Rising costs are on the minds of many these days but perhaps most urgently among those nearing retirement.
Between having less time to save or wait for investments to rebound and stubbornly high inflation raising costs, one of the best ways to control expenses is to live somewhere affordable. That could mean downsizing, relocating or both.
With that in mind, the affordability category in WalletHub’s 2023 rankings of the best states for retirees provides a good starting place toward figuring out where to live — or not to live — in retirement. It takes into consideration the cost of living, tax friendliness, the cost of in-home services, the cost of adult day health care and the share of the senior population unable to afford a doctor’s visit.
By those metrics, the following are the most expensive states to retire in.
In addition to scoring low for affordability, Pennsylvania is the fourth-worst state for taxpayers, WalletHub found. On the bright side, it doesn’t tax Social Security benefits as some states do.
Nebraska ranks moderately well in quality of life (16th) and health care (15th) in WalletHub’s rankings, but that comes at a price — for affordability it takes 37th place. One bright spot, however, is that Nebraska lowered taxes in 2023 — and plans to each year through 2027.
The beaches of Hawaii may sparkle just as brightly in the minds of retirees as those in Florida, but there’s a significant difference in the price of island life. Hawaii has the highest adjusted cost of living in the country, WalletHub says.
12. Rhode Island
Rhode Island last year ranked among the most expensive states for groceries — they eat up more than 7% of a household budget in the state. It’s also one of the riskiest states for financial crimes that often target older people, as we explain in “9 States Where People Face the Highest Risk of Identity Theft and Fraud.”
Minnesota is one of the longest-lived states, with a life expectancy for residents of about 84 years and the best hospital in the country in the city of Rochester.
Having to stretch retirement savings over a long life makes it all the more important to keep your costs under control, but WalletHub says Minnesota is the most expensive state for in-home services.
As far as states on the West Coast go, you could do worse. But overall, Oregon is an expensive place to live, notable for having some of the highest costs in the nation for in-home services, according to WalletHub.
It might be worth it, though: The state’s residents have a life expectancy of 19.3 years beyond the typical retirement age of 65, one of the longest average lifespans in the country.
The Land of Lincoln has the distinction of being the worst state for taxes, according to WalletHub. Chicago, in particular, is one of the most heavily taxed cities in the country.
Maine has excellent health care and quality of life and the highest proportion of seniors among its population in the country, but those come with a significant price tag, according to WalletHub.
If you had to choose between Portland, Oregon, and Portland, Maine, though, we consider the latter among “7 of the Most Beautiful Places to Retire in America.”
Connecticut has the third-best health care in the U.S., but it’s the second-worst state when it comes to taxes, with a typical household paying a rate of nearly 15% for state and local taxes.
Washington state has the second-most expensive in-home services in the country and overall is pretty pricey. But if you’re keen about living there, tiny Wahkiakum County is relatively affordable and has some beautiful communities along the Columbia River.
Maryland is home to the fifth-best hospital in the country, Johns Hopkins Hospital, according to U.S. News & World Report. But overall, WalletHub found that the state’ scores on health care metrics rank it 19th best in the country. And it’s not an especially affordable place to retire either.
Massachusetts has the highest quality of life and the second-best health care system, according to the WalletHub rankings. But by now, you know the catch — it also has the second-highest adjusted cost of living.
Vermont ranks No. 2 on WalletHub’s health care metrics, but there are only two states ranked below it for affordability. It’s no wonder it has the largest senior workforce in the country — gotta pay the bills somehow.
However, it has a fast-growing population of seniors and just about the most beautiful autumn scenery you can imagine.
2. New Jersey
Any way you slice it, New Jersey is an expensive place to live. The living wage for a single working adult here — that is, what wage it takes to enjoy a basic standard of living — is $20.57 an hour, the fifth-worst state in the country, according to recent research.
1. New York
New York has the fourth-highest adjusted cost of living (after Hawaii, Massachusetts and California) but overall ranks as the most expensive state for retirees to live in. Part of the reason why is that it’s the third-worst state for taxes, according to WalletHub.
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