If you’re on a fixed income — like most people in retirement — controlling your expenses becomes more important than ever.
One way to do that? Living somewhere with a lower cost of living. That’s part of the thinking behind the website WalletHub’s ranking of “2024’s Best States to Retire.”
While their ranking incorporates “46 key indicators of retirement-friendliness” sorted into three key dimensions — health care, quality of life and affordability — we’re just going to highlight the best states in that last category, affordability.
Here are the states deemed most affordable for retirees.
WalletHub’s study found that Georgia has one of the lowest percentages of the population that’s age 65 and older despite being a relatively affordable state for retirees.
A separate study from Bankrate in 2021 rated Georgia as the best state for retirees based on affordability, wellness, weather and other factors.
Idaho has been an increasingly popular place to move in the past couple years, as we’ve reported.
It might be because Idaho has the lowest property crime rate in the country, according to WalletHub. It could also be a love of wide open rugged nature, or potatoes — the state is responsible for one-third of the U.S. supply.
Nevada is among the best states for low taxes, thanks in part to having no state income tax. If the only thing you know about in Nevada is Las Vegas, check out “13 of the Best Places To Retire in Nevada.”
Out of the top 10 most affordable states for retirement, Wyoming stands out for its excellent quality of life, also taking WalletHub’s No. 7 ranking in that category. The Equality State is full of breathtaking landscapes and home to one of the most beautiful national parks, Grand Teton National Park.
Tennessee ranks 39th overall as a place for retirees, after placing low on health care and quality of life, according to WalletHub, but it takes the No. 6 spot for affordability. The state has no personal income tax or pension tax, and seniors make up about 17% of the population, as we explain in “8 of the Best Places to Retire in Tennessee.”
5. West Virginia
West Virginia tied for highest percentage of seniors in its population. For “almost heaven,” as the John Denver song goes, we recommend Cheat Lake.
Florida is famous for its retirees, so it’s no surprise WalletHub found the state tied for highest percentage of the population aged 65 and older. The state also ranked No. 1 for quality of life. In Florida, retirees won’t contend with taxes on Social Security benefits or personal income.
Delaware has one of the highest shares of the population that’s age 65 and older, and the second-best “taxpayer” ranking behind Alaska, according to WalletHub. This in part due to a lack of estate and inheritance taxes. Residents in Delaware may also be able to exclude a certain amount of retirement income from taxes, and the state does not tax Social Security benefits, according to the Delaware Division of Revenue.
2. South Carolina
Despite ranking below average in the other categories of WalletHub’s study, South Carolina’s high score on affordability helped give it the No. 11 position overall among the best states to retire in.
South Carolina may not be your first thought for a beachside retirement, but it’s home to some of our “9 Great Places to Retire by the Beach.”
At opposite ends of the scale, WalletHub gave Alabama the second-lowest ranking for health care but the top ranking for affordability. Alabama also has going for it some of the lowest property tax rates in the country.