When picturing their golden years, most people will eagerly focus on all the things they won’t have to do once they leave the working world, like putting on a suit in the summer or commuting for hours.
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After getting to drop those annoying activities, anything they decide to do with their time — whether that be golf, play with their grandchildren or volunteer — might seem like a holiday in paradise.
But an actual holiday in paradise will run you the big bucks. So why not plan to take your retirement in a state that offers blue skies and beaches, along with affordable housing and health care while you’re at it? Call it paradise on a budget.
Before you start Googling for “most affordable places to retire,” we’ve already done the leg work for you. Averaging the retirement rankings from WalletHub, MoneyRates and The Motley Fool, Moneywise has created one master list of the top 5 friendliest states for retirees.
Some of these places may not be your first pick for a retirement destination, but as the numbers show, they have everything you need to retire comfortably.
The Keystone State boasts a relatively low cost of living compared to other states in the northeast. And on top of that, it has no tax on Social Security retirement income.
Older residents enjoy Pennsylvania for its small-town America attitude: “Large urban areas such as Philadelphia and Pittsburgh offer vibrant culture and opportunities at a manageable size,” writes Quora user Tom DeSanto.
And home prices are lower than the national average in Pennsylvania — $248,121 compared to $339,048, based on Zillow data.
For retirees seeking outdoor adventure like hunting, fishing and hiking, Quora user Tom Peracchio recommends the northern tier of Pennsylvania — “[it’s] rural and home to many cool places to get away from it all.”
The Show-Me State has a lot to show retirees. For one, The Motley Fool awarded it the second-lowest cost of living for retirees in the country.
That’s because the average price of goods and services are generally low in the state, and housing is fairly affordable. According to Zillow, the typical value of homes in Missouri is $232,707.
Retirees enjoy several tax benefits, including exemptions for Social Security income and pensions. The state has a good health care system, with top-rated hospitals and medical centers located in cities like St. Louis and Kansas City.
And once you’ve qualified for Medicare, you’ll join the other 1.2 million people in Missouri who enjoy some of the lowest Part C premiums in the country. According to MedicareAdvantage.com, average monthly plan premiums in 2022 were just over $42.
For outdoorsy retirees, natural beauty is abundant in the Mother of the West, including several state parks.
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Virginia, also known as Old Dominion, earned its nickname due to its colonial history. The state was the first official overseas dominion of the British empire and is home to several historic sites like Colonial Williamsburg, Monticello and Mount Vernon.
The state has a good health care system, according to WalletHub. There are several top-rated hospitals, and medical coverage is available for retirees.
Housing, however, is a little bit on the expensive side, according to Zillow, with the average Virginia home value at $364,208.
The advantage is that your home will be nestled in the middle of beautiful landscapes, including the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Retirees can enjoy scenic drives, hiking, boating and plenty of other outdoor activities.
The Hawkeye State may not be the first place you think of spending your golden years, but it offers residents a great bang for their buck. The state has the fifth-lowest housing costs in the country, with homes valued at an average of $200,833, according to Zillow.
And when you need medical support, you may find you’re happy you set up shop in Iowa. The state’s nursing care capacity is ranked fifth nationally, according to Moneyrates. There are several top-rated hospitals and medical centers located throughout the state including University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center. And eligible retirees will get access to health and dental coverage.
The state is known for its strong sense of community, and many retirees enjoy living in small towns or suburbs where they can connect with their neighbors and participate in local events.
The Sunshine State’s ranking as the best state to retire in the country should come as no surprise. For some, the weather alone is enticing enough.
The average temperature in Florida is one of the warmest in the country, a comfortable 8.1ºF, according to Holiday Weather. Quora user Jim Grupe says it feels like “room temperature” 10 months of the year, and only a bit hot in July and August.
Which means residents have almost all year to explore the state’s beaches, forests and wetlands where they can golf, fish, boat and hike.
Arts and culture fans will also appreciate Florida’s plentiful supply of museums, restaurants, craft breweries, concerts and festivals.
As reported by Moneyrates, the state also has the second-highest proportion of residents aged 65 and up, which means there’s already plenty of opportunity to put down roots and expand your social circle.
However, keep in mind that leads to a significant demand on the state’s nursing care capacity. Moneyrates ranked it 40th based on its assessment. That’s unsurprising considering how many older residents the state needs to care for — more than 4.8 million people 65 or older in Florida qualify for the government program, according to Medicare Plans.
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This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.