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Top Retirement States Might Surprise You
Many retirees dream of spending their time on the beach or the golf course. But traditional retirement meccas like Florida and Arizona might not actually have the most to offer. Bankrate evaluated all 50 states, giving equal weight to cost of living, crime rate, weather, health care, state and local taxes, and general happiness of residents. The top 10 states might surprise you.
1. South Dakota. The site of the Badlands, the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore, South Dakota is a staple on the “see America” family vacation. But it also is the top spot for retirees, according to Bankrate. Admittedly the weather is a problem, especially in the winter. But that is more than overcome by the state’s low crime rate, lack of state income tax and exceptional health care.
2. Colorado. Colorado long has drawn outdoor enthisiasts of all ages, and it boasts an excellent health care system and lower-than-average taxes. In addition, its residents report being very happy. And despite what many people think, Colorado winters are surprisingly mild, and the summers rarely feature long periods of high heat and humidity. On the down side, the cost of living is higher than average.
3. Utah. Like Colorado, Utah is teeming with natural beauty. It also boasts a low cost of living and great health care. It has lots of outdoor activities for nature lovers, but Salt Lake City also offers a variety of cultural attractions.
4. North Dakota. First, the main negative: The winters are cold. Really, really cold. But despite that, state residents report the highest level of happiness in the country. And North Dakota has very low crime and excellent health care.
5. Wyoming. The big draw here is taxes – or the lack of them. But the state also has low crime and reasonable living costs. However, its health care ranks below the rest of the top 10 states.
6. Nebraska. Nebraska ranks very high in general happiness. Plus, it has a low crime rate and a very low cost of living.
7. Montana. The Big Sky state provides magnificent scenery and plenty of wide open spaces. It also has no state sales tax and a moderate cost of living.
8. Idaho. Idaho has the nation’s lowest crime rate. It also has one of the lowest costs of living, despite having a tax burden that is slightly higher than that in other Mountain States.
9. Iowa. The Hawkeye State boasts excellent health care, a low crime rate and a low cost of living.
10. Virgina. The only Top 10 state with an ocean beach, Virginia also offers a low crime rate and warm temperatures.
What about the worst states for retirees? According to Bankrate, the bottom five are New York, West Virginia, Alaska, Arkansas and Hawaii.