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Retirement Planning > Retirement Investing

10 best and worst states for retirement

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Choosing the best place to spend your retirement years can be difficult. There are so many factors to consider: cost of living, matching your desired lifestyle and closeness to family and friends.

There are lots of ways to slice and dice the data. In the past, we’ve looked at international places and offbeat, inexpensive places to spend post-work years.

Now we turn our attention to’s ranking of all 50 states. We’ve included the Top 10 and Bottom 10 in the rankings, which were based on several factors. They include taxes paid as a percentage of state income; cost of living based on data from the Council for Community and Economic Research (the higher the score the more expensive the state); healthcare quality, from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (the higher the score the better the healthcare); and the percentage of days the sun shines brightly.

Here is the countdown of the 10 worst retirement states, followed by those who rated highest:


10. Kentucky

Cost of Living: 90.9

Tax Burden: 9.5%

Healthcare Quality: 34.6

Possible Sunshine: 54.7%


9. Maryland

Cost of Living: 116.5

Tax Burden: 10.6%

Healthcare Quality: 42.2

Possible Sunshine: 57%


8. Oklahoma

Cost of Living: 90.5

Tax Burden: 8.5%

Healthcare Quality: 34.6

Possible Sunshine: 61%


7. Louisiana

Cost of Living: 95.8

Tax Burden: 7.6%

Healthcare Quality: 35.2

Possible Sunshine: 64.3%


6. Alabama

Cost of Living: 93.4

Tax Burden: 8.3%

Healthcare Quality: 39.4

Possible Sunshine: 57.7%


5. Hawaii

Cost of Living: 158.1

Tax Burden: 9.6%

Healthcare Quality: 49.7

Possible Sunshine: 59.3%


4. Arkansas

Cost of Living: 91.5

Tax Burden: 10.3%

Healthcare Quality: 36.5

Possible Sunshine: 65% 


3. Alaska

Cost of Living: 135.3

Tax Burden: 7%

Healthcare Quality: 38.1

Possible Sunshine: 37.7%


2. West Virginia

Cost of Living: 97

Tax Burden: 9.7%

Healthcare Quality: 32.8

Possible Sunshine: 40%


1. New York

Cost of Living: 129.1

Tax Burden: 12.6%

Healthcare Quality: 46.1

Possible Sunshine: 50.8%


10. Virginia

Cost of Living: 96.4

Tax Burden: 9.2%

Healthcare Quality: 51.4

Possible Sunshine: 60.7%


9. Iowa

Cost of Living: 92.4

Tax Burden: 9.3%

Healthcare Quality: 60.7

Possible Sunshine: 60%


8. Idaho

Cost of Living: 90.6

Tax Burden: 9.5%

Healthcare Quality: 46.4

Possible Sunshine: 64%


7. Montana

Cost of Living: 98.8

Tax Burden: 8.6%

Healthcare Quality: 48

Possible Sunshine: 58.8%


6. Nebraska

Cost of Living: 90.2

Tax Burden: 9.4%

Health care Quality: 54.6

Possible Sunshine: 63.3%


5. Wyoming

Cost of Living: 97.2

Tax Burden: 6.9%

Healthcare Quality: 43.4

Possible Sunshine: 65.7% 


4. North Dakota

Cost of Living: 100.8

Tax Burden: 8.8%

Healthcare Quality: 56.8

Possible Sunshine: 58.7%


3. Utah

Cost of Living: 92.6

Tax Burden: 9.4%

Healthcare Quality: 57.1

Possible Sunshine: 68% 


2. Colorado

Cost of Living: 98.8

Tax Burden: 9%

Healthcare Quality: 55.2

Possible Sunshine: 72%


1. South Dakota

Cost of Living: 99.2

Tax Burden: 7.1%

Healthcare Quality: 54.2

Possible Sunshine: 63%


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