10 Surprising States for a Dream Retirement

10 Surprising States for a Dream Retirement

When you think about your retirement, you may picture yourself sunbathing in Florida or sailing off the coast of Cape Cod like generations of retirees before you.

However, a new study from Bankrate may make you rethink your plans for your golden years.


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The study uses cost of living, average temperature, crime, tax burden and access to medical care to rank states by how hospitable they are to retirees. The list provides a great opportunity for retirees-to-be to decide on a locale based on their own priorities.

Where does the state you planned to retire in fall on the list?

1. Tennessee

Country music lovers rejoice! Tennessee possesses a Floridian climate, the second-lowest cost of living in the country and great access to medical care. Its only downfall is its crime rate, which is among the highest in the nation.

2. Louisiana

Low taxes and above-average access to health care round out Louisiana as a great retirement locale. However, like Tennessee, its crime rate is on the high side, which may be a notable minus for some retirees.

3. South Dakota

This state has the lowest crime rate in the nation and the second-lowest tax rate. With an average temperature of about 46 degrees, it's cold. But South Dakota may be a perfect fit for retirees more interested in a cozy fire in the hearth than laying by the pool.

4. Kentucky

This state has warmer-than-average temperatures, very low cost of living and below-average crime rate. The combination could make the Blue Grass State a winner for many retirees.

5. Mississippi

Low cost of living and warm temperatures may attract retirees,  but the state's access to health care is notably lacking. There are only 178 doctors for every 100,000 residents, which is about 100 less per 100,000 than the national average, according to CNN Money.

6. Virginia

Virginia was ranked above average in climate, access to health care and cost of living. Add one of the country's lowest crime rates and the lovely Virginia Beach, and you've got a haven for retirees.

7. West Virginia

John Denver famously referred to West Virginia as "almost heaven." With its low crime rate, low cost of living and above-average access to medical care, he wasn't far off.

8. Alabama

Alabama's low cost of living, low taxes and mild temperatures helped the state climb into Bankrate's top ten. However, high crime and below-average access to medical care may be deal breakers for many retirees.

9. Nebraska

Nebraska's cost of living ranks among the nation's cheapest, its access to health care is excellent and crime is low. Additionally, we reported on how Omaha is one of the nation's healthiest real estate markets. Though you might not have considered it a retirement destination, the Cornhusker State is worth a second glance.

10. North Dakota

Like its southern neighbor, North Dakota has low crime, a low tax burden and excellent access to hospital care. Retirees looking to get away from it all will especially enjoy North Dakota's seclusion—it's ranked 47th in the U.S. for population density.


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