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10 Best States to Retire


It used to be that the places people chose to retire were picked primarily for good weather. However, thanks to the recession, the last few years have seen a change in what people consider a good place to retire.

It used to be that the places people chose to retire were picked primarily for good weather (no one wants to spend their golden days shovel 10 feet of snow). However, thanks to the recession, the last few years have seen a change in what people consider a good place to retire.

While climate still factors into the choice of final destination, MoneyRates.com analyzed seven key factors to determine good and bad states for retirees to live in. In addition to climate, the site considered the following: cost of living; property taxes; unemployment rate; violent crime rates; life expectancy for seniors; and recent population growth in the senior demographic.

Each factor can have a lot of issues that determine the score. For instance, life expectancy encompasses quality of health care and environmental conditions.

These seven are the quantifiable factors that can make a good place to retire, but there are subjective, immeasurable ones, such as family and friends, and cultural attractions.

These lists always have the obvious choices (California), but there are some wild cards as well. Here are the top 10 states to retire, according to MoneyRates.com’s calculations.

(And don't forget to check the 10 worst states.)

10. (tie) Texas

Downtown Dallas Arts District

A large state like Texas is bound to have some trouble spots, and its overall crime rate is worrisome. However, the state enjoys warm weather and a strong economy, which are both appealing to retirees.

10. (tie) California

Like another state that landed much further up on the list, California isn’t the best for frugal retirees. Cost of living is high and it has one of the most burdensome tax rates, but the weather is wonderful and life expectancies are long.

9. South Dakota

Downtown Sioux Falls

Another state with colder weather that regardless is attractive to seniors. While it’s senior population isn’t exactly booming, those over 65 years of age have one of the highest life expectancies in the nation.

7. (tie) New Mexico

Nice weather (as with its neighbor, Arizona) and the senior population has been growing rapidly.

7. (tie) Florida

Key Biscayne

There aren’t many states on the East Coast on this list, and Florida (well known for attracting retirees) is the first of just two. The climate is attractive and life expectancy is long, but seniors need to pick where they live carefully as some areas have very high crime rates.

6. Colorado

Dillon Lake near Breckenridge

Temperatures here may not be as warm as seniors had envisioned for their retirement, and yet only three other states have seen faster growth in senior populations.

5. Virginia

Low crime rate, good economic conditions and climate makes Virginia a good choice. However, the state didn’t score as well on life expectancy.

4. Arizona

Grand Canyon

Clearly seniors can expect warm weather in Arizona, but they can also expect long lives since Arizona has the third-highest life expectancy for 65 year olds

3. Utah

One of the top state overall for economic factors, Utah ranks low for tax rates, according to The Tax Foundation. It also has a fast growing senior population.

2. Idaho

Not a traditional retirement spot, Idaho has a low crime rate and — like Idaho — it has one of the fastest growing senior populations in the country.

1. Hawaii


Okay, so Hawaii has the highest cost of living in the U.S., but the state has other things going for it that make it the best state to retire. For instance, seniors in Hawaii live longer past the age of 65 than any other state. And it was the second-most consistently moderate temperatures.

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