hight crime rate. Which is better NC or SC? Where in FL is the least ammount of Humidity? I hear there are alot of retired people in York, PA who worked in the DC area and Bucks County PA was another area we weretold to look at. Fred, wehave looked in Reading, Allentown PA and decided we did not want to live there. Both my wife and I are City People we have lived in Boston, Providence, Hartford and LA.
    If we do not find anything along the east coast. Then maybe AZ.

    by Mark Gordon — August 31, 2012

  178. [...] For further reading: 100 Best Places to Retire for 2012 Worst States for Retirement [...]

    by » Top 10 Amenities that Make for a Best Place Retire Topretirements — November 27, 2012

  179. [...] Most Read Articles of 2012 Our “Best” and “Worst” articles are always the most read of the year, and that certainly makes sense. 10 Worst States to Retire [...]

    by » Best Retirement Stories of 2012 Topretirements — January 1, 2013

  180. my house in NY had prop taxes of 3000, but then school taxes of 3000 again! do other states do this? i lived in CO for some time now, and my prop taxed are very low.

    by deirdre — January 10, 2013

  181. We are considering Dell Web community in Broomfield, CO for the weather and beautiful mountain views. Can anyone provide us with information on this area?

    by Sondie — January 27, 2013

  182. Wanted to put my two cents in for Tennessee and the earlier comment about finding “like minded people” IS important.

    We are in our 50s and moved here (Southeastern TN), from RI, for work after Pfizer closed production in CT. We had the opportunity to move here before going to RI but chose to have our sons finish their education in New England. SO HAPPY we did! One of the first things we heard when we got here was the proud boast “Education is NOT a priority in Tennessee.” And…, no it isn’t, along with the way they treat their pets – poorly, the horrible heat and humidity in summer and the trash on the roads, this is NOT the place for us. The locals are friendly but don’t really want to be your friend. They have all the social networking they need with friends and family they grew up with. That said, I have made friends but 95% of the group members are also from out of state – mostly northern. It may be cheaper to live, but you get what you pay for!

    I highly recommend that you spend several months visiting a place BEFORE you move somewhere new. It maybe beautiful but if you don’t feel comfortable as a part of the community then its can be a very expensive mistake! We have moved around a lot and with the exception of Scotland (UK), Westerly, RI was the most welcoming place we’ve been. We’re headed back to a more academic New England, first chance we get!

    Also, there are so many ways to obtain information and contacts before you/ get there now. This website is one, others include craft guild sites like Ravelry.com for knitters/spinners/weavers or Embroidery Guild of America (EGA) to share insight and get first hand information. I’m sure there are loads of other ways to make connections on line.

    by Flatearth6 — January 27, 2013

  183. We are counting the days to move from Maine to Southeast, and find are not surprised to see that Maine was mentioned on your top 10 list of worst places to retire. We have lived here for 34 years, and it was the perfect place for raising a family-safe, active all 4seasons, and fantastic school system in our small coastal town. But now that our children have left -both to the south and warmer climates- we are done with the high property taxes ( only way up north in the woods will you find low property taxes), high income taxes-no breaks for retired folks-and 8 months of oil bills. We are heading to the costal SC area -bring on the heat and much lower cost of living!

    by Sandy — January 28, 2013

  184. I didn’t see Sun City at Carolina Lakes on your list of top 100 best communities for retirement. Any reason why?

    by Barbara — January 29, 2013

  185. Sandy, have you decided on a community in SC?

    by MarkG — January 29, 2013

  186. Mark – we are looking between Charleston and Bluffton. We like the small town feel of Beaufort and plan to spend time there this spring. Away from the coast, we liked Aiken very much but want to be near the ocean or a lake. In terms of specific communities, we like Dataw Island in Beaufort but are a bit concerned with fees and recent assessments there.

    by Sandy — January 30, 2013

  187. Sandy, we did not have time to look in that area. Most of the houses we looked at were in Summerville about 40 minutes from the coast. We have friends who live in West Ashley and they like it there very much. My concern is living closer to the coast is the cost of Home Owner’s Insurance.

    by MarkG — January 30, 2013

  188. To Flatearth6…I am the person that proposed that notion from moving from the west coast to the mid-west and realizing the errors of my ways in many arenas I can’t discuss here because folks don’t care for their preferences to be disputed as I did. You are THE perfect experiential learning example and I sure hope people are LISTENING to you. Take care and good luck.

    by Shari — January 30, 2013

  189. @Flatearth6 Where in TN are you located? We are in Chattanooga and from the north as well.

    by LisaJ — January 31, 2013

  190. @Flatearth6….I agree with you. I have lived in FL. 15 years and you will find friendly people here also but no friends. Where can I find a academic New England area that is a middle class price? I have been looking in NE areas but it seems way to expencive for us. Any ideas? Kathy

    by kathy — February 1, 2013

  191. Hello all, Can anyone tell me the least expensive county to live in PA? I am looking around Philadelphia but I just can’t seem to find any thing to tell me property taxes in PA. I want to live close to the water maybe 30 mins if possible in a nice place with shops and stores close by with low property taxes. Can anyone help please? Thank much! Kathy

    by kathy — February 1, 2013

  192. Kathy,

    Have you considered Delaware? No sales tax, low(er) property taxes, short drive to the beaches. I have only started to do research, thought we would like to live in the Philly area (where I went to school) but Delaware seems to be more attractive to retirees. And it’s a reasonable drive to Philly, Baltimore and NJ (where most of our family resides).

    by Fionna — February 2, 2013

  193. Kathy,

    Property taxes in PA are very strange beasts. It’s not so much the county that dictates the taxes, but the school district, and the age of the house. Older houses have lower taxes, newer construction sky high. If you are looking in the Philadelphia suburbs, you might want to look at West Chester, PA in Chester County. Lots of great restaurants and stores, as well as West Chester University which has many cultural productions. Downingtown PA has Marsh Creek State Park, with a wonderful lake, though not for swimming. In general, you can get better property tax deals in Chester County than Delaware County, or better yet live over the line in DE where property taxes are minimal.

    Since taxes are so property specific in PA, you would do your best looking at the address in Zillow, or on the listing website to get an idea of what taxes are. Google is your friend in searching these. Not really sure what you mean by 30 minutes from the water though. There are rivers and lakes, but the ocean would be further away.

    Also be very careful to ask about real estate transfer taxes, which can range from 2% to 7%, depending on the municipality, and are typically split between buyer and seller. Many towns also have earned income tax, with Philadelphia’s being the most notorious.

    Good luck!

    by Julie — February 2, 2013

  194. Kathy,
    My parents still live right outside of Boston and I love Boston. It is just too expensive. Massachusetts is better than Connecticut.

    by MarkG — February 2, 2013

  195. From Kathy: Thank you all: Yes I have thought of Delaware just never researched anything there. I like to be close to everything without having to drive more than 10 minutes to a grocery store. I like to walk in pretty areas where there is water and not have to drive more than 30 minutes to get there. When I walk I want to see picturesque beauty, shops, restaurants and people. I have been living in the middle of no where way to long! Anyone have any suggestions with names of places to research that I can move to please?
    Thanks much! Kathy

    by kathy — February 4, 2013

  196. Kathy,

    I don’t know what your budget is, but again I would suggest West Chester, PA. It is a college town with great performances, some wonderful parks close by, one with a 4 mile walking/biking path along a beautiful creek and miles of side paths for hikers. The town itself has fun restaurants and boutiques. You are a half hour from Philadelphia airport, 10 minutes to tax free shopping in DE. It’s a great area. One very nice thing about PA is that no retirement money, public or private pensions and social security, is subject to state income tax.

    We seriously considered West Chester, but are happily heading to the boonies for the first part of our retirement, managing to find a great little place with a huge river view and access west of Roanoke, VA. Kayaking and fishing right out the back yard is great….20 miles one way to the grocery store, not so great!

    by Julie — February 5, 2013

  197. Kathy can you tell me how the weather in West Chester, PA? thanks

    by rosie — February 5, 2013

  198. Rosie,

    West Chester PA has 4 seasons, with long wonderful Spring and Fall, a Summer that can have hot muggy spells, but are not all that long in duration, and an unpredictable Winter, where it might be frigid or it could be 60F. When it snows it tends to be a few inches at most, though there have been storms that measured in feet. Snow doesn’t tend to stay long. Hope that helps.

    by Julie — February 6, 2013

  199. Julie, I will check the area out as it sounds nice. Where you are going is what I am now getting away from. The boonies. We have been here 6 years its on the water we fish and go boating from our own yard and I am so sick of the old people and the boonies. My husband wanted to move here and my heart kept saying no but I wanted him to have his drem spot so he could come home from work get in the boat and go fishing. 6 years later I am so home sick for people and shopping and fun. Sitting in the heat with the worst humidity in the country 9 months a year is the worst. You won’t have it so bad as your up north but after 15 years in FL. this gal here is scraming to get out of here. You will get very sick of driving for 20 minutes to the store it does take a toll on you after a while. It takes me 18 mins. to get to the store. Well I will check out that area and good luck to you in the boonies. Kathy

    by kathy — February 6, 2013

  200. Kathy, I agree that life in the boonies is not for everyone, and indeed it is not for forever. We have owned the place for one year now, going down as often as possible. I have never felt so at home anywhere else, already getting to know and love many of my neighbors…something that has not happened at all in the 9 years we have lived in the Philly burbs, even with kids in school. I love that there is a brand new $5MM state of the art library just down the road, even though we are in the middle of a National Forest. That is probably more important to me than a grocery store nearby.

    I don’t know for sure that it will work for us long term, though we paid so little for the place that we could keep it as a vacation home if need be. That honestly was the initial plan, but we love the place so much that we are tempted not to buy a second place yet. We are also starting to shop for a small motorhome to explore warmer climates when it is too cold in the mountains. The view is great even from inside, but we like to stay active.

    It is kind of ironic, since I used to hate to visit my sister when she lived in the boonies, finding it hard to understand how she could tolerate driving 45 minutes one way to get to a store, but then again she did not have the perfect river flowing through her yard, or the perfect view off the deck.

    I typically shop only once a week now, and envision the need for that to decrease when it is just the two of us, and we have a garden to harvest fruit and veggies from. I intend to kayak daily for most of the year, and very much look forward to no longer having to put the kayaks up on the car. It’s a huge time saver, and longer weekly trips to a grocer a trade off I am willing to make to get that.

    Thanks for your words of caution…they are wise words to consider for those who are considering a rural move.

    by Julie — February 7, 2013

  201. With the traffic build up in many urban areas and particularly warmer tourist locations, you can be only one mile or two from the grocery and still have it take 30 minutes in traffic to get your bread and milk. I prefer 10 or 12 miles without traffic to 2 miles bumper to bumper. My mother lived on the beach side of the Tamiami Trail in Sarasota, FL, and during the tourist season any shopping was a nightmare.

    by stevelevan — February 7, 2013

  202. I’ve been reading the comments on this blog for a long time prior to my recent retirement. I’ve listened to all the comments about Florida, Texas, Carolinas. I’ve come to realize that I’ve been living in the best kept secret for the last 30 yrears and that is Western Colorado (Grand Junction area). Scenery and climate can’t be beat. Recreational opportunities unlimited. Prices and taxes are reasonable. Nowhere near the snow Denver gets but skiing is available just a short distance away from Aspen to Telluride if that is your thing. If it gets too cold here, Arizona is close enough for a extended visit. World class mountain biking. I’m originally a South Jersey beach bum so I’m looking for some serious beach time but I’m almost sure to keep my home base here in Fruita, Co. I’d love to hear any comments from anybody that has maybe checked this area out!

    by Gregg Bilger — February 8, 2013

  203. As an update to this article, we just saw this headline today.

    “SEC charges State of Illinois for misleading investors by failing to disclose large-scale underfunding of the state’s pension system”
    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/illinois-hit-with-sec-charges-over-public-pensions-2013-03-11?

    by Admin — March 11, 2013

  204. [...] TopRetirements.com rated states according to their desirability for retirement.  They ranked Connecticut as the worst. [...]

    by How Did Rich Connecticut Morph Into One Of America’s Worst Performing Economies? Perhaps with the complacency of old money, Connecticut policymakers came to believe they didn’t need to compete for investors and entrepreneurs – the key people who mak — August 2, 2013

  205. I live in CT, and this is why we are looking to move. However, I think RI is in worst shape. Massachusetts looks like a good choice to retire compared to CT and RI.

    by Markg — August 3, 2013

  206. Working in the pharmaceutical industry has given me a chance to sample a lot of potential retirement locations – I will second the report above regarding PA real estate taxes; a lot of it depends on which “township” you’re in. When getting utilities hooked up there, one of the first questions I got from the customer service rep was “which township (I was) in”. Except as a sort of historical construct on rural maps, I didn’t even realize what townships were until I moved there.

    Anyway – I’ve landed in Oklahoma and am “fixin'” on staying here. The state is business-friendly, taxes are reasonable and reward savings, the university system is decent (remember that the Ivy League isn’t the Ivy League any more – grade inflation, anyone?), there are plenty of things to do outdoors, and you can feel free to join the Baptist or Pentecostal church of your preference. It suits our clan just fine; YMMV however.

    “Every one to their taste!”, cried the old woman as she kissed the cow!

    by Ekomsnug — August 5, 2013

  207. […] TopRetirements.com rated states according to their desirability for retirement. They ranked Connecticut dead last. […]

    by Connecticut: Westport-Weston Probate Judge Debate candidates Kieran Costello, and Lisa Wexler- Probate issues, though little talked about outside the world of trusts and estates, could spur an acceleration of the exodus from Connecticut as affluent baby b — October 18, 2013

  208. live near WI border & went to marquette u. always loved the area & people but taxes there seem similar or worse to IL. recently went to hannibal MO & loved the area & low taxes. my lakefront home in grayslake IL taxes are ridiculous ($14900/yr) & once i sell i will rent instead of buy ever again! told my pals in MO one way to get to know area is check & recon the town(s) late at night! no point in renting or buying & saving $$$ if you end up in hi-crime area or have to sleep with one-eye open worrying.

    by serge X — October 24, 2013

  209. Hi, I lived in Honolulu for 18 years and it was fantastic! Yes, cost of living is higher but you will find cheaper places to buy food, etc once you become a local. You do not need a vehicle because the bus system is the #1 in the country for years. Buses stop almost every block, transfers etc. I went over 5 years without car and bought bus passes. High utility prices, well we rented and only picked utilities included apartments and high utilities were not a problem. Only had to leave because the Vog (volcano ash)in the air which caused asthma conditions. Puerto Rico sounds fantastic to retire because it’s like Hawaii and no taxes!

    by Martha — February 19, 2014

  210. Mark and Sandy…we are in the process of moving to Bluffton, SC…Did a years research on the area and feel like we have a great handle on what we want..Was VERY fortunate to find a realtor named Robyn Henke who has spent countless hours with us and has all the information one could want and backs it up with stats…She really does a lot of research for you. Her number is 843-816-5527…I STRONGLY recommend her as she is the BEST I have ever seen at her job…She really loves her job and it shows…

    by paul — February 20, 2014

  211. Mark and Sandy and Bill…we are in the process of moving to Bluffton, SC…Did a years research on the area and feel like we have a great handle on what we want..Was VERY fortunate to find a realtor named Robyn Henke who has spent countless hours with us and has all the information one could want and backs it up with stats…She really does a lot of research for you. Her number is 843-816-5527…I STRONGLY recommend her as she is the BEST I have ever seen at her job…She really loves her job and it shows…

    by paul — February 20, 2014

  212. Thank you Paul, I have emailed you in the past and have received great info. Norm and I are flying into Charleston next Tuesday and I am going to call her this week to meet with us next week to check out the Bluffton area. We are both hoping that we like this area, I will be retiring this July. Thanks again for all your input for this area, along with name and number to contact.

    by CB — February 20, 2014

  213. Thanks Mark and Bill. I have added my last initial as there are many “Sandys” on this blog site! Here is our SC update: My husband and I decided to purchase property on Dataw Island in Beaufort. Prices are extremely affordable right now and the HOA fees are reasonable…you decide your own level of club participation and if you choose unlimited everything – golf, tennis, croquet etc., it can get a little steep ($10,000 plus per year total) but we are not planning on that. The base club fee includes most amenities on the available. Have visited twice and find the beauty of the low country and the friendly people there irresistible. We also are pleased with the gated aspect of this community and 24 security as SC is far different from Maine in terms of crime! We have also vacationed at HHI for 20+ years. Glad they will be close by, but the traffic and constant transient turnover of vacationers – like us! – ruled out Bluffton and HHI for retirement. Good luck in your travels this next week, CB!

    by SandyZ — February 21, 2014

  214. Sorry – meant to say – the base club fee includes most amenities on the island!

    by SandyZ — February 21, 2014

  215. CB…great hearing from you again..I hope you and Norm will like the area and when you guys retire here in July we can meet up have dinner and become friends…You will really like Robyn.. as a matter of fact we are here this weekend and will be with Robyn and her husband Christopher Saturday and Sunday…Congrats on the retirement…Call me anytime…

    by paul — February 21, 2014

  216. Hi Paul, sounds good to us, it is a great distance away from where we live now, however Norm is willing to look with an open mind, we want warm weather, ocean breeze, and be able to drive to places to do or see other sites see without driving 3 plus hours just to see more traffic, besides we are always flying to that side for cruises, or going someplace in the Caribbean, thanks again, and yes we may be calling with some questions. Thank you to SandyZ, I to am withing me luck.

    by CB — February 22, 2014

  217. Sandyz…I would probably agree with you about the turnover of vacationers on HHI especially from May to end of August…However Bluffton is different people who come to visit this area stay on the island and those who tend to migrate here choose Bluffton or Beaufort…We looked at Beaufort however my realtor found out that the new F35 are to be deployed here in March (maybe delayed a few months) and the noise level will be several times what it is today as they are vertical takeoff and landing…Just didn’t want that noise..I believe that is why the prices in certain areas especially near the base are lower…Bluffton is growing rapidly and traffic is not a problem because as those who live here use Bluffton Parkway which runs paralel to 278..thus very little traffic and the building going on will continue to bring new residents and businesses which will make the already low tax rate that much stronger and stable in future…We are happy with the Bluffton area as we are close to HHI, Savannah, Beaufort and Charleston…Four really nice cities to visit..We also like to cruise so being just a few hours drive of the port will probably allow us to cruise more offten…Good luck with your home at Dataw Island we also looked there and while it was beautiful and the people nice just didn’t want to pay for that HOA fee and seemed a little far out to us…Perhaps once we get settled and CB and Norm come down we all can get together for lunch or dinner…as you know there are only a 1000 places to eat and we haven’t had a bad meal yet, LOL…

    by paul — February 23, 2014

  218. Paul
    We have considered HHI, Bluffton area. My wife has asthma and we are concerned about high humidity and heat. Is all summer bad for high humidity? Or is it sporadic?

    by Lee S — February 24, 2014

  219. Paul, is the cruise port you speak of Jacksonville? Wishing you the best in Bluffton! We have friends who live at Belfair, one of the communities along 278. They love it, but the fees there are more expensive than Dataw Island. However the close proximity to HHI for all the great restaurants and beaches is a very attractive amenity for them. They often complain about traffic and construction on the roads in Bluffton, as well as the outlets and strip malls which produce extra traffic. Hope you have found a lovely community to tuck into off the beaten path! See you in the Low Country soon!

    by SandyZ — February 25, 2014

  220. Lee S, and SandyZ…Lee My wife also has Asthma and we do not find the heat as humid as it is in Kentucky…I suspect because of the ocean and all the water the breeze keeps it from being Humid as we would know it. In July and August temps can get high 90’s but with the breeze we don’t find it as a problem for my wife’s asthma at all…SandyZ, Belfair is a nice gated community but you are correct some of the HOA fees that they have are crazy…There are a few of them like that Moss Creek which we loved but not paying those fees…We settled on Cypress Ridge @ Mill Creek…Very nice community with HOA fees of 110 per month…Has a beautiful pool club house , fitness center, playground park etc…Traffic and construction on 278 can be bad especially during the summer months when the tourist are there…Those of us in Bluffton have a road that is paralell to 278 all the way to HHI and we can get anywhere without going on 278 until you get to HHI..You are correct haven’t had a bad meal yet…Hope to see you there stay in touch…

    by paul — February 25, 2014

  221. […] Florida Rules Florida dominates the list of best places to retire, with 23 cities and towns (2 less than in 2013), followed by North Carolina (11), South Carolina (8), Arizona (7), California (6) and Washington (6). Tennessee had 5 cities in the top 100. The highest ranking non-Sun Belt city on our list was Charlottesville (VA) at #15. Note: To make sure you don’t miss new lists like this, sign up for our free weekly “Best Places to Retire” newsletter. See also “The Worst States for Retirement – 2012“. […]

    by » Most Popular Places to Retire for 2014 Topretirements — February 25, 2014

  222. […] With warmer winters and generally lower taxes, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that baby boomers think the Sunbelt has the best places to retire. Topretirements.com has just published its 7th annual list of the 100 most popular retirement spots, and it shows clear proof that the Sunbelt’s retirement popularity continues — 76 of the 100 top positions are held by towns in the Sunbelt. Florida dominates the list of best places to retire, taking 25 of the cities and towns (1 less than in 2012), followed by North Carolina (11), Arizona (9), and South Carolina (8). California, Tennessee had 6 cities each in the top 100. The highest ranking non-Sun Belt city on our list was Portland (OR) at #14. Note: To make sure you don’t miss new lists like this, sign up for our free weekly “Best Places to Retire” newsletter. See also “The Worst States for Retirement – 2012“. […]

    by » 100 Best Places to Retire for 2013 Topretirements — February 26, 2014

  223. […] March 11, 2014 — Finding the worst or best state 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. Here in our 3rd annual (we skipped 2013) list of the worst states for retirement we have one main point we want to emphasize – everyone’s retirement situation is different, so a one size fits all approach won’t work. The worst retirement state for us might be the best for you. Our goal for this article is to give you the tools to help you figure out what might be the worst (or best) state for you to retire. See “Worst States to Retire 2102“. […]

    by » 10 Worst States for Retirement for 2014 Topretirements — March 11, 2014

  224. MAINE is a terrible place to live for many reasons. 1. The winters are brutally cold and heating costs are through the roof. 2. Summers are typically 90% to 100% choking humidity and it sky rockets during the night. 3. Statistically speaking Maine has more babies born addicted to pain killers than any other state due to the high rate of mothers abusing drugs. 4. Maine also has one of the highest prescription drug abuse problems in the nation. 5. Jobs like any place are hard to come by but there is little to no job security in Maine due to the fact that most places will only hire you through a staffing service or job program in which there is little to no promise that you won’t be let go the next day. You also get paid less than if you were hired directly. 6. A study was done by psychologists to show where the most positive & negative people live. Maine was one of the states that had the highest percentage of negative people. The south eastern US was 2nd with having happier people and the far western US had the largest percent of happy people. Also speaking from experience because I grew up in Maine I can safely say that people should not judge Maine simply because they spend 2 weeks on the coast each year in which business owners act overly friendly to get your money. Believe me these same people say negative things behind consumers backs and laugh at you when you buy a $200 wood sculpture that is probably only worth $10 or you buy an over priced lobster. 7. The University of Maine college system is ranked one of the lowest in the nation. Even local news papers like the BDN reported that in 2011 Umaine-Orono failed all but one category for academic standards… the one they past was “transparency”. 8. Places like Portland, Augusta and Bangor have a larger than normal population of registered sex offenders as well as were places with the highest amount of bath salt (drug) users when such substances first came to the US. 9. Despite stereotypes that Maines air is fresh and clean and water supplies are clean statistics clearly show higher than average rates of cancer, acid rain, and other air problems. A lot of Maine’s lakes and streams you can not eat the fish from, as well as not being able to drink from a lot of Maine wells. Also the jet stream exists through the north east so there are pollutants in the air that come from all over the United States. Asthma specialists often suggest families move out of Maine if they have children with asthma and other breathing problems. 10. Maine taxes, rent, and grocery prices are ridiculously high for the low quality of living you get here… Anyone its worth repeating that winters are brutal and the summers are usually filled with choking humidity.

    by Danny P — September 6, 2014

  225. Danny P, I would agree with most of what you stated above about Maine. I have lived here for 36 years and the cold weather, treacherous everlasting icy walks and roads in winter, and the high cost of living are driving us out in retirement. But, I would rank Maine summers as the best anywhere – just way too short! Will be returning to enjoy the warm summer days – yes some are humid but not too many – and the crisp evenings! AC is rarely needed here on the coast – Mother Nature usually provides us a cool sea breeze every afternoon! Only complaint in summer is the traffic but that will happen in the South in the winter as well! We will try to enjoy both Maine in the summer and SC for most of the year for as long as we can!

    by SandyZ — September 7, 2014

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