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The Best States to Retire in 2021

Considering everything from taxes to weather, crime and culture, whether you choose to move or stay, the state you live in has an impact on the quality of your retirement.

Not everyone moves when they retire. Many retirees choose to stay in their homes and may want to remain close to friends,  family, and community. 

Others may want to move closer to family or live in a warmer climate with less snow shoveling and more leisure activities like swimming, hiking, golf, or tennis. Living on a fixed income means where you retire should be affordable enough to not only pay the bills but to enjoy those activities, along with movies, theater, concerts, or other cultural events.

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So whether you choose to move or stay, the state you live in has an impact on the quality of your retirement.

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To determine the best U.S. states for retirees, personal finance site Bankrate scored and ranked all 50 states in five categories:

  • Affordability, which was 40% of the score and was calculated using the 2020 2020 Cost of Living Index from the Council for Community and Economic Research and property and sales tax rates
  • Wellness (20%) includes access to health care, access to food, physical health, and economic security based on the Sharecare Community Well-Being Index released in May 2021.
  • Culture (15%) was calculated using the number of arts, entertainment, recreation establishments, restaurants, and adults 65 and older per capita from the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Weather (15%) was based on averages from NOAA and includes data on tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes from the U.S. Geological Survey.
  • The crime ranking (10%) uses the rates of property crimes and violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants in each state from the FBI’s 2019 Crime in the U.S. report.

Here are the 30 best states to retire.