Say you’ve already achieved the American dream and socked away retirement money. You’re looking for the best place to spend your golden years, and you’d like to find the place where you can retire rich.
After all, high expenses in retirement can take a toll on even substantial nest eggs, and the last thing you want to do is run out of money. So to get the most bang for your retirement buck, you need to choose carefully.
Fortunately, GoBankingRates has taken the effort out of the search for you. They’ve evaluated the states based on several factors that can really do a number on your retirement fund.
First come taxes (estate, inheritance, property, sales, and Social Security). Then there are local living expenses, including home values and listing prices, local deposit rates, and a cost-of-living index.
Last, but far from least, is health-care affordability and accessibility, for which you need to consider average individual insurance premiums, the average Medicare payment, and the health of seniors taking advantage of regional health care.
Taking that all into consideration, here’s a look at the 10 best states where you can retire rich (and hopefully stay that way).
(If you’re a masochist, stay tuned for the 10 worst places.)
1. New Hampshire
You’ve heard the expression “like getting blood from a stone”? Well, paying taxes in New Hampshire is not like that, since the Granite State not only has no tax on Social Security, it doesn’t tax estates or inheritances either.
And you can shop till you drop here, because there’s also no sales tax.
Health care is a big plus in New Hampshire, despite monthly premiums that are higher than average. But the state makes up for it in other ways, with better-than-average Medicare payouts. Not that you should need all that many of them; according to the United Health Foundation, New Hampshire seniors are among the healthiest in the country.
The state’s drawbacks come in the form of a high cost of living, pricey homes, and property taxes that are the second highest in the country. Also, deposit account rates aren’t all that great, though they’re not terrible.
No sales, Social Security, or inheritance tax here—definitely worth crossing the Delaware for.
There is a 16 percent estate tax, though, but low property taxes—the fourth-lowest median rate in the country at 0.43 percent of your home’s value.
Average Medicare payments are among the highest, although premiums are relatively high—but Delaware seniors, too, are pretty healthy souls, ranking 15th in the country.
Where you’ll want to keep a tight rein on the purse strings is on living expenses. Homes are priced higher than average, and so is the overall cost of living.
Now this is where you want to be for a low cost of living. It’s the third cheapest in the country, outranked only by Mississippi and Tennessee. Local deposit rates are higher than average, local tax rates are low, as are sales and property taxes.
And forget about Social Security, estate, and inheritance taxes; there aren’t any.
Health isn’t its best category, with middle-of-the-road Medicare payouts and senior health. But average insurance premiums are among the 10 cheapest in the country.
The state is second in the country for senior health care, thanks to low crime, top health care, and broad health insurance coverage. Living expenses are relatively low, too.
Homes aren’t all that expensive—in fact, they’re in the bottom third nationally—but property taxes are the fourth highest in the country.
But there’s no Social Security, estate, or inheritance tax, and sales tax is very low.
When they say free range out here, they mean it—well, almost. Low property and sales taxes, combined with no Social Security, estate, or inheritance taxes, mean those dollars will stay in your account and not the local government’s.
But be prepared to shell out when it comes to buying a home here; they’re expensive.
The average insurance premium here is high, too, although high Medicare payouts to retirees are way above the average.
Look no further for the lowest total tax bill in the country. While it does have a sales tax, it’s the lowest average of any state that actually charges you to shop: a paltry 1.76 percent.
In addition, there’s no estate or inheritance tax, and no Social Security tax either.
Health care isn’t great, though, despite high Medicare payouts. Premiums are the fifth highest in the country, and seniors’ health is in the bottom 40th percentile.
If you can keep your money in the bank, you’ll be rewarded with some of the highest deposit rates in the country—but don’t bet on it because of cost of living and home values.
7. South Dakota
If you look at the cost of living and the interest rates you’ll make on your savings, you’ll probably wonder what South Dakota is doing on this list. But low taxes help to save the day.
Then there’s health. Medicare payouts are considerably higher than average, which is a good thing—the state is in the top 20th percentile, in fact.
And seniors here are in the top 50th percentile for the state of their health—though just barely. Don’t look for lots of dentists or primary care physicians here, though; there aren’t all that many. But overall good health and low pollution levels mean you’re more, rather than less, likely to stay pretty healthy.
You can really save some money here, with low insurance premiums, cheap housing, and low living expenses. But once you’ve bought that cheap house, you’re going to pay at least some of it back in high property taxes—not to mention not getting all that much in Medicare payouts.
But health here overall is good, and you know what they say—if you have your health....
Health care is the chief attraction here. Low premiums—among the lowest in the nation—and higher-than-average Medicare payments, coupled with a good health level ranked 12th in the country, make it pretty attractive.
Housing is expensive, while property taxes are low. There are no estate or inheritance taxes, but you will pay a tax on Social Security of 5 percent, and local sales taxes average 6.7 percent.
Don’t look for good health here. Seniors in Arkansas are among the least healthy in the country, what with Old Man Tobacco, cardiovascular disease, and obesity (all that fried catfish!).
While not exactly as scarce as hens’ teeth, dentists are in short supply in the Natural State, although Medicare coverage is decent and premiums are pretty cheap.
Both the cost of living and the prices of homes are low—particularly the latter—and there’s no estate, inheritance, or Social Security tax. But beware: sales tax is hefty—at 9 percent and above, the second highest combined state and local rates in the country—and you’ll be paying it on food as well as on the newest fishing gear at Walmart.