The 15 Most Expensive States for Retirees

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Shocked senior woman
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Rising costs are on the minds of many these days but perhaps most urgently among those nearing retirement.

With less time left 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 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.

15. Minnesota

Duluth, Minnesota
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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.

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 second-most expensive state for in-home services.

14. Pennsylvania

Allentown, Pennsylvania
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Pennsylvania is the fourth-worst state for taxpayers, WalletHub found. Its effective total state and local tax rate for the typical household is about 14%. On the bright side, it doesn’t tax Social Security benefits as some states do.

13. Alaska

Anchorage, Alaska
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In sharp contrast to Pennsylvania, Alaska is the best state in the country for taxes, with an effective total tax rate below 6%. That’s thanks to having no income tax, state sales tax, Social Security tax or inheritance and estate taxes.

Unfortunately, it has the fifth-highest cost of living in the country, which may offset the tax benefits.

12. Hawaii

Lanikai Beach in Kailua, Hawaii
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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 overall cost of living in the country, WalletHub says.

11. Rhode Island

Providence, Rhode Island
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Rhode Island is tied for having the third-highest annual cost of in-home services in the country and recently also ranked among the most expensive states for groceries — they eat up 7% of a household budget.

10. Maryland

Baltimore homes
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Maryland is home to the fifth-best hospital in the country, Johns Hopkins Hospital. But overall, the state ranks 14th for its scores on health care metrics, WalletHub found, And it’s not an especially affordable place to retire, either.

9. Connecticut

Bridgeport, Connecticut
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Connecticut is the second-worst state when it comes to taxes, with a typical household paying a rate of nearly 15% for state and local taxes.

8. Oregon

Bridge over Willamette River, Oregon
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As far as states on the West Coast go, you could do worse. But overall, Oregon is an expensive place to live, and the state’s residents have a life expectancy of 19.3 years beyond the typical retirement age of 65.

7. Maine

Portland, Maine
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Maine has excellent health care and quality of life, 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.”

6. Massachusetts

Worcester, Massachusetts
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Massachusetts has the highest quality of life and the third-best health care system, according to the WalletHub rankings. But by now, you know the catch — it also has the fourth-highest cost of living.

5. Washington

Spokane, Washington
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Washington state has the 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.

4. Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
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Illinois has the distinction of being the worst state for taxes, according to an earlier WalletHub ranking. The Land of Lincoln has a combined state and local tax rate of more than 15%.

3. Vermont

Lake Memphremagog in Newport, Vermont
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Vermont ranks No. 2 on WalletHub’s health care metrics, but there are only two states ranked below it for affordability.

However, it has a fast-growing population of seniors and just about the most beautiful autumn scenery you can imagine.

2. New Jersey

Jersey City, New Jersey
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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 in the country, according to recent research.

1. New York

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New York has the third-highest cost of living (after Hawaii 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.