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Worst States for Retirement
There are many things that can go into choosing a place in which to retire, and many of those can trump virtually everything else. However, if you are basing your decision solely on the numbers – such as cost of living, tax policies, overall area economy, and safety and health – these are the 10 worst states for retirees, according to Kiplinger:
1. District of Columbia. D.C. has the nation’s second-highest cost of living – between New York (No. 1 on the Kiplinger list) and California (No. 3). It also has among the highest taxes in the country, although Social Security income is exempt.
2. California. All retirement income other than Social Security is taxed, and the state’s tax rates are the highest in the country. Sales tax rates are also high. And California has the third-highest cost of living in the country.
3. New Mexico. New Mexico taxes most Social Security benefits, and its other taxes are relatively high. Seniors have a high poverty rate. And for all state residents, the crime rate is higher than the national average.
4. New York. New York has the nation’s highest cost of living, led by health care and housing costs. As a result, although seniors in the Empire State have incomes above the national average, they also have a poverty rate above the national norm.
5. Minnesota. The state taxes Social Security income and most other retirement income. It also has a high sales tax rate (6.875%) and an income tax rate from 5.35% to 9.85%. The cost of living is above average, while the household income for seniors is below average.
6. North Carolina. Ten percent of seniors in the Tar Heel State live below the poverty line, and household income for residents 65 and over is 18.3% below the national average. There is no state income tax on Social Security benefits, but most other retirement income is taxed.
7. Nebraska, Overall, Nebraskans have an average income that is 19% below the national norm. It also is among the least tax-friendly states for retirees, although starting in 2015 it exempts some residents from paying taxes on Social Security benefits.
8. Oregon. Oregon is one of the 10 least tax-friendly states for retirees, and Oregon seniors have average incomes that are 18% less than the national average and median home prices significantly higher than the national median.
9. Utah. Utah has a high cost of living: The median home cost for people 65 and older is 23% higher than the national median. Utah also is one of only a few states that taxes Social Security benefits. And the average age of its population is younger than the national average, which could make it hard to meet people your own age.
10. Texas. In Texas, the poverty rate for seniors and the overall poverty rate are both above the national average. Crime also is relatively high in the state. And the Lone Star State has one of the lowest percentages of residents 65 and over and the third-youngest median age in the country.