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10 Worst States for Retirement for 2014

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

Note: The tax bill signed into law in late 2017 will have a great impact on the worst states for retirement. In Feb. 2018 we updated this article: “Worst States for Retirement – 2018“.

March 11, 2014 — Finding the best place to retire in is a little bit like looking for a mate. There are lots of attractive ones out there. But for you – which state has the most appealing features and a minimum of not so desirable attributes. To help weed out the more unattractive ones, we present our 3rd annual (we skipped 2013) list of the worst states for retirement. There is one main point we want to emphasize – everyone’s retirement situation is different, so a one size fits all approach won’t work. If your grandchildren live in one of these states and you want to be near them – that makes it a great retirement state for you. Our goal for this article is to give you the tools to help you figure out what states aren’t a good fit for your retirement. See this article’s counterpoint: “Best States for Retirement – 2016“.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Negatives: One of the highest property taxes (since homes are generally expensive here, that means people pay a lot of tax). The #4 gas tax. High estate taxes (from 7.2% to 12% on anything over a $2 million estate). Top marginal tax rate is 6.99%. Social security and retirement income is taxable for higher income residents. Cost of living is high (45th of 51).
Positives: CT has the highest personal exemptions in the country ($24,000 for a couple), and there are some social security benefit exemptions.

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

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

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

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

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

Sources used to prepare this article:
How Does Your State Compare State Income Taxes in Retirement

No Sales Tax States

Various State Tax Rate Comparisons

Michigan Retirement Exemption Changes

Tax information by Retirement Living

Individual State Income Tax Rates and Exemptions

State taxation of retirement income

Best and Worst Run States in America

Worst States to Die In

Inheritance/Estate Taxes by State

Cost of living by state

State that don’t tax Social Security

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

For further reading:
100 Most Popular Places to Retire – 2016
Insights From Fiscal 50’s Key Measures of State Fiscal Health

Posted by Admin on March 11th, 2014


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

    by » Worst States to Retire 2012: Northeast and Midwest Come Up Losers Topretirements — March 12, 2014

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

    by OldNassau — March 12, 2014

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

    by ella — March 13, 2014

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

    by Ray — March 13, 2014

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

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

    by elaine — March 13, 2014

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

    by Sandy Archer — March 13, 2014

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

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

    by Dean-Ross Schessler — March 13, 2014

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

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

    by Ray — March 13, 2014

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

    by Allison — March 13, 2014

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

    by Chuck — March 13, 2014

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

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

    by Ron Mann — March 13, 2014

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

    by Dianne C. — March 13, 2014

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

    by Karl S. — March 14, 2014

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

    by Richard F — March 14, 2014

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

    by jcp — March 14, 2014

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

    by Mark P — March 15, 2014

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

    HOpe this helps

    by Tom — March 15, 2014

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

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

    by Marian — March 17, 2014

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

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

    by Chuck — March 18, 2014

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

    by Linda — March 19, 2014

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

    by Elaine — March 19, 2014

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

    by Liz — March 19, 2014

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

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

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

    by Elaine — March 20, 2014

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

    Editor’s note: Somehow we got a bit off track with this discussion – which is supposed to be about the “Worst States to Retire”. Lets bring it back to that. If you want to discuss Medicare we have a good Blog Post for that in our “Your Medicare Guide 101” –

    by Liz — March 20, 2014

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

    by DaveM — March 25, 2014

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

    by Rick D. — March 25, 2014

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

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

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

    by Al — March 25, 2014

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

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

    by M Weaver — April 2, 2014

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

    by Cheryl Holtz — April 2, 2014

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

    by steve — April 2, 2014

  31. NJ does not tax military pensions.

    by steve — April 2, 2014

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

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

    by RobertK — April 2, 2014

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

    by Mark — April 2, 2014

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

    by Russell — April 3, 2014

  35. “See Worst States to Retire 2102” ???

    Talk about planning for the future!

    by Von Geraph — April 3, 2014

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

    by Catherine Huth — April 3, 2014

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

    by Mary Orellana — April 3, 2014

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

    by Paul — April 7, 2014

  39. 🙂

    by ella — April 8, 2014

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

    by » Best States for Retirement – 2014 Topretirements — April 8, 2014

  41. Paul – You make an excellent point.

    by bubbajog — April 8, 2014

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

    by Sandra — April 9, 2014

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

    by lbpsfl — April 9, 2014

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

    by Stacey — April 10, 2014

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

    by John H — April 13, 2014

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

    by Godsgirl — April 14, 2014

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

    by Shumidog — April 15, 2014

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

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

    by SHR — April 15, 2014

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

    by Bruce — April 20, 2014

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

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

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

    by Jonathan — April 26, 2014

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

    by kathy — May 8, 2014

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

    by Jeff — May 9, 2014

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

    by Kathy — May 9, 2014

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

    by Dennis — May 11, 2014

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

    by Phil — May 20, 2014

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

    by Phil — May 20, 2014

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

    by veloris — May 21, 2014

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

    by Libby — May 22, 2014

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

    by Liberty — May 22, 2014

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

    by Dave C. — May 22, 2014

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

    by John H — May 22, 2014

  62. We own a house in San Diego and one on Oahu where we currently live. We’d love to live in San Diego, but it will be $15K/year cheaper to live in Hawaii. The five hour flight to San Diego is not that bad to see the family — which is usually in full drama mode anyway. Aloha

    by Robert P. — May 28, 2014

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

    by Phil — May 29, 2014

  64. We left Redding, CA due to the huge aggressive homeless population and the alarming increase in crime. It’s a beautiful place but those two things made it time to leave. I will miss is. Until it’s cleaned up I wouldn’t recommend it.

    by erdocsmom — July 30, 2014

  65. Got to agree that my home state, Nebraska, is a loser. When I left it over 50 years ago, real estate taxes were reasonable, no sales tax, I don’t believe there was an income tax. Now it’s tax-happy. Omaha’s thirst for tax money is quenched by its ability to annex surrounding towns whether they like it or not, as I understand it. And what do you get for all this largesse? Lots of welfare and lots of roads out of it!

    by cekkk — August 18, 2014

  66. Although I do not find “state wide” info that useful for weather (or many other things that seniors are interested in), I still enjoy looking at these.

    And the following site is an interactive map and I so enjoy interactive maps. However, it is also only state wide.

    by Elaine — August 20, 2014

  67. cekkk, I agree with your comments regarding the state of Nebraska. The taxes are extremely high and the crime is awful. We will leave the state when we retire in a couple years. If you want to be taxed for everything, then this is the state for you. We’ve looked in Florida and Arkansas already and will look in Tennessee. All are cheaper than Nebraska and have a lot to offer.

    by Sunny — August 21, 2014

  68. […] further reading: Topretirements 2014 List of 100 Most Popular Places to Retire Worst States for Retirement for 2014 Topretirements Blog Category – Best States and Cities (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle […]

    by » Tampa Tops List of Best and Worst Places to Retire - Topretirements — October 4, 2014

  69. My husband and I live in northeastern New Jersey, and will be retiring in a few years. Our our one daughter lives in northwestern NJ near the PA (Stroudsburg-East Stroudsburg) border and the other one is in Arlington, VA. We would appreciate thoughts or comments on retirement in or near either location.


    by Gail — October 5, 2014

  70. Hello Gail:

    Arlington Virgina is very expensive–just across the bridge from Washington, DC. It is metro accessible, and you might not need a car. It is close to all the sights of Washington, DC . The weather definitely is four seasons, Some years we have mild winters, some we don’t. What are you looking for other than proximity to your daughter? I live in NW Washington DC and will probably not retire here. I am weighing the pros and cons.

    by Jennifer — October 5, 2014

  71. My husband and I have several events happening right now and need some advice going forward.

    1. My husband was laid off from his job in August. We receive severance pay and medical benefits until mid January.

    2. We are both 64 years old, so cannot get medicare until September of 2015. We will need healthcare coverage from January 15 to the end of August and Medicare after tha

    3. We have been planning to move from Iowa and are considering the Carolinas for more temperate weather. Mountains? Ocean? We will likely sell our house for around $230,000 and hope to find or build something for around $200,000. Currently our mortgage on this house is around $18,000. We will try to sell ourselves saving over $13,000 in real estate commission.

    4. We also have a child in college here in Iowa and since we had planned on retiring at age 66 we would have stayed here until she was finished with school. How important do you feel it is to stay close to your child until she is finished with college? We like her alot and have been very happy with her being close

    5. We have about $425,000 in retirement funds. I get $594.00 in Social Security benefits every month, which I have been putting into a Vanguard fund for a year now as we don’t have much cash available.

    6. Our original plan was to sell the house at retirement at age 66. Find our place in the sun and stay there for 9 months our of the year, planning to visit our daughter, wherever she is for the hot summer months. We would not expect to stay with her but rent an apartment for a few months.

    So, any comments going forward? My husband can apply for unemployment in January and Social Security at any time. Healthcare from January to September? Stay close or go?

    Thanks for any comments!

    by Vicki — October 6, 2014

  72. One more bit! When we move we are looking for a community! I like friends, walking and biking paths, activities, playing golf, cards, preparing food. We have been far to long without people in our lives and are looking forward to someplace where people are friendly and active. Where we are right now, people work, interact with their kids and in general are way to busy to bother with anyone else!


    by Vicki — October 6, 2014

  73. Hi Gail.
    You might want to look at Frederick MD. WONDERFUL area; not great taxes but pretty much in the middle of your two daughters.

    also, Leesburg, VA is fairly reasonable and a great location. I live in the VA area, so please let me know if you have specific questions.

    good luck

    by Liz — October 6, 2014

  74. Phil…….love your writing. Very fun, poking at all……would be happy having you for a neighbor!… long as it’s where we want to be! (wherever that is, as we’re a few years away). Ideas and opinions are like ****, everyone has one!

    by Mitch — October 7, 2014

  75. Phil…..hope you take my comments as a compliment.

    by Mitch — October 7, 2014

  76. Would love to hear any suggestions on where to ACTIVELY retire in NJ…I am single (widow) with one daughter in northern NJ and one in Nazareth PA near NJ western border. I’ve tried FL for five years and it was great but miss the family connection and flying back and forth for family functions is getting to be a bit much. I don’t want to live next to my kids but would like to be within driving distance. I have thought about Long Island NY but the traffic to NJ at almost anytime is crazy! I’m 67 and healthy …would really need an ACTIVE community … Don’t necessarily need over 55 housing. Any info would really be appreciated!

    by Char — October 7, 2014

  77. Hi Vicki,

    The insurance company providing insurance through your husband’s company is required by law to offer you coverage through COBRA for up to 18 months after termination of employment. Basically you pay all the premium but it’s at the same group rate the company pays. You should be getting a package in the mail explaining this if you haven’t already. I am using COBRA for my dental coverage because I retired early, I just send the premium check in every month and maintain the same coverage I had when employed.

    I have no way of knowing all the various facets of your situation, but my 2 cents based on what you wrote is to stick with your original plan as much as possible. I assume much thought went into it and I didn’t see anything in the write-up that was a show-stopper to executing it. Living expenses may be a concern but you can dip into savings and you don’t say anything about a pension for your husband and whether you both could get part-time jobs. Sounds like your relationship with your daughter is special. College is a fast and furious experience and my guess is you want to be there to continue the assistance you have been giving your daughter until she has successfully completed her study.

    by Tom — October 8, 2014

  78. Char – My wife and I live in Central NJ and are considering staying in NJ after I retire in 3 yrs. I don’t know what your budget is but we investigated Barnegat NJ at a place called Heritage Point. It is 55+ but the HOA is a low $125/mo and the houses go from the low $200s to the high $400s. I think you get a better deal when looking at resales rather than buying new. We also looked in Manchester NJ at a place called River Point which is also 55+. It is near Lakehurst NAS if you have access to the commissary. Both of these places have an active community lifestyle. There are also many other places in Manchester that can be purchased in the low $100s range. As you probably know, as you get further north the prices go higher. We live in Manalapan NJ and there is a 4 Seasons 55+ here where they start in the high $400s with the combination of taxes and HOA at the $13,000+ range which I think is a little pricey for someone who wants to downsize when they retire.

    by Mike M — October 8, 2014

  79. Note to our dear members:
    We love your comments. But we want to remind everyone that there are some other Blog posts that are more relevant to some of the topics that have been raised lately. Would appreciate it if you ask or want to comment about those subjects that you do it there, which will keep the discussions more focused. This post is really about “Worst” (and possibly “Best”) places to retire.

    If you want to discuss Active Communities plse go to:

    For Health Care and insurance go to:

    For financial issues related to retirement:

    by Editor — October 8, 2014

  80. Vicky…..ask your daughter. Maybe she is fine with you moving away. Most college kids I know are not too keen on having parents around all the time.

    As to selling the house…yes, if you want warmer climate. I wouldn’t concern myself with staying near daughter. You have no idea where she might live. Pick something you like and visit. Not sure why you decided 200k was right amount to spend; maybe you can find something much less expensive. I’m in Arizona…lots of beautiful manufactured home communities here where you can get lovely homes much cheaper than that.

    As to community….if you choose a good retirement community you may find what you are looking for. I am making lots of friends in my mobile home park in Tucson. Other things that help are churches, community centers and volunteering. I think most retired people like making friends…we finally have time.

    Good luck.

    by Ginger — October 8, 2014

  81. I need some help! I live in NJ we are thinking about moving to a new home in Pa. we will save a little over $7,000. per year in property tax. The home I live in will sell for about 150K less than I paid for it, I will get enough money from the home to pay cash for the new home, should I do it? Is 7K enough of savings to take on the expense of moving. I am concerned about retirement income.

    by Joy — October 11, 2014

  82. No you will lose 150k it will take you 21 years to brake even.

    by Tony — October 12, 2014

  83. She has already lost the $150,000.

    by Carla — October 12, 2014

  84. Never put 100% of your cash in a house. If you ever needed money, it would be hard to apply for a loan it your are retired and have no income. Keep some of the cash.

    by Jennifer — October 12, 2014

  85. Read the recent blog post The Retirement Piggy Bank You Are Probably Overlooking. As much as I’d all like to give you advice, you should consult with a CFP or other retirement professional before making any decisions. We’re at a time in our life when the wrong decision could have devastating results in the long term.

    by Carole — October 12, 2014

  86. Joy, This is a much more complicated decision than just the sale of the house and property tax. There are other financial variables. Closing costs. Other costs associated with a new house…often just window coverings can take a chunk of money. Does it have to be a new house? Other cost of living: I remember when I lived in NJ many years ago…it is very expensive in MOST but not all areas of NJ. Look for some cost of living calculators. They would include offsetting factors, cost of groceries, most large purchase items, etc. I always found gas less expensive than other NE locations and so forth. Will you live further from stores? You should really get a professional opinion, but it will cost money to get that help.

    There are also some personal factors. Do you want to live in PA? So you have as many friends and family there, etc. If you are moving just for budget reasons, you may find alternative in the SE or SW areas. But you need to want to live wherever you go.

    PS. I was confused if you are getting $150K for the house or $150 less than you paid. it doesn’t really change what I said about…but there is a difference in selling a house that cost $650 K and you are selling for $500K than selling for $150. It would certainly give you so options other than the particular house you are thinking about.

    by Elaine — October 12, 2014

  87. Joy:
    This website is NOT the place to find answers to the very important and complicated questions in your post. (I suspect you already know that). You need an experienced advisor. And that statement opens up a whole new can of worms. Maybe one of your relatives has experience in answering questions such as yours, possibly your banker may be able to advise you or direct you to the correct person. At least go to your local library and read a couple of books on the topics you were confused about.
    To be rather blunt, if I had excessive pain in my abdomen and was experiencing bleeding episodes, I would talk to a doctor not a random selection of readers on this site.

    That said, I find top retirements to be an extremely valuable site, with wonderful insights into the many questions we retirees, or near retirees, bump into. The articles are extremely well targeted, and the accompanying comments are sometimes very, very helpful.
    But top retirements is what it is, and not what it’s not.

    by Dave C. — October 12, 2014

  88. Joy:

    I have done extensive retirement research and it always comes up with if you want to relocate, rent for a year to see if you like the area. There are a lot of people from old school real estate who are always anxious to purchase a home but in today’s market if you want or need to sell you may not find a buyer so quick. Also with what you are experiencing with your current home being worth $150,000 less that your purchase price gives you a very good reason not to jump into purchasing another home. There are plenty of nice rentals. I think you need to further research the savings of $7,000. I agree with what Elaine is saying about some of the other costs may be offset.



    by Janice — October 12, 2014

  89. Joy, Why in the world would youo want to move to Pa? Granted the RE taxes may not be as high as NJ BUT they are high here. I guess it all boils down to what one considers “high”. I would really do my home work before moving to PA. I do not know ur age but there are plenty other states that you can move to that are much more affordable and your money will go a lot further. Last year WE made the mistake of moving here and severely regret it. We now have our home for sale and moving somewhere more affordable. Good luck and I cannot stress the importance enough of really investigating EVERYTHING before making the move.

    by Robert — October 13, 2014

  90. Robert, I can sympathize with your situation. Let me give you a warning about moving for taxes, THEY CAN CHANGE AND YOUR STUCK. I moved from PA to MI and then in the next election the people elected legislature and governor of the same party. So they could do what they wanted and get it enacted. They changed the tax laws to tax pensions and increased property tax by changing the homestead exemption. Good luck in your search

    by Shumidog — October 13, 2014

  91. To Shumidog – yes, reminds me of one of my favorite sayings: “The one thing CONSTANT in life is CHANGE”.

    by Robert — October 14, 2014

  92. Robert and Joy, we live in NJ and purchased a vacation home 8 years ago in PA at the top of the market naturally) that we rent out and hope to retire to eventually. The taxes are much lower than our modest home in NJ (like 1/4 of what we pay now). From what I’m reading, seems taxes vary greatly depending on where in PA. We didn’t know that but were happy with how low they were. Haven’t changed much yet. Hope it stays that way! Susan

    by Susan — October 15, 2014

  93. another worst state list…well I still like Georgia

    by Elaine — November 16, 2014

  94. and it contrast to worst state list by wall street cheat sheets here is the cheapest
    see the overlap

    Well, I guess I will just try my best to decide where I WANT to live…but I cannot test drive everywhere.

    by Elaine — November 16, 2014

  95. Elaine,
    I know, it is confusing, isn’t it? I saw your first list a week ago and was very surprised. I think i’m just going to ignore it as both Northern Georgia and Eastern Tennessee are on my radar, and have been ranked highly by other articles (as in your second reference). I think you’re right. First, we need to find our favorite place. However, i, like you, can’t test drive everywhere so i do look for clues before i plan the next road trip.

    By the way, an excellent calculator for COMPARING COST-OF-LIVING in various places can be found at:

    I am considering checking out Big Canoe, a community in northern GA; and the cost-of-living in that town is the highest out of 11 towns i’ve checked so far. What to do??? The questions and considerations go on and on!

    by ella — November 17, 2014

  96. Ella, thanks for living wage web site. It was a bit weird when I looked at the “typical” wages. Especially when looking at going from one child to two and then three. Makes it look like children are cheap to raise. Ha Ha

    by Elaine — November 18, 2014

  97. The living wage calculator is sponsored by Poverty in America. The calculation is for the bare minimum to raise a child.

    by easilyamused — November 19, 2014

  98. Worst state Connecticut: Electric rates will increase either 26 percent or almost 54 percent for some customers of the state’s two largest electric utility companies, thanks to a decision Monday by state regulators.

    Electric utilities can raise rates
    PURA OKs request from CL&P, UI

    State utility regulators have approved rate increases for Connecticut Light & Power Co., whose warehouse and storage yard in Berlin is seen here, and United Illuminating Co. RA Archive
    Browse for Republican American Reprints

    The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, or PURA, said Monday it approved revised generation rates for residential and business customers of Connecticut Light & Power Co. and the United Illuminating Co. The standard service rate refers to customers who have not switched to an alternate supplier of electricity

    by Louise — November 19, 2014

  99. Utility bills are another concern. Now do we have a state by state guide on what electric/utility rates are? A state may ‘seem’ good to retire to but if the utility rates are out of control (CONNECTICUT) then it isn’t worth considering living there.

    by Louise — November 19, 2014

  100. Here on Cape Cod, electric rates are going up 29% (an average of $28 a month increase). Just getting too expensive to live here. Such a shame.

    by Gail — November 20, 2014

  101. Check the water rates as well. My water bill in Florida for one month is the same as for one quarter in Minnesota.

    by Linda — November 20, 2014

  102. Utilities and their rates can vary widely within the same state, and even within the same county. For example, in Tompkins County NY, most of the gas and electric are provided by NYSEG — but one small town, Groton, I believe has its own electric supplier and so that service is much cheaper there. So again, it’s location location location. Nail down to at least the county where you wish to relocate, and then go from there. Also, gasoline rates can differ by 20 cents a gallon depending what neighborhood you’re in — and if you’re driving a lot, that makes a difference. I noticed earlier this year on a trip to the cleveland area that when we went through the ritzy suburbs, it was 20 cents more than in a different (but still nice, not run down) suburb.

    by Paula — November 21, 2014

  103. Paula,

    I’m impressed with the information in your post. Yes, it’s not just state; counties vary tremendously! (And as you said, even within the county, but that’s so much harder to do research on.) All of these state-by-state comparisons are a little useless. Yes?

    by ella — November 22, 2014

  104. Every one talks about rates but what are they? I live in a 2 bd 2 bath villa in Naples FL. We keep the house at 77 during the day and down to 72 at night. Electricity is from $110 – $200 during the year and water (and sewage) is $70. Television, internet, and one home phone is $140. This is information that is concrete. Hope this helps.

    by Jeffrey Gilfoy — November 24, 2014

  105. Jeffrey – Yes, concrete information is the most useful. Living in S.C. near Charlotte, in approximately 3,000 sq. ft. home. My budget electric bill is $83, and gas bill is about $60 (water heater, gas heat). I think the budget electric plan is low, and I’ll get hit with a $200-$300 bill for additional usage at the end of the year. I keep the thermostat at 71-72 year-round. Water/sewage is about $35/month. TV, internet and phone package is steep at $174, but that’s my own fault since I put tvs in a few rooms. I’m pretty happy with these utility costs, since I know people in CT and Mass who complain about spending a few hundred dollars a month in the winter for oil heat for smaller homes. And gasoline prices are about .20 less per gallon than right over the border in N.C., which is convenient for fill-ups. There are also some regional costs that should be factored in. For ex., I’ve been told that it’s going to be necessary to have a bug spray contract in the South, that I didn’t need when I lived further North. On the other hand, I had a plow guy in the North that I won’t need here.

    by Ted — November 25, 2014

  106. Okay, Jeffrey, here are some concrete facts for a 3,000 sq. ft home (includes apt.) outside Ithaca NY. NOTE: our basement apartment does not have separate utilities, and I think the current tenant keeps it at a good 68-70 for heat in winter…..but he has no AC, since half of the basement is earth-sheltered (happens when you live on a hill). Our combined gas/electric rates (one supplier for both — NYSEG) are $260/month on the budget billing. I imagine the current PhD candidate tenant has at least two computers going 24/7. We have one small TV and 2 computers of our own, and keep OUR heat upstairs at about 64-66 when we’re up and 62 when we’re not, so we don’t heat the place a lot. Well insulated. Recently installed 4 ductless a/c units (pricey to install) but the a/c is so welcome; had to go that route because we have hot water baseboard heat — and the boiler was replaced 13 years ago so pretty efficient. Adding the a/c has driven up our electric, I believe, although we keep it about 74-76 degrees in summer, and don’t always run it. Water is $40 a quarter, trash service costs $140/year PLUS we pay about $3.50 per bag of garbage (20 pounds). On septic, so no sewer costs, but do need to pump every 3 years or so. Before I cut the cable cord about 18 months ago, my combined cable (no premium channels)/phone/internet had gone up to $170/month (from the introductory price of $99/month 5 years ago, and yes, each year I did complain and get about $8 off the cost–Time Warner, no competition here in a small collegetown). Now we just have cell phones and our internet cost is $60/month (went up $10 from last year). But I’ve hooked up the internet-ready TV to our service and we get by with Netflix, etc. Could not live without internet access at home. So there you have it in cold, gray, overtaxes Ithaca, NY. Yes, it’s true, the hills are pretty….but this time of year I start dreading driving over them to work and back, and you can’t avoid them — I live only about 7 miles from work.Gasoline is currently about $3.19/gallon (cheaper for cash payments).

    by Paula — November 25, 2014

  107. We just moved from Hilton Head, SC to near Tucson. Utilities here are very different. My budget plan for SC electricity was $220 a month. Our thermostat was set at 77 in the summer and 68 in the winter. In Tucson, we have solar panels on our roof, and our electricity ranges from about $40 to $65 a month. The cost is determined by how much we use beyond what we generate. If you live in a sunny area, look into this. Here you can lease the solar panels, the more panels, the bigger the savings. Barbara

    by Barbara — November 28, 2014

  108. Very interesting comments – the true cost of living data is most helpful! Would love to see a spreadsheet published here comparing top retirements “best places to retire” locations highlighting these costs. As we prepare to move from Maine to SC, we have had a few surprises, such as the cost of auto insurance will double! Admin- are you up for the challenge? You have a start here with the help of posters!

    by SandyZ — November 29, 2014

  109. Barbara, interesting! How much does it cost to rent solar panels? How many do you have or how many is reasonable for each what size home? How costly are they to buy? They sound great for sunny areas. If you do not mind telling us the type of housing and square footage. Do you have a concrete house? I know in Florida concrete houses are less costly for utilities.

    by EMA — November 29, 2014

  110. We all know that state-wide info isn’t very useful, but they are always fun to read…here is a worst states for retirement list and if you go through to the end they provide link to their best states. Big emphasis on health.

    by Elaine — January 6, 2015

  111. […] Florida Rules Florida dominates the list of best places to retire, with 25 cities and towns (2 more than in 2014), followed by North Carolina (11), South Carolina (10 – up from 8 last year), and Arizona and Washington with 6 each. Tennessee had 5 cities in the top 100. The highest ranking non-Sun Belt city on our list was Charlottesville (VA) at #19. 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 – 2014“. […]

    by » Florida Tops Most Popular Places to Retire for 2015 - Topretirements — February 21, 2015

  112. I am a lifelong resident of NH. Although all cities and most towns in NH do have high property taxes, there are some small towns, some of which are in the northern part of the state that have low taxes (ie) Errol, Clarksville . NH doesn’t “nickel & dime” you to death like all other New England states. No sales or income taxes on pensions or SS. Unfortunately vehicle registrations have gone through to roof recently.
    Yes, winters are long here but the mountains, clear streams, and wildlife is just beautiful. caution : it is common to see a moose cross the roadway. A 2hr drive from one of the finest medical centers in the nation (Dartmouth Hitchcock) seems shorter because of the beautiful scenery of the Connecticut River Valley along the way. I think NH is a fine retirement state if your a winter enthusiast (skiing, snowmobiling, icefishing) who is willing to move to a small town,low tax community. That being said, back to back record cold and snowfall winters are forcing us to go south sometime in the early winter. If you say the words “global warming” in NH, you are likely to get a snowball aside the head.

    by clasvi — April 24, 2015

  113. This discussion, which veered way off topic, is troubling. Everyone seems to be obsessing over costs in various areas. While having adequate money to live well in retirement is important, if you are not happy, does it matter?
    Been following TR for a couple of years as hubby and I search for our retirement Nirvana, which may well be staying put in Central Virginia albeit in different housing option, and it seems like all anyone cares about is lower cost of living and better weather.
    Defining better weather is tricky. There are those worried about high humidity and those man eating pythons that are allegedly over running parts of Florida.
    Please folks, consider the whole package. The last thing anyone wants is living in the wrong place and being miserable!

    by Sandie — April 25, 2015

  114. Sandie: For a lot of Seniors being so called “obsessed” with cost is a very prudent and necessary concern. As I so often mention on this site it’s not a matter of WHERE WE WISH TO LIVE – IT’S WHERE WE CAN AFFORD TO LIVE.
    We are both cancer survivors (horrendous medical bills outstanding -even with insurance) on a very limited SS budget with a small pension. Unpredicted “stuff” happens in peoples lives that they may not be prepared for financially and/or health wise.

    If you have not “walked in our shoes” and experienced the above then count your blessings. Perhaps one day you will and then you may come to a better understanding of COST CONCERN??

    We at one time lived in Florida for 25 years and never once came across a “man eating Python” or even a live alligator/lol

    Fact of life: It’s people we need to worry about!!

    Have a great life and remember = “The one thing CONSTANT in life is CHANGE”

    by Robert — April 26, 2015

  115. Sandie,
    I can’t imagine that you don’t have to worry about cost of living in an area unless you have millions in retirement! Imagine retiring in New York City. You’d have to be a Billionaire to buy a home, and actually have a life!
    Who would be happy in an area if they can’t afford to eat or do anything. I honestly don’t think that is way off topic, because cost of living can make it the 10 worst states to retire in.
    I agree completely with Robert about the man eating snakes. REALLY! Have you been to Florida? We go there several times a year in all areas and haven’t even seen a snake, let alone one that can eat me! I have seen alligators, but they don’t come close to a person. They will go back in the water before confronting you. I obviously wouldn’t go for a swim in the lake, but that is common sense. Robert is correct, it’s the people, not the wildlife that we need to worry about in every area.

    Robert, good luck to you and your wife. I hope you make it to Florida very soon! My mom has battled cancer for 8 years and will be 80 this Friday! I hope I have her strength and will to live if I ever get sick!
    Very expensive medical bills are a real possibility for all of us.

    by SandyM — April 27, 2015

  116. Funny thing about alligators. Tourists and sometimes other clueless folks actually seek them out down here and sometimes do stupid things. Some teenaged girl jumped in the water to try to pet one recently. Of course it bit her. People just need to exhibit common sense.

    by Lynn — April 27, 2015

  117. My cousin has lived in Kissimmee (next to Orlando) for the past 25 years. She is always telling me about seeing alligators. They swim through the canals and simply walk out upon the grass. She told me a funny story about her cat escaping from her home, seeing an alligator, and racing back home to safety! The alligators are not a concern to her; but as said, one must exercise caution and common sense.

    by ella — April 28, 2015

  118. Apparently those who follow TR have no sense of humor. The comment about the pythons was ironic. Of course cost of living is an important factor in choosing where to retire, but there are other considerations. My in laws retired to North Carolina from Long Island based on lower cost of living and less severe weather. They had significant health issues and were six hours from the closest relatives. It was a disaster and they were miserable.

    Everyone had their own definitions of “the perfect place,” which probably does not exist. Remember that lower property taxes may translate to fewer services. My point is do your homework. There are a lot of factors in lower cost of living. Property taxes might be less, but sales tax more, especially in places that cater to tourists. Things will be different that where you are now. Make sure, that for you, the different is good, rather than unacceptable.

    The more information you can gather to make your decision the better, but go there and get the feel of a place.

    by Sandie — April 28, 2015

  119. Sandie, don’t take offense at some posts. In the past I have posted thoughts similar to yours. I am a Westerner and the overwhelming majority of posts come from the East. I have concluded that they are just COLD and the major consideration is Sunshine and Warmth. All the rest doesn’t really matter that much. I agree that lower property taxes mean less service and higher sales,gas,and misc taxes. The wheels can’t turn without some grease.

    by Sandy SW — April 28, 2015

  120. I live in western NY and in a village that has it’s own electric company. I keep the heat @ 68 day, 62 nt.
    Last year we had 1 bill of $600 for 1 month. Average winter bill $375. So Paula don’t envy Groton. NY is taking away from individuals and giving reduced rates to businesses.

    by kathy — April 29, 2015

  121. someone mentioned this veered off topic “WORST STATES FOR RETIREMENT”. Isn’t cost one (OF MANY), that might make a place “worst”? keep the info coming…I will continue to decide if it is of value to me.

    I found the resources used to write the article informative. I also found the list of ” \other factors” contains things of greater interest to me, but TR has addressed many of those in other blogarticles.

    PS Remember, a place not a whole state.

    by elaine — April 29, 2015

  122. MSN article: Dangerous States

    MSN article: Safest States

    Connecticut is ranked #1 as safest. I live in CT and in a pretty safe town but there are places in CT that are NOT safe. So these lists just mean to me, look for safe communities in what ever state you want to move to. Bridgeport, CT is not safe. My Hub had to pick up a shipment there and was unfamiliar with Bridgeport. He has a friend that used to live in Bridgeport and the guy went with him to pick up the item. When they arrived at a certain traffic light his friend told him to run the light because this spot is notorious for vandals to run out when the vehicle is stopped and they attack the cars with baseball bats and rob the drivers. He said even the police won’t come to this part of town! Then there is the prestigious Westport, CT where there are million dollar mansions and everyone drives Mercedes and high end vehicles. So that just proves there is good and bad places to live in every state. Like many have said “Do your homework”! Lower priced housing doesn’t necessarily mean you will live in a safe neighborhood. But moving from CT to almost anywhere would be cheaper!

    by Louise — April 30, 2015

  123. elaine – There is no Worst State For Retirement. Retirement is so many things to so many people it is impossible to rank them by any criteria I know. IF you could hook your brain up to a machine that would read your deepest thoughts and would separate out artificial biases, beliefs, etc., it may then be possible to categorize and rank locations. But seeing as we are humans and are driven my constantly changing emotions, physical and financial forces and perhaps most importantly, health and need for care, it is impossible to know. There now, don’t you feel better? 🙂

    by Dennis — April 30, 2015

  124. Dennis,
    exactly my point

    by elaine — April 30, 2015

  125. RE: Massachusetts… “Retirement Income Exemptions. Pensions are exempt” is ONLY for MA-derived pensions and out-of-state pensions only with the few states that have a reciprocal agreement, such as NY.

    RE: New Hampshire… Property taxes are about third highest in the nation, but that’s an average. Each town sets the rate on top of the state rate. That total can go from $14,000 a year for a house in Hanover, NH, while the same house in Newbury, NH would be about a third of that. And Hanover is not the highest and Newbury is not the lowest. Best would be to go to the state website and browse the rates by town. Here’s the link for 2014:

    by Ken — June 13, 2015

  126. Best vs. Worst…..The BEST place to live is where you are happy! End of story…

    by sunlovingal — June 14, 2015

  127. yup, i agree sunlovingal, but just maybe i do not know my happy exists…i like reading about others favotite places

    by elaine — June 14, 2015

  128. On a recent trip to Butte, Montana, I found the prices of gas to be $0.50 a gallon cheaper than Idaho!! But MT income tax is higher than Idaho. I registered my Ford Ranger here in Idaho for two years for less than one year in Montana. BUT sales tax here in Idaho, and none in Montana. All this quite confusing. jo

    by Jo Ellis — July 6, 2015

  129. Outbound states, Inbound states:

    by Louise — July 23, 2015

  130. Louise, I was born and raised in a small town near Westport, CT and not every resident owns a “high end vehicle”, but I will admit the cost of homes is expensive. Too expensive for me to move back where I grew up. Now I have to find another state to live in that I can love as much as CT. Leaning toward either N.C. or remaining here in VA.

    by Wendy — August 16, 2015

  131. For anyone who is interested in moving to CT, think twice. I live in CT but hope to move. The State of CT is in serious debt and most likely they will try to correct the debt by raising taxes and whatever else they can think of. People and corporations are are leaving the State in a mass exodus. For further reading:

    by Louise — February 26, 2016

  132. CT has a lot of work to do, although it still has some of the best schools in the nation, it is smack between Boston and New York, and with some creative management, could be great again. For those like Louise who have given up on CT, I quote the philosopher Bob Dylan: “Don’t go mistaking paradise for that home across the road.” (Or in another state.)

    by Larry — February 27, 2016

  133. What good is paradise if you can’t afford it? Taxes, high utility rates makes living in the tristate area of NY impossible in retirement. Go south Seniors go south, we might have a chance to find paradise and afford it …

    by alexmac — February 27, 2016

  134. CT may have some of the best schools but we are taxed up the ying yang. CT is one of the highest per pupil cost in the nation. There are a few other states that cost more to educate a student. See this list:

    There are no breaks for Senior Citizens for School Taxes in CT.

    by Louise — February 27, 2016

  135. We are moving a few posts from another Blog because they fit better here:

    Louise – everything is wrong with CT. I think that almost all the boomers will find a way to get out of here (we are going somewhere TBD). This is a problem – we are all going to try to sell our homes, and many of us will sell at significant loss. In my town, I read that between 2002 and 2014, average homes increased by about $80 (dollars, not thousands).

    I put in an enormous amount of money into the house to put on a new roof, bring insulation up to R-61, new flooring in kitchen, bath, laundry. Upgrades to my 1/2 bath included a new base, a new sink, and a new faucet – all state of the art. My kitchen was upgraded with new cherry cabinets, sink and faucet, all new appliances, a quartz counter top and an Italian-made back splash (still on the boat from Italy). We’ve changed the molding from the darker, popular shade from the 80’s and have made it white, including all new screens, openers, locks, in white. We’ve put in LED lighting in the kitchen, above and below counter, over the table, and new one in the work space. We also have replaced some of the old-look window treatments. Some people think we are crazy doing all this work.

    Do we think we will recover this amount? The answer is emphatically NO. We think it might help us sell the place quicker. Plus since we have a few years before we move, we’ll be able to enjoy the changes.

    Good for you all the improvements you have done. I am coming into an inheritance soon but have no idea how much I will get due to the fact that it is a farm and is being auctioned off. I have considered upgrading too. Hub and I built our house in 1975 and it definitely needs a facelift especially in the kitchen. However, I am not sure I will do what you have done. New kitchen floor for sure. If we decide to sell, we will sell ‘as is’. I sold my Mom’s house that way. With my Mom’s house we also included a one year insurance policy for the new owners, suggested by the realtor. It cost a little over $500 for the policy. The policy covered plumbing, electrical problems, appliance problems and replacing new if old couldn’t be fixed and tons of stuff that could happen in an old house. My Mom’s house was very old but in sturdy condition. The insurance policy gave the new buyers confidence to buy. We did do some major improvements two years ago and that was new roof, siding, new deck, new boiler, gutters, new ac for first floor, a stone retaining wall on our driveway and two new brick sidewalks. So outside is good, inside needs work.

    CT is bad news. I can’t imagine what this State will become after the new budget goes into effect. Every year this State spirals downward.

    Lynne have you narrowed down where you want to move to? Georgia sounds really good and taxes are low in certain metro areas. So hard for Hub and me to move due to no friends or close relatives in any state. It’s like spin the globe and put your finger anywhere on it! We have been in our home for 41 years and never moved! It will be a major undertaking hoeing out!

    Another WEIRD thing is that our burial plots are here in our town next to my Mom and Dad. If we move, I guess our bodies would have to be shipped back to CT to be buried. Has anyone ever done that? LOL!

    I feel like the poster “When the last person left leaves, please turn off the lights.”

    by Admin — May 16, 2016

  136. Louise: Burial plots are a significant issue. I’ve inherited two: one in CT, and one in PA..and I’m currently living in the Carolinas.. After handling a few funeral arrangements including my parents’ and my spouse’ (who wanted to be cremated and buried at sea), I’m starting to have a different perspective on final arrangements. I just can’t see spending so much money on funeral arrangements anymore. I can’t get back to visit family plots in the NE, and we don’t have any family left there to look after them. And one of my parents remarried after the other one died, further complicating burial arrangements (a shocker – the “kids” didn’t expect another marriage in late 70’s LOL). My own kids are mobile, and unlikely to be able to visit or care for my final resting place. I am starting to look into donating one of the plots to a church, although the cemetary isn’t making it easy. I am leaning towards cremation myself now, as the family’s easiest solution. Unfortunately, my church doesn’t make that an easy option either. It feels weird to be thinking about final arrangements at the same time as retirement planning!

    Anyway, I definitely understand why you’re thinking about your burial plots. Depending on where you reire, you could end up with another $10K+ on top of $20K or so funeral expenses for transporting a body …My spouse was charged $5K about 20 years ago for a parent to be transported about 300 miles to a hometown. You might call a funeral home or two, to get some estimates. Yup, definitely leaning towards cremation…

    by Kate — May 17, 2016

  137. Louise,
    I can so relate to your comment about spinning the globe to determine a destination. It is a gut-wrenching decision. Ah freedom, a difficult place to live in! As for your home, if you can update the kitchen, do it! There are many inexpensive, but good cabinets. Our house will go on the market next week, and we so regret that we didn’t get that done in time. We could have done it for about $9 – $11,000, including granite countertops and new floor. (It’s a small kitchen.) The return would have been about $22,000 so we’re told. It also increases the buyers market as so many people will not consider our home now. As a compensation, we’ve ordered stainless steel appliances. They arrive today.
    My very best to you!

    by ella — May 17, 2016

  138. Kate and Ella.
    Thank you for your input. You both gave me food for thought!

    I probably would stay in my house forever and may, who knows at this point. I have certain concerns.

    Winters here in CT are unpredictable and back breaking. Hub will be 65 and is strong but you always hear of ‘elderly’ people having heart attacks shovelling snow. We have been talking about buying a new snowblower but a snowblower can’t do it all. Just digging the cars out is a chore at times when we get a blizzard.

    My bathrooms are super small and not very friendly if one of us becomes handicapped or if one needs help in and out of the shower or tub. Two people in either bathroom is too many people!

    We live in a raised ranch and there are stairs. I would like a one level house.

    Taxes in CT are always going up. Very unstable government. The budgets are always out of whack and we lose more and more services. Right now hundreds of State workers are getting laid off to try to balance the budget.

    Yes, ella, the kitchen would add value to the selling of the house. I have always heard that is the best thing you can do to update a home and get your money back and then some.

    Much thinking is needed!

    by Louise — May 17, 2016

  139. Up to date Information on New Hampshire taxes is readily available at the following webpage:

    It might supreme you of the many taxes that my state has.

    by Stuart Onsrud — June 13, 2016

  140. I see NJ legislators are proposing retirement income exclusions of 75,000 for single (100,000 for couple).

    by Kay — August 9, 2016

  141. Interesting! Value of $100 in each state.

    by Louise — August 10, 2016

  142. Kay, not much help with property taxes averaging around 8000, but still a little help.

    by Billy — August 10, 2016

  143. Kay could you send updates on what the NJ legislature ends up doing?

    by Florence — August 11, 2016

  144. Let me add a good word for Connecticut …. or two. I love the four seasons (hate hot, humid weather), the proximity to health care, veterinary care, sporting and cultural events, airports, lakes for kayaking and the ocean for gazing. Yes, taxes are high. But, after investigating several mid-Atlantic and southern states, I find I am content to visit friends in those far away places.

    I just retired and am going to look more closely at mid-coast Maine and the Cape … but don’t see a move out of New England … and have no deaire to find a 55-plus community. I own a modest ranch house — so no stairs to consider — and love my gardens.

    I made a list and kept liking the things I already have …. boring maybe … but all the important things are already in reach. I may eventually have to get into a place that will offer some long term care options … but as a healthy, young at heart retiree … I feel lucky to be able to ‘retire in place,”

    by Sheila — August 11, 2016

  145. Sheila (my wife’s name, btw), I really loved this comment you made and think it contains a whole world of important information: “I made a list and kept liking the things I already have …. boring maybe … but …”. I think that too often people miss or ignore that essential point. I was born in CT, but no longer have any binding ties. I don’t like cold and snow and, unlike you, I don’t mind (enjoy, in fact) hot, humid weather. Go back to your quoted comment and that is what has held me in place through all the searching for options, wondering whether another place might be better. Boring perhaps, but…

    by Rich — August 12, 2016

  146. I liked hearing how you made this decision to retire where you were, maybe knowing that boredom could be overcome through smaller changes rather than a move out of state. Would love to hear how others have made a retirement home in their current state. I am considering Upstate NY, where I grew up. Thanks!

    by Elaine B — August 13, 2016

  147. Sheila, I really relate to your post. I too am a New Englander and have loved living here. I have lived and vacationed in Mass, RI, NH! And Maine. I have also lived in the Midwest and have toured most parts of this country. I returned to my home state of RI with my child to be near my family after I divorced. I think we have the best of everything here in New England, especially along the coast. I love the diversity of people, the architecture, the history, the sports teams, the many Universities in close proximity, and the Atlantic. My big concern is cost of living once I stop working. I have friends who retired to Maine. One to Portland, ME and one to Wells. I love Maine. Have you researched the cost of living, especially taxes?

    by MaryNB — August 13, 2016

  148. Elaine B. One of the best things about living in Connecticut is that if you move (almost) anywhere else you will be paying lower taxes! But yes, although it’s not considered particularly tax friendly, Maine has a lower property tax, lower sales tax, lower gasoline tax. If I sold my modest home in CT (just about paid for) I would take the proceeds and buy something similar price-wise in Maine and my property taxes would be substantially lower. Since property taxes are my major concern then the move could be justified. I should add that I have a modest pension, social security, and a small investment portfolio … nothing big enough for me to worry particularly about … not saving anything for the children or grand children (don’t have any) … and really just want to stretch things out so that I can live comfortably but not extravagantly. How do your friends like living in Maine?

    by Sheila — August 13, 2016

  149. Sheila, I don’t know Maine all that well. I grew up in Upstate NY and have family there. I am concerned as well with property taxes but haven’t done the research yet to know how much of a problem NY State property taxes would be.

    by Elaine B — August 14, 2016

  150. Elaine, I was raised in Buffalo and property taxes are very high there. I recently was doing research on this and a $125000 home had yearly property taxes of $4500 .

    by Mary11 — August 15, 2016

  151. Elaine B, perhaps this would help:
    New York makes it out of the Top 10 Worst States for Property Tax, only because it is number 11. Be happy you do not live in New Joisey or Illinoise.

    by Art Bonds — August 15, 2016

  152. Thanks, Mary and Art. I last owned a house in Minneapolis, MN, where property taxes doubled in a short time, however, there were also some income-based tax rebates. Where my mother lived in the Rochester, NY, area there was some kind of property tax relief for seniors. I will have to research that as well.

    by Elaine B — August 15, 2016

  153. Elaine B, tax exemptions, both senior bases and homestead, open up a whole new can of worms, some exemptions are localized down to the county level. You can probably use the Tax Foundation’s document as an overall starting point, knowing that a residence in New Jersey would need one heck of a tax rebate to equal the tax burden of a residence in New Mexico.

    Here is the text of a reply I wrote to Shelley last year on a similar subject:

    “Shelley. A homestead exemption is “The homestead exemption is a legal regime designed to protect the value of the homes of residents from property taxes, creditors, and circumstances arising from the death of the homeowner spouse. Laws are found in state statutes or constitutional provisions which exist in many states in the United States.”
    Homestead exemptions, both senior and for those not yet blessed to be a senior (tic), vary from state to state and sometimes from county to county within the state. It is all rather complicated as each state does it differently. For example Washington State will freeze your taxable value if your income is $35k or less and exempt some other special levies.
    Florida gives a homestead exemption of $25k on all property taxes (county, school, etc) to all ages on the first $25k of home valuation, then another $25k on the value between 50k and 75k for all non-school taxes. See example.
    Florida has an additional exemption for seniors but you have to have lived in the state for 25 years.
    Missouri give both renters and homeowners an exemption depending on your income and marriage status. I never found out how much they give back.
    Since they are so varied it would take a lot of time to sort through all 50 states. However, see my replies to Sallie regarding other thoughts I have about taxes and retirement.”

    by Art Bonds — August 16, 2016

  154. Art Bonds – Thanks for that link. I can confirm the property taxes in New Joisey are excessive. They will force us to leave when we retire.

    by JoannL — August 16, 2016

  155. I can confirm that property taxes in Florida are way less than property taxes in Minnesota, as I currently own property in both states. Hope to be rid of the Minnesota property soon. My non-homestead property tax in Florida was less than my homestead property tax in Minnesota for roughly equivalent properties. Now that I have homesteaded the Florida property, I will be interested to see my property tax statement this fall. And none of this raising the tax by 23% in one year, followed by a similar increase the following year. Florida limits the increase to 3% for seniors.

    by Linda — August 16, 2016

  156. Linda, a limit of 3 percent sounds great. Now if we could get Social InSecurity to give us a COLA of 3 percent so we could keep up…

    by Art Bonds — August 17, 2016

  157. I live in Gwinnett County Georgia which is in the Atlanta metro. When you reach the age of 65 the school district portion of your taxes drop off. Taxes went from 2700.00 down to 997.00 this year. The house is a two story 5 bedroom 3 bath which is way more than what we need but it’s payed off.

    by Jim C — August 17, 2016

  158. Information so you don’t in up in the Worst retirement State.

    by DeyErmand — August 17, 2016

  159. Note from Editor, we moved this comment from Azam here because it seems to fit better:

    Not happy with high property tax in NJ and am looking around. Did some math about rebate and impact on Federal and State tax return and to my surprise about 40-45% of tax does come back. Not sure if my calculations are correct, did anybody looked into this or is there any another discussion group I should look into?

    by Admin — October 1, 2016

  160. Azam, N.J. still has the highest property taxes in the country, compare the tax as a % of the value of the home, I think depending, on income, the state income tax with deductions isn’t the worse.

    by Billy — October 2, 2016

  161. This comment is from Rosemary, which we moved from a different Blog article:

    Someone on here recommended a very helpful website ( They’ve got a helpful tax tool. You can plug in various states, along with your proposed income at retirement and find out what you will pay in taxes. I hope this helps:

    by Rosemary — September 30, 2016

    by Admin — October 2, 2016

  162. I wonder if the smartasset website is calculating federal taxes correctly. I put identical data in the site for both CA and WA and the federal tax calcs were identical. Under federal law, if I itemize my deductions, I can deduct my state income taxes on Schedule A, thus reducing my federal income by that amount. Unless the site is assuming standard deductions, I wonder how reliable its calcs are. Just something to be aware of as you use it.

    by JoannC — October 2, 2016

  163. Any Hudson Valley NYers out there?? Pros and Cons for a Worst State
    We really love the Hudson Valley Woodstock region but were reluctant to pursue retirement there due to the high real estate taxes. It seems recently they may have come down a bit. Am I dreaming or is there some sort of tax relief going on in the area, What are your thoughts on the area? Will also post to the NY forum.

    by Florence — October 29, 2016

  164. We love living in the Hudson Valley, but cannot afford it now that we are retired. We are moving to a beautiful home in NC. The cost of living is significantly less and property taxes will be 1/6 of what they are here. Sad to leave, but on to new adventures!

    by Lorraine — October 30, 2016

  165. Florence – I live in the lower Hudson River valley and sadly there is no tax relief happening. I am planning to move to SC because NY is waaaay too expensive! e.g. My r/e taxes are $18k in a prison-based village yet my SC house taxes will be only $700 per year! The unions, pensions, and healthcare have been killing us.

    I’m a lifelong NYer but I’m sooo ready to follow my friends out of here. If taxes are down the only possibility is that the market values have gone down. Run far away from moving to NY! Come visit in the fall when it’s gorgeous.

    by Laura — October 30, 2016

  166. I left Long Island for the south, long story but when I can I will be moving North! Does any one in this group have any infor on 55+ communities in the central NJ, East Penn, Northern MD. I have counted the days that we have to stay in because of the heat and when it does snow here it takes days to get it cleared. So I can take the snow as long as I do not have to clean it. I know you all have issues with taxes and in some of the area’s I mention the taxes are not to bad.
    Help anyone out there living in the places I am looking?

    by elaine n — October 31, 2016

  167. My MIL lived in Holiday City Toms River NJ for nearly 20 years before she passed. She had purchased a new home back in 1995 and it was spacious and lovely, 2bed/2bath/1 car garage. The taxes and HOA were very reasonable for NJ and she was happy there.

    by JoannL — November 1, 2016

  168. Florence, My husband and i lived in the Mid-Hudson Valley for 38 years before moving to NE Tennessee. We are currently renting in Jonesborough until we know where we want to settle.
    Our school and property taxes went way down when my husband hit 65 years. By way down i mean about $6,200; which to me is do-able. We are surprised that food in this area is quite a bit more expensive than it was in NY. Go figure!

    by ella — November 1, 2016

  169. Here’s a PS. The houses we’ve been shown so far are no less expensive than they’d be in the Mid-Hudson Valley with the exception that they come with more land. I DO want some land and a very nice home.

    by ella — November 1, 2016

  170. Elaine N
    If you go this website’s home page you’ll find links to get information on the states and areas you have listed and for The Best 55+ Retirement Communities.
    Hope this helps!!

    by Moderator Flo — November 1, 2016

  171. Former Long Islander here, now living in central NY for just short of 30 years. Cost of living here is quite reasonable, especially when comparing to the NYC “tri-state” area. RS Taxes now roughly $3K annually for a 3 bed 2 bath ranch on one acre — still on the high side, but manageable. So far, anyway. Also lived 5 years in the Hudson Valley (Orange County), and while very pleasant, still kind of expensive (I rented while there, so l can’t accurately compare RS taxes.)
    Yes, the winters up here can be insanely harsh; the entire month of Feb 2015 never saw a temperature above zero Fahrenheit, for instance. My wife and I had often discussed relocating to friendlier climes over the years. The Blue Ridge/Smokies and the “Four Corners” regions come in at or near the top of any list we throw together.
    But, you know something? Except for those aforementioned winters, it’s actually kind of terrific up here! Oneida Lake, The Adirondacks, and lesser known locations (Chittenango Falls, the Genessee and Mohawk Valleys, etc.) , are a quite compelling incentive to stay put. And the really bad part of winter is perhaps six weeks or so, on average. That leaves forty six weeks of increraseable wonder. That’s an acceptable trade off, in my estimation.
    Sure, there’s the “comfy shoe” familiarity that comes with three decades in the same place, including all those semi-tangible aspects such as well cultivated business relationships.
    I guess what I’m trying to say is that our current mindset is to retire in place — as I retired last April, we’re sort of on our way to that.

    by George Corrigan — November 1, 2016

  172. Elaine N

    There is a 55+ community in Cross Keys, PA, just east of Gettysburg, that I have not seen listed anywhere. They let the ANG (needlework group) meet there when I lived in York, PA, so I got to see it on many occasions. At the time I wasn’t interested in a 55+ community, to many dogs. If your considering something this far west, it is one you may miss. They have a webpage but I don’t have the URL.

    by Shumidog — November 1, 2016

  173. Thanks all, yes I know about searching on this web site but it is always helpful to hear form actual people who live in the area. More and more I think central and southern NJ is a good fit. Especially as I get older access to public transportation is really important and the friendship that a 55+ might offer.

    by elaine n — November 1, 2016

  174. Thanks all for responding to my post. I guess in addition to the real estate taxes, costs of living is something to be considered as well. Good Luck to all who relocated,
    In Eastern PA most retirement 55+ communities are pricy– 300,000 and up, unless you would want a ” mobile type home and park”. As far as transportation goes, also keep in mind that most developments are somewhat rural, due to lower costs of land, so public transportation may be lacking. Some developments do have buses that go to shopping areas, Drs.,etc.

    by Florence — November 27, 2016

  175. I’m a military retiree and I have to be concerned with which states would try to take my SS & or my military pension.

    by Lorraine Corso — December 19, 2016

  176. For those of you who live in CT, be aware of this new Connecticut withholding tax from pensions starting January 2018.

    by Louise — December 5, 2017

  177. I read the article and the comments and one aspect of my analysis is that the editors engaged in a herculean task as they attempted to tackle an issue that may have seemed quantitative (i.e., taxes) but is very qualitative (i.e., scenery) and in fact became highly emotional for many posters. Some comments quote other articles and web sites, and, upon, researching them, I found that there was incorrect data therein. So one should be vet careful when simply listing web links or sharing writings from developers. The bottom line is, as properly noted at the onset, that this is a very personal area and an individualistic decision. I lived in many states and other countries, and what I found attractive in one area may be a detrimental aspect for another person. Do your research and question everything. In the end, visit the location during all the seasons where you plan to go in your golden years. I wish everyone good fortune and godspeed.

    by — January 10, 2018

  178. The ‘new’ withholding from CT pensions that Louise mentions doesn’t represent ‘additional’ … it’s just a more efficient way to collect it and to keep retirees from underestimating what they may owe at tax time.

    As BCianflone says, there are many, many things that go into choosing where to retire. This is one reason I hate the term ‘Worst States to Retire’ …. they may be ‘worst’ from a tax perspective — or even a weather perspective — or maybe from a public education perspective — but great for other things. I am mostly retired and just this morning had a conversation with a small business owner who is also a friend. We both agree that staying in Connecticut and occasionally taking a mid-winter break to a sunny clime (not necessarily a warm one, either) is our choice and one we are more than comfortable with.

    by Sheila — January 11, 2018

  179. Sheila, yes, this is not a new tax but a new penalty if the person receiving the pension doesn’t comply: Under the new rules, Connecticut resident taxpayers must provide tax withholding instructions via the revised Form CT-W4P to any entity administering their retirement payments, or risk withholding at the highest rate of 6.99 percent.

    Don’t see the need for this when taxes are paid for the tax year anyway. My Hub has a pension that has no taxes taken out upon distribution each month. When we file taxes, if taxes are due we pay. However, our income is low enough where we don’t owe any. So if taxes are taken out and we are due a refund then more paperwork for the state. More paperwork requires more manpower and more wasted tax dollars.

    by Louise — January 11, 2018

  180. From Mitch
    How about listing retirement communities in states without income tax. That I believe is a major parameter for retirees….especially in blue states with high taxes.
    — And our response…
    Thanks for the suggestion. Yes, taxes are pretty high up on people’s lists of things to avoid.
    We do have some articles on this topic and plan to do an update of our ever popular “Worst States for Retirement” article, where income taxes are a big factor.

    You might find this article useful in the meantime

    by Admin — January 26, 2018

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