Florida has regained its status as the best state for retirees in 2024.
That’s according to WalletHub’s latest “Best and Worst States to Retire” study. In 2023, Virginia took the top spot and knocked Florida down to No. 2.
WalletHub used three main categories to rank the retirement friendliness of all 50 states:
- Affordability, which considered factors such as cost of living and tax benefits.
- Quality of life, which looked at metrics like weather and the share of the state’s population over the age of 65.
- Health care, which considered the availability of doctors and quality of public hospitals, along with other health-related metrics.
While Florida ranked first overall and No. 1 in the quality of life category, it scored lower for health care and affordability.
Since retirees may be living on a fixed income, the affordability of a potential retirement destination can be important to consider. Popular Florida cities, including the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro areas rank among WalletHub’s top 10 places hit hardest by inflation.
“Inflation basically erodes the purchasing power of money over time, potentially diminishing the value of existing retirement savings,” Karen Magruder, a licensed clinical social worker and assistant professor at University of Texas at Arlington, says in WalletHub’s report.
“Retirees need to anticipate a potentially higher cost of living due to inflation, which includes everyday expenses such as housing, health care, groceries and transportation.”
On the other hand, Florida offers a number of perks retirees may find attractive. The state doesn’t levy any income tax, which means income from Social Security and withdrawals from retirement accounts won’t be taxed at the state level.
On top of that, retirees may enjoy the state’s mostly pleasant weather and miles of shoreline.
If you prefer mountains over beaches, Colorado ranks as the second-best state for retirees, according to WalletHub. Although Colorado residents face high sales tax, property taxes are lower than other states.
And although Colorado partially taxes income from Social Security and withdrawals from retirement accounts, the state allows for tax deductions for certain retirement income sources for qualified taxpayers.
Here are the best and worst states to retire in 2024, according to WalletHub.
Remember, while lists like these can be helpful as you figure out where you’d like to eventually spend your post-work years, your idea of the “perfect” place to retire will depend on a number of personal factors. For instance, some people may desire to live in a walkable city while others may want to move closer to their families.
“There is no one right answer for the best place to retire, as it all depends on an individual’s unique circumstances, preferences and priorities,” Magruder says in the report.
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