The Best Places to Retire Are Not Where You Think

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If you’re looking to retire, you may want to trade your dreams of relaxing on a sandy beach for exploring the badlands and Black Hills.

According to a survey by Bankrate.com, South Dakota is the best state for retirement in the U.S. Its low taxes, absence of crime, and access to quality health care make it the clear-cut winner.

“Yes, you are still going to need a snow shovel … but you’re getting a lot in return for that cold weather,” Chris Kahn, research and statistics analyst at Bankrate, told CNN Money.

New York is the worst state for retirees, Bankrate said. Florida, a retirement hot spot, is ranked 39. Bankrate’s top 10 list of the best places to retire is primarily dominated by Midwestern and mountain states.

“While the states that ranked highly may not be thought of as typical retiree havens, seniors should consider more than sunshine when choosing a place for their golden years,” Kahn says in a news release.

Bankrate.com considered factors like local weather, cost of living, crime rate, health care quality, tax burden and well-being (using the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index) to rank the states.

The top 10 best states to retire are:

  1. South Dakota
  2. Colorado
  3. Utah
  4. North Dakota
  5. Wyoming
  6. Nebraska
  7. Montana
  8. Idaho
  9. Iowa
  10. Virginia

Retirees should try to avoid the following five states, according to Bankrate:

  1. New York
  2. West Virginia
  3. Alaska
  4. Arkansas
  5. Hawaii

How does your state rank? Click here to find out.

Are you a retiree? If so, where do you live? For those of you still working, how will you decide where to retire in the future? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.

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Comments & discussion

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  • LagunaLady27

    I would never retire in a place where the weather is awful. What’s the point of being somewhere if you are unable to go out and enjoy life? Once no longer tied down to a job, the choices are endless. Why don’t list makers avoid any place where the following words could be used to describe the weather: snow, freezing, cold, high humidity, hot, miserable?

    • eyeRollz

      Because some of us future retirees like cold and snow. And where in the world would you find weather that meets all of your criteria? Even beautiful island weather sometimes turns to hurricanes/typhoons.

      • LagunaLady27

        Please see the prefix in my screen name.