WalletHub looked at all 50 states and the District of Columbia, considering all sorts of elements that go into making a state a pleasant place to live.
Factored into this list are such considerations as cost of living, of course, but some less tangible advantages/disadvantages too.
If you love museums, art galleries, or the theater, for instance, you’ll either be miserable at their absence or spend more than you intended getting to such destinations in other states.
Then there’s the question of how many doctors, dentists, and the like are nearby. If there aren’t enough located close enough to where you’re living, that could present problems too.
Whether because of the crime rate, the air and water quality, the amount your retirement income will be taxed, or the potential for jobs for seniors in the area, you might want to look elsewhere before deciding on one of these 10 locations.
Here they are, from 10th worst to number-one worst state in which to retire:
Bring your wallets if you move to Maryland, where your tax bill will run 11 percent higher than the national average.
One reason for that is the state’s income tax, for which it ranked 49th in the country.
The state only ranked 38th on quality of life (those intangibles like theaters and museums), and 30th on health care—not exactly a sterling recommendation. Kind of a high price to pay…
When it comes to high costs of living, Alaska is right up (or down) there, occupying the 48th slot — just a tad better than New York.
It has the second highest annual cost of in-home services — definitely not a good thing for seniors — and the lowest percentage of the population aged 65 or older.
In its defense, apparently a lot of those seniors are working; Alaska has the highest percentage of those aged 65 or older who are employed, and it got top place in WalletHub’s “Taxpayer” ranking, with the tax bill running a whopping 47 percent below the national average.
8. New York
It probably wouldn’t surprise anyone that New York has the second highest property crime rate in the country.
What might surprise you is that it’s tied for fifth longest life expectancy.
Since it’s tied for first place for most theaters per capita, and occupies first place all by itself for the most museums per capita, retirees will have plenty to occupy their time.
If they can afford it, that is — New York has the third highest adjusted cost of living in the country.
7. West Virginia
Tied at 49th lowest in the country is West Virginia’s life expectancy.
If you don’t plan on a long retirement, maybe you won’t care…
Ironically, the state ranks third highest in the percentage of its population aged 65 or older. Must be a lot of people moving in.
But apparently they’re not working, since the state has the lowest percentage in the nation of employed people aged 65 or older. And when it comes to intangibles, it has the third lowest number of museums per capita.
In its favor, the state is tied for second-lowest annual cost of in-home services in the country.
6. New Jersey
Overall, New Jersey’s taxes are 16 percent higher than the national average.
And while it finished 42nd in WalletHub’s “Taxpayer” rating, its adjusted rank, based on the high cost of living in the state, brings it down to 47th place.
The Garden State, in addition to being “blessed” with the highest property taxes in the nation, has the third highest property crime rate — trailing only New York and — Vermont? (Ironically, it has the second-lowest gasoline taxes in the country — maybe so people can gas up to exit the state.)
Now here’s a surprise. Vermont has the highest property crime rate in the country. Do people vandalize the snow?
In its favor, however, Vermont is tied for fifth place in having the largest percentage of its population aged 65 or older, and has the third largest population of employed people aged 65 or older. It’s also tied for fifth place with the highest life expectancy.
That’s a long time to keep watch over one’s property — or maybe it just seems that way…
Another state with high taxes, the Constitution State ranks 47th in WalletHub’s “Taxpayer” ranking.
In fact, taxes here are 26 percent higher than the national average, and gasoline taxes are the fifth highest in the country.
But, since it’s tied for third place for the highest life expectancy, you’ll just end up paying longer.
What? Not retire to an island paradise? Not unless you want to pay through the nose for just about everything.
Hawaii has the highest adjusted cost of living in the country.
Remember, if you live on an island whatever isn’t produced there has to be brought in — and that makes it pricey.
In addition, the cost of in-home services is the third highest annually in the nation, and despite its rich and unusual history and art, it’s fifth from the bottom in the number of museums per capita. But it does have the highest life expectancy in the country.
2. Washington, D.C.
Okay, okay, so it’s not a state.
But all the same, it’s good to know that the District of Columbia ought to be near the bottom of your list for a prospective retirement retreat.
While you may be aging, you won’t find all that much company in the nation’s capital; D.C. has the lowest percentage of the population aged 65 or older.
So it might be tough to find common ground with other folks there.
Wait, isn’t that a hallmark of… Never mind.
In its defense, Washington, D.C. has the lowest property crime rate in the country.
1. Rhode Island.
Such a small state, geographically — but Rhode Island, despite its other charms, finished first — and in this competition, that’s not good.
According to WalletHub’s ranking system, Rhode Island was the top of the bottom — the worst state in which to retire.
So what exactly does that mean?
It means you’ll be paying lots of taxes in the Ocean State — from real estate taxes (the state ranked 42nd in the country) to vehicle property taxes (it was 51st). In fact, WalletHub’s “taxpayer” ranking rated Rhode Island ranked 48th from the top.
Oh, and if you’re a smoker, you’ll be paying the third-highest rate of excise tax on your cigs. (Maybe it will help you to quit.) So your retirement income won’t go all that far when it comes to taxes.