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The 10 Best and 10 Worst States to Retire In

The South and Midwest dominate the top of the rankings.

For you and your clients, the end of your (and their) career raises numerous questions about where and how to spend your days now that you’re no longer tied to a specific location. 

In a recent study, Bankrate looked at several public and private data sets related to the life of retirees to determine where each state stands. The study examined five categories (weightings in parentheses): affordability (40%), overall well-being (25%), quality/cost of health care (20%), weather (10%) and crime (5%).

Somewhat surprisingly, Iowa claimed the top spot. The Hawkeye state ranked well in affordability (3), quality/cost of health care (11) and crime (12). The Midwest and South claimed the remaining best states to retire. Notably, the second-best state for retirement, Delaware, ranked second for well-being, while West Virginia claimed the third spot overall and ranked first for affordability. Missouri (5th in affordability) and Mississippi (2nd in affordability) round out the top five. 

Bankrate’s methodology has evolved over the years, and a greater emphasis now seems to be placed on keeping costs low across all categories. As such, more expensive northeastern states have plummeted in the rankings (Massachusetts went from 5th in 2021 to 46th this year, for example). While cheaper places to settle down, largely in the South (although these inexpensive states scored well previously too), have seen a bump.

Here are the rest of the 10 best and 10 worst states for retirees:

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