Mon. Jan 24th, 2022

Deciding where to spend your retirement years may feel like an exciting daydream until the time comes to make the decision. It is, of course, an entirely subjective decision; while some may prioritize warm weather and beautiful sandy beaches, others may be more concerned about accessibility and available medical facilities.

But the factor that retirees should prioritize above all is financial stability. It can be overwhelming and scary to step away from a regular paycheck and settle into life on a fixed income. Of course, we recommend hiring a dedicated financial advisor to ease this transition and help you make informed choices about your future.

Many states offer incredible financial benefits to attract retirees. We consulted the expert financial advisors at Personal Capital to determine the top economic factors to weigh. We then researched each state’s current income tax rates, median property tax rate, estate or inheritance tax rates, average home price, medical facilities per 1,000 residents, and percentage of the population over 65 years old. We found that these are the best states to retire in in 2021.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee, during the fall.

ND700 / Shutterstock

Tennessee

The Volunteer State is the 16th most populous state in the country and growing. It’s easy to see why! Tennessee offers everything from hiking and camping in the serene Great Smoky Mountains to a lively party scene in the Music City. Don’t sleep on the food, either; Memphis is world renowned for its spicy barbecue, and Nashville is home to many iconic restaurants and chefs.

Let’s take a look at Tennessee by the numbers:

  • State Income Tax Rate: 0%
  • Median Property Tax Rate: 0.71%
  • Estate Or Inheritance Tax: N/A
  • Average Home Price: $185,922
  • Medical Facilities Per 1,000: 2.9
  • Population Over Age 65: 16.4%

Further reading on Tennessee:

Siesta Key Beach sunset
Julie Hederman

Florida

It’s no surprise that the beautiful Sunshine State made the list of top states for retirees. What’s not to love about waking up to a stunning sunrise over the Atlantic or joining a sunset drum circle on the Gulf beaches? Florida’s year-round warm weather has made it a popular snowbird destination for decades.

What you may not know is that Florida is also one of the best states for stretching retirement dollars. As one recent retiree commented, “We moved from Missouri to Florida when we retired and got a 10 percent raise!” Let’s take a look at the numbers:

  • State Income Tax Rate: 0%
  • Median Property Tax Rate: 0.89%
  • Estate Or Inheritance Tax: N/A
  • Average Home Price: $245,169
  • Medical Facilities Per 1,000: 2.6
  • Population Over Age 65: 20.5%

Further reading on Florida:

Bethany Beach in Delaware.

Bruce Works / Shutterstock

Delaware

This quaint state may be a surprising one to make the list, but Delaware packs a lot of allure into its 2,000 square miles. The state is full of four centuries of United States history, preserved in charming cities like New Castle and Wilmington. Delaware’s sprawling landscape also offers an abundance of outdoor activities, like exploring the swampy wetlands or hiking the flat terrain. Bonus: Delaware’s beaches are some of the most underrated and uncrowded in the country.

Delaware is one of the most financially friendly states for people of all ages to live, thanks to zero statewide sales tax. Let’s break it down:

  • State Income Tax Rate: 6.6%
  • Median Property Tax Rate: 0.57%
  • Estate Or Inheritance Tax: N/A
  • Average Home Price: $254,108
  • Medical Facilities Per 1,000: 2.2
  • Population Over Age 65: 18.7%

Further reading on Delaware:

Redrock Canyon in Nevada.
Photo by joel protasio on Unsplash

Nevada

If the first image that pops into your mind when you think of Nevada is the vibrant party atmosphere of Las Vegas, you’re not alone. However, if that’s not exactly your ideal relaxing retirement setting, don’t worry — this state offers so much more! Nevada is home to two unique national parks, Death Valley and Grand Basin, as well as numerous national monuments, historic trails, state parks, and recreation areas. Warm-weather adventurers will never run out of places to explore.

Nevada is also one of the best states for retirees, thanks to its wide range of financial incentives. Here’s how the numbers break down:

  • State Income Tax Rate: 0%
  • Median Property Tax Rate: 0.6%
  • Estate Or Inheritance Tax: N/A
  • Average Home Price: $301,753
  • Medical Facilities Per 1,000: 2.1
  • Population Over Age 65: 15.7%

Further reading on Nevada:

Desert Sunset: Saguaros and small cacti in Sonoran Desert - Saguaro National Park, Arizona, USA
Nate Hovee / Shutterstock.com

Arizona

Arizona, like Florida, is probably not a surprise to find on this list. Many snowbirds discovered the perks of retired life in this dry, warm state years ago. Arizona offers both vibrant big cities, like Phoenix and Scottsdale, and miles of stunning natural landscapes to explore, including 22 national parks. For the avid baseball fan nervous about leaving their home team, it is also home to half of Major League Baseball’s Spring Training camps.

Even if you’re already sold on the weather and nature, Arizona has many economic benefits for retirees. Here are the numbers:

  • State Income Tax Rate: 4.5%
  • Median Property Tax Rate: 0.72%
  • Estate Or Inheritance Tax: N/A
  • Average Home Price: $333,965
  • Medical Facilities Per 1,000: 1.9
  • Population Over Age 65: 18%

Further reading on Arizona:

Bluebonnets in Brenham, Texas.

Silvio Ligutti / Shutterstock

Texas

Texas, the second-largest state in terms of both size and population, attracts rural cowboys and urbanites alike. The massive state is home to the fourth most populous city in the country, Houston, yet still has thousands of miles of sprawling countryside. Its southern location promises moderate to warm weather for those looking to escape winter forever. It would take a lifetime to explore everything Texas has to offer, so why not start during retirement?

In addition, the red state of Texas promises many economic benefits for residents, especially retirees. Let’s take a look:

  • State Income Tax Rate: 0%
  • Median Property Tax Rate: 1.8%
  • Estate Or Inheritance Tax: N/A
  • Average Home Price: $207,301
  • Medical Facilities Per 1,000: 2.3
  • Population Over Age 65: 12.6%

Further reading on Texas:

Sioux Falls in South Dakota.

Steven Frame / Shutterstock

South Dakota

South Dakota is the dark horse on our list, but for those looking to spend their later years off the grid, it is one of the best options. Although it is the seventh-largest state in the U.S., it is the fifth least populous. The rolling prairies lead into dense forests, offering plenty of hiking, fishing, and hunting. South Dakota is also home to iconic monuments and natural wonders like Mount Rushmore and Sioux Falls.

If the allure of living away from the lights and noise of the city isn’t enough, South Dakota also offers many financial incentives for retirees. Let’s break it down:

  • State Income Tax Rate: 0%
  • Median Property Tax Rate: 1.31%
  • Estate Or Inheritance Tax: N/A
  • Average Home Price: $205,567
  • Medical Facilities Per 1,000: 4.8
  • Population Over Age 65: 16.6%

Further reading on South Dakota:

Rainbow Bridge in the Town of La Conner, Washington. Rainbow Bridge connects Fidalgo Island and La Conner, crossing Swinomish Channel in Skagit County. National Register of Historic Places.

Washington

Washington state, not D.C., rounds out the list of the best states to retire in. The Evergreen State is full of the best natural wonders the Pacific Northwest has to offer, including Olympic National Park. Plus, how can a state that houses the “Tree of Life” ever be a bad idea for retirees?! This state is also known for sustainability and heavily focuses on green and renewable resources. For the city folk, Seattle is booming and offers plenty of unique foodie finds and trendy activities.

Besides the exciting culture and breathtaking scenery, Washington state is also extremely tax-friendly and economical for retirees. Find out more below:

  • State Income Tax Rate: 0%
  • Median Property Tax Rate: 0.98%
  • Estate Or Inheritance Tax: 10–20% on estates above $2.2 million
  • Average Home Price: $409,228
  • Medical Facilities Per 1,000: 1.7
  • Population Over Age 65: 15.4%

Further reading on Washington:

Want to learn more? Personal Capital wants to help! Read about their financial advising and retirement planning services here.

By senior