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Best Retirement States – Part 2: Pick Your Rating Factor

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

May 17, 2017 — Note, this is Part 2 of a two part article. Here is the link to Part 1: Crazy Lists and Not Much Agreement.

In Part 1 we compared 2 popular “Best States for Retirement” lists to the states where retirees actually move. It was not a pretty comparison. The 2 popular lists agreed on almost nothing, and neither one included more than one or two of the states where baby boomers actually move. To help you prepare your own best states to retire list, in this installment we will present various lists of specific attributes that retirees might be interested in, such as culture or climate. We have even included a few whimsical factors to liven things up!

Best Cultural Opportunities
WalletHub included a ranking for the top 5 and worst 5 states for museums and theaters. You can easily search to find out if there is a college, university, lifelong learning center (e.g.; Osher), or community college in the area you are considering for retirement. Here were the top states for museums and theaters per capita:

Most College Towns
A lot of baby boomers are attracted to college towns, and for good reason. They are often prettier, more interesting, and provide more stimulating experiences than a typical town or city. According to, Vermont has more colleges per capita than any other state, followed by North and South Dakota. Ranked by the number of institutions, California is first with 400, followed by New York (307), Pennsylvania (262) and Texas with 208. Ohio has 194 public and private universities. Arizona and Delaware have very few college towns. Although community colleges doesn’t always provide the most beautiful campuses or create a college town setting, they can make their towns very attractive places to live because of their course offerings and possibility of employment. You might want to check out our 4 part series on “College Town Retirements“.

Best Climate
Our esteemed members and visitors will recognize of course that weather is a matter of personal taste. If you live to snowshoe you probably won’t be happy living in Southern California, and if surfing is your thing don’t move to Colorado. Some people hate humidity, snakes, and the big bugs often found in warmer climes. But, our research indicates more baby boomers are a lot more interested in places with warmer winters than they are in colder ones. So to help those people we’ve listed the U.S. states with the warmest winter temperatures. Note that we haven’t attempted to factor in climatic catastrophes, since almost no state is immune to some type of disaster – earthquakes, hurricanes, ice storms, tornadoes, sinkholes, etc.

The highest average winter temperatures (F.) by state (source: Note that these are state-wide averages – many of these states have significant temperature ranges from north to south and even west to east.)

Hawaii (67.5)
Florida (59.4)
Louisiana (50.9)
Texas (47.9)
Georgia (47.8)
Mississippi (46.7)
Alabama (46.5)
California (46.2)
South Carolina (46.1)
Arizona (43.6)

To put another dimension on weather, the average number of days of sunshine could be important to you. Here are the states with more than 120 “clear” days per year, interesting, they are all in the west:

Arizona has the most days of sunshine, but one of the smallest numbers of college towns

Highest Avg. Days of Sunshine
Arizona (193)
Colorado (136)
California (146)
Nevada (158)
New Mexico (167)
Oklahoma (139)
Texas (135)

States with Lowest Cost of Living
According to a report from the Federal Reserve, about a quarter of people over age 30 have no retirement savings at all. That means they are going to either have to keep working or rely on Social Security. Choosing a low cost state to retire in is particularly important for them. These are the states with the lowest cost of living according to
1. Mississippi
2. Indiana
3. Michigan
4. Arkansas
5. Oklahoma
6. Idaho
7. Tennessee
8. Kansas
9. Texas
10. Kentucky

States with Lowest Taxes
Assuming that you either have a substantial income or valuable property, you might be interested in finding a state that has low taxes. All things being equal, we would rather find a great place to live than save a few dollars on taxes. Here are some of the best states on various kinds of taxes.

Best States – Lowest Income Taxation
These states do not tax income at the state level:
– Alaska
– Florida
– Nevada
– South Dakota
– Texas
– Washington
– Wyoming

Tennessee and New Hampshire only tax certain types of dividend and interest income. Note that of the other states that do tax income, many of them have high deductibles, exclude various types of retirement income (most exclude Social Security), and have other features that make them tax friendly to retirees.

Best States – Lowest Property Taxes
These are the states with the lowest property taxes – the kind of tax that is often the hardest for retirees, since it occurs irrespective of your actual income. Source: . The states with the highest property taxes are mostly in the Northeast. Note that these are ranked by the tax as a percent of value – Hawaii’s percentage is low but property values are very high.
Lowest Prop Taxes
– Hawaii
– Alabama
– Louisiana
– Delaware
– District of Columbia
– South Carolina
– West Virginia
– Colorado
– Wyoming
– Arkansas

Highest Prop Taxes
– Illinois
– New Jersey
– New Hampshire
– Connecticut
– Wisconsin.

States with the Healthiest Lifestyle
We are not sure how valuable this data is for you, since you always have the option to choose to live a healthy lifestyle, wherever you choose to live. Nevertheless, here are the states with the best overall “well-being” from Gallup-Healthways 2016.
1. Hawaii
2. Alaska
3. South Dakota
4. Maine
5. Colorado

The states at the bottom of the well-being rankings tend to be in the South and Appalachia, along with Nevada. The states at the bottom of this list either tend to have regional diets that are on the unhealthy side, or have many poor people who live an unhealthy lifestyle.

Best Health Care provided a list of the best states for healthcare. They looked at 3 factors: Access, Quality, and Public Health. Recognize this attribute carries the same caveat as with the others – generalizing about a state can be dangerous. Also, just about every large city in America has a great hospital and so do the towns that have a university hospital.

Top 10 States for Healthcare
1. Hawaii
2. Massachusetts
3. Minnesota
4. New Hampshire
5. Iowa
6. Vermont
7. Rhode Island
8. New Jersey
9. Washington
10. California

Interesting places to live
Here we enter yet another subjective dimension. One person’s definition of interesting might be very different from someone else’s. To help your thinking we’ve listed the states where Topretirements has the most cities reviewed as potential retirement spots. You might view this list as a starting place that must say something about where people want to live in retirement. See Our State Directories for reviews of all these towns (and more!).

Florida (110 cities/towns)
California (65)
North Carolina (54)
Texas (46)
Georgia (40)
Arizona (36)
Connecticut (35)
South Carolina (34)
Virginia (30)
Tennessee (29)
Massachusetts (28)
New Jersey (26)

As we warned in Part 1, relying on state or even city crime data is not a good idea. The data is just too general to be useful in broad geographic area. Here are the most dangerous states for violent crime according to
1. Louisiana
2. Alaska
3. Tennessee
4. Delaware
5. Nevada
6. Arkansas
7. Missouri
8. Florida
9. South Carolina
10. Arizona

Vermont, Maine, Wyoming, and New Hampshire are the safest states.

Geographic Features
It is fairly self-evident which states have the most mountains (most of the west, northern New England, and along the Appalachians in the East). Likewise with ocean coastline, a glance at the map will tell you to head for states like California, Florida, and those on the Gulf Coast.

The data on states with the most lakes is little harder to get – and extremely subjective. According to
Alaska claims to have 3 million lakes, but only a handful have names. Some might just be mud puddles. Minnesota has 15,291 lakes, but only 2/3rds have names. Wisconsin has 15,074 lakes, but only 6,044 have names. Michigan has 11,037 named lakes. Florida comes in next with 7,700 lakes – but they have to be over 10 acres to be included. Pennsylvania has very few natural lakes but 2500 man-made ones. The Great Lakes are immense – states with one of those touching their borders have a lot of lake at their command!

Bottom Line
if you are looking for your best state to retire we recommend that you start with prioritizing the attributes you are most interested in for your retirement. It might be climate or cost of living. It might be getting to the state where your relatives or best friends live. Once you have identified your priorities you can then use lists like this to help you find the state of your dreams. We have even prepared an excel “Best States” spreadsheet that you can use as a tool and modify to weight your choices. The last thing we would recommend is for you to blindly follow any published “Best States for Retirement” list. Whoever created it doesn’t know your wishes and priorities, or for that matter, where your grandchildren live.

For further reading:
Part 1: Crazy Lists and Not Much Agreement
Best States for Retirement 2014

Comments? Please share your thoughts about these “where to retire” results in the Comments section below. Did any of this information surprise you or change your mind? What are your retirement location priorities – anything that is not in this article? Please let us know! PS – Don’t miss the many interesting Comments made to Part 1 of this article, see link above.

Posted by Admin on May 16th, 2017


  1. Lots of interesting information in this article. I tend to agree with the ratings. Thank you for your work compiling a huge amount of data.

    by Susan — May 17, 2017

  2. I’m going to let the Florida Legislature know we need to change our name. Obviously we are not the “Sunshine” state!

    by Laura — May 17, 2017

  3. Need the link to the Best States spreadsheet as it doesn’t open above.

    Editor’s note: It is opening for us (it downloads to your device and then you open it). We will try to post as a pdf but then you won’t be able to modify.

    by Cheryl — May 17, 2017

  4. One state attribute not listed that I believe would be useful would be states with the best and worst health care.

    Editor’s note: Great suggestion Punta Pete. We are adding that into this article per your suggestion. Recognize it carries the same caveat as with the other attributes – generalizing about a state can be dangerous. Also, just about every large city in America has a great hospital and so do the towns that have a university hospital.

    by Punta Pete — May 17, 2017

  5. Have you ever focused on the best retirement locations for “snowbirds”. I would think the vast majority of retirees go to places in the winter season.
    Just curious.


    Editors Note: Thanks for asking that question. Yes we have written several articles on that topic. Here is one of them and at the bottom of it you will see links to the others.

    by Admin — May 17, 2017


    Can anyone help BOB with this request? He can start with this article:

    by Admin — May 17, 2017

  7. Phase 2 of our “perfect place” search is renting for a year in a likely spot and adding a few trips to runner up locations since everyplace we considered is in the southeast and easily reachable by car or short plane ride. After speaking with several friends who made the move already we decided to get rid of most of our furniture, etc. and rent a furnished house. Renting is proving to be a great decision! We like where we are but also love the freedom of renting and might try renting in other locations since its been such fun exploring this area more than a few week trip would allow. A couple of useful additions to TopRetirements would be a section dedicated to rentals with info like cities/towns with most long term rentals, how to read a lease and avoid commow issues ( I learned a lot watching The Peopls Court and took tons of photos of every little nick and scratch and sent them to the rental office right after we moved it.)

    by Jean — May 17, 2017

  8. Jean, Renting is a great way to help decide on a “perfect place”. And as you said, it can also be a boon to helping you to “downsize” on your possessions. For snowbirds (or snowbird wannabees) it also ideal as you could decide to stay at a different place/state/location every trip until you either find an ideal or perhaps even settle into “year round snowbirding” (permanently rent in a different place for as long as you like before moving on).

    After 14 years of retirement, we are still where we started (central NC), but we sort of keep looking. Not snowbirding, but we take advantage of good options with VRBO to try different locations in areas we now know we like. (There is always the option to try somewhere new.) Over the years we have re-visited the St. Augustine FL area — always for a brief family visit or passing through when headed farther south). Last month we decided to stay at Vilano Beach (just outside St. Aug.) and wonder of wonders, for the first time we have found a location and a place that we actually want to go back to — we’ve reserved the same house for next year. Does this mean we’ve found our “perfect place”? Well, clearly NC has claimed that title, but over the years of visits, FL has grown on us more and more. And the longer visit to St. Augustine revealed one thing in particular — for the first time in years, we actually stayed longer than 4 or 5 days WITHOUT the desire to return home.

    As the Admins say, “generalizing about a state can be dangerous”, so your best bet is to identify possibles, try visiting more than one city/location, find a way to make an extended visit (at least a month, up to a year), and pay attention to your gut. Mine told me when it was time to retire and now it finds about another place that attracts me. After 14 years, maybe we’re “getting it”. Lots of visits included extended stays help to settle what starts with virtual exploration (like this spreadsheet). It important to recognize that choosing a place to retire does not mean you have to settle on the place you want to die.

    by Rich — May 18, 2017

  9. I found a site most helpful for my research on retirement locations. “Your local guide to cities, towns, neighborhoods, states, counties, metro areas, zip codes, area codes, and schools in USA.”.It even includes weather, and narrows down the crime to the city. It provides some prices of groceries and gas. I was able to find out the average heating and cooling bill in each city!

    by William DeyErmand — May 21, 2017

  10. Thank you William. I also like This shows me alot at a glimpse

    by Tim O'Dwyer — May 22, 2017

  11. Tim, I have used areavibes a lot because it shows the amenities, and income levels in different parts of a city. Also www. The best first hand information you can get is by renting a place, and experiencing the city, not driving through a city, or a few days on vacation. There is also a website that tells you the State rating of Nursing homes, hospitals, and medical care but I am drawing a blank right now.

    I did my own spreadsheet on my wants and needs for my retirement. Narrowed it down to two States, then used the State ranking on medical care to find what county …. THEN went city to city with and, coming away with 5 cities. I have made 3 trips to confirm these different websites findings. I have found my personal retirement spot.

    by William DeyErmand — May 22, 2017

  12. William, don’t leave us in suspense! Do you mind sharing where you chose?

    by Alice — May 22, 2017

  13. A selection of Cities for Bob to research for singles. Spokane, WA Las Cruzes, NM, Roanoke, VA, Augusta, GA, Chattanooga, TN, Greer, SC, Little Rock, AK San Antonio TX, College Station, TX and Gainesville FL, ?

    by William DeyErmand — May 22, 2017

  14. Another helpful website is: . We did the spreadsheet thing too – very helpful tool! It helped us narrow things down and focus on our projected costs and needs. We made a trip up with a detailed list and scoped it out. Subsequent phone calls to check out medical options just enhanced the details. Hopefully we’ll go house hunting in the fall!

    by HEF — May 22, 2017

  15. Alice..I hope you don’t mind if I don’t say right yet. (House hunting now). It was the only place where I could find quality housing, and amenities at a reasonable cost of living in a safer, warmer, climate, because the average heating and cooling are the same amount year round. I am so done with Ohio weather and the quality of life after taxes, utilities and groceries.

    by William DeyErmand — May 22, 2017

  16. And right now at my home in Southern California at 2:15pm Tuesday afternoon; it’s 97 degrees with 11% humidity, a lite breeze and pure blue sky’s.

    by Bubbajog — May 23, 2017

  17. Bubbajob, not sure what your message is but in my world 97 degrees is hell on earth. We had 90’s a few days ago in CT and it was record breaking and hiddeous. We go from 50 degrees to 90 degrees and is way too much of a swing to get used to. Alaska is sounding better and better…

    by Louise — May 23, 2017

  18. Are you a SNOWFLAKE Louise? LOL

    by Bubbajog — May 23, 2017

  19. Yes, I am a snowflake, thank you for asking.

    by Louise — May 24, 2017

  20. Just to smooth it over – 97 degrees in CT is VERY different than 97 degrees with 11% humidity. We moved from CT to the NV desert and I remember standing at the airport curb at midnight. It was 98 degrees and I remember thinking, “What have we done??” BUT, we went out for work and we learned to adapt. The “dry heat” for most of the year is very appealing.

    That said, it was HOT in the summer and I didn’t feel at home in the desert. We are currently in the SE and making plans to retire back in New England. We need cooler temps! (…and I miss the coast) Alaska looks amazing too. After being stationed there with the Air Force, my niece and her husband have been talking about going back there.

    by HEF — May 24, 2017

  21. Bubbajob, I live in Sandiego and it’s been in the 70s, what city do you live in?

    by mary11 — May 24, 2017

  22. Louise – I’m another SNOWFLAKE and had a hard time here in NJ with 90 temperatures for 3 days. We prefer short vacations to ME, NH, VT and longer trips to PNW. It seems we prefer both northern coasts as the extreme heat does not appeal to us.

    by JoannL — May 24, 2017

  23. JoannL, Yes the 90 degree days that came on so suddenly were unbearable. There is supposed to be a thing called ‘spring’ but seems it jumps from winter to summer without warning. I have been very interested in the South due to lower costs but hot, humid weather is an obstacle that is a concern for me. Maybe if we had moved down South years ago we could have adapted easier.

    HEF, have also been interested in Nevada and Arizona but I think the heat would be too much. The heat in the Northeast has gotten pretty bad the last few years and we have had more record breaking heatwaves than ever seen in years. It is short lived and the worst months are July and August.

    I can remember going to Canada as a kid in August and it was so cold in the morning we had to wear wool sweaters! Crazy!

    by Louise — May 24, 2017

  24. Mary11 – Quartz Hill. High desert outside Los Angeles, at an elevation of about 2700 ft.

    by Bubbajog — May 24, 2017

  25. This is great. Thank you for sharing your insights.

    by Lenny — May 24, 2017

  26. It turns out I’ve done what people have recommended: rented in places I thought I’d like. Both times, those places have been disappointments but moving on is easy thanks for renting. Both were disappointments for reasons it would have been very hard to discover without being there for a while so I don’t begrudge the time spent in either place. Now I’m ready to move again after two years in PDX.
    Moving is expensive and exhausiting and I have a few unusual needs so I’m wondering if anyone has heard of a person/company that helps healthy but aging (77 years young) folks find appropriate places. Google turns up lots of companies geared to helping seniors who need care (usually on commission from specific facilities) or who want to buy (real estate agents) but I haven’t found one that acts more like a reference librarian: gathers information, and charges by the hour or job. I’m actually pretty good at doing the research and wish I could just pick up and go live in places that seem intriguing but I am single and have a furry family that isn’t very movable so I’d love to find someone to do the initial research for me. Referring to another discussion, this seems like the perfect Senior Concierge job to me! Laney

    by Laney Humphrey — May 29, 2017

  27. Laney, I don’t know where you live, but my friends own a company in Sarasota, fl that fits your requirements. It’s called TLC. I’m not sure how much they recommend places, but I know they have a wealth of knowledge, at least in that geographical area, as well as helping people to move. Check them out (and let them know I sent you). Good luck. They probably know of other companies in other places as well .

    by Wendy d — May 30, 2017

  28. Great idea, part,of problem is that most places keep their negatives quiet. They don’t want to affect value or resale ability.

    by Nancy — May 30, 2017

  29. Laney, I know when I first started looking for retirement spots I noted places that were considered the worst retirement spots and why. Maybe we could comment on why we don’t like a place that we are currently living in, or have rented, listing negative resources available for seniors. On this website is some cities/communities listed where you can vote your opinions on different questions about the area.

    by William DeyErmand — May 30, 2017

  30. We would be very interested in what others have experienced living in 55 plus communities.

    by amy — May 30, 2017

  31. Laney – I’m in the same position, though a few years younger than you. Single (though with a dependent trailing sister) and with a fur family that I don’t want to pack up and move every year. I moved from NorCal to SoCal last month but will only stay here for a couple of years because I know this isn’t “the place.” (I was lucky to have held on to the house I bought here 20 years ago when I moved out of the area so I was able to kick my tenants out at the end of their lease and move back in.) I had planned to do a short term move to Colorado to try it out, but have read so much about the hail and thunderstorms there that I don’t think I want to live in that permanently. (When I was there last year, the real estate agent showing me around had just picked up his car after having had $8,000 of hail damage repaired. Maybe someone living in the I-25 corridor between Denver and the Springs can tell me it’s really not that bad?) Because of family and friends on the west coast, I want to stay on this side of the country but I see prices in possible locations just going up and up while I try to decide where I want to live when I grow up. And because of the fur family (and my age) I want to be close to medical facilities for all – not an hour’s drive from an emergency room for either myself, my sister, or my fur kids. I can do the research as well, but it really does take living in a place to know if it’s your “forever place.”

    by Joann C — May 30, 2017

  32. Joanne C
    How about Nevada, south of Reno? Drivable to SoCA (8 hours) with the recreational beauty of Lake Tahoe and the Sierras. Reno is up and coming with less focus on gambling and more on other city amenity development. University and hospital there. Very Retirement friendly, as well, though RE prices are increasing.

    by Staci — May 31, 2017

  33. To Joann C…I have lived in both CA and CO. My brother currently lives in the lovely smaller city of Castle Rock, CO and I have spent a lot of time there. I love the town. It is still easy to get around, has plenty of shopping, a small quaint downtown, a brand new hospital, and a terrific senior center. The town is growing like crazy but not like the Denver area because it is in Douglas County which does not allow “pot” stores. You are also only about 30 min drive into the heart of Denver and about 15 min from the south end of Denver on the interstate. As for the negatives, housing prices have gone up but are still about half what you’d pay in Denver. Compared to CA it would probably still be affordable.

    CO is very pet friendly anf filled with relocated Californians like you would be. You would have to be OK with snow and cold which is why I never moved back but the good thing is that once the storm goes through the weather usually warms up enough to melt it and the skies are sunny most of the time. They do get hail on occasion but thats why you have insurance. I would happily take hail over earthquakes. If you have any breathing issues it may not work for you since you are in general at an altitude of 5000 ft. Most People in Colorado are there because they love the outdoors and a healthy lifestyle. Another area to consider might be New Mexico around Albuquerque. Its not as large and congested and has a more moderate climate. Hope this helps.

    by Laura Schraeder — May 31, 2017

  34. We have lived in many states and each have good and bad! Currently we liv near Charlotte NC and find it growing more and more unfavorable. Infrastructure is terrible and there is no attempt to improve it.
    Politically it is a very right wing area with no discussion possible. As Global Warming caused by excessive burning fossil fuel continues we have noticed the summers are much hotter and the rain falls less and less regularly making gardening almost impossible without an irrigation system.
    Today in the Charlotte paper it was reported that two alligators were killed by automobiles. This is a first for this area. This is more proof of the global warming effects. If you like heat, and humidity come South!

    Kansas City MO was nice but it has cold winters and really hot summers.

    We lived in Florida for 5 years on the East Coast in Boca Raton. Nicest city in Florida from March to August then the snowbirds come down and traffic is horrible. Generally if you are within 1 mile of the ocean the weather is not bad. Humidity is horrible and the heat lasts all night.

    by Ron — May 31, 2017

  35. JoanneC,
    have you thought of Oregon? We will be moving to southern oregon for our retirement. Doesn’t rain very much and much cheaper than Cali, where I am living now. If you live near Roseburg or Eugene the hospitals are closeby too. Rents for a 1 BR apt start at $650. If you want to stay close to the ocean condo’s and manufactured homes on their own land are about $100000.

    by mary11 — May 31, 2017

  36. I get my best ideas either in the shower or driving the freeway up to see my horse (part of my furry family). Here’s my latest: descriptions of places as good or bad for retirement never distinguish between those that are good for ageing in place and those that are welcoming to newcomer retirees. That’s an important difference! My bet is that lots of the non sunbelt places that appear on the various “best places” lists are great for those who’ve lived there for years and have many supportive family and friends. And the reason people choosing to move in retirement head towards the sunbelt is that many years ago cities and towns there decided that there was money to be made by welcoming seniors and put out their welcome mats. I live now near Portland, OR. My sense, having lived here for about 2 years, is that it is a fine place to age in place if you’ve got your own support system. But it is a terrible place for someone moving here after 65. To be honest, the Portland area does not promote itself as being senior friendly. From what I’ve been able to find, there are remarkably few services, or organizations for seniors. There is also almost no housing designed for active seniors. Before I moved here, I lived for a year in a Del Webb development in Lincoln, CA (near Sacramento). What a difference! It was clearly designed for people moving there from elsewhere. It was easy to make friends; all the shops and services one could want were right there. As I think about my next move, I’m definitely going to focus on places that market themselves as welcoming to seniors moving there! BTW, thanks everyone for your suggestions! I too am considering CO. I used to live in Oklahoma City & travelled a lot to CO so I’m well aware of the weather. Albuquerque and Reno are also on my list.
    William, picking up on your idea of listing negatives, here are other things about the Portland OR area (would also be true for most of the state west of the Cascades) I find frustrating: 9 months of rain/drizzle/grey/clouds; pollens & other allergens including molds since you spend lots of timeindoors; horrendous traffic; very high cost of living (including taxes) to name the most frustrating. The biggest positive is how wonderfully friendly the locals are. Laney

    by Laney Humphrey — June 1, 2017

  37. I lived in Portland for 8 yrs and loved it but now we want a smaller town atmosphere. Actually portland does have over 55 communities that offer active lifestyle activities but property taxes are high. Southern Oregon weather is much better…for example Ashland ,Medford and Bend receive less than 30in of rain per yearly average, and Brookings offers more sunny days than any other city in the state. Everybody thinks that the entire state has the same type of weather as Portland!! You just need to do your research yourself before excepting everybody’s truth….

    by mary11 — June 2, 2017

  38. mary11-My brother has been in Portland for nearly 30 years and would not live anywhere else but Oregon. He can see Mt.. Hood from his property. They have a home as I have stated earlier in Lincoln City and also seem to be fond of the coast. Oregon has it all–even high desert. He likes the low humidity and mild temperatures. He will not even consider coming back east in the summer.

    by Jennifer — June 3, 2017

  39. You said it just right, Mary11: do your research yourself before excepting everybody’s truth….
    We all have different wants and needs.

    by Laney Humphrey — June 3, 2017

  40. Mary11 …I have relatives and friends across the state of Oregon. It was one of my choices, but cost of living wasn’t right for me. nor the winters. I do love the Medford area and all that it has to offer, but the housing market starts at $200K. and the taxes are higher. It’s definitely is a nice place to visit.

    I have noticed places that I have returned to visit or explore from my past seem to be warmer than previously remembered, climate changes? maybe,…but I started watching and researching weather reports for certain areas,
    everyday for a year and compared them to what some of these sites were saying….Do your own research before excepting everybody’s truth is right!!

    by William DeyErmand — June 4, 2017

  41. Report’s are saying that there is an increase in retirees now choosing renting over buying a home in retirement. There are many areas in Oregon outside of the larger cities where a 1 BR apt is less than $700 per month. So if you can handle lower temp winters compared to the south or southern California it can be done. If you don’t want to rent you can purchase a mfg home with prices starting at $25000 and with your own lot starting at $50000. Condos on the beach are even available for $100000. So you do have options… Of course I’d prefer California winters but just can’t afford to live here any longer. We also want a smaller town atmosphere for our retirement. Southern Oregon and very northern California is the only option for retirees who are on a lower income.

    by mary11 — June 4, 2017

  42. Thanks for all the great information. I’m currently in downtown Riverside, CA. I love my home however traffic, many days over 110 and cost of living is pushing me out. I’m considering Washington near Hoodsport area. Yes, I am aware of the rain and grey skies. However, no where is perfect. There are so many green places and small towns to explore. I can’t imagine 30 below or 110 and above for my next move. Rain doesn’t seem that bad. Does anyone have any suggestions? I’m going to live in an RV for awhile just to make sure. I would appreciate any information as I tend to see grass is always greener even rainbows and unicorns. I need a reality check.
    Thank you, Kathy

    by Kathleen L Moore — June 4, 2017

  43. Any one who has retired in Osprey Cove, St. Mary’s, GA?

    I have heard both good and bad.

    I am looking for something very quiet……nice neighbors…well kept homes and neighborhood….single friendly.

    Anyone who has retired to Osprey Cove, St. Mary’s. Looks like Sanctuary MIGHT have some resales in my price range. ( approx: $200,000)

    Would love to hear from someone.

    by Roberta Bengtson — June 5, 2017

  44. Kathy, my dad used to swear that Sequim, WA outside of Port Angeles did not get as much rain as other parts of WA. They lived there over 10 years and loved it. They then moved to Grants Pass, OR and were very happy there as well. Both are cute little towns that might be worth your time to check out.

    by Liana — June 5, 2017

  45. Thank you, I have looked at Sequim. It looks beautiful. Lavender farms. In the rain shadow. I will check it out further. I have looked at Oregon and taxes seem much higher. Can I ask why they decided to relocate? I would love to talk to someone who has already done this. This is such an exciting adventure.
    Thanks again, Kathy

    by Kathleen L Moore — June 5, 2017

  46. The main reason they moved to Grants Pass was Senior softball. Then they would “winter” at a rented house in Lake Havasu City, AZ–where there was winter softball. That was my dad’s life–and my mom’s keeping score for the teams or my dads personal scorebook. There is also a huge Senior Olympic Games for most sports in St. George, UT every Oct.

    I know property tax seemed high in Grants Pass, but there is no sales tax in OR. There were also cutbacks in law enforcement, so I do not know if they would make the same move again at this time.

    by Liana — June 5, 2017


    Lots of interesting details.

    by JoannL — June 8, 2017

  48. My husband and I are thinking of renting in Greenville SC for a year or 2 and then might try NM. We are active walkers, golfers, etc. Anyone familiar with Greenville and surrounding areas? Need to get out of NY with exorbitant property taxes!!

    by LoriM — June 14, 2017

  49. My husband and I were thinking the same thing after visiting Greenville a few times. What a great little city! But we ended up renting in Myrtle Beach; its near the ocean and plenty of golf. We like it here but are still visiting other states as well. For us, the biggest negative on SC are the taxes. Although it is listed as a low tax state it seems that only applies to property taxes. The sales tax is on enerything and there is only a 12000 exclusion for seniors on the 7 % income tax. Once we have to start taking money from IRAs and 401ks it will be no better than the state we left, maybe worse. Both Georga and Florida seem to be much friendlier in that area.

    by Jean — June 15, 2017

  50. One other thing about SC is the roads. With so many people moving in they are in dire need or widening and in many cases just fixing. They are talking about ( maybe already passed) raising the gas tax. We had hoped that SC would be more tax friendly but it isnt no matter what the charts of tax friendly states say.

    by Jean — June 15, 2017

  51. Counties in SC have a 6% tax with a different tax amounts added per city, 2%-3% .
    Counties in NC have a 4.75% with a different tax amount added per city, 2%-3%
    Counties in GA charge 4% with a different tax amount added per city amounting to no more than 7.05%.
    Counties in OH charge 6.75% with a different tax amount added per city around 2.25%
    The extra increase pays for fire, ambulance, police, etc.

    by William DeyErmand — June 15, 2017

  52. I think the tax situation is so complex that it is ultimately one of many factors. Higher insurance costs and real estate taxes in Florida can offset a the income tax in SC, for ex. I loved that PA and FL didn’t tax 401k withdrawals (and PA’s sales tax exemptions were terrific) but when I looked at the additional expenses of living in those states I realized that the numbers were actually closer than I thought. By the time you figure out gas taxes on estimated mileage, estimate sales tax on spending habits, car inspections, etc. I still found SC’s low real estate taxes pushed SC into the cheapest cost of living for me. On the other hand, if the difference is a net of $100/month, it comes down to whether that difference is worth State X’s lifestyle or State Y.

    by Sharon — June 15, 2017

  53. North Carolina has outrageous tax structure! Gasoline tax alone is 25 cents per gallon higher than SC. City tax varies by city! Also NC has an outrageous yearly auto inspection that costs a lot! SC and GA are a much better choice.

    by Ron — June 15, 2017

  54. We also thought that we would like to live in Greenville. Welcome to the crowd! The real estate flippers got there first. We have been watching houses there get sold for ever increasing prices as they are bought and sold and resold. I hate to say that we are hoping for another crash, but that would seem to be the only way to afford Greenville.

    by Lynn — June 16, 2017

  55. Hi, is there anyone with some feedback on southwest Virginia , Charlottesville in particular?

    by Gary — June 16, 2017

  56. Ron, do you even live in NC? The gas tax is $.18 per gallon higher but SC has just raised theirs, phasing in at $.02 per year for five years. There are no city taxes, real estate taxes? Yes …. The “outrageous ” auto inspection costs $30 per year and and that includes an emissions test.

    by Dick — June 16, 2017

  57. Charlottesville is not in southwest Virginia, but on the curve of Virginia’s golden crescent.

    by Sandie — June 16, 2017

  58. Dick- I have heard you must have your car inspected each year in NC- around $150- more if problems are found and also an emissions inspection . Is this true?

    by Cindy F — June 17, 2017

  59. Cindy F — absolutely not! If something is found that needs repair for safety (like bald tires, bad headlight) then it must be repaired. As Dick said , the fee is about$30 for the inspection.

    by Rich — June 17, 2017

  60. I am a newer North Carolina resident. The cost for a safety inspection is $13.60. Combined with emissions testing, $30.00. Seems pretty resonable to me.

    by Art — June 17, 2017

  61. Sandie,
    What does the “golden crescent” refer to in VA?
    Isn’t Charlottesville Central Va.?
    S.W. refers to the area S. of Roanoke ? Lynchburg
    is Central Va. as well.

    by Betsy — June 17, 2017

  62. It seems that every state gets their tax revenue one way or another. We’ve had to pay for yearly auto inspections most places we’ve lived (CA, VA, LA, NJ, NV). As others have noted, NC’s is $13.60 once a year for the safety inspection with a $30 total when including emissions. We recently traveled to several states and found that gas in TX and OK was about 8 cents a gallon less than NC, and in MI it was 30 cents a gallon more! To compare NC & nearby SC, today Murphy Gas is $2.09 for regular in Wilmington. Using Google maps, it looks like Murphy gas is $1.95 a gallon in Myrtle Beach SC.

    The big draw in NC for us was that public pensions aren’t taxed if you were vested (5 years of federal, state or local service) by August 12, 1989. NC also does not tax SS income. One negative for us is the cost of wind & hail insurance here at the coast. Lots of different considerations to dig into no matter where you go! 🙂

    by JudyM — June 17, 2017

  63. Thanks a bunch for all the feedback on Charlottesville

    by Gary — June 17, 2017

  64. Gary,
    I was recently in Roanoke and Floyd. Very impressed with both, although vastly different in size. Both very well thought out. Roanoke with a terrific corridor of restaurants, lots of shops, a beautiful art museum, and a beautiful square for their daily farmers market.

    Floyd, so much smaller, still had a lovely small park for concerts, a permanent covered area for their farmers market, interesting restaurants, great small arts and craft stores, and best of all – lots of music, much of it free! A very appealing small town.

    by ella — June 17, 2017

  65. From Dian

    Hi, I’m looking for help in finding our perfect retirement place. We live on Oak Island NC. Everything is so great here except the horrid NC taxes. How do I find a place that has what we have here without the bad tax situation? Wants: small town with larger close by for shopping; close to ocean for breezes; affordable houses and COL

    by Admin — June 17, 2017

  66. Dian, I recommend you check out Pawley’s Island, SC. It’s a small coastal town, no more touristy than Oak Island and not half as bad as Myrtle Beach. The tax situation is better in SC than NC. PI housing costs can be reasonable if you stay away from beach front property. Plenty of shopping to be had going north towards Myrtle Beach.

    by Alice — June 18, 2017

  67. Dian, should add not sure what kind of shopping you’re referring to. I was thinking of the outlets is why I mentioned Myrtle. If its just groceries and such, you wouldn’t even have to leave town.

    by Alice — June 18, 2017

  68. The golden crescent runs from northern Virginia to Virginia Beach along I95 and I64, bulging a bit west of Richmond to Charlottesville. The GC is considered to have the good things i.e. Higher standard of living, more educated people, better medical facilites, cultural opportunites, and so on. As the home of “Mr. Jefferson’s” University of Virginia, Charlottesville is a special enclave different from the more depressed areas to its south and west.
    Bristol, VA, at the southwest corner of the state, is closer to several other state capitols than to Richmond.
    As been said here many times before, you must go to a place, look around, ask questions, and see if it works for you. Also, put down your GPS and look at a map, or even Google Earth to get your bearings.

    by Sandie — June 18, 2017

  69. Thanks Ellla. W’re heading there for a bit next week. We live in St. George Utah but want the east coast and history experience.

    by Gary — June 18, 2017

  70. Alice – thanks, we’ll check it out. I was referring to Costco, TJ’s, Sams, TJMaxx, Ross, etc. Right now we head to Wilmington and North Myrtle for those things.

    by Dian — June 18, 2017

  71. My understanding of the tax differences between the Carolinas (and between NC and any other coastal state in which you would want to live, Dian) is that it is only meaningful for relatively wealthy people. And if you have enough in net worth/income to make a significant difference in overall tax payments, then you shoulldn’t worry about it. And unless NC taxes are having a severe impact on your ability to feed yourself, I wouldn’t worry about that either. I have worked with dozens of people looking for their dream home in the Carolinas and other places in the southeast, and they put a value on location, proximity to things they want (like a beach) and cost of living, which is relatively low in most places in the South. By your own admission, Dian, you have found the perfect location in Oak Island. The money you will save in the first few years will be eaten up by the costs of moving and other associated costs. It sounds as if, by your own description, you have found an ideal place to live. In the words of Bob Dylan, “Don’t go mistaking paradise for that home across the road.”

    by Larry — June 19, 2017

  72. Thanks Sandie,
    That makes tons of sense about VA
    as well as the GPS!

    by Betsy — June 19, 2017

  73. Wishing you a wonderful trip, Gary!

    by ella — June 20, 2017

  74. 120 in Phoenix today…yikes, no thanks.
    Virginia still too cold in the winter.
    Carolina, pretty congested along the coast and in the cross hairs of Hurricanes.
    Florida’s north coasts, specifically the west nature coast, and St. Augustine areas offer lower cost coastal living, lots of golf, and less congestion/traffic, clean environment, and lower risk of severe hurricane strikes. Also, Tax is an important part of the COF comment, and Florida has relatively low tax… no state income tax. Crimes rate is pretty low in this area.. after visiting, I now know where I’m buying.

    by Ed — June 20, 2017

  75. Ed 120 degrees is too hot for even me. I’ll take SE Florida hot humid weather hands down. At least you have the cooling Atlantic Ocean.

    by Skip P — June 21, 2017

  76. Having traveled to both Phoenix and Houston during the summertime from the Los Angeles area: I personally found Phoenix at 119 degrees to be more bearable than Houston at 95 degrees with high humidity and way too many bugs.

    by Bubbajog — June 21, 2017

  77. Bubba,
    Humidity is certainly a factor, a matter of personal preference. I prefer some humidity, my skin, gums, etc..seem to appreciate some moisture. Just never been a fan of the desert. I would be concerred a out where my next gallon of fresh water is coming from…?
    Houston, been there..but, not for me either.
    The West Texas coast line is a hurricane magnet. Houston is way to congested for my taste.

    by Ed — June 22, 2017

  78. Phoenix water is supplied by an aquifer. All new housing communities must prove they have water supplies for the next 100 years before they are permitted to build. The west Phoenix communities we have investigated assured us of that fact. We have chosen the west Phoenix area, have lived in east Tennessee, checked out South Carolina and North Carolina, Georgia and the Jacksonville area, but have decided on Arizona.

    by Bruce — June 22, 2017

  79. I am also looking in the Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina areas. I have four horses, so we need about 8+ acres. Want to be near stores groceries doctors but still be a little girl. So mine is a bit of a special situation, somewhat like Laneys.

    My desire once I fully retire, is to ride my horses working the garden and just enjoy my time off. Any great thoughts for me?

    by Daisy May — June 23, 2017

  80. Gary,
    If you’re a history-lover, check out Jonesborough, where i’m living right now; the oldest town in TN. The Historical Alliance makes their home in the Chester Inn, a museum. A great organization that makes the history of the area come alive. Also a town walking map at the visitor’s center.
    And do consider Fincastle, VA., where i recently visited as i was near Roanoke. A sweet little town with many homes built in the 1700’s (no typo!). Get their walking map, as well!

    by ella — June 23, 2017

  81. Daisy,
    Do you have any specific real estate sites or groups you monitor for property? By that, I mean other than Zillow,, Trulia, landwatch etc.
    We are just getting ready to put ours on the market (and though set up for horses it is likely to small for your needs) I would love to capture the mini farm browsers.

    by Carole — June 24, 2017

  82. Daisy,
    Look at Goochland County, Virginia, just west of Richmond. Horse friendly, there are lots of “equestrian” properites from a few acres to large spreads. A few miles to the east, there is all sorts of shopping with more to come and ever increasing healt care options. We get all four seasons, sometimes in the same week. Summers are hot and humid.

    by Sandie — June 24, 2017

  83. Carole, there are real estate sites that focus on horse properties. Just google “horse property for sale.” There’s always Craigslist, a good place to start. I would say the best thing to do is find a realtor selling agent who really knows horses and the horse property market. Then make sure they have a good marketing plan. Laney

    by Laney Humphrey — June 24, 2017

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