The 15 Best States for Stretching Your Retirement Savings

A senior woman in glasses smiles while he rests her hands on a piggy bank and lies on a bed
Photo by Racorn /

Americans’ lackluster retirement savings situation draws a lot of attention — and rightfully so. Recent surveys have found that 47 percent of workers have less than $25,000 in savings, and workers with retirement plans like a 401(k) aren’t saving nearly as much as they could stash in those accounts.

But amid all the fretting these statistics elicit, we often forget that saving more money is just one way to help ensure your retirement savings will last.

Where you choose to spend your golden years can also stretch your retirement funds further — or deplete them faster. This is because expenses ranging from taxes to housing can vary widely from state to state.

The best state in the nation for stretching your retirement savings is Delaware, according to a new analysis by GOBankingRates. A variety of expenses were examined for the analysis, including:

  • Taxes — average state sales tax, state tax on Social Security benefits, average property tax
  • Living expenses — average home listing price, median home value, cost of living index
  • Health expenses — average health insurance premiums, Medicare spending per person

Delaware was ranked No. 1 partly because of its taxes. It has no sales tax and doesn’t tax Social Security benefits, and property taxes are relatively low. As GOBankingRates puts it:

“Delaware is the best state to retire rich because retirees can hang onto more of their money.”

Other findings about Delaware include:

  • Average home listing price: $291,161
  • Average health insurance premium: $423
  • Average Medicare spending per person: $9,905

The 15 highest-ranked states are:

  1. Delaware
  2. Michigan
  3. Maryland
  4. Indiana
  5. New Jersey
  6. Pennsylvania
  7. New Hampshire
  8. Wyoming
  9. Virginia
  10. Florida
  11. Mississippi
  12. Texas
  13. Louisiana
  14. Oklahoma
  15. Alabama

At the other end of the spectrum is Hawaii, coming in at No. 50.

The Aloha State doesn’t tax Social Security benefits, has relatively low state sales and property tax rates, and has relatively low health care costs. But the cost of living there is higher than in any other state. The average home listing price, for example, is $905,878 — the highest in the nation.

If you’re ready to up and move to Delaware instead, consider the city of Wilmington first. It was recently ranked the No. 1 retirement hot spot for active seniors.

For more factors you should consider before deciding where to retirement, check out “11 Critical Things to Consider When Choosing Where to Retire.”

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