dcsimg
 

Best States for Retirement 2010

MoneyRates.com Senior Financial Analyst, CFA
September 21, 2010

Also see the latest Best States to Retire feature

"Best of" lists are usually based on subjective points. When choosing our 10 best and worst states to retire, we went with the objective. Earlier this week, MoneyRates.com published a list of the 10 worst states for retirement. This list was based on a combination of quantifiable factors including:

  • Economics (factoring in cost of living, unemployment, and average state and local tax burden)
  • Climate
  • Crime rate
  • Life expectancy

Now, the good news. MoneyRates.com has compiled a list of the 10 best states for retirement. You'll find the MoneyRates.com list is not all geared to one set of priorities -- it isn't, for example, a list of 10 warm-weather states -- but instead should have something for everybody.

Some of the choices might surprise you, but when you look over the criteria, you can decide which states have the most appealing characteristics for your tastes. Then join the discussion on the best and worst states for retirement on the MoneyRates.com blog.

Data sources: ACCRA Cost of Living Index, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Tax Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, MSNBC, the US Census Bureau, Bloomberg Businessweek

Idaho, one of 10 best states for retirement
No. 10: Idaho

Economic factors: Cost of living is 92 percent of the national average, unemployment is at 8.8 percent, and the average state and local tax burden is 10.1 percent.

Climate: Average monthly temperatures range from 23.6 degrees in January to 66.24 degrees in July.

Crime rate: 43rd in the nation in violent crime, 45th in property crime.

Life expectancy: 77.9 years

Reason for high rank: With its low crime rates, this is a great state if you are concerned about security, and the cost of living is cheap as well. Just watch out for the climate and the tax burden -- both can be a little rough.

Vermont, one of 10 best states for retirementNo. 9: Vermont

Economic factors: Cost of living is 97 percent of the national average, unemployment is at 6 percent, and the average state and local tax burden is 10.3 percent.

Climate: Average monthly temperatures range from 16.41 degrees in January to 67.38 degrees in July.

Crime rate: 49th in the nation in violent crime, 44th in property crime.

Life expectancy: 78.2 years

Reason for high rank: If you like cooler weather, then you'll be able to appreciate Vermont for that plus its low crime rates and high life expectancy. The high tax burden is a drawback, however.

Connecticut, one of 10 best states for retirementNo. 8: Connecticut

Economic factors: Cost of living is 126 percent of the national average, unemployment is at 8.9 percent, and the average state and local tax burden is 11.1 percent.

Climate: Average monthly temperatures range from 25.96 degrees in January to 71.52 degrees in July.

Crime rate: 41st in the nation in violent crime, 41st in property crime.

Life expectancy: 78.7 years

Reason for high rank: If you want to be reasonably close to a major metropolitan area like New York or Boston, but with lower crime rates, then Connecticut might be a good option. It isn't cheap though -- both the cost of living and the tax burden are on the high side.

Utah, one of 10 best states for retirementNo. 7: Utah

Economic factors: Cost of living is 97 percent of the national average, unemployment is at 7.2 percent, and the average state and local tax burden is 9.6 percent.

Climate: Average monthly temperatures range from 25.93 degrees in January to 72.51 degrees in July.

Crime rate: 44th in the nation in violent crime, 19th in property crime.

Life expectancy: 78.7 years

Reason for high rank: Utah shapes up as the pick of the Southwestern states, on the strength of a low violent crime rate, moderate cost of living, and one of the highest life expectancies in the nation.

Virginia, one of 10 best states for retirementNo. 6: Virginia

Economic factors: Cost of living is 99 percent of the national average, unemployment is at 7.0 percent, and the average state and local tax burden is 9.8 percent.

Climate: Average monthly temperatures range from 34.48 degrees in January to 75.10 degrees in July.

Crime rate: 40th in the nation in violent crime, 39th in property crime.

Life expectancy: 76.8 years

Reason for high rank: The mid-Atlantic coast region offers mild temperatures, and unlike some other states in the region, Virginia also features low crime rates and a relatively healthy economy.

Iowa, one of 10 best states for retirementNo. 5: Iowa

Economic factors: Cost of living is 93 percent of the national average, unemployment is at 6.8 percent, and the average state and local tax burden is 9.3 percent.

Climate: Average monthly temperatures range from 17.84 degrees in January to 73.76 degrees in July.

Crime rate: 32nd in the nation in violent crime, 36th in property crime.

Life expectancy: 78.3 years

Reason for high rank: Iowa represents the Midwest well, with a combination of a low cost of living and a healthy economy, plus the life expectancy is fairly high.

North Dakota, one of 10 best states for retirementNo. 4: North Dakota

Economic factors: Cost of living is 95 percent of the national average, unemployment is at 3.6 percent, and the average state and local tax burden is 9.2 percent.

Climate: Average monthly temperatures range from 7.9 degrees in January to 68.7 degrees in July.

Crime rate: 47th in the nation in violent crime, 49th in property crime.

Life expectancy: 78.3 years

Reason for high rank: One of the real surprises in this study, North Dakota's frigid climate must be healthy because life expectancy is among the highest in the nation. Also, North Dakota's crime rates are among the lowest in the US.

South Dakota, one of 10 best states for retirementNo. 3: South Dakota

Economic factors: Cost of living is 91 percent of the national average, unemployment is at 4.4 percent, and the average state and local tax burden is 7.9 percent.

Climate: Average monthly temperatures range from 16.11 degrees in January to 72.47 degrees in July.

Crime rate: 46th in the nation in violent crime, 50th in property crime.

Life expectancy: 77.7 years

Reason for high rank: You might expect South Dakota to grade out similarly to North Dakota, and it has, but your dollar will go farther in South Dakota thanks to a lower cost of living and tax burden. Also, the climate is just a bit milder.

Hawaii, one of 10 best states for retirementNo. 2: Hawaii

Economic factors: Cost of living is 167 percent of the national average, unemployment is at 6.3 percent, and the average state and local tax burden is 10.6 percent.

Climate: Average monthly temperatures range from 73 degrees in January and February to 82 degrees in August.

Crime rate: 39th in the nation in violent crime, 3rd in property crime.

Life expectancy: 80.0 years

Reason for high rank: A natural choice as a warm-weather site, Hawaii also features the highest life expectancy of any state. Make sure your retirement plan is well-funded, though: The cost of living is the highest in the U.S. Maybe you can't have everything in paradise.

New Hampshire, one of 10 best states for retirementNo. 1: New Hampshire

Economic factors: Cost of living is 89 percent of the national average, unemployment is at 5.8 percent, and the average state and local tax burden is 7.6 percent.

Climate: Average monthly temperatures range from 18.17 degrees in January to 67.83 degrees in July.

Crime rate: 48th in the nation in violent crime, 48th in property crime.

Life expectancy: 78.3 years

Reason for high rank: For the frugal New Englander in you, New Hampshire's cost of living and tax burden are among the lowest in the U.S. Crime is also low, and life expectancy high. Just bring plenty of sensible clothes, because climate was the one criteria on which New Hampshire did not score well.

 

This list might make you think twice about where you decide to retire. However if you decide to stay put, be sure to explore other ways of boosting your income – including moving your money to the best savings accounts, money market accounts and other deposit accounts.

For the full list of states, check our blog post Best and worst states for retirement: The complete list.

MoneyRates Featured Savings Rates
 Account Type
 Amount

Type: Savings

Minimum to earn APY $0

0.95%APY

Rates as of 9/23/2014
FDIC Insured

Advertiser Comments

  • Member FDIC
  • ID Theft Resolution Services
  • Synchrony Bank was formerly GE Capital Retail Bank

Type: Savings

Minimum to earn APY $0

0.80%APY

Rates as of 9/23/2014
FDIC Insured

Advertiser Comments

  • Member FDIC. No minimums and no fees.

Type: Savings

Minimum to earn APY $0

0.90%APY

Rates as of 9/23/2014
FDIC Insured

Advertiser Comments

  • No Minimum Balance
  • No Monthly Maintenance Fees
  • FDIC Insured

Type: Savings

Minimum to earn APY $25000

0.95%APY

Rates as of 9/23/2014
FDIC Insured

Advertiser Comments

  • Built on the heritage of over 100 years.
  • Member FDIC.

Type: Savings

Minimum to earn APY $0

0.90%APY

Rates as of 9/23/2014
FDIC Insured

Advertiser Comments

  • No minimum deposit to open.
  • No monthly maintenance fees.
  • Member FDIC.

Type: Savings

Minimum to earn APY $0

0.75%APY

Rates as of 9/23/2014
FDIC Insured

Advertiser Comments

  • Capital One 360: No fees. No minimums. No changing banks.

Type: Savings

Minimum to earn APY $5000

0.85%APY

Rates as of 9/23/2014
FDIC Insured

Advertiser Comments

  • Easy to open. Easy to fund. Easy to manage.
  • Free online banking and eStatements.
  • National network of free ATMs.

Rates / APY terms above are current as of the date indicated. These quotes are from banks, credit unions and thrifts, some of which have paid for a link to their website. Bank, thrift and credit union deposits are insured by the FDIC or NCUA. Contact the bank for the terms and conditions that may apply to you. Rates are subject to change without notice and may not be the same at all branches.

Your responses to ‘Best States for Retirement 2010’

Showing 10 comments | Add your comment
BGD

4 March 2012 at 3:54 am

I hear what your saying, but all in all, Arkansas is a better state to retire to. if your over 65 yrs of age an are on a fixed income between 1600 to 2500 bucks a month, this is your place- you have NO property tax, if your a disable vet with 100% you have NO property tax, its a retirement state with medical all over the place, NO car inspections, NO unions 'they stink anyway..lol, NO building codes outside of city limits, low crime rate .. we carry guns an know how to use them, NO home invasion, we have guns there too, NO car jacking .. yup guns too, warm hot summers, short to no winters, last one lasted a day in a half, dog can run free, NO leash laws, We still believe in GOD and COUNTRY, and the only fruitcakes you can find are at walmart on bakery department at half price

Virginia

29 February 2012 at 7:15 pm

Utah is very nice, but you better like Mormons. I know a person that had a job offer in Ogden but did not move there since he was living with his girl friend and not married. Marriage and lots of kids are everything to Mormons. Also, you did not mention that Utah is a dry state thanks to the Mormons. I would think twice, you might have to change your life style more than you would like. It could be like living in a foreign country.

Virginia

29 February 2012 at 6:57 pm

Not to may social people in Idaho. I would not live there. Plus it is FREEZING in the winter. It is right next to West Yellowstone which ranks as the coldest spot in the 50 states each year. Also, aren't there a TON of crazies, skinheads, nazis, gun nuts, and militant types in Idaho? You better mind your own business if you retire there. I would not want to get shot. Here is a good example - http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/11/dc-shooting-suspect-could-be-threat-to-obama-police-say/

Virginia

29 February 2012 at 6:46 pm

You ever watch House Hunters??? A very small condo in Hawaii starts at 700-800,000. Homes go for WAY more. Only the VERY rich can buy in Hawaii. And I hope you don't get Island fever. If you want the tropics retire to Puerto Rico. I know a LOT of people that have a winter home there. Fairly safe, very nice weather, and close to the mainland. You can also retire there full time. Also, Guam may be another place to investigate for cheap tropical retirements.

Virginia

29 February 2012 at 6:37 pm

North and South Dakota? You got to be kidding! It is freezing there. You ever see the movie Fargo? NO THANK YOU!!! Old people would freeze to death in these states. Who made this list??? Iowa Vermont and New Hampshire are also only good for summer vacation homes. Take advantage of the low home prices in Arizona, New Mexico and Florida and enjoy life.

Virginia

29 February 2012 at 6:29 pm

It's 2012. Virginia now hates women and wants to control women's body and shame them for abortions by shoving probes in their bodies. STAY out of this crazy STATE!!!

Joe

5 August 2011 at 10:53 am

Both of your comments have value but you're both missing the point. Maybe your just a bit insulted. I don't know about your personal inklings but this list does need to be understood. Like the title stated; 10 best states for retirement. Not the ten best cities for retirement. The author took the premise that a person or persons reading his article would be looking at a state and not an area of a state or a city in which to move. It's like a basic search for a very large area, a state, which has certain statistics and weather. If a person is interested in looking at the Midwest then they can compare those states. Another search could compare the smaller cities of Sioux Falls, Fargo and the Quad Cities. If you're just looking at city living there are plenty of lists for you to read. This basic search article is for starters.

Miles

13 July 2011 at 10:19 am

This list is a tool to be used in combination with others. If, for example, you use this in conjunction with Sperling's bestplace.net, it's a pretty good combination. Use a list such as this to get a broader state view and Sperling's to compare communities. There's no one list that does it all.

Paul E

14 June 2011 at 9:19 am

State wide data is not representative of the local regions where one might be living. The average crime is a value; it is probably higer in larger cities and lower in rural areas. A state with one major population area might look desirable unless the big city is where you want to live, then you determine that the rest of the state gave the illusion it might be safer. Similarly, a state like Illinois might be great except for higher crime in major cities. Without supporting data, this list is not useful for decision making.

Tyler Webb

11 June 2011 at 6:18 am

I see a high emphasis on crime rates with less emphasis on economics. A bit unusual when looking at locations for retirement. Although crime rates are certainly important, economics are paramount when considering retirement. Many of the places having high crime rates also have large cities which help explain the high rate for the "state". Fine tuning by areas within states makes more sense.

Add your comment
(required)
(will not be published, required)