What are the Best States for One to Retire in 2021?

Best States for One to Retire

Imagine kicking back in a friendly neighborhood. Sipping on some piping hot coffee, you are lounging in pleasant weather while reading your favorite novel. There are no urgent business calls to interrupt your recreational heaven and no emergency meetings to attend. You will be living near your family, and you can visit them with goodies or join them for a barbecue whenever you wish. Wouldn’t it be your ideal retirement dream? So how does one make this dream a reality?

When it comes to retirement, most people are less likely to be shackled by full-time jobs, and the opportunity to move to other states they like opens up. Starting retirement for people comes with the benefit of being armed with immense life experience. But the most significant brand-new feeling that they enjoy is the newfound sense of freedom.

What is the Priority While Relocating:

What is the Priority While Relocating
What is the Priority While Relocating

Starting from the age of 60 (nowadays even 40 in the case of early retirement), people undergo a mental shift. Instead of a life lived on responsibilities like work and family, they start considering their interests. They are free to choose to live wherever they want. According to a survey centered on the aging population, the results showed that retirees employed that freedom for relocation. 64% of the control group had already moved or were anticipating moving after retirement. 

Their desire to relocate could be due to the motivation of various factors, including but not limited to 

  • Being closer to their family
  • Make time for recreational activities
  • Wanting a change or new scenery

While considering retirement, other factors could make or break one’s retirement plans. Factors such as healthcare, taxes, and living expenses play a significant role in this decision. Each of these varies by state. It is best to do adequate research before making any commitments to new destinations. The following map will be of help in deciding which are the best states to retire in 2021

Not Just the Place, The Cost Matters Too:

When you consider retirement, a dream home is not just where one lives but rather where one can afford to live. Some of the best states to retire in are those that offer the highest value for retirement dollars. 

Before one pack their bags, remember to ensure that you have enough savings to live on because even in some of the affordable states in the U.S, just Pension Checks or Social Security may not be enough to cover all expenses. 

Research says that the benefits of Social Security grow with inflation. Despite this trend, they can replace only around 39% of an average employee’s earnings. This information makes the knowledge of when to retire more or just as important as where to retire. 

How To Decide Which State To Retire In?

How To Decide Which State To Retire In
How To Decide Which State To Retire In

So how does one choose where to retire? Other personal preferences come into play in addition to the factors already mentioned, like proximity to family and unique climate preferences. 

Concerning the financial angle, when ranking all 50 states based on various quantitative factors, the best states to retire will offer the lowest living costs, tax burdens, and quality health care options. One can also determine each state’s health, both economically (well-balanced budgets) and physically (the senior population’s fitness). States with comparatively prosperous citizens aged 65 and above rank higher. 

Each state is measured according to different integral indicators to calculate the retirement-friendliness. The key indicators will help one make an informed decision regarding which state to retire in ideally. 

Fascinating Finding:

Fascinating Findings
Fascinating Finding

Iowa is the overall best state to retire in according to the rank. It ranked among the top 15 states and had the lowest rates of fraud, identity theft, and violent crime cases. It offers a low cost of living, lesser home prices, and better healthcare, making it both an affordable and safe choice. 

California ranked at the bottom and is the worst state to retire in among all. The high home prices and cost of living make it an undesirable choice for retirees. In addition to that, it has the highest identity theft and fraud cases among all the states in the U.S. Not to mention the shockingly high crime rates. 

Wyoming, Kentucky, and Vermont ranked fairly well and are the best states to retire in if one wants to avoid fraud and identity theft. 

Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Rhode island rank the highest among the states with the best healthcare. One of the reasons for this status is the fact that these states have the lowest average health insurance premiums (monthly).

New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont have some of the lowest crime rates in the nation. On the other hand, Alaska, the District of Columbia, and New Mexico have the highest crime rates. 


All 50 states and the District of Columbia were researched on various factors/indicators that affect retirees to determine the best states for retirement. Recent data on FBI violent crime rates, identity theft, and fraud, the overall cost of living, tax policies for retirees, healthcare and more were analyzed. It was possible to allot rankings to assign each of the states a total score.

StateRankTotal ScoreIdentity Theft/Fraud RankViolent Crime RankTaxes on Retirees RatingCost of Living RankHealthcare RankHome Price Rank
West Virginia483420316391
North Dakota5851117225525
New Mexico201211449342922
Rhode Island21122269541338
South Dakota2813740333281023
New Hampshire301404834351337
New Jersey351523365422343
North Carolina3716039283224820
South Carolina4317247421234415
New York4719343265492842
District of Columbia492085151250450

In terms of specifics Florida, Maine, Vermont, West Virginia, and Montana are host to the highest proportion of residents over 65. So if one wants to spend time in a neighborhood populated with people of their same age, these are ideal choices. One gravitates towards familiarity and people to bond with who are generally in their age group as one grows older. 

Colorado, Texas, Georgia, Alaska, and Utah have the least number of residents above retirement age. The life expectancy rates are highest in California, Hawaii, Connecticut, New York, and Minnesota. Similarly, the lowest is in Louisiana, Alabama, Oklahoma, Mississippi, and West Virginia.

Top 5 States for Retirement and Why:


The Hawkeye state secures the first rank as it not just offers a high-quality of living but also good healthcare. Although it ranks 13th in affordability, it ranks 4th in taxes for retirees. 

Iowa does not top in any categories but is consistently among the top 20 in all categories. It secured a total score that was high enough to edge out Kentucky. 


  • 15th for crime 
  • Iowa is 14th in cost of living. It has a 92 on the Council for Community and Economic Research Scale while 100 is the national average. 
  • Ninth for the average home price according to the census.
  • It scored 12th for life expectancy, with 79.4 years being the average in the evaluation conducted by the Institute for Health and Metrics and Evaluation. 

2. Kentucky

You can be around beautiful sunsets and rolling hills once you retire to Kentucky. It is affordable and beautiful, the best state to retire in for retirees who want to enjoy a relaxing lifestyle and life in close harmony with nature. 

The Bluegrass state does tax retirement or any disability income for the county, federal, veterans, and state employees. These benefits are also a boon for those who work in academics. 

The state gives a Homestead tax exemption for those above 65. 

3. Kansas

Kansas comes in 3rd in the nation. It is favorable for retirees for the economic advantages. It offers a cost of living that is 10 percent lower comparatively than the national average.  

4. West Virginia:

The Mountain state is called that for a good reason. With mountains, forests, and lakes blanketing the area, it is a haven for retirees. For those who love outdoor activities like fishing, kayaking, bird-watching, and hiking, this state can prove to be a great decision. 

It is not just beautiful but also affordable. Its tax system makes it alluring for retirees. It has some of the lowest property taxes in the nation. The sales taxes as well are relatively cheap. 

Although Social Security and some other retirement income are taxed, senior citizens can claim a deduction. This deduction will offset the. The low cost of living that West Virginia offers makes it possible for retirees to live on a small annual income. The tax-friendliness of the state depends on the level of income. It has very low sales and property taxes. 

5. North Dakota

North Dakota may not be the first choice for many retirees. But the state has many benefits that people tend to overlook. It has terrific healthcare benefits, low property and income taxes, low crime rates, and so on. It is one of the best retirement states if you are planning to retire early. 

It ranked 3rd in healthcare, tying with Rhode Island. It ranks a high 2nd in the taxes on retirees category. 

Although the weather may be extreme for some, it is one of the safest states because of its low crime rates. South Dakota does not have an income tax for the state. The goods and services here are available at a price 12% below the national average. 


Which state to retire in is a personal decision. But the decision should be based on sound planning and setting your priorities right. If your focus is healthcare, prioritizing states that rank high in that category is an obvious decision. No matter where you decide to retire, start researching and making plans to lay back and relax. 

Source material and research all courtesy: Choice Mutual