If you’re planning a significant change during retirement, it’s crucial to think about the kind of home you desire and the aspects you should steer clear of. “If you’re thinking about making a big move in retirement, it’s important to consider what characteristics you want in your new home and which ones to avoid at all costs,” suggests experts. To assist you, we’ve compiled a catalog of the 15 least favorable states for retirement.
Alaska boasts the second smallest portion of retirees, influenced mainly by its chilly climate. “The cold climate is an obvious deterrent,” notes the analysis. Yet, the state has more concerns, including a notably high violent crime rate and a cost of living surpassing the national average.
While Oregon avoids sales tax, it compensates with one of the highest state income tax rates at 9.9%. “Oregon might not charge for sales tax, but they have one of the highest state income tax rates in the U.S., charging 9.9%,” emphasizes the data. All other retirement income is liable despite exempting Social Security benefits from taxation. Worryingly, Oregon’s seniors receive 15.9% less household income than the national average.
Manhattan, New York, clinches the title of the most expensive U.S. living locale. “Manhattan, New York is the most expensive place to live in the U.S.,” confirms the analysis, with living expenses towering at 138.6% above the national average. To consider retirement here, aiming for regions beyond the Big Apple is advisable. Unfortunately, seniors encounter an 11.4% poverty rate, surpassing the national average and sharing the fourth-highest position with Kentucky.
Utah might not be the most suitable retirement destination, as it is one of the few states taxing social security. “One of the few states that tax social security, Utah may not be the ideal place to retire,” the analysis suggests. Additionally, pension and various retirement incomes face a 4.85% flat income tax imposed by the state. However, seniors can avail a modest tax credit. The state’s combined state and local sales tax rate is higher than average at 7.19%. While property tax rates rank 8th lowest in the state, the cost of living remains 1.5% above the national average.
While Virginia isn’t overtly taxing, retirees might find more appealing options considering the combination of costs. “Virginia isn’t exactly unfriendly for taxes but combined with cost of living, retirees can certainly go for better options,” suggests the analysis. Living expenses in the state surpass the national average by 3.1%. Although sales and property taxes remain low, income taxes are slightly higher. Social security remains untaxed, and other forms of retirement income are deductible up to $12,000.
District of Columbia
The inclusion of D.C. on this list is no surprise, given its steep healthcare expenses and even higher living costs. “With high healthcare costs and an even higher cost of living, it is no wonder D.C. made this list,” states the analysis. The city is already experiencing a shortage of elderly residents, and considering the elevated crime rate, their reluctance is well-founded.
Arizona secures its spot among the least favorable retirement states due to taxing and living expenses. “Arizona makes it to our list of the worst states to retire in for taxes and cost of living due to its moderate tax burden on retirees and high living costs,” states the analysis. While social security benefits remain untaxed, distributions from retirement accounts like 401(k)s face taxation. Although property taxes are low, the cumulative sales tax surpasses 8%. Additionally, the cost of living stands 7.2% above the national average.
Colorado exhibits a cost of living 5.5% above the state average. “In Colorado, cost of living is 5.5% higher than the state average,” reveals the data. Its income tax system offers substantial tax deductions for retirement incomes. Those under 55 can exclude up to $15,000 from their military retirement plans. Additionally, railroad retirement benefits still need to be taxed in the state. Though property tax rates remain low, sales tax, excluding medicine and groceries, can climb to over 11% in certain parts of the state.
Maine ranks among the undesirable retirement destinations due to tax and cost concerns. “One of the worst states to retire in for taxes and cost of living is Maine,” notes the analysis. Although social security income remains untaxed, other retirement income faces rates as high as 7.15%. Property tax stands above average at 1.09%, coupled with an estate tax imposition. Sales tax hovers at 5.5%, encompassing groceries except staples. Moreover, the cost of living escalates to 11.5% above the national average.
Maryland’s poor placement in the rankings can be attributed to its elevated living expenses and unfavorable culture and weather ratings. “Maryland earned its low ranking thanks to its high cost of living and low culture and weather ratings,” the assessment clarifies. The state’s financial burdens for retirees are further heightened by state income tax, and it stands out as one of seven states enforcing an estate tax, too.
Hawaii takes the lead with the nation’s highest cost of living, notably driven by housing prices averaging in the $800,000 range. “Hawaii has the highest cost of living in the country, with housing prices averaging in the $ 800,000’s. That puts the cost of living 33% higher than the national average,” highlights the data. Adding to the financial strain, public transportation options are sparse on the islands, needing subways, trains, or trams.
The situation in California is quite evident. “This one is pretty obvious,” notes the analysis. The state has witnessed a rapid surge in the cost of living over recent years, leading to a concerning statistic where 1 in 10 Californians aged 65 and above live in poverty. Adding to the predicament, apart from Social Security, all retirement income faces total taxation, and California holds the distinction of imposing the nation’s highest state income tax at 13.3% for the highest earners.
Connecticut was bestowed with the less-than-desirable honor of being the eighth least attractive state for retirement by Wallethub. The reasoning behind this ranking becomes evident from Connecticut’s unaffordability for retirees. “Connecticut’s affordability (or lack thereof) for retirees is a big reason why their ranking is so poor,” explains the report. Additionally, it emerges as one of the least preferred retirement spots due to the prospect of retirees facing taxes as high as 85% on their Social Security benefits unless their income falls below $75,000 (individual filer) or $100,000 (joint filer).
Retiring in Massachusetts comes with significant financial burdens. “Massachusetts carries heavy costs for retirees,” reveals the assessment. The state’s challenges are twofold: it ranks third in the nation for living expenses, and healthcare costs for citizens aged 65 and older are notably steep.
Rhode Island secures the discouraging 48th spot among U.S. retirement destinations, making it the fifth least favorable choice. “That’s the fifth worst!” states the ranking. This unflattering position owes itself to the steep costs of utilities, real estate, and transportation prevailing in Rhode Island.
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