Retiring Soon? You May Want to Avoid Living in These Worst States for Retirement

Deciding how, when, and where to retire is not always an easy feat. Whether retirees are looking to avoid their Social Security benefits being taxed or are simply on the hunt for a more satisfying quality of life, retirement can be quite the balancing act. So, the bottom line is that affordability, quality of life, and access to healthcare reign supreme when it comes to choosing where to spend retirement.

Luckily, WalletHub analyzed 41 different metrics in order to determine which states in the union are the best and worst states to retire. When it comes to affordability, quality of life, and access to healthcare, these 15 states are hands-down the absolute worst states for retirees to live. 

15. Oklahoma

oklahoma city

The cost of living in Oklahoma is low, but so is life expectancy. | Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

The Sooner state’s cost of living is one of the lowest, but then again so is its life expectancy. And while the state raves about how much bang retirees get for their bucks, Oklahoma appears to have a severe shortage of healthcare professionals. Furthermore, the high crime rate, extreme weather, and lack of proper public transportation leave much to be desired.

Next: This peach of a state may not be for retirees.

14. Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia, USA downtown skyline at dusk.

High crime is a problem in Georgia. | Sean Pavone/iStock/Getty Images

When it comes to affordability, Georgia falls somewhere in the middle of the road. But it’s both the quality of healthcare and the higher level of crime that make this peach of a state less than favorable.

Next: You’ve got the ocean, you’ve got the foothills. What more could you want? 

13. Maryland

Maryland state capitol

A high cost of living is a problem for some Maryland retirees. | Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Quality of life in Maryland is quite nice. The state is conveniently positioned between the Atlantic and the foothills of the Appalachians, so it’s safe to say the views are scenic. It’s the lack of affordability that makes the state the least appealing to retirees. For perspective, the median home cost in the state is $225,000. That’s over 20% above the national average.

Next: Adventure-seekers beware

12. Vermont

Vermont scenery

You can enjoy Vermont’s stunning scenery, for a price. | Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images

The beautiful Green Mountain State offers the ideal retirement for adventure-seekers, as long as their pocketbooks are full. Vermont is an expensive state to retire and live. Between the state’s 8.95% income tax and the quarter of a million dollar median home price, living frugally won’t be easy to do.

Next: Feet of snow and high living costs make this New England state a loser

11. New York

Times Square in New York City

Snowy winters and big expenses mean New York isn’t ideal for many retirees. | AndreyKrav/iStock/Getty Images

There’s a chance that you’ve made all the right decisions in your career and have set yourself up for a Hamptons retirement. On the other hand, you probably haven’t. So when retirees flee the city to flock upstate, they are greeted with extremely snowy winters and high living costs. In New York state, the cost of living is 26% higher than the national average.

Next: You’ll be able to afford it, but do you want to? 

10. Alabama

Gulf Shores, Alabama

Living is cheap in Alabama, but access to quality healthcare is poor. | nick1803/iStock/Getty Images

Sweet home Alabama, they say. And for good reason. The state is one of the least expensive for retirees, but it’s the quality of life and access to solid healthcare that are real issues at hand. The rural regions of the state are in a full-on healthcare crisis.

Next: Is the island life really for you? 

9. Hawaii

Black beach on Hawaii

You’ll pay a lot to enjoy a little slice of paradise. | iStock.com/magcs

The idyllic retirement location of Hawaii sure does paint a beautiful picture for future retirees. Sipping coffee on the lanai and early morning and evening walks down the beach seem to be the perfect way to retire, right? Newsflash: Hawaii is really expensive. The median home cost in the state is over $600,000. So while the health care rating is top notch, finding an affordable roof to put over your head is not.

Next: The views may be enchanting, but that’s about it.

8. New Mexico

Albuquerque new Mexico

Too few doctors is a problem in New Mexico. | iStock.com/alex grichenko

The Land of Enchantment has recently been drawing retirees out of Arizona, due to the lower living costs the state offers. After all, the median home cost of $150,000 is enticing. But what needs to be discussed is the 19.5% of the state living below the poverty line, along with the lack of healthcare professionals in New Mexico. Currently, only 223 physicians are serving every 100,000 residents. That’s almost 40 less than the national average. In addition, the state’s crime rate is one of the highest in the nation.

Next: You won’t be Mardi Gras mamboing for very long.

7. Louisiana

St-Johns Cathedral - Lafayette, Louisiana

Crime, healthcare, and quality of life are all problems in Louisiana. | artiste9999/iStock / Getty Images Plus

While the tax-burden in Louisiana may be low, the state has a lot of negatives stacked against it when it comes to retirement. The Bayou State’s crime rate, healthcare quality, and climate are all considered some of the worst in the state. In addition, Louisiana is ranked third for the lowest life expectancy in the U.S.

Next: You’d have to be a real mountain Mama to stay in these parts.

6. West Virginia

Huntington West virginia sunset

Retirees might want to reconsider the Mountain State. | Albert Tibbs/iStock/Getty Images

The rolling hills and simple life in West Virginia may be enticing, but if you’re thinking about relocating to the Mountain State, you should reconsider. The quality of life and healthcare for retirees is subpar at best. Besides having some of the fewest museums and theatres per capita, the state also has the second-highest cancer death rate in the country.

Next: Did you know this state had such high crime? 

5. Arkansas

Arkansas

Retirees in Arkansas don’t always enjoy the best quality of life. | iStock/Getty Images

For many years, Arkansas has fallen on the list of terrible states for retirement. The state has one of the highest property crime rates in the country. But when it comes to the quality of life to be had in Arkansas, the state ranks the worst out of every other state in the union.

Next: It may be cheap, but it’s not healthy.

4. Mississippi

Bay St. Louis, Mississippi

Mississippi has the lowest life expectancy in the U.S. | Frank Kovalchek/Wikimedia Commons

The Magnolia State may be cheap for the living, but then again, you probably won’t be living very long. Mississippi has the lowest life expectancy of any state in the U.S. Furthermore, it also has the third-highest cancer death rate. And when it comes to quality of life, the state ranks 49 out of 50.

Next: Beautiful indeed, but incredibly expensive for retirees.

3. Rhode Island

Harbor View of Providence Rhode Island

High taxes are a burden on Rhode Island retirees. | SeanPavonePhoto/iStock/Getty Images

Access to quality healthcare in Rhode Island is good. It’s the affordability of the Ocean State that makes it a difficult location for retirees. Rhode Island has one of the worst tax rankings out of any other state in the U.S. As for the cost of living, the median home runs around $280,000.

Next: Does the state deserve part of your estate? 

2. New Jersey

The skyline and Atlantic Ocean New Jersey.

New Jersey just isn’t affordable for many. | AppalachianViews/iStock/Getty Images

New Jersey’s quality of life ranking falls right in the middle of the road for all states, so that’s decent. Where the Garden State really falls flat is how unaffordable it is. According to WalletHub, it’s hands down the least affordable state for retirees out of any other. Property taxes are through the roof. For retirees with more than $675,000 in your estate, the state will assess your money via an estate tax upon death.

Next: The worst of the worst right here.

1. Kentucky

Louisville, KY

Kentucky received low marks all around in the WalletHub study.| toddtaulman/iStock/Getty Images

Oh, Kentucky, you’ve fallen to the bottom of too many lists recently. Healthcare, quality of life, and affordability within the state all received low marks on WalletHub’s rankings. Even worse, Kentucky has the most cancer deaths out of any other state in the continental U.S. So while the views may be pretty nice, the overall quality of life may not be. Kentucky is the absolute worst state to retire.

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