The 9 Best States to Live Out Your Golden Years

Cheryl Lock
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WyomingWhen you think of retirement, where do you see yourself living? Near the ocean? In a big city? Wherever your family has settled?

Before you make any major decisions, you may want to consider a new academic study from the National Institute on Retirement Security. The researchers scored states on a scale of one to 10 based on several factors that they felt defined how financially secure retirees would be if they settled there, including: retirement income (based on retirement income taxes, and retirement plan participation and balances); costs for housing and medical bills; and employment prospects for elderly workers.

Far and away the best state for retirement, according to the study, is Wyoming, which scored a whopping 9 out of 10 on its overall state score. In fact, this mountain region state scored better than average in all three categories. According to the study, retirees can expect high workplace retirement plan participation rates and low marginal tax rates, along with better-than-average Medicaid generosity and low housing costs.

Trailing behind Wyoming ever so slightly, with a score of 8, were Alaska, North Dakota and Minnesota, which boast strong labor markets and relatively low retiree costs. States scoring a 7 included Iowa, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Washington and West Virginia.

At the bottom end of the scale, the states with the worst overall scores included California, Florida and South Carolina, all of which received 3s—the lowest scores of all—for their high taxes on retirement income and expensive housing, among other things.

So where did your dream state rank? Check out the full study here.

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