In 2014 Shirley and I decided to look ahead at retirement and move to Florida from California. We weren’t ready to stop working but fortunately, we have a business that we can run from anywhere. So, the whole country was open to us. Many don’t have that type of flexibility and stay where they are until they do retire. But once they do stop working a high percentage of retirees move to a new state. If you’re considering moving to a new state once you retire, we have put together the ultimate guide to the best states to retire to, and the worst states to retire to.

What’s Important to You?

Why are we calling this the ultimate guide to the best states to retire (and worst)? If you Google terms like ‘best states to retire’ or ‘worst state to retire’ you’ll find that there are many websites you can visit that have compiled data and published a list. The challenge is that each uses different categories for which to rate the states. And leave out other categories that you might think are important. These guides also may weigh different categories as more or less important. So, we have looked at the ratings from many of these sites and combined them to give you the ultimate list of the best and worst places to retire in the country.

Categories Used in Most Lists

A few of these guides have categories that you might think should be considered. Such as Affordability, Crime, Culture, Weather, and Health Care. Some dig a bit deeper and consider things like the occurrence of natural disasters, politics, and religion. Still, others don’t tell you how they came to their conclusion of the best states to enjoy retirement. And, of course, the worst.

The Resources We Used

This is a list of websites from which we got our data and lists. We then compared all the rankings to come up with the ultimate guide to the best and worst states to retire. There are some similarities between these lists but some vast differences as well. In some cases, certain states were put on a list of the best states. And then on another website, it was included in the worst states.

Some Interesting Findings

States that made every list for the Best State to Retire to:
South Dakota
Florida
Vermont

States that made every list for the Worst States to Retire to:
New York
New Jersey

States that were included on both:
Montana
Arkansas
West Virginia
Mississippi
Kentucky

The Best States to Retire to in 2021 (#1 to #10)

Florida
South Dakota
Missouri
Iowa
Idaho
North Dakota
North Carolina
Virginia
Colorado
Vermont

The Worst States to Retire to in 2021 (#1 to #10)

New York
New Jersey
California
New Mexico
Illinois
Rhode Island
Connecticut
Maryland
Alaska
Nevada

welcome to florida-leaving New York

Where are Retirees Actually Moving?

If you think about it the lists above are other people’s opinions of where retirees should move based on sets of different factors. That’s helpful. But let’s take a look at where retirees have decided to move to in order of the most popular.

Florida – the only state that made every list of best states to retire to and made no list of the worst states to retire to.
Arizona – made both best and worst states lists
South Carolina – made no list of the best state to retire to
Georgia -made no list of either the best or worst state
North Carolina – made only lists of the best states
Texas - made both best and worst states lists
Oregon – made no list of the best state to retire to
Nevada – came in high on the list of the worst states to retire to
Tennessee – made no list of the best state to retire to
Delaware – made no list of the worst state to retire to

So, does all this help. In some regards, it may. On the other hand, it may not clear things up for you at all. What it comes down to is what is important to you. Is affordability the biggest factor? Or is it lifestyle, healthcare, or something else? Perhaps this will help you start your search for the best state to retire to you. Or, it may help you decide to just stay put where you are.

Share with your friends