Your long-awaited, somewhat bittersweet retirement years are almost upon you, and you want to make this new chapter one of the best. Moving to another state can offer seniors a bunch of benefits, from proximity to loved ones to better weather. It's good advice to test a place out before you move lock, stock, and barrel. Go on vacation during different seasons before you commit, and see how you like a spot during its off-season.
Perhaps you don't expect a place's politics to bother you, and they do, or it turns out you hate the heat. Equip yourself with some popular options and start planning your longlist!
The Sunshine State doesn't just have warm weather—around 20% of its population is retirees. Why? The state is full of culture, and it's tax-friendly and offers affordable housing, which is reassuring in an economy dealing with inflation. Accommodation in the coastal city of Pensacola is particularly cheap. Tampa, Naples, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Miami, Daytona Beach, and senior-focused The Villages are all good choices.
The median home price in Jacksonville, the state's largest city, is 23% lower than the national median. Other pros in Jacksonville's favor? It's not as prone to hurricanes, has good air quality, plenty of physicians to go around, and a robust economy if you want to start a small business. But it's not the most pedestrian-friendly city, and the crime rate is hard to ignore. Florida's popularity may also lead to rises in the cost of living.
Winters in Pennsylvania are cold, but you can look forward to pleasant temperatures the rest of the year and the Northeast's famous fall foliage. Lancaster, Pa., is a highly ranked town for older adults, and it's in Amish country, so you may want to pick up some Pennsylvania Dutch if affordable housing, good health care, and a high happiness rating are important to you. Harrisburg is another city worth considering for reasonably priced housing, and York, Allentown, Reading, Scranton, and Philly are attractive prospects too.
A college city, Pittsburgh offers homes at approximately 38% below the national median price, and it's also very accessible on foot or by bicycle. Cons include the state inheritance tax and a not-insignificant crime rate.
Michigan is one of the best cold-weather states for retirees because your hard-earned Benjamins can stretch farther there. The cost of living is low, as is the tax burden, and the state scored well in Bankrate's wellness category.
In a U.S. News and World Report ranking, Ann Arbor cracks the top 10 alongside cities in Florida and Pennsylvania. Grand Rapids is worth looking into as well. A Motley Fool survey considering various factors also saw the Great Lakes State in the top 16 overall.
Missouri made the top 5 in Bankrate's study and the top 13 in WalletHub's ranking. It won't take long for the Show-Me State to show you savings in key areas of your budget. Houses in Columbia go for 31% below the national median, and there's no state estate tax.
The economy is doing well, doctors aren't few and far between, air quality and the weather bode well, and there aren't major climate change risks at present. However, the city isn't very walkable, the crime rate is not easily dismissed, and there could be more cultural offerings.
One of the Sun Belt states, Georgia is a favorite among older Americans. It clinched the number 2 spot behind Florida on Bankrate's study. Athens and Savannah top the list of cities. The former's cost of living is about 13% lower than the national average, and the cultural scene is exciting. Air quality is good, and there's no state estate tax. But the city is not super walkable, and there's a shortage of doctors per person compared to many other cities on our list—unlike in Savannah.
In addition, hurricane and tornado risks are worth considering in Georgia, as natural disasters can be highly disorienting for anyone with age-related mild cognitive impairment.
New Hampshire has among the lowest crime rates in the country, so if you'd prefer your adrenaline rushes to come from mystery podcasts, you'd do well to settle here. Quality of life is high, healthcare scores well, and apart from the property tax rate, taxes, including sales taxes, are generally commendably low.
Based on survey responses, the Granite State is in Motley Fool's top 3 and WalletHub's top 6.
Ohio is among the most affordable states in the country to spend your golden years. It took fourth place in Bankrate's study. This Rust Belt state doesn't have any major downsides. The Cleveland-Elyria metropolitan area does well regarding healthcare, safety, and affordable housing, and there's a sizable proportion of over-65s, so you'll have lots of company should you seek it. The Dayton-Kettering metro is even more cost-effective.
Arizona has above-average affordability and arguably the best weather in the country. Sun City and Tucson are top picks. The latter has a high number of doctors per capita to compensate for the bad air quality. The local economy is strong, and there's no state estate tax. The Grand Canyon State rounds out WalletHub's top 20.
The First State is affordable, and its healthcare scores well. Apart from a 6.6% income tax, retirees don't have to worry about state sales tax or vehicle property tax, for example. There are perks for senior homeowners and exclusions on pensions and 401(k) income too. Delaware is in WalletHub's top 5.
In the U.S., every state has something to offer. Choosing where to spend your well-deserved retirement years depends on various subjective factors. California and New York real-estate prices can be sky-high, but you might be drawn to the natural attractions or arts scene, for example.
Other states to longlist include Virginia, Texas, Wyoming, Alabama, South Carolina, Colorado, and Utah.